Chess Opening Theory/1. e4/1...c5/2. Nf3/2...Nc6/3. d4/3...cxd4/4. Nxd4/4...Nf6/5. Nc3

Open Sicilian with 2...Nc6
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)

r1bqkb1r/pp1ppppp/2n2n2/8/3NP3/2N5/PPP2PPP/R1BQKB1R

Open Sicilian with 2...Nc6Edit

Moves:1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3

OK, so Black has a few choices here, and there's nothing wrong with d6 or e6.

Now let's talk about the move that has come from non-existence in the early 70's to a place in the repertoire of every super-GM and left a generation of chess writers wringing their hands in despair at the crazy stuff these kids are getting away with: the dramatic lunge e5!

To state the obvious, e5 kicks White's knight. Of course we know that not every such "tempo-gaining" pawn move is good; the acid test is whether the damage it does to the structure outweighs the inconvenience to the opponent. After ...e5 Black's d-pawn is backward on an open file (gasp!) and with no foreseeable prospect of advancing to d5, which means the king's bishop will be stuck behind a pawn on d6 and that d5, with a White knight already just one move away, will be a long-term White outpost.

So for a century or so that was the end of the matter, until everyone started playing the Najdorf: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 followed by, if possible, ...e5! The point being that, after the customary opposite sided castling, in a position in which mutual mating attacks were the order of the day, the stabilisation of the centre brought about by ...e5 was far more relevant than something some Danish chap had said about backward pawns forty years earlier. And while it's true that the king's bishop will never be the jewel of Black's position after d6 and e5, to quote Mihai Suba "Bad bishops protect good pawns!"

Far from being a liability, the Najdorf structure was something players wanted to force onto the board, avoiding if possible any of the Bg5 or Bc4 nonsense seen in the Najdorf in which the e-pawn must meekly shuffle out to e6. So the idea of an immediate 5...e5 came up. In the 2...d6 line it didn't really work because of 6.Bb5+! exchanging Black's good bishop - this being the reason behind 5...a6 in the Najdorf. But why not try it with the check pre-blocked by 2...Nc6?

Why not indeed, thought Grandmaster Yevgeny Sveshnikov.

Theory tableEdit

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3

5 6 7
Nc3
d6
Bg5
e6
Qd2
Be7
+=
Sveshnikov ...
e5
Ndb5
d6
Bg5
a6
+=
Taimanov ...
e6
Ndb5
Bb4
a3
Bxc3+
+=
...
a6
Nxc6
bxc6
e5

+=

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ReferencesEdit

  • Batsford Chess Openings 2 (1989, 1994). Garry Kasparov, Raymond Keene. ISBN 0-8050-3409-9.
Last modified on 4 March 2011, at 18:59