More Maroczy Madness

More Maroczy Madness‎

IM Silman
13 | Opening Theory

VK asked:

I am a beginner in chess with no formal training but I have a little bit of knowledge of opening theory from reading books. My question is about the Maroczy Bind for White in the Sicilian. In this opening, because of the pawn on c4, is it safe to castle long? Also, where should White develop his light-square Bishop or should it stay on the back rank until late in the game?

Dear VK:

The Maroczy Bind is a positional setup that cuts down on enemy counterplay (it closes off the c-file and makes typical Sicilian breaks like …b7-b5 and …d6-d5 difficult to achieve) and tries to make use of a clear space advantage to keep Black face down in the dirt. In general, one advantage of the Bind is that you don’t have to worry about your King. However, if you castle queenside you walk right into breaks like …b5 (even if it sacrifices a pawn) that would give Black chances against your King by ripping open lots of queenside files.

Having said that, since you should castle kingside (a fact that the previous information supports), you obviously can’t leave the Bishop on f1 since that would make castling impossible. Thus either Be2 (most common) or Bd3 is played, depending on black’s moves.

Here’s a typical line and some of the ideas you’ll need to know to play this system successfully:

More from IM Silman
The Downs And Ups Of GM Elmars Zemgalis (Silman's Last Article)

The Downs And Ups Of GM Elmars Zemgalis (Silman's Last Article)

How To Build Winning Chess Positions

How To Build Winning Chess Positions