Understanding The Sicilian Defense B21 - B99
1e4 c5

The Sicilian is truly a variation that you can study for a lifetime, and can be one of your main defenses to e4.

It you think that the Sicilian defense would be a great defense to add to your opening repertoire because it suites your style of play, then this page is going to be a fine starting point to begin your studies.

However, don't think you can just skim over the material here and then begin to make a significant improvement in your play. To be successful you must first strive to become a specialist in just one variation before you take on the Sicilian. Such is the nature of this beast, the very complex Sicilian Defense. Many twists and turns must be prepared for or you may soon become mired in its complexities.

The Sicilian is not for the timid. Time is of the essence and a aggressive attacking opponent can soon make a shambles of your Kings defenses placing your attacking plans to one of defense just to stay alive. Like in the Turing Tar Pits, getting bogged down in unprepared for play, can turn the Sicilian against you to favor your demise and can soon be the dissolution and termination of your game.

The Sicilian defense is definitely not an opening for the beginners opening repertoire. It is frequently called "The Granddaddy of Openings", "The Mother of All Openings", "The Tasmanian Devil", etc. It is a very complicated opening and requires a through understanding of the theory of its ideas behind this opening and its more common variations. Sicilian players often spend untold hours to study it and its variations. More books have probably been written about the Sicilian than any other opening, and no wonder, there are probably more variations than any other opening to write about. Its no wonder that most of the recent World Champions have relied heavily on one or more of the major variations of this semi-open opening. It was a favorite of Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov used it almost exclusively throughout his career, and all of the leading contenders for the crown as well.

If you are White and you are going to play against the Sicilian you must use precise play. The Sicilian is not very forgiving in any incorrect play in its beginning opening moves. Especially if you castle long, as is the case of the popular Dragon Variation. Black will storm your castled position and rip your King's fortress to shreds forcing your attacking plans to change to a now purely defensive posture.

The play tends to be very sharp, with White launching a full-scale attack on Black's king. Black has chances for an assault on the White king especially when Black is castled on the Kingside while White's Monarch is stationed on the queenside. The Sicilian Defense has one of the smallest ratios of draws of all openings, and is very useful in must-win-situations.

Although these can lead to quite a variety of positions, there are also many places where the lines intersect and calculating transpositional possibilities is a required skill if you want to play either side of the Sicilian.

Of the modern defenses to the Kings Pawn Opening, the overwhelming favorite is the Sicilian Defense. This is the granddaddy of modern defenses. The plans are so rich and varied for both sides that hundreds of books have been written about this provocative and complex defense.

In the modern era, the Sicilian Defense has been the defense of champions. Kasparov and Bobby Fischer became World Champions with almost religious devotion to the Sicilian, while all other World Champions of the twentieth century have used it at least fairly extensively. Other luminaries and national champions have bee likewise captivated by the sea of Sicilian variations, making the theory of the opening rich with a diversity of plans and ideas.

The Sicilian Defense dates back to Italy to over four hundred millennium years ago. (400,000 Years Ago)
(Do you really believe that?) See The Orgin of Chess
It was mentioned by Polerio in 1594, Over 400 years ago, and given its name by Greco early in the next century. The match between MacDonnell and La Bourdonnals in 1834 almost 200 years ago) greatly helped the chess world appreciate the virtues of the Sicilian, which requires some sophistication to think of playing as the strategy is not initially obvious.

With 1c5 Black stakes out territory in the center, denying White the pawn duo of e4. The Black d- and e-pawns will late advance to control key squares, but their presence around the king allows Black to blunt any quick attack. Whits most effective plan is Morphys d4 (After Nf3), gaining space and opening lines. After cxd4 Black has an open c-file for counterplay, along with his two center pawns that play their initially defensive role. The positions arising are asymmetrical, which has the appealing aspect of local imbalances on the board. Frequently White will have pressure on one area of the board and Black on another area, such as the typical White kingside attack vs. Blacks gueenside counterplay. Thus the games tend to be lively, with fierce struggles and winning chances for both sides. The lively play, combined with the inherent soundness of the defense, is the reason for the Sicilians popularity.

There are many variation of the Sicilian that differ significantly in strategy and position structure. These variations can be broken up into sub-variations of the major variations.

1. The Najdorf Variation
2. The Dragon Variation (and the Accelerated Dragon)
3. The Scheveningen Variation
4. Systems with 2e6-Taimanov Variation, Pulsen Variation and Four Knights Variation
5. Classical Sicilian Richter-Rauser Attack, Boleslavky Variation and Sozin-Variation Attack
6. Systems with Nc6 and e5-Sveshnikon (Pelikan) Variation, Kalashinikov and Lowential Variation (and 4Qb6)
7. Non-open systems (Lines without 2.Nf3 and 3.d4)-Closed Sicilian, 2.c3 Sicilian, 3.Bb5 Variations, the f4 Attack, Unusual Second Moves.

Here is 32 Sicilian Defenses and related variations of this Semi-Open Game.
Note that there is 8 Attacks for White to the Sicilian Denfense.

Accelerated Dragon Variation
Alpin Variation
Boleslavesky Variation
Bourdonnais Variation
Canal Variation
Classical Variation
Closed Sicilian
Dragon Variation
English Attack
Grand Prix Attack
Kalashnikov Vrriation
Kan Variation
Keres Attack
Labourdonnals Variation
Lasker-Pelikan Syeshnikov Variation
Maroczy Bind
Mcdonnell Attack
Najdorf Variation
Nimzowitsch Sicilian
Paulsen Variation
Pin Variation
Richter Attack
Richter-Rauzer Attack
Rossolimo Sicilian
Scheveningen Najdorf with F4
Scheveningen Variation
Simagin Variation
Smith-Morra Gambit
Sozin Attack
Sveshnikov Variation
Szen Variation
Yugoslav Attack

Different Sicilian Defenses have very different histories and personalities. Some date back to the 18th century, while other have been developed only in the 1990s. Most normal Sicilians continue 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 and Black now chooses between three moves: 2d6, 2e6 and 2Nc6. Although these can lead to quite a variety of positions, there are also many places where the lines intersect, and calculating transpositional possibilities is a required skill if you want to play either side of the Sicilian.

Non-Open Sicilians
The Non-Open Variations are those in which White does not play 2.Nf3 and 3.d4. These offer him less chance for the advantage, but there is less theory to learn and there may be surprise value in the unusual lines.

The Closed Sicilian main line is 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6. This has been an occasional weapon of Spassky's throughout his career. White expands on the kingside without opening a central front as in the open variations. Black has little theoretical difficulty in equalizing, yet White often gets attacking chances against an unwary opponent.

The ideas behind the Sicilian Defense

How to get an advantage over your opponent
Unless your Master Rated and playing in big over the board tourneys with expensive registration fees for large sums of money, trying to memorize opening moves to any depth is foolhardy. Much more important to using an opening successfully is simply to study The Ideas Behind The Opening. Knowing these ideas will let you plan your strategies based on knowing what the purpose of the opening moves are based on. For example, in the Sicilian Defense the key to understanding the Sicilian structure is that;

Black isn't interested in occupying the center, he wants to control the center from a distance.

Knowing this basic fact about the Sicilian tells you that a good plan may be to attack from the flanks. Like in the Dragon Variation with Black's Bishop fianchettoed on g7, the tongue of the serpent can lash out all the way across the board for a viscous attack and inflict serious damage, aiming at White's b2, the King's pawn defense. Planing to move a pawn to a6 can be quite useful in that Black can control the b5-square thus help to control the center and make plans for a possible b7-b5 advance and start a vicious flank attack on White's Queenside castling. Maybe a sacrificial attack on White's king fortress for the annihilation of his defenses.

All these plans may be possible because you knew the "Ideas behind the Sicilian" and did not try to memorize the opening moves, now isn't this neat?

1.e4 c5
With c5 Black hasn't tried to block White's e4 pawn with e7-e5, nor has he tried to attack the e4-pawn with Ng8-f6 or d7-d5. Instead, Black has left the e4-pawn alone and has struck out on his own scheme. For the moment, Black controls the d4-square.
Classicist would condemn Black's move because unlike White's move, Black's move doesn't support the development of a Bishop. For those who are Infatuated by quick development, it is easy to overlook that Black is using a flank pawn to control the center. His own e- and d- pawns stay behind, awaiting instructions.
White has two options: either play for d2-d4, called the Open Sicilian; or do not play for d2-d4, called the Closed Sicilian. The current survey focuses upon Open Sicilian positions.
White has several ways of playing for d2-d4. He can do it at once, or he can support the advance with the moves c2-c3 or Ng1-f3.

More Important Ideas Behind The Sicilian Defense

Like the French Defense, the Sicilian Defense immediately puts a veto in White's intended choice of openings. The characteristic 1....c5 is more aggressive than the French, and also more risky. If you like a complicated game with chances for both sides, the Sicilian is an ideal defense.

An important point to remember is this: White generally plays an early d4 in order to get more space for his pieces in the center. After Black captures White's Queen Pawn with his Queen Bishop Pawn, the Queen Bishop file is half-open (from Black's side). By playing his Queen Rook and sometimes his Queen as well, to the Queen Bishop file, Black can often exert considerable pressure along this file. On the other hand, White has an important attacking motif in advancing his King Bishop Pawn: to f4, This often gives him a powerful position in the middle game, when he threatens e5 or c5.

Like the Caro-Kann, the Sicilian begins by breaking the symmetry. But unlike that defense, it does not do so merely to hold the center, but to institute a counter-attack on the Queen's wing. For that reason the outstanding characteristic of the Sicilian Defense is that it is a fighting game. Both players must necessarily seek their objectives on different sides, which can lead to deliciously complicated and exciting variations.

Because the Sicilian is more of a unit than most other defenses it is possible and worth while to lay down a number of general principles which will be found to be valid in a large majority of cases.

White almost invariably comes out of the opening with more terrain. Theory tells us that in such cases he must attack. He does so, normally, by g4, followed by a general advance with g5, f4 and eventually f6. In some cases he may castle long (in that event he must weigh the counterplay which Black can undertake). One of White's major positional objectives is the prevention of ....,d4 by Black.

Normal play for Black consists of pressure on the Qb file, especially his Qb5. Coupled with this is keeping White's Kp under observation. The counter-attack against the Kp may also be quite strong independently of the play on the Qb file. Sometimes he can secure the two Bishops by moving his Knight to c4 in a position where the reply BxKt is virtually compulsory. Whenever ....d5 is feasible with out allowing the reply e5 it should be played; it is almost certain to at least equalize.

In the Sicilian the middle game is all-important. Markedly favorable or unfavorable endgame Pawn structures have no immediate relationship to the opening as such.

There are three important considerations in all variations: 1. Black must never allow White to play c4 in the opening because he then has no counterplay on the Qb file and is thereby doomed to passivity. 2. After White has played d4, Black must not move ....e5, leaving his Qp backward on an open file 3. White must not be passive: he must attack because time is on Black's side (it usually is in cramped positions). That is why the Sicilian is so effective against a passive pussyfooter.

It may also be noted that White should try to get his Bishop to the long diagonal h1- a8, while it is always bad for him to place it at c4. The Bishop at c4 will rarely help to prevent ....d5 permanently. Even if it does, it will do so only in a purely passive way. Further, if ....d5 does become possible, Black will gain an extra tempo against a White Bishop at c5.

There are two main lines, depending on whether Black plays his KB to e7 (usually leading to the Scheveningen Variation, the name comes from a small Dutch seaside resort, where a tournament was held in 1923 at which the variation first became popular) or to g7 (the Dragon Variation). The Scheveningen is the less energetic of the two, though it is somewhat more involved.

Here are a few of the more important and more frequently used variations and a brief description of the ideas behind each.

Basic Dragon

The dreaded Yugoslav Attack is the only weapon in White's arsenal that poses a serious threat to the Sicilian Dragon. White fortifies the center, castles queenside and then attacks along the h-file. As Bobby Fischer put it, White's play was simply to sac, sac and mate!
However many of the Black side, including Garry Kasparov, have found that Black has plenty of resources in the queenside counterattack, which usually involves the sacrifice of the exchange at c3.
The Yugoslav Attack has been one of the most studied variations and been subjected to intense scrutiny for many years, but it is still not clear which side get the advantage. Most games are very bloody and involved.

1. Dragon Variation,(Queenside Castling, Yugoslav Attack) (Equal Position)

The dragon can be a mighty formidable, feared, dreaded weapon. And like a great titanium sword, with a finely honed acid sharpened edge it can split the opponents army in half and eviscerate the King.

The Dragon Variation is Black's most direct attacking scheme in the Sicilian. The Fianchettoed Bishop on g7 exerts a powerful influence on the long diagonal, bearing down on the center and queenside. The opening is named for the serpentlike pawn formation of Black's kingside. The name is also appropriate for the aggressive dangerous character of the defense. Black can generate crushing attacks when things go his way, or his position can go up in flames.

The dangerous Dragon Variation is the head of a constellation of related lines where Black fianchettoes the bishop at g7. Usually it is reached via 2d6; 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 g6. White normally castles queenside and launches a pawnstorm on the kingside, while Black aims everything at the White king. The Dragon attacks frequently on the chessboards of major tournaments, and a lot of theory has been accumulated for this variation. Dragoneers are known for spending many long hours in their caves, preparing new traps.

In the Dragon formation the tongue of the serpent is the Bishop at g7 which can lash out all the way across the board to inflect serious damage. Black will castle kingside and use the combined power of the bishop at g7 and a rook on the c-file to create4 tremendous pressure at c3, often sacrificing the exchange, either to win the pawn at e4 or to disrupt the White king's defenses should White castle on the Queenside.

Note that Black's pawn structure; h7-g6-f7-e7-d6, which resembles a dragon. Black goes for a Kingside fianchetto where the g7-Bishop will have a strong influence along the long diagonal. From White's perspective, Black has failed to adequately keep the d5-square guarded, and can use this point to his advantage. If Black tries a later e7-e6, the d6-pawn will be vulnerable. The Dragon can be met in an expected variety of ways that all boil down to a crucial decision: Will White castle Kingside or Queenside? Once White decides where he'd like to park his Majesty, he can decide which formation he likes best.

Tips for the Sicilian Dragon
The sharpest way to attack the Sicilian Dragon is to play 7.f3 intending Queen d2 g4 h4 Bishop h6 and a big kingside attack. If white castles queenside, black must use the open c file for counter play and get a rook there as soon as possible.

In the Sicilian Dragon play is characterized by where white puts his king. If he goes queenside there is going to be a lot of attacking! If white castles queenside, black must use the open c file for counter play and get a rook there as soon as possible. Always watch out for the possibility of black playing rook takes knight on c3 ripping white's queenside pawn structure apart and weakling the e4 pawn. Black's most important piece is his bishop on g7 try to exchange it as soon as possible.

Dragon (with Kingside Castling) Levenfish (Equal Position)
Dragon Variation (with Kingside Castling) Nottingham Variation (Favors White)

Basic Accelerated Dragon
When Black plays ...Nc6 instead of ...d6 and then fianchettoes the bishop at g7 before playing ...Nf6, we have the Accelerated Dragon. The point behind this plan is to save time by advancing the d-pawn to d5 (the Sicilian break) in one move, if permitted to do so by White. The drawback to this plan is the lack of pressure at e4, which allows White to create the dreaded Maroczy Bind by playing 5.c4. (See Understanding The Accelerated Sicilian Dragon for the Maroczy Bind. Although Black suffers from some lack of maneuvering room, the opening remains popular, in part because it is fairly simple to play. Black can use the dark squares effectively often bringing a knight to c5 via d7.

Understanding The Accelerated Sicilian Dragon (18 examples plus games)
The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 is a solid defense, enabling Black to go for a long term struggle for the full point. Due to its clear strategic conception, the learning player is able to familiarize himself with its objectives in a logical way, which is a rare exception in the Sicilian Defense with its excessively analyzed tactical sequences. That is why the opening is very popular above all with positional players.

Gefshtein - Mikhalevski (Dragon)

English Attack
The English Attack was developed by English Grandmasters, especially Michael Adams, John Nunn and Nigel Short, in the late 1980s and soon became a common position in top competitions. The ideas are similar to those of the Yugoslav Attack and the Dragon Variation, except that Black has not fianchettoed on the Kingside and instead has played e6, White will castle queenside and launch a pawnstorm with g4 and h4.
Unlike the Yugoslav Attack, however, the onslaught takes longer to reach the enemy king, who has not weakened his protective pawn barrier. Black will therefore have extra time to attack on the queenside, but does not have the power of a bishop at g7 to call on, so it is much harder to create sufficient pressure at c3.

2. Najdorf Variation With 7...Qc7

This has been called the Rolls-Royce or Cadillac of chess openings. The number of devoted followers to the Najdorf makes it akin to a religion. The followers are convinced that this is the absolute best play in the game. of chess, and they spend much of their lives searching for the "truth" by analyzing amazing variations of the Najdorf thirty moves deep!

The Najdorf is perhaps the most popular of all of Black's defenses to 1.e4. It inevitably leads to fighting positions with unclear complications, Such stars as Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov are found on both sides of this exciting opening. In the main line of the Najdorf, White will attack on the kingside, whether or not Black castles there, and Black in turn will work on the Queenside, where the White King inevitably takes shelter.

For several decades the battles were raging at the highest levels of chess but in recent years there has been a dearth of activity in the main lines, primarily because of the option of the Poisoned Pawn Variation which Fischer and Kasparov have used to great effect as Black. Therefore 6.Bg5 as a whole is in a bit of a slump, with the Sozin and English Attack in ascension. Nevertheless, the winds of fashion shift regularly, and we can expect to see a resurgence of the 6.Bg5 lines, and therefore also the traditional main lines, in the near future.
The Najdorf as a whole remains very popular, and all that is needed is a few strong advocates of the White side of 6.Bg5 to bring back the action and excitement that invariably accompanies this variation.

The notorious Najdorf Variation sees Black secure the b5 square by stationing a pawn at a6, both to keep out enemy knights and also to prepare for a queenside attack with b5, After 2d6; 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 a6. White has many options, but none have been effective enough to discourage top players from using it. It is in the repertoires of many leading players and was the backbone of World Champion Garry Kasparovs repertoire.

Najdorf Variation System with 6.Bg5
!
7...Qb6 Najdorf Variation, Poisoned Pawn Variation (Favors Black)

7...b5 Najdorf Variation, Polugaevsky Variation (Equal Position)

7...Be7 Keres - Fischer - Black Won

7...Be7 Greenblatt - Fischer- Black Won

3.Basic Scheveningen

Scheveningen Variation
The Scheveningen Variation is a classically motivated defense. Black creates a backward pawn center with his duo at d6 and e6, leaving no weakness on the important central squares d5 and e5. Black intends to simply develop his pieces and then proceed with queenside counterplay. The Scheveningen has been a favorite of Kasparov's, although he often arrives at the position through transposition, playing 5a6 and 6e6.
Other top players use the defense frequently and it is well respected, but it doesn't have the devoted following of the Najdorf or Dragon Variations, perhaps because it is too straightforward and logical. White has several ways to combat the Scheveningen Variation, almost all of them leading to dynamic positions.

The Scheveningen Variation, named for a town in Holland, combines e6 with d6, instead of the Nc6d6 combination of the Classical. The pawn at e6 can serve as a target for Whites tactical operations. Sacrifices of a knight or bishop on that square are almost routine. The most exciting lines start with 6.Bc4 and are known as the Sozin Variation. Opposite wing castling can lead to very double-edged games.

The Scheveningen features the "small center" for Black, with the pawns at d6 and e6 keeping the enemy pieces at bay. For the most part, Black pawns will remain behind the front lines, mostly on the third rank. White will not have very many weaknesses to work against, and precision is required by both sides. For this reason the top player in the world are frequently seen on both sides of the opening.

The much-feared Keres Attack is the greatest disincentive by white to Black's move order. The Keres Attack is the sharpest response to the Scheveningen, favored by attacking players. However it is by no means clear that White has a guaranteed advantage, but the results overwhelmingly favor White. So even Kasparov, who loved to defend the Scheveningen, often arrived via a Najdorf route to avoid the Keres Attack.

Scheveningen Variation, Keres Attack (with ...h7-h6)(Favors White)
Scheveningen Variation, Keres Attack (without ...h7-h6) (Favors White)
Scheveningen Variation, Fischer Attack (Equal Position)
Scheveningen Variation, Maroczy Variation (Equal Position)
Scheveningen Variation, Tal Variation (Equal Position)

There are other plans. White can continue with simple development or go for broke on the kingside with the dangerous Keres Attack, which begins 2d6; 3d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 g6; 6.g4. Often Black plays this Sicilian defensively, trying to create impregnable barriers. A Hedgehog Position is often the result.

Velimirovic - Sokolov

4. Classical Variation, Richter-Rauzer Attack (Equal Position)
The Classical Variation can be reached by two paths 2....d6; 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 Nc6 or 2....Nc6; 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 d6. This is most directly confronted by 6.Bg5, the Richter- Rauzer Attack, where Black usually replies 6....e6 so that if White captures at f6, Black can recapture with the queen. For some reason, this opening is almost exclusively seen in top-level competition. It leads to longer, more positional struggles than the Najdorf or Dragon. White can also try 6.Bc4, which leads to the Sozin Variation; part of the Scheveningen complex.

Sozin Variation. Fischer - Pilnik
The Sozin Variation is 6.Bc4 with the plan of castling Kingside. This Variation was a Fischer favorite in the 1960's, but it is not considered fearsome today. Black can sidestep the main lines with 6Qb6 and also obtain reasonable chances.

5. Kan or Paulsen Variation
Black does not have to play an early ....d6 at all. The Kan variation, 2....e6 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 a6 has long been popular, with the pawns serving to patrol the important squares at b5, d5 and f5. The play can transpose to the Najdorf or Scheveningen, but usually either ends up in a hedgehog or follows its own path. The weaknesses of the dark squares at b6 and d6 are indisputable, but does not deter players from adopting the Black side.

Gottlieb - Psakhis

6. Smith Morra Gambit Declined (Equal Position)
The Smith-Morra Gambit is almost exclusively used by amateurs. It is not that the opening is unsound that discourages professionals, it is the view that at best White can only achieve an equal game with sufficient compensation for the pawn, provided that Black follows one of the accepted defensive plans. One easy option of Black is to transpose to the Alapin Sicilian with 3Nf6, Other methods of declining the gambit are not as successful.
Ken Smith almost single-handedly revived this gambit, playing it and analyzing it constantly over the latter decades of this century. He demonstrated that White's open lines and lead in development pose serious problems for Black should he lack requisite defensive and tactical skills. Many games end in quick kills for White. Yet properly prepared, Black has nothing to fear.


Smith Morra Gambit Accepted (Favors White)
Opening theory books rightfully question the soundness of the Smith-Morra Gambit.

7. Sicilian 2...e6 Variations
Paulsen Taimanov Variation (Favors Black)
Paulsen Reti Variation (Favors White)
Paulsen Gipslis Variation (Favors White)
Szen Variation (Favors White)
Pin Variation (Favors White)

8 Bourdonnais Variation (Equal Position)
Lasker Pelikan (Favors Black)
Here, we have the structurally odd variations with an early ....e5, most prominently, the Lasker- Pelikan Variation. After 2....Nc6; 3.d4 cxd4; 4.Nxd4 Nf6; 5.Nc3 e5 there is a glaring hole at d5, and the battle will be waged primarily on the light squares. White has an advantage in space, but Black will be able to create counterplay on the light squares with ....b5 and ....f5. The variation has recently become fully respectable and has a following among many top players. The most persistent advocate of the Black side has been Evgeny Sveshnikov. A passionate defender of the variation which now bears his name.
Korsunsky - Sveshnikov (With the Chelyabinsk Variation. A secret weapon?)

Kalashnikov Variation (Unclear Position)
The Kalashnikov is a relatively recent addition to the Sicilian arsenal. Once held to be unplayable because of the binding effect of 6.c4, it is now a reasonably respectable opening as ways have been found to counter White's plan. The ideas behind the opening are similar to that of the Lasker-Pelikan Variation, into which this line can transpose after 6.N1c3 Nf6. Theory on the Kalashnikov is still advancing at a rapid pace.

Sicilian Attacks for White
English Attack
Grand Prix Attack
Scheveningen Variation, Keres Attack (with ...h7-h6)
Scheveningen Variation, Keres Attack (without ...h7-h6)
McDonnell Attack
Richter Attack
Richter-Rauzer Attack
Sozin Attack
Yugoslav Attack

The Games
Thacker - Fischer (Najdorf)
Redolfi - Fischer (Najdorf)
Fischer - Tordion
Fischer - Panno
Greenblatt - Fischer (Najdorf)
Fischer - Scherer
Wolter - Fischer (Najdorf)
Fischer - Stephans (Dragon)
Fischer - Dudley (Scheveningen Keres Attack)
Fischer - Reshevsky (Scheveningen Keres Attack)
Fischer - Bukic (Scheveningen Keres Attack)

Traps and Zaps
Traps are not only a lot of fun to play through, but also are very educational
in that they will show you moves that you may never have thought of making.
To get the most out of these traps, try to see if you can guess the key move.

Work your way through all of these traps and you will be on your way to knowing a lot
about how to play and more importantly how not to play the Sicilian in the opening moves.

(Black) Means Black has the advantage. Note that Black only has the advantage in 11 of the 38 traps.

1 - Knight (Black)
2 - Mate
3 - Bishop
4 - Knight (Black)
5 - Rook (Black)
6 - Bishop (Black)
7 - Rook
8 - Rook
9 - Knight (Black)
10 - Mate
11 - Rook
12 - Queen
13 - Knight
14 - Mate
15 - Rook
16 - Queen
17 - Bishop
18 - Mate
19 - Bishop (Black)
20 - Mate
21 - Pawn (Black)
22 - Queen
23 - Knight (Don't miss this one!)
24 - Mate ( A Famous Bobby Fischer Trap)
25 - Pawn (Black)
26 - Rook
27 - Knight (Black)
28 - Bishop
29 - Bishop
30 - Pawn
31 - Pawn (Black)
32 - Mate
33 - Knight
34 - Mate
35 - Knight
36 - Knight
37 - Bishop (Black)
38 - Queen
39 - Mate

Play these if Black for the Advantage
Najdorf Variation, Poisoned Pawn Variation (Favors Black)
Paulsen Taimanov Variation (Favors Black)
Lasker Pelikan (Favors Black)

The Chess Position Trainer
An easy way to learn the Sicilian opening is to use the Chess Position Trainer. It will not only guide you through the opening moves but will also test your repertoire knowledge as you progress. It will show you the candidate moves, it will give you a score and evaluation on your progress so that you may keep improving to learn the opening of your choice.

When you download this free program, Chess Position Trainer, you must also download the Standard-Repertoire to a file and then load it after you have the Chess Position Trainer up and running. This will give you several PGN example file Openings listed below. You may also make up your own PGN files or use other openings after you convert them to a PGN format. The Sicilian Openings you can use using the Standard-Repertoire are: Sicilian Dragon and the Accelerated Dragon for Black.The Closed Sicilian for White.

Go here to down load the Chess Position Trainer CPT 3.2 and the Standard-Repertoire examples. Before hand make two folder files one for the Chess Position Trainer and the other for the Standard Repertoire to download to for saving your downloaded zipped files. They don't even require you to register to download it, which is nice.

  • The Chess Position Trainer (http://community.chesspositiontrainer.com/files/default.aspx)

    The Standard-Repertoire examples are used for the walk-through in the manual. It is an almost complete repertoire for White and Black. It also contains the PGN-example file (amarok.pgn) which is used in the manual to demonstrate the novelty feature of Chess Position Trainer. The following systems are used:
    White
    Closed Sicilian, Bishops Opening, Caro-Kann, Modern Defence, Pirc, Alekhine and Kings Indian Attack.
    Black
    Chigorin, Sicilian Dragon and Accelerated Dragon.

    Important Ideas behind the Sicilian to copy, paste and print out for your notes.

    1. Black isn't interested in occupying the center; he wants to control the center from a distance.

    2. From Black's perspective by playing a Queen Rook and sometimes his Queen as well, to the Queen Bishop file Black can often exert considerable pressure along this file.

    3. White comes out of the opening with more terrain. Theory tells us that in such cases he must attack. He does so normally by g4, followed by a general advance with g5, f4 and eventually f6. In some cases he may castle long. One of White's major positional objectives is the prevention of d4 by Black.

    4. Normal play for Black consists of pressure on the Qb file, especially his Qb5. Coupled with keeping White's Kp under observation.

    5. Sometimes Black can secure the two Bishops by moving his Knight to c4 in a position where the replay BxKt is virtually compulsory. Whenever d5 is feasible for Black with out allowing the reply of e5 it should be played: it is almost certain to at least equalize.

    6. There are three important considerations in all variations: 1. Black must never allow White to play c4 in the opening because he then has no counter play on the Qb file and is thereby doomed to passivity. 2. After White has played d4, Black must not move e5, leaving his Qp backward on an open file. 3. White must not be passive: he must attack because time is on Black's side (it usually is in cramped positions). This is why the Sicilian is so effective against a passive pussyfooter.

    7. White should try to get his Bishop to the long diagonal h1-a8, while it is always bad for him to place it at c4. The Bishop at c4 will rarely help to prevent d5 permanently. Even if it does , it will do so only in a purely passive way. Further, if d5 does become possible, Black will gain an extra tempo against a White Bishop at c5.

    8. The sharpest way to attack the Sicilian Dragon is to play 7.f3 intending Queen d2 g4 h4 Bishop h6 and a big kingside attack. If white castles queenside, black must use the open c file for counter play and get a rook there as soon as possible.

    9. In the Sicilian Dragon play is characterized by where white puts his king. If he goes queenside there is going to be a lot of attacking! If white castles queenside, black must use the open c file for counter play and get a rook there as soon as possible. Always watch out for the possibility of black playing rook takes knight on c3 ripping white's queenside pawn structure apart and weakling the e4 pawn. Black's most important piece is his bishop on g7 try to exchange it as soon as possible.

    Conclusion
    As you can see from this overview of the King Pawn Defenses, generations of chess players have been busy blazing new and varied trails. Of them all, the Sicilian Defense complexes are the most formidable to master.

    However, these complexities of the Sicilian could be your opponent's downfall too. Make the Sicilian your favorite defense to 1.e4 and you could have a great advantage over your opponents.

    Conversely if you don't study the Sicilian, an opponent who uses it against you may have the advantage. Its up to you to decide?

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