Sicilian defence

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The Sicilian defence, usually called just the Sicilian, is a chess opening, which starts with these moves:

  • 1. e4 c5

In competitive chess, it is by far the most frequently played reply to the King's Pawn opening (1.e4).

The open Sicilian
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black knight
d4 white knight
e4 white pawn
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
  • Open variations 1e4 c5 2Nf3 followed by 3d4. A typical line is
1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6
3.d4 cxd4
4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3

Now Black decides where to put his KB: on e7 or g7; his QN will probably go to c6.

The closed Sicilian
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black bishop
h7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
b5 white bishop
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
c3 white knight
d3 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
  • Closed variations 1e4 c5 2Nc3 not followed by d4. A typical line is
1.e4 c5
2.Nc3 Nc6
3.f4 d6
4.Nf3 g6
5.Bb5 Bg7
6.d3

Instead of 3.f4, a slower game with 3.g3 followed by Bg2 and d3 could be chosen by White.

  • ECO code B20–B99. ECO is the Encyclopaedia of chess openings.