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white_disc ♡ 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Starting out on the Sicilian I'm thinking of having a go at the Sicilian, an opening I have never played much (less then 5 games), and strangely enough, never really met, although some say 50% or more of the responses to 1. e4 is the Sicilian.

Rather than going in and learning from blunders, I'm trying to find out key points of Black's game.

Also, faced with so many variations, I am not sure which to choose.

Can anyone kindly enlighten me ?

Thanks a lot :) All help greatly appreciated :)

lorddreyfuss ♡ 94 ( +1 | -1 )
Scheweningen This is what I usually play these days: 1.e4,c5; 2.Nf3,Nc6; 3.d4,cd4; 4.Nd4,Nf6; 5.Nc3,d6... The problem with this setup is that it allows all kinds of attacks (Rauzer, Veimirovic etc.), so I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.
When I was starting I played different move order: 1.e4,c5; 2.Nf3,Nc6; 3.d4,cd4; 4.Nd4,d6; 5.Nc3,e6 and then Be7+Nf6+0-0. This move order avoids Rauzer attack completely, but it is vulnerable to Maroczy bind with c4+e4. However, since I knew what could happen I prepared myself for Maroczy setups and (although in cramped positions) I never lost games against it.
But in time my rating and competition level increased so I had to give up on this and adopt today's move order.
Some new players like to start with Dragon variation, but I never liked it due to the fact that it is usually better known to White players (it is simple to choose a variation) than flexible Scheweningen setups. I was also influenced by Kasparov and his book on Sicilian defence.
craigaosborne ♡ 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Sicilian hi. i may have a low rating but i do know a little about the sicilian defece. 1 e4, c5 blacks response is to create a flank attack if white was to next play 2 d4 than after black takes with cxd4 both black and white pawns are in the centre, if white was to now take with 3 Qxd4 it would not be so good because black could then develop a knight to c6 and threaten the Queen, forcing it to move followed by the other knight to f6.If the pawn advances to e5 then the kight on c6 could then take and would have a good start game and be a pawn up. If after 1 e4, c5 2 ?, black could use a double edged sicilian with 2..., f6. this is a system that has been used by Kasparov many times and has a number of variations. why dont you experement with a chess board at home and try out some ideas and combinations.
mattafort ♡ 85 ( +1 | -1 )
I give a6 a test now. I have always favoured 2 ... Nc6 before, and mostly in combination with g6, Bg7.
Still think 2 ... Nc6 is best move.

I have an ongoing game now. I thought I should try the popular move a6.
This prevents the common white move Nb5.

cmitchdin vs. mattafort - board #850885
1. e4 c5 2. d4 d6 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2

After 6. Bg5 I had to play 6... e6.
So this version has pawns on: d6, e6 and a6

For black in sicilian the usual choice is among these moves:
d6 e6 e5 g6 Nc6 a6

Different combination of these gives many variations. Also many different move-orders is possible.

Nf6 is played in most any variation.

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white_disc ♡ 58 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks a lot for the help :) I am presently trying to gather more resources (books mainly) to gain more knowledge on the topic.

Are there any "must-have" authorites (books) on the subject ?

I am presently looking at the Najdorf and the Taimanov variations, as some of the good players here, notably brunetti, plays the Najdorf, and there are games available.

One thing about knowing openings --> how many moves must I memorise ? 20 ?

Thanks a lot :)


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verticalchess ♡ 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Closed. The only problem with focusing on the open Sicilian is that White can choose to play 2.Nc3 instead of 2.Nf3 and establish a Closed Variation. It is just as important to learn the lines of this opening because it Black does not defend properly that the attack can be fierce and overwhelming.
peppe_l ♡ 38 ( +1 | -1 )
20 moves? "One thing about knowing openings --> how many moves must I memorise ? 20 ?"

Whoa...there are GMs who dont memorize 20-move opening lines! For example one of our (Finnish) GMs often plays "harmless" systems like London or rare Sicilian lines, but he wins games because he has realized other things - like tactics, endgames and strategy - are more important.

peppe_l ♡ 6 ( +1 | -1 )
Verticalchess Not to mention Alapin, Grand Prix attack, Morra...
verticalchess ♡ 12 ( +1 | -1 )
True - I love playing the Grand Prix. It can lead to a strong Kingside attack and gives alot of opportunities for White!
brucehum ♡ 82 ( +1 | -1 )
Learning openings means learning the main ideas and themes of each line. A very good way to do this is playing over games up until the end, to see what kind of endgames one gets with that opening.

If you want to memorize lines (mainly for OTB play), you should memorize all the main lines for the first 7-12 moves. A very good way to do this is to get in front of your REAL board with pen and paper, and annotate the moves as you make them (either from a book or a computer). Then you should learn the ideas of different lines.

Another option is to follow Fischer's suggestion: you should get your opening book an play through all moves there once. Then you know which lines to choose (because you like) and study. I wouldn't recomend this system to anyone, by the way!!
mattafort ♡ 62 ( +1 | -1 )
verticalchess What is Grand Prix?
I don't know, but maybe I have played it.
It is not unlikely.

I guess only a few of Forum readers are familiar with that.
They might know that 1.e4 c5 is called Sicilian Defense" :D

If you spoke with a specialist of the Human Brain,
you do not want him to use those Latin terms,
without explaining to you.
And if he did, you would suspect, he is out to give you a showcase. Make himself look superior.

We many times take for guaranted, that everyone knows as much,
or little,
as we do ourselves.

But that is not a good thing.
As I see it.

premium_steve ♡ 14 ( +1 | -1 )
variations alapin is 1.e4,c5 2.c3
white's most common replies are 2...d5 and 2...Nf6
grnd prix is 1.e4,c5 2.f4 (i always like playing out my f-pawn :D)
smith-morra gambit is 1.e4,c5 2.d4,cxd 3.c3
mattafort ♡ 23 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks premium_steve thanks.
Yes, i have played Grand Prix without knowing the name.
1.e4 c5 2.f4

It often leads to "normal" variations,
where f4 is played later.

komei ♡ 55 ( +1 | -1 )
In 1993... ...The Najdorf variations were all the rage in the (probably now almost unknown) 'world title' (though it wasnt really... bit like boxing no on eknows what world champion means any more...) matches of Kasparov vs Short.

Sometimes I play Najdorf, but prefer Dragon variations myself as Black. As white, I dunno what its called (if anything) but I usually play along this line:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 or Nc6 3. Bb5(+)

Anything wrong with that?

Or sometimes I play (again as white):

1.e4 c5 2. c3 against people I think are expecting a standard sicilian.
caldazar ♡ 45 ( +1 | -1 )
Komei No, there's nothing particularly bad about either bishop move. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 is the Rossolimo, aiming to damage Black's pawn structure at the cost of the two bishops.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ is the Moscow Variation which has a reputation of being somewhat drawish due to the early exchange of a pair of pieces (after 3... Bd7). However, it offers decent opportunities to outplay your opponent positionally, and there are the occasional unbalanced setups here and there (for an example, see Kasparov vs. The World, 1999)