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Why play this as white? A number of reasons:
1. The sicilian has a reputation for being heavily theoretical. Worse, black has half a dozen variations from which to choose, should white proceed along standard open-sicilian lines (3. d4). While the player of black might choose a single line among the Najdorf, the Classical, the Scheveningen, or perhaps even the deadly-and-heavily-theoretical Dragon, white must be prepared to face them all! Thus, black expects to have prepared his Sicilian repertoire with much more time efficiency than the player of white, and would have had more time to expand his skills in chess in other ways with the same amount of time. By playing the Bb5 Sicilian, one brings one's opponent into territory less-familiar to one's opponent, while more familiar to oneself, thus turning the tables.
2. The above advantage applies to all levels, save for those just starting the game and still learning the opening principles. I'm sure that most players of the Sicilian have at least memorized a single line of their favorite variation, or at a minimum, have had plenty of experience with a variation of choice. With little to no opening experience at all, playing 3. Bb5 puts them on the same playing field, and makes them have to think at least as hard as yourself during the opening. Intermediate players who don't study openings can spend a few minutes picking up and applying concepts such as the Maroczy Bind (although present in a handful of other sicilian systems, is more convenient with the bad bishop traded off), with the idea of locking down on d5, while opponents are forced into a positional struggle different from the open game they anticipated. Advanced players and experts who regularly send time developing large opening repertoires can save time studying a single variation (well, two, if you count the Moscow different from the Rossolimo) of the Sicilian while opponents must prepare several anti-Sicilians, as well as at least one mainline open variation.
3. Fight fire with fire. For all of you who play the Sicilian as black, why not kill two birds with one stone and study the ways of your enemy by learning the same techniques? By playing the game as both colors, you can see different aspects of the game and pick up on them.
4. "Same brand, NEW look!" Several variations of the Bb5 Sicilian are explosive and dynamic, much like their open-sicilian counterparts. Thus, one can avoid having to deal with Dragon, Najdorf, or other heavily-theoretical lines while still getting to play chess in a similar manner.
For all Bb5 Sicilian players (or wannabe's like myself), I shall shamelessly advertise my newly-created group dedicated to practicing/studying/discussing the particular opening! Even if you don't play it, it's an interesting anti-mainline sicilian for white, and something to watch out for as black.
If I get enough folks going, I can set up some vote chess games and team matches, to practice more chess.
I get so mad over this
Play it as white, and perhaps you can frustrate others in the same way.
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