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What is the Sicilian Defence?
The Sicilian Defence is a line played as black against 1.e4 (King Pawn Opening).
Take a journey with me into the Sicilian Defence.
The starting position of the Sicilian Defence begins at move 1.
ECO code B20-99 Sicilian Defence General
Lets talk about the starting position.
Move 1.e4 - White claims the center directly by occupying it with a pawn.
Move 1...c5 - The idea behind the move c5 is to take control of the d4 square.
To fully understand how this differs from Classical chess (1...e5)
I will have you do a small comparision.
The idea behind the move 1...c5 is to target the d4 square to prevent white from having 2 center pawns.
In Classical chess the move 1...e5 also targets the d4 square to prevent white from having 2 center pawns.
One may wonder well if both moves target the d4 square what is the difference?
The difference is the pawn's themselves!
The e5 pawn is a center pawn and the c5 pawn is a flank pawn.
This small difference changes the nature of the whole game.
In the above diagram you can see how the pawn move e5 allows black the chance to have a symmetrical position.
When you look at the position you can see it is bascially very similar.
Black has his pawn 4 ranks up and so does white.
Black has 4 ranks of center space and so does white.
Black's bishop + queen have some scope and white's bishop + queen have some scope
Everything is fairly similar.
Now look at the 1...c5 position.
Notice the difference in the above diagram!
Do you see the differences?
One thing which is very easy to see is the fact black does not have equal center space!
Now does this mean black will never have center space? No
All it means is in the begining positions black is a little cramped.
In some Sicilian lines black stays cramped for a while!
In other Sicilian lines black fights back and gets center space!
Another thing which is easy to see is the development!
The c5 pawn only develops the queen but not the bishop.
Which is to say black has to be careful that he doesn't get over run.
Now I believe these 2 things are very nice key idea's to keep in mind from this starting position.
There are more differences; however, I will not tell them right yet simply because I think it will be more beneficial to you to see them when we start going over a variation.
Now it is white's second move.
White has played 24 different moves at move 2!
I have a feeling we will not go over all 24 moves.
Simply because we would probably be here the rest of our life lol.
If you feel like looking at the 24 different moves click on the below game explorer.
On this article I will go over the most popular move's.
However, I will make a deal with you!
If you have a line suggestion in the Sicilian for me.
You can put it in the comment section of this article!
Move 2.Nf3 - The idea behind Nf3 is to help develop a piece and support a d4 pawn push!
Move 2...d6 - The idea behind the move d6 is actually very very interesting.
The reason why is because the d6 move does alot of different little functions!
The first thing the move d6 does is help defend the c5 pawn.
The second thing the move d6 does is active the light square bishop.
The last thing the move d6 does is help take control of the key e5 square.
Black wants to play Nf6;however, if he plays Nf6 white could play the move e5 kicking the knight away with tempo.
Black does not want white to do that.
Thus, The sneaky move d6 helps prevent that simply because if white plays e5 with his pawn black will take it!
As you can see this move is a powerful little move which is the most popular.
It isn't the only move in this position; however, it does serve a function!
Move 3.d4 - Why does white play d4?
Isn't white trading a center pawn for a flank pawn?
Well the truth is yes.
White is trading a center pawn for a flank pawn; however, he is doing it for a reason.
White idea in this position is simple.
White bascially agrues go ahead and take my center pawn for your flank pawn because once you take it with your C pawn.
I will be able to recapture and end up with a nice centralized piece on d4 for some time.
Furthermore, the removal of the D pawn will allow white the chance to have open lines.
Both white bishops will have no pawn blocking them.
White can later on put a rook on the D file were it will be on a Semi-Open file.
Rooks love Open files and Semi-open files.
Because white has alot of Open lines.
This position is considered to be the Starting position of the Open Sicilian!
In the Open Sicilian white believes they have compensation in this flank pawn vs center pawn exchange.
Move 3...cxd4 - We know why white plays d4 and the compensation they feel they have from playing such a move.
So now lets talk about what black gets from taking the d4 pawn.
Why does black take d4?
Well the reason black takes the d4 pawn is because they seek to agrue the center pawn vs flank pawn exchange benefits them and not white!
They believe white doesn't have enough compensation as he thinks he does!
For the exchange of pawns black gets a Semi-Open C file for his rook.
Black also retains his 2 center pawns.
Black has a 2 to 1 advantage so to speak.
White only has the e pawn left and black still has both the d and e pawns.
Black says I am ok with your open lines and your centralized pieces because soon enough! I am going to push them all backwards with my powerful center pawns!
I am going to show you center pawn power buddy!
Which funny enough is how the fight escalates!
Each side fighting tooth and nail to prove their imbalance is better than their opponent.
Move 4.Nxd4 - Very logical move.
White doesn't want to be down a pawn. So they recapture with the knight to have a very nice central knight.
I have seen the move 4.Qxd4 as a side variation.
However, if you are interested in that you can leave me a message in the comments.
The most popular move and most logical move is taking with the knight.
Move 4...Nf6 - This move is a very nice move by black.
Basically the move Nf6 hits the undefended e4 pawn!
You simply ask white what are you going to do?
I am hitting your e4 pawn. If you do nothing I am going to take it with my knight!
You see guys/gals chess can be easy!
You develop a piece and hit a undefended pawn!
Defend it or I am taking it!
Move 5.Nc3 - Black hit the undefended e4 pawn.
White countered by playing Nc3 which defends the e4 pawn!
Isn't that wonderful!
It is completely logical.
White develops a piece and defends his pawn.
Now we reach the critical position!
At this point black choices which variation they are planning to play.
I will stop the article here.
Simply because we can pick it up again in a specific variation.
I will show the different moves black plays in this position.
In future articles we can talk about them etc.
Black's 5th move
5...a6 is known as the Sicilian Najdorf
5...Nc6 is known as the Sicilian Classical
5...e6 is known as the Sicilian Scheveningen
5...g6 is known as the Sicilian Dragon
Hopefully this brief tour into the Sicilian Defence will give you insight on some of the key features of the Sicilian Defence.
The Sicilian Defence is a special line to so many chess players around the world.
As always thank you very much for reading.
Hope you enjoyed yourself.
Have a Happy Day