Power to Victory in the Open Sicilian


Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian with 2...Nc6 - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4

The Open Sicilian accounts for the vast majority of Sicilian games. The Closed Sicilian has second moves like 2.Nc3, 2.c3 and sometimes 2.Nf3 along with a host of sidelines. 2.Nf3 is the ever present move in open games.

Other second moves may transpose to an open game but 2.Nf3 is the conventional path. The Open Sicilian branches off into three main groups. These branches depend on Black's second move, his reply to 2.Nf3.

Again there are many sidelines but the three important replies are 2...Nc6, 2...d6 and 2...e6. Here we will concern ourselves with 2...Nc6.

The Main Line leading us to the starting position of the Open Sicilian with 2...Nc6 is: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4. This is actually one of three important starting positions in the Open Sicilian. The other two are the equivalent positions with 2...d6 or 2...e6 played instead of 2.Nc6. It is from this starting position that we begin, considering the main options for both sides.


The Story of the Classical Variation




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Classical Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2

The Classical Variation (so called due to it's immense popularity) is often reached via 2...d6: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6. 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2.

Black sometimes reaches the same position by swapping his second and fifth moves. Then it goes: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2, giving the same position.

The lines springing from it could have been covered in either of two sections so I'm talking about them here as there is more room. The Classical Variation was the Main Line of the Sicilian up to the 1920s or 30s. It's still pretty solid today.

Since then theory in the Sicilian has ballooned and the Classical Variation itself grew into several major variations. Black found ways to counteract it's effectiveness. There was 6...e6, the Scheveningen Variation, 6...g6, the Dragon Variation and 6...e5, the Boleslavsky Variation.


Taking on the Classical in the Boleslavsky Variation




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Boleslavsky Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 e5

The Boleslavsky is a violent stab in the center with Black laying claim to d4 and f4. Black does leave himself with a backward pawn on d6 and a weak square on d5. When the White Knight is kicked out of d4 he is caught slightly offside.


The d6-pawn is well supported by Black pieces and the White Knights look uncomfortable on the Queenside. If you play this you are really arguing that White cannot effectively exploit the structural weaknesses in Black's camp. White's passive Bishop on e2 makes it difficult for him to pressurize Black.


By the middle of the 20th Century it seemed like the Boleslavsky had given Black a way to blunt the Classical Variation. So White had to find new more dynamic variations to resurrect the grand old Main Line of the Sicilian. Along came the Richter-Rauzer Attack and the Sozin Attack.


Inject Energy with the Richter Rauzer Attack




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Richter-Rauzer Attack - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5

White opted for the Richter-Rauzer Attack, 6.Bg5, in response to Black's new systems against 6.Be2. Very often White will exchange this Bishop for the King's Knight, doubling pawns and weakening the whole wing for Black.


He will then try to hunt down the King. White will castle Queenside and use the Kingside for offensive operations. Black must figure out what to do about his King. White will sometimes throw forward his e and f-pawns to soften up Black's center.


Black has a nice pawn structure and the Bishop pair. His only real concern is his King. If he can get safely castled on the Queenside and trade off pieces he can look forward to a favorable endgame. But White has other ideas for the sixth move.


Sizzle Black with the Sozin Attack




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Sozin Attack - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4

The Sozin Attack kicks off with 6.Bc4. It's another system originally aimed at discouraging ...g6. The Queen can be vulnerable to some clever tactical shots if Black is not careful.


6...Qb6 might not be a bad plan should you find yourself in this opening with the Black pieces. White's minor pieces have been known to feel the heat as Black's Queenside forces drive them back.


For White the advantages of the Sozin are plain to see. f4 followed by f5 puts substantial pressure on e6 and if e6 can be undermined then the a2-g8 diagonal becomes a huge asset. d5 in particular will be a great outpost for a White Knight.


Sharpen the Sozin in the Velimirovic Attack




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite King on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Velimirovic Attack - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2

The Velimirovic Attack is one of the most interesting variations of the Sozin Attack. The starting position of the Velimirovic is reached after 8.Qe2.


White intends to castle long and throw his Kingside forces at the Black King with all his fury. The g4 advance is going to be the central move in this game plan.


If you're going to play the Velimirovic you have to study all variations in great detail. It is highly tactical and one false move will see you go down in flames. If you do your homework this could be an avenue to some nice victories.


Beating the Rauzer and Sozin with the Accelerated Dragon




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Accelerated Dragon - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6

The Rauzer and the Sozin upset a lot of Dragon fans. It interfered with the usual move order with Black playing ...g6 on the 5th move. The Dragon Variation goes 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6.

But then people started playing the aforementioned attacks targeting the vulnerabilities of ...g6. Dragon fans had to find a way to get their favored structure in and the Accelerated Dragon came into being. ...g6 got played on the fourth move.

It is possible to transpose to the Dragon proper later. Many lines in the Accelerated Version have also sprang up to make it an independent variation.


Pen Black In with the Maroczy Bind




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Maroczy Bind - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3

The Maroczy Bind is an aggressive formation that Black does not like to see when he plays the Dragon. It actually rears it's head in many openings, notably the English Opening.


It's not surprising that the Maroczy Bind also shows up here. The English Opening and the Sicilian have much in common. The English, in some of it's forms, is basically White playing the Sicilian with an extra move. One of it's main branches is even called the Reversed Sicilian.


White plays c4 on his fifth move, almost transposing to a Symmetrical English set-up. His Queen's Knight comes to c3 and now these two together with the e4-pawn allow White to really clamp down on the light squares on the 5th rank. Black finds himself struggling to prevent White from laying siege.


Answer the Maroczy Bind with the Gurgenidze Variation




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite Queen on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Gurgenidze Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6

The Gurgenidze is nested in the Dragon Variation. This is one possible response to the Maroczy Bind and not a bad one at that. Black knows that space is at a premium so he must utilize it to the fullest degree.

The first thing that ...d6 does is prevent e5. Black does not need to be dealing with tricky little tactics based around the White Queen, an unprotected Rook and a kicked Knight as the Black e-pawn speeds through with tempo.

The move also opens a highway for the light square Bishop although he will likely not move before the King's Knight is deployed at c5 via d7.


Walk the Tight Rope in the Sveshnikov Variation




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Sveshnikov Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5

The Sveshnikov again makes use of the ...e5 strike in the center. It's a more modern interpretation of the Sicilian Defense. Black has not yet committed to ...d6.

It rose in popularity when Evgeny Sveshnikov analyzed it in the 1970s and is now one of the most important lines in the entire Sicilian complex. It's ideas and themes have influenced analysis of other Sicilian openings.

Black plays a very sharp game where he volunteers the obvious structural faults that come with e5. But the deep analysis has unearthed a treasure trove of tactical possibilities in the resulting position.

The play centers around the thematic trade on f6 which leaves an open g-file for Black and a vulnerable King. One of those openings where the better tactician often triumphs. These lines have to be studied.


Dancing in the Sveshnikov with the Novosibirsk




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Black pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
White Knight on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Novosibirsk Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7

The Novosibirsk Variation is a tricky line found within the Sveshnikov. Again the same themes continue. White's plusses are the d5-square which his Knight is always threatening to occupy.

Then you have Black's ruptured Kingside which provides no safe haven for his King. But Black is not without his chances. They come in the form of a powerful Bishop on g7 raking across the center of the board.

His c6-Knight is often played to e7 to counteract the monster on d5. White cannot back his first Knight up with his comrade as the second steed is chased from b5 to a3 in many lines.

Again this variation favors those who study it. The great thing about studying one line in the Sicilian is you're building on it when you study more of them. Much of the themes and variations are closely related. The learning curve is not as great as you think when you get over that initial hump.


That Old ...e5 Thing Again in the Loewenthal




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Loewenthal Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5

The Loewenthal Variation is another twist on the ...e5 ploy. On the 4th move when White collects the d-pawn he probably expects ...Nf6. Black throws in ...e5 straight away, kicking out the Knight.

The Knight will go to b5 again threatening Nd6 on the next move. ...d6 is the reply and once again Black is clamping down on a lot of key dark squares.

d4 and f4 are the biggest prizes and this makes the center a little hostile for White. Isn't he supposed to be calling the shots?

White will need to work against the backward pawn before turning to the f4 break. It's not easy to re-position his forces against this pawn without conceding equality to Black.

g5 is no longer a secure post for his dark square Bishop with the absence of the Kingside Knight. Black can also repel any White Knight with pretensions on the d5 square.


Kalashnikov Variation - A Slippery Course in the Loewenthal




Black Rook on a light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian: Kalashnikov Variation - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 d6

The Kalashnikov is a variation of the Loewenthal. Play continues with 5.Nb5 d6. Black cannot allow this Knight to set up shop on d6 and plays ...d6 himself, accepting the backward pawn.


Again he is playing with the belief that White doesn't have enough activity to threaten him. He is playing for a favorable endgame.


It's just a question of studying the detail in these tactical variations and understanding where certain moves and maneuvers are applied and why.




Moving On




Black Rook on a light squareBlack Knight on a dark squareBlack Bishop on a light squareBlack Queen on a dark squareBlack King on a light squareBlack Bishop on a dark squareBlack Knight on a light squareBlack Rook on a dark square
Black pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareBlack pawn on a light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareBlack pawn on a dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
Empty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite Knight on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark square
Empty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light square
White pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareEmpty dark squareEmpty light squareWhite pawn on a dark squareWhite pawn on a light squareWhite pawn on a dark square
White Rook on a dark squareWhite Knight on a light squareWhite Bishop on a dark squareWhite Queen on a light squareWhite King on a dark squareWhite Bishop on a light squareEmpty dark squareWhite Rook on a light square

Open Sicilian with 2...d6

We've already seen that the Open Sicilian has great potential for an intense battle of wills. Explosive tactics are always in the air with the two protagonists often employing very different systems.


This makes for lots of imbalances and the potential for very creative play. No dry, methodical play here. You can't afford any drop in concentration or a deadly trap can blow your whole game up.


The good news is there's loads more fun in the Open Sicilian. Black has two other main second move options. They produce more great possibilities for both sides. Let's see what happens when Black plays 2...d6.


> Open Sicilian with 2...Nc6