Our book number eight from the series "Opening for White according to Anand - 1.e4" is in your hands now. We have finally started analyzing the Sicilian Defence - the most popular opening of the second half of the 20th century and naturally in the 21st century as well. It is now even difficult to imagine that the great player Alekhine considered that opening to be a bit dubious. Theory and practice have developed tremendously since then. Naturally, Robert James Fischer and Garry Kasparov contributed greatly to the increased popularity of the Sicilian Defence, but their efforts were mostly concentrated on the Najdorf system. It is something like an opening inside another opening and we will analyze it thoroughly in one of our subsequent volumes.
Meanwhile, some other lines of the Sicilian Defence enjoy quite deserved popularity too. It is now really difficult to name a strong player who has never played with Black - 1.\u1077?4 \u1089?5. The situation is more or less the same at other levels.
The basic strategical idea of the Sicilian Defence can be described relatively simply in several sentences: Black is fighting actively for the centre, avoiding symmetrical pawn-structures, which often provide White with an advantage. This approach to the opening promises Black plenty of possibilities to seize the initiative at a very early stage of the game. Accordingly, White is often forced from the first moves of the game to make sometimes very important decisions. Naturally, I recommend answering 1...\u1089?5 with 2.Nf3. That is the most popular and no doubt the strongest move for White. Of course, he has other moves too and some of them require much less theoretical knowledge. This is however everything that their attractiveness
amounts to. In case White avoids the main lines, he can only rely on obtaining the advantage against unprepared opponents.
We have analyzed some seldom played lines on move two for Black in the first part of our book. Most of these moves are quite dubious and we have mentioned them mostly because of statistics, while after 2... g6 the game usually transposes to the Dragon variation, which will be analyzed in one of the next books. We have devoted special attention to the move 2...b6, which is in fact much better than its reputation as well as to the Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein system 2...Nf6, in answer to which I recommend 3.Nc3, after which the game usually transposes to the main lines in most of the cases.
The second part of this book is devoted entirely to the relatively seldom played O'Kelly system Kelly - 2...\u1072?6. It is worth mentioning that although it is a rare guest in the serious tournaments, it is frequently played in blitz games (including in Internet too). One of the reasons is that the standard move for White 3.d4 is absolutely harmless in that case and it can even lead to problems for White to equalize. I recommend here 3.\u1089?3, which in the majority of cases leads to not so typical
Sicilian positions, but the move \u1072?7-\u1072?6 often turns out to be just a loss of time and it enables White to obtain an opening advantage. Later, we start analyzing the third (after 2...d6 and 2...Nc6) most popular answer for Black - 2...\u1077?6. In the third part of the book we deal with some rarely played lines and White obtains a great advantage after the majority of them with precise play. Still, the lines 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 (4...Bc5) as well as the system with the proud name
"Sicilian Counter Attack" (2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4) require from White exact knowledge of long forced lines. Finally, the fourth part of this book is devoted to the Paulsen-Kan system (2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6). I suspect that this part will attract the greatest interest among our readers. This variation is in fact regularly played by Svidler, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Rublevsky, Smirin and many other strong grandmasters and it is one of the really popular
lines of the Sicilian Defence. That system has the reputation of being like the "Najdorf system " but for the lazy players: on the one hand you can obtain a dynamic position with various available resources to
seize the initiative and on the other hand it requires considerably less concrete knowledge of forced variations unlike the Najdorf system. I recommend to White to counter it with 5.Bd3, after which there arises a "hedgehog" pawn-structure in the majority of cases. The order of moves is often not so important in that pawn-structure, but you must have an excellent idea about the possible plans for you and your opponent.
Meanwhile, we have found plenty of new and fresh ideas in the most popular variation nowadays - 5.Bd3 Bc5. The difference between the Sicilian Defence and the other openings for Black in answer to 1.\u1077?4 is that in all other openings a capable player with White, who does not possess any theoretical knowledge, can play solid moves out of common sense and he can obtain a quite playable position in which his prospects may not be even worse. (He would not be better either, because one must study theory after all...) In case you try to play with White against the Sicilian Defence out of only common sense, you might become worse sometimes as early as move ten. There are plenty of examples on that subject. I hope this book as well as our next books will help you not only to obtain positions, which will not be worse, but they will be better and in some of the cases absolutely superior.
14th World Chess Champion
Part 1. Rare Systems; Nimzowitsch-Rubinstein Variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3
010 1 various; 2...Qa5; 2...Qb6; 2...d5; 2...Qc7
027 2 2...g6
034 3 2...b6
044 4 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 without 3...d5
059 5 2...Nf6 3.Nc3 d5
Part 2. O'Kelly Variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.c3
071 6 3...Qa5; 3...Nc6; 3...g6; 3...d6
094 7 3...d5
116 8 3...Nf6
123 9 3...e6
Part 3. Rare Lines; Sicilian Counter Attack
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4
140 10 various; 3...Nc6; 3...a6; 3...d5
154 11 3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 various; 4...Bc5; 4...Qb6
165 12 3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 various; 5...Bb4
Part 4. Paulsen-Kan Variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3
189 13 without 5...Nc6; 5...Bc5 and 5...Nf6
220 14 5...Nc6
231 15 5...Bc5
244 16 5...Nf6 6.0-0 various; 6...Qc7
276 17 5...Nf6 6.0-0 d6 7.c4 without 7...Be7 and 7...b6
289 18 5...Nf6 6.0-0 d6 7.c4 Be7
304 19 5...Nf6 6.0-0 d6 7.c4 b6
317 Index of Variations