36

This is called the O'Kelly variation of the Sicilian. If white plays normally (i.e. 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3), then black can eventually kick the d4 knight with ...e5 when the knight doesn't have any great squares. In this case, 2... a6 keeps the knight from moving to the natural b5 square (as in the Sveshnikov Sicilian). This will allow black to ...


23

Good heavens. Play it! The Sicilian is not a defense for the lazy or defensive player - the Black side will need to be booked up, tactically sharp, and more than anything will need to understand why it works, and how to make it work. Regarding that GMs can't play it, that's nonsense. It's a deadly tool in their arsenal. This opening's hypermodern ideas ...


16

As I understand it, the purpose of 2... a6 is to keep a white piece (usually knight or bishop) off b5. It seems premature, because white might not want to go there anyway (for some time). Meaning that it could easily become a wasted move. As White, I would concentrate on king side development, knowing that b5 was "off limits," but not caring, because I ...


15

It would be strange it it were possible to give a short list of pitfalls for one of the most complicated variations in chess. I'll try to give some hints, I don't play it from either side but I'm an opening nut. First, you've chosen to include 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 but the interesting position is the one after 9...Qa3, where black has chosen to accept the so-...


15

The Open Sicilian (2.Nf3 and 3.d4) is the most aggressive way to attack the Sicilian, as white immediately opens up the position for all his pieces and gets a nice knight on d4. Black has trumps, but first he lags in development and his advantages typically only start counting if he survives white's attack. It is also the best reply, or at least it has ...


13

3...cxd4 is indeed basically forced. Perhaps the single biggest idea of the Sicilian is to exchange your c-pawn for White's d-pawn, leaving you with more pawns in the center. So go ahead and do it! However, 4...Nxd4 is a mistake, leaving White with much better development after the trade. Some common 4th moves for Black after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4....


13

Some things that are probably part of the answer, but probably not complete and concrete enough: 1...a6 won't come. There is no threat to a pawn on e5, the knight isn't pinned, the only point of 3.Bb5 is to exchange it on c6. So black doesn't waste a tempo on forcing white to do what he was already going to do. On the other hand, black has a choice to make,...


12

The Sicilian is playable at all levels. 1.e4 e5 openings are easier to understand, so you will often see 1...e5 recommended for beginning and intermediate players (and I second that recommendation), but there's nothing wrong with 1...c5, and you should feel free to try it out and see if you like it. To say how to play it correctly would take hundreds of ...


12

6. Be3 against the Najdorf Sicilian is called the English Attack. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 6. Be3 is no weak move! It is a strong move and has been played by World Champions like Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand. In your game, after 6...e5 you played 7. Nf5. ...


11

Nakamura has played it a few times, but it seems the treatment Volokitin gave him cured him of the disease. The point of 2...Nf6 is 3.Qxc5 Nxe4 and black is a bit better. [FEN ""] [Event "6. YM"] [Site "Lausanne SUI"] [Date "2005.09.19"] [Round "3.2"] [White "Nakamura, H"] [Black "Volokitin, And"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2660"] [BlackElo "2671"] [ECO "...


11

White's d4 Knight is his best piece. Why would he trade it for a common Knight and improve Black's center? Regarding harassing the a pawn... you can have it. While you're doing that, your opponent will be drawing a bead on your King. Checking 365chess.com, we see that Nxc6 is a blunder at the sub-master level. Black wins twice as often. At the master ...


11

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but many openings where black has a large plus against white it isn't necessarily because the opening is actually so bad that it gives black a significant advantage, but because the opening is more popular at a lower level (which is normally because it actually is worse than other openings) so the players who play ...


11

How much statistical difference is there? Is it really statistically significant? Do these statistics take account of only GM games, so are they biased or not? And do you know that not every player is a Sicilian expert? Actually, it's quite tough to be a Sicilian expert. Had I not played the Sicilian with Black I could have saved myself the trouble of ...


10

You cannot force the Sicilian Defense after a White move other than 1.e4. The Sicilian Defense is defined by 1.e4 c5, not by 1...c5. Chess openings in general are named based on the moves played by both sides, not by just one side. It is possible sometimes to end up in the Sicilian defense by different routes, e.g. 1.Nf3 c5 2.e4, which arrives at the same ...


10

1...e5 is most "principled" response to 1.e4, and thus most often recommended for beginners. At the beginner level, the opening you choose doesn't really make a difference. Quite frankly, the player who makes the ugliest blunders will be the one who loses the game. As you gain more experience, then the choice between 1...e5 or 1...c5 becomes more ...


10

This is a good question, and I'd like to provide you an in-depth analysis but I don't have time right now, so here's a short answer, more to be added later: Short answer: An immediate b5, before preparing it with e6, allows maneuvers such as Bd5 to be played, and you noticed correctly that here Bxf7+ is not really a threat. Black should preferably avoid ...


10

You can play the Stonewall defence with black as well, as quid suggested. You can start with a Dutch and get the familiar structure (just an example): [FEN ""] 1. d4 f5 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 d5. Nf3 c6 Or you can play as you have shown and don't have to worry about dxc5 (it actually isn't such a good move): [FEN ""] 1. d4 c5 2. dxc5?! e6 3. Nc3 (3. b4?...


9

I would play 2... Nf6, chasing the queen. If he takes the pawn on c5, you take his pawn on e4, attacking the queen. Then play d5 to support your knight on e4. If White plays d3, you can move your knight back to f6, and have the better of both the piece and the pawn positions.


9

As dfan said, 4. ... Nxd4 is definitely an error. I would suggest you abandon this approach entirely. Move 4 is a key branching point for black in the Sicilian defense. However, almost any line you choose will require extensive book preparation in order to be successful. The Sicilian is perhaps the most deeply explored opening with the most published theory;...


9

This variation is uncommon, but it's certainly not unheard of. I don't know of a particular name for it, and rather than get bogged down in the endlessly-analyzed lines, let's just take a quick, objective look at what this move accomplishes, and what it gives up. Advantages 3.Bc4 aims, as you said, at the f7 pawn. If allowed to remain on the diagonal, this ...


9

The move a3 serves basically two functions: White can develop the bishop to c4, and keep it aimed on d5, even if Black attacks it with b5, or, as Giri did, with Be6. In the lines where Black plays ...e5, the battle for d5 is often very important so it could be worth spending a tempo in it. Black often plays b5 to gain some space on the queenside. The move ...


9

There's no known recipe that works for everyone for how to approach the Sicilian (or any new opening) as a newcomer to the opening, but it definitely helps if you concretize your target even more than what you've described in the OP. To do that, you might find the following general considerations helpful, specially given that Sicilian is a vast and rich ...


9

It's not that unpopular amongst off-beat lines that can emerge from the Sicilian defense, on top which it has a natural tendency to transpose to Owen defense type of positions. As to why it's not as popular as Sicilian mainlines, much similar to 1.b3 or 1...b6 openings, 1...c5 2...b6 is not a sound starting setup strategically, for the following summarised ...


8

The point of ...a6 is to control the square b5 where white can otherwise place a knight or bishop at some point. Another point is to prepare b7-b5 followed by Bc8-b7 and perhaps b5-b4 to chase a white Nc3. The move ...a6 appears in at least two variations, 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6. If you have ever ...


8

There are some high level trainers who suggest avoiding lines like the Rauzer (a line in the Sicilian) or the Gruenfeld for new beginners, suggesting that the ideas behind these openings are just beyond the comprehension of new players, BUT... Chess learning is known to centre very much around patterns, and these patterns need to become instilled in your ...


8

No, it is not refuted, and it is not any more dubious than dozens of other mainstream openings. It's dangerous for both sides, of course. I would not worry about its theoretical status until your rating gets to 2600 or so. Note also that if you stop playing the Grand Prix, you're going to have to decide what to do against all the other Black Open Sicilian ...


8

The lines presented below are from the Chess Informant ECO 1984, but I doubt the assessments have changed since: [fen ""] [White "Sicilian defense"] [Black "Najdorf variation"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e5?! 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 ( 7...gxf6 8.Nf5! Bxf5 9.exf5+/- ) 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nf5 Bxf5 ( 9...Be6 10.Bc4 Nd7 11.O-O Rc8 12.Bb3 Nc5 13.Qf3 Nxb3 ...


8

e5 is bad against the Fischer-sozin variation, because of 7. Nf5, which puts pressure on the d6 weakness. Now granted, you could play Nf5 whenever black plays e5, whether you're playing Be2 (the classical system), or Be3 (the english attack). So the real question is, what's the difference between: e5 in the Sozin variation, and e5 in the classical ...


8

You have already mentioned one good thing about e6, it blocks the c4-bishop. It may not seem very important, but the white's attack on a2-g8 diagonal can be rather unpleasant later on, especially after white's moves f4 and e5. Other important factor is the d5 square. Nd5 can be sometimes very unpleasant, so you want to avoid it. It potentially stops even ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible