What makes the sicilian so good?


What is it that makes the sicilian so good? What advantages and strategies does it give players that makes so many masters play it?


In brief, an asymmetrical gameplay with good counterchances. peshka.png


With his first move Black not only fights for the centre but also gains space in q-side.

    That creates assymetrical pawn structures that offer very complex play and good winning chances for both sides. Don't make the mistake though to believe that the other openings are not good. For amateurs it is easier to play for win as there are a lot of tactics and it is easy to win or lose material. For higher levels it's not better than the other sensible moves. The big advantage of Sicilian is that it's not one defense , it's many. There are several playable lines that have different lines. For example Najdorf , Dragon, Pelikan , Taimanov are all very different and are only a few  of the Sicilian lines. There are many more. There is a Sicilian line for any type of player. The drawback is the many Anti-Sicilians that can create games that are not so much Sicilian-like.Another drawback is that the sub-line is chosen from White. He is the one that will decide if he will play sharp or quiet , attacking or positional , theoretical or off beat. A Sicilian defense player must be prepared to play a lot of different type of positions but that is part of the opening's complexity and it is certainly one of the most complex openings.   


It's a very aggressive Defense for Black. If White isn't careful they can easily be blown off the board.


Flexibility , structure is not fixed -(black can go for a6-b5, d5/e5 break even sometime f7-f5 break ) so there are many posibilities for black, and unless structure is not defined, for white is not so easy to create straigh plan like in other openings.

good counterplay on Queen side, c-file...



Perfect defense for the player with Black who wants to play for a win. The defense is rich in tactics. When players like Fischer and Kasparov make it their favorites you know it's good.

DragonPhoenixSlayer wrote:

What is it that makes the sicilian so good? What advantages and strategies does it give players that makes so many masters play it?

Flexible center, clear plans, dynamic positions.


Sierewan has a good video on the pin variation that answers this.  It’s one of his videos for the St Louis Chess Club channel.  The most basic part is giving up a flank pawn for a center pawn is strong, as controlling the center is basic.


The Sicilian tends to offer sharper and more unbalanced play. The majority of Sicilians are concrete in nature, and although ideas play a large role, theoretical knowledge is just as important.