Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...c5

Sicilian Defence
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position in Forsyth-Edwards Notation(FEN)

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Moves: 1. e4 c5
ECO code: B20-B99
Parent: King's Pawn Opening

Sicilian DefenceEdit

The moves 1. e4 c5 constitute the Sicilian Defence, a counter-attacking opening in which players typically attack on opposite sides of the board. The Sicilian emerged into the mainstream in the early 20th century as a somewhat tame variation, but with the discovery of new attacking ideas it became Black's most feared weapon by the 1950s and is, pound for pound, the most exhaustively analysed of all openings. Black's move c5 seeks to half-open the c-file for his or her own use, controls the important d4 square and allows his or her queen to venture out if desired, while the itinerant c-pawn itself is safe from attack, unlike the e-pawn after 1. e4 e5. It has the benefit of introducing an element of asymmetry into the position - White would not be advised to play 2. c4 imitating Black's move, since he could no longer control the d4 square with a pawn and thus will have trouble playing d4 later.

Faced with a pawn on c5, White may choose to play 2. d4 anyway which typically leads to a pawn sacrifice for quick development. After 2...cxd4, White can play 3. c3, sacrificing another pawn in order to play 4.Nxc3 to gain an advance in development in the Morra Gambit. A more usual idea is for White to postpone d4 for a move while he increases his or her own control of the square. This can be achieved by either 2. Nf3 leading to the main lines of the Sicilian, or by 2. c3, attempting to establish a strong pawn centre. Much less common is the attempt to undermine the c-pawn's control of d4 by playing 2. b4 to tempt it off-centre. Since it is considered safe for Black to take the offered pawn and hold on to it, a recent idea has been to prepare the b4 move with 2. a3. White can also push the e-pawn with 2. e5 in an attempt to cramp Black.

White may postpone the fight for d4, typically with 2. Nc3 though 2. f4 is also played. 2. f4 is a violent attacking move, 2. Nc3 typically leads to a closed position although f4 can subsequently appear.

StatisticsEdit

Approximate chances: White win 35%, Draw 27%, Black win 38%

Theory tableEdit

For explanation of theory tables see theory table and for notation see algebraic notation

1.e4 c5
2 3 4 5
Open Sicilian Nf3
d6
d4
cxd4
Nxd4
Nf6
Nc3
a6
=
Closed Sicilian Nc3
Nc6
g3
g6
Bg2
Bg7
d3
d6
=
Smith-Morra Gambit d4
cxd4
c3
dxc3
Nxc3
Nc6
Nf3
d6
=
Alapin Variation c3
Nf6
e5
Nd5
d4
cxd4
Nf3
Nc6
=
Grand Prix Attack f4
d5
Nc3
d4
Nce2
Nc6
d3
c4
=

Less common White second moves:

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ReferencesEdit

  • Nunn's Chess Openings. 1999. John Nunn (Editor), Graham Burgess, John Emms, Joe Gallagher. ISBN 1-8574-4221-0.
  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.
Last modified on 22 June 2013, at 07:28