The Sicilian Defense: Everything you want to know about the Sicilian Defense

This chess lesson focuses on another very famous chess opening known as The Sicilian Defense. It is one of the prime choices for the blacks to play against the first move of the whites. The name, The Sicilian “Defense” is a misnomer. This chess opening is among one of the most engaging and attacking types of gameplay. The Sicilian Defense is quite famous among modern-day chess players due to its aggressive type of gameplay. This article will take you through the general introduction, history, and the main variations of the Sicilian Defense. Let us move ahead and learn a bit about the Sicilian Defense.

The Sicilian Defence

History of the Sicilian Defense

The very first plays of the Sicilian Defense is a chess opening cites back to around the 16th century. The Sicilian Defense lost its initially gained popularity in mid 18th and 19th centuries. The discouragement of using the Sicilian defense as a chess opening continued even till the start of the 20th century.

It was then in around the 1940s and 1950s, when the leading chess players such as Issac Boleslavsky, and Miguel Najdorf frequently played the Sicilian Defense and unmasked its true potential towards progressing into aggressive and engaging gameplay. As of today, many of the famous modern chess grandmasters opt for the Sicilian Defense as their opening move.

The Sicilian Defense

The chess moves for this famous and aggressive chess opening are as follows-

  1. e4 c5

The Sicilian defense is one of the best moves in reply to the white playing the chess move as 1. e4. Although it might seem like an irrelevant move at first, the c5 move enables the white to capture the center square with the pawn. A large number of variations present in the family of the Sicilian Defense helps the black to gain an advantage over the white. The Sicilian defense is not a symmetrical chess opening. It is focused more on aggressive and engaging gameplays.

The Sicilian Defense 1. e4 c5

The Open Sicilian and the Major Variations

The Sicilian defense is one of those chess openings that provide white with so many options against the c5 move of tey black. Among the so many available options, the Nf3 move is very commonly opted by the white. The typical sequence of the chess moves that lead to the development of the Open Sicilian is as follows:

  • e4 c5
  • Nf3 d6
  • d4 cxd4
  • Nxd4 Nf6
  • Nc3

The Open Sicilian game tends to bring asymmetry in the gameplay and thus, allows the black to have a central advantage in terms of pawn. Further progression of the Open Sicilian leads to some of the very famous and important variations of the Sicilian defense. Let us proceed further and discuss the four major variations of the Sicilian defense.

How to play the sicilian defence!

The Najdorf

This variation of the Sicilian defense system is the most famous and preferred ones among modern-day chess players. The popularity of the Najdorf variation is so well esteemed that it is termed as ”the Rolls-Royce of openings”. The black moves a pawn to a6, and in response, it creates a wide number of opportunities for the black to have a leading attack.

The Najdorf Variation

The Dragon

This major variation of the Sicilian defense is among the sharpest chess openings. The black moves its g pawn to the g6 square which in turn allows its bishop to aggressively attack the queenside of the white. Magnus Carlsen, the famous world champion plays a bit accelerated version of the Dragon.

The Dragon Variation

The Classical

This variation of the Sicilian defense system differs from others as it allows more engaging gameplay while fighting for specific positions. The chess move that leads to the development of the Classical variation of the Sicilian defense is 5… Nc6.

The Classical

The Scheveningen

This is among the least common variations of the Sicilian defense system. Although being not so famous, it is associated with the very famous, Garry Kasparov. In this variation, a solid defense block is created with the help of pawn due on e6 and d6.

The Scheveningen

From all the above discussed major variations of the Sicilian defense, it is pretty obvious that the Sicilian defense system allows the black to play aggressively and in an engaging manner against the white. But at the same time, it is important to know about the options available to the white against the moves of the Sicilian defense system.

The Anti-Sicilians

The responses available to white against the Sicilian defense play of the black together constitute the Anti-Sicilians. Let us move further and enumerate some of the Anti-Sicilian moves.

  1. The Closed Sicilian
  2. The Rossolimo Variation
  3. The Alapin Variation
  4. The Smith-Morra Gambit


The Sicilian defense system is one of the first choices of the black against the Guioco Piano play of the white. It allows the black to have asymmetrical and engaging gameplay against the white. The Sicilian defense has an old age history and has been very famous for ages. Even the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen, prefers to play the Sicilian defense with a few modifications.

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