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Because Black achieves close to an equal position
Oh, here's the Petrosian game I was referring to:
I used to play GP but I found that it lacks the teeth to force your opponent to be on the defense. Too many opportunities for your opponent to grab the initiative. As a class A player, I tend to play masked openings, meaning it could be started with something that may look unstandard and eventually develop it to a strong book opening.
Nice game, but mr. Novotelnov was too compliant right from the opening: by prematurely capturing on c3, he allowed white to play the desirable d2-d4 in one go instead of d2-d3 and later d3-d4. He also placed a mule at g6 after white had played g2-g3, where it was doing precisely nothing.
I play the Italian rather frequently and here in Wisconsin it's undergoing something of a renaissance...
I've always liked the Guitar better.
Hm, the Guitar Piano...
Honestly, I was trying really hard to reason why black played that, and in my notes noted it was weak at worst and at best a faulty defensive preparation. As for the Bxc3 yeah, that was premature and looked like a positional mistake but didn't want to sound like I think I know better than masters, so thought there was at least enough merit behind it (though analysing from the white side wasn't my problem) to be played on Petrosian's level to justify it (somehow). I still won't take up the four knights anytime soon, but I liked looking over that game and taking note of plans, imbalances, etc.
There are 2 reasons.The first is that, e4-e5 openings are not played so often.Secondly,it is not give any advantage for black. For example.
The idea of giuoco piano is bringing the pawn to d4, then d3 is a bad move, especially after the knight comes into the board.
The Italian Game isn't as strong as the Ruy Lopez, but is still pretty dangerous if White knows what they are doing.
In addition to the Moller Attack lines with 3...Bc5 4.c3, there are the Giuoco Pianissimo systems with d3 and c3 (which should not be underestimated), and also my favorite, the Canal Variation with 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5. The Canal is completely equal if Black knows their stuff, but that doesn't prevent many players from getting into hot water against it. Check a good database, and you will see many examples of 2400+ players getting smoked. Black should eat White's LSB with his QN, but even then there are still some chances to play for a win...
For Giuoco middlegame ideas, I highly recommend GM Khachiyan's lectures on this site.
I think there are way too many lower-rated players who use the Sicilian. I believe everyone should answer 1.e4 with 1...e5 until they are at least 1600. The problem, in my view, is that a lot of teachers don't spend enough time on fundamental positional play and maneuvering, and they don't show their students enough classical games.
So students get the idea that the double king pawn openings are "boring" and don't appreciate the subtle play that can arise from the Four Knights or the Hungarian Defense, for example. Lots of points to be had by outplaying such opponents!
I find the sicilian the easiest opening to beat at my level
It's easy to misplay at any level.
I agree. The various structures which result from 1 e4 e5 are essential to understanding position play and should be learned before the semi-open games, especially the Sicilian with its fluid structure.
Not sure if it is the teachers and coaches, or just the natural tendency of fans to follow the great players, and the Sicilian has been very popular at the highest levels for more than half a century.