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What should White do against the Sicilian Kan?

  • #1

    While I enjoy playing most open Sicilian positions with White I have difficulty coming up with a plan against the Sicilian Kan. The setup doesn't appear to have any obvious weaknesses. What's particularly annoying is the immediate freedom Black has with his dark squared Bishop. I guess 5th move choices for White include 5 c4, 5.Nc3, and 5.Bd3. I'm not sure which is best. Does anyone know of any books or videos that look at the Kan from White's point of view?

  • #2

    Well there's Beating The Sicilian by Nunn. I played the Kan myself for a while and have more chess books than sense :-) New in Chess covers 5c4 against the Kan over two volumes, and I must admit, it's what I like as white. Andrew Martin covers the Kan in A Foxy video from a black perspective, but is fair to white and and goes over a Kasparov Kramnik game ending in a draw. that white could have won.


    From a white perspective against the Sicilian myself, I have developed the notion that maturity against the Sicilian involves playing c4/Maroczy 'squeezing' on the queenside strategies that are confounding to the first player after perhaps the kingside attack positions white gets from a pawn on c2 and knight on c3- viz 'usual open Sicilian positions' - by the same token as black, I like an e4 player's reluctance to entertain c4 strategies.

  • #3

    I prefer 5.c4.  Make black show that he understands how to play against the Maroczy.  

  • #4
  • #5

    The advantage of playing Bd3 over an immediate c4 is that you avoid any Bb4 ideas.  You play Bd3, Qe2 is necessary, 0-0 and only then c4.  True, most standard Maroczy positions have the Bishop on e2, but d3 has its pros as well, including assisting the advance f4-f5.  Indeed, these types of positions tend to be more aggressive versions of the bind, where White both tries to clamp down on Black's play while also keeping eyes on the Kingside.

    I made a YouTube video awhile back that shows this set-up in action, if you are interested.

  • #6

        If you don't want to waste many hours in memorising lines and if you find Maroczy difficult to play then the k-side fianketo is the realtively easiest line to play against Kan.The good thing is that you can use the same line against Taimanov.

        White's main idea is to exchange knights , play e5(with the rook on e1 and attack the q-side weaknesses.

    The next game by the great Keres demonstrates that plan perfectly.

    Although as a general rule it is a "quiet" line,  it can become very tactical once the lines open.

    One thing Black might try is exchange knights(...Nc6xNd4)

    Another thing Black might try is  to delay the  development of Nc6.

         Then white has several different ways to play.

    Do you feel wild?No problem.

    And if you want something unorthodox

      There are quite a lot of games to study and steal ideas.

    One last note.

        The right move order is with 5.Nc3 because the immediate 5.g3 can be answered with 5...d5




  • #7

    The best white repertoire I have seen against the Kan (as well as all 2...e6 Sicilians) is, by a very long shot, in a recent book by my friend Vassilis Kotronias (Attacking the Flexible Sicilian). Based on 5.c4, and having tons of excellent suggestions and original analysis. The book is  a true masterwork.

    Do I recommend it? Nope, I don't: It's a book for REALLY advanced players, with rich experience in open Sicilian formations.

  • #8

    If you are a positional player, c4 is a good choice, but when I played the Kan, for me, at least, at the class A level, I found Bd3 with a kingside attack really the most strenuous test.

  • #9

    @Pfren. Does Mr Kotronias cover the Pin variation and the Sicilian Four Knights ?

  • #10

    Yes, everything e6 sicilian.

  • #11

    Thanks happy.png

  • #12
    kindaspongey wrote:

    This link provided above by kindaspongey has the intro to pfren's preferred book

  • #13

    I play the Kan and the line I actually like playing against the most is c4...

  • #14



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