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white_disc 82 ( +1 | -1 )
"Blind spots" of the Sicilian I am no sicilian player, but have a slight interest to take it up, or at least know how to play against it.

However, I have not much idea about the goals of the Sicilian, although a lot of pple and books talk about counter-attack.

Can I ask some questions ?

(1) What does Black in the open Sicilian aim for ? Which spot(s) (say f7 pawn or something) ? What are the short-term goals (opening goals) and mid-term goals (middle-game goals) ?

(2) What are the potential weaknesses in black's camp ?

(3) What does black normally expect white to play, and why ?

(4) can white transpose the game out of the sicilian if he so desired ? That means, make moves such that black cannot play the desired sicilian game... is there such a thing ?

Thanks a lot. All help greatly appreciated :)
white_disc 27 ( +1 | -1 )
I did once try to play the sicilian, dragon I believe.... somehow, my king got trapped in the center, unable to castle... and got mated in about 20 moves... if I can recall correctly, white's bishop was pressing down on one of the squares of my kingside..


what are the "un-movable" pawns in the sicilian for black ?
caldazar 185 ( +1 | -1 )
There really is no standard theme for Sicilian structures in general. One of the reasons the Silician is so popular is that it's highly flexible; Black can adopt any number of strategies and setups, each with their own distinct characteristics. The Sicilian is not really one opening, but a (rather large) collection of openings that all happen to start out with 1. e4 c5.

I suppose you could throw up a hand-waving type of synopsis by saying the Sicilian pits White's superior development and space against Black's flexibility and counterattacking chances. For instance, something like 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 Nxd4 gves White superior development and space while Black has potentially better central control (he has two central pawns). But even this would be a fairly inaccurate assessment; White doesn't have to play this way at all. He can play an early f4 instead, gaining more space immediately. Or he can play more positionally with 2. Nc3, 3.g3 and Bg2 soon after. Or White can play any number of other things. As can Black.

In the Dragon specifically, Black has a bishop on g7 and an open c-file, so his attack usually occurs on the queenside. What form that attack takes depends greatly on what White does. Many Sicilians are highly reactive systems where one side's plans depend very heavily on the plans of his opponent, and the Dragon is no exception. For instance, in the Dragon, what Black does is heavily influenced by a number of White actions, such as whether he castles queenside or kingside (or delays castling, even), whether White plays f3 or f4, whether White's control over d5 is strong or not, the manner in which White conducts his attack (central? kingside? h-pawn push? g- and h-pawn push?); the list goes on. Many of the Black plans in the Dragon are radically different and bear little resemblance to one another.
dozer 50 ( +1 | -1 )
One warning... In Sicilian especially in some variations of Najdorf, watch out for Bishop/Night sacs to e6, as it is quite common theme in Sicilian... Like black queen on c7 and bishop on b7 and black has castled and have a rook in f8 or d8 and central pawns are on f7,e6&d6... Then white plays Bxe6 followed by Nxe6 or the otherway around if Black has a rook at c8... Or something like that, giving White a strong attack.

Kind Regards,
Dozer
white_disc 97 ( +1 | -1 )
Yeah, thanks a lot.

Was hoping to get some "instructions" on what to do with the sicilian.. coz such "instructions" are very clear in other openings such as K-I-D, where we have 4 kinds of play style.. (look for my post in the <King's Indian Question>... I have yet to understand the 4 playing styles though... ).

I think I am a player who needs many short-term goals, rather than only one main goal of check-mating the opponent. As a novice, and without a chess teacher, I wish to find out the aims and goals of the sicilian, then experiment with the moves myself...

say maybe in the dragon, we would probably expect white to castle QS, and hence, we may need to unlock the center for the fianchetto bishop to be effective, then push pawns, etc.....

I guess specific lines do not work with me, 'coz of my short memory, and also, plenty of chess notations put me off....

Can anyone enlighten me on the series of short-term goals to take as black in the sicilian ?

Thanks a lot.. :)
white_disc 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Is Sicilian necessary ?? One other thing that I am concerned about is the need to master the Sicilian... seems to me that every GM, CM or something --- Sicilian seems to be part of their forte...

Is Sicilian mastery really so important ? Anyone knows of any good (famous) players that ply their trade with other black defences ?

Coz if Sicilian MUST be mastered, I will have lots and lots of doubts and queries coming, as well as many things to read about.. :) Please kindly bear with me if I ask "obvious" questions :P

Thanks a lot.
white_disc 77 ( +1 | -1 )
fianchetto of the c8 bishop to b7 in sicilian Someone was trying to get views on the plan to get the c8 bishop to the b7 position, hitting the h1-a8 diagonal... he said something about Najorj too..

That aside, is this fianchetto justified ? On what grounds do we go for fianchetto and when do we try to place it at f5 ?

Also, I personally feel (may not be the case) that black is aiming for queenside play, with the c5 pawn advance, and esp. in dragon systems, where the bishop points towards the KS as well...

Should white castle KS, assuming black has castled KS also?? Also, what am I supposed to do next as black ?

Is KS castling of white a good way to thwart any major attacks from black ?

Another thing is about the possible pawn structures that can arise from the sicilian as black.. who is having a better pawn structure at the end of the day ?

Thanks a lot :)
brucehum 106 ( +1 | -1 )
Sicilian is the main answer to e4 nowadays. Thus said, you may not need to know it, it depends of at what levels you play. It may be easier to learn something like the Caro-Kann or French, or the modern defense (d6). Good thing about the modern set up is that it works fairly well against many openings.

It used to be said about Sicilian: "If the game is short, white has won, if it is long, black has won". This basically means that white attacks first, and if white doesn't kill black, the counter-attack can be terrible!

If white castles KS, basically they are aiming for a more 'quiet' game. For example, in the Dragon, the usual is to have opposite castled kings. Then it is a race to see who attacks first.

In some lines of the Najdorf, black doesn't even castle (or castle's QS!!!, as against the Richter Rauzer Bg5 attack), because it would be suicide to castle in front of white's army.

The now popular Sveshnikov gives a very uneven play, it is the opposite to solid. Very important move here to remember: Kh1 Kh8, both sides seem to need it!
themagic_1 59 ( +1 | -1 )
hmmm...sicilian my love and also the root of my frustration.
I believe caldazar is right the system is very reactive. what you do is totally depend on what white action is but also the first 10-15 moves are out of the opening book you should memorized or understand the different variation. a few weak moves will cost you the game. sicilian I think is one of the most analyzed line for black so be careful facing it playing white. as for black if you don't understand the different variation for the line you choose one blunder will cost you the game.
well that is from my experience with it anyways.
zdrak 45 ( +1 | -1 )
You don't have to play the Sicilian as black ... but if you open 1.e4, you can expect about 50% of your opponents to play c5. So unless you want to be a 1.d4 player, you need to master at least the white side of this opening.

A common device for black is the exchange sacrifice on c3, with the idea to win e4 afterwards, as was played for example in the 6th Junior-Kasparov game (that game was drawn, but black was better) - so if you're white, make sure to extra-defend your e4 pawn.

caldazar 416 ( +1 | -1 )
Is the Sicilian necessary? Absolutely not. If you're a master, you probably need to know the Sicilian as it is generally Black's most combatitive response to 1. e4, and sometimes you simply must play for a win holding the Black pieces. But for amateurs like ourselves, any halfway-sound opening will do, since the mistakes made during the course of a typical amateur game far outweigh any advantages or disadvantages that might arise from any particular opening. Heck, your opening need not even be sound; some amateurs at my club do just fine even with theoretically "unsound" openings (is an opening unsound if you win with it at your skill level, no matter what books may say?) such as the Morra Gambit, the Latvian Gambit, and the Scotch Gambit (the latter seems to be very popular with juniors, the Danish Gambit as well). Play moves that make sense to you personally; don't worry about what Super-GM X is playing at the latest international tournament.

Again, you can't talk about the worth of various pawn structures, bishop positionings, weak spots, ideas, and the like in the Sicilian in general; you have to talk about a specific position. The Sicilians really are that different. The Sveshnikov looks absolutely nothing like the Dragon, which in turn looks nothing like the Kan, for instance. Dropping a bishop to b7 in the Sveshnikov is a well respected strategy, and one of many possible plans there. In the Dragon, a b7 fianchetto is usually too slow and ineffective (unless White is playing too slowly as well). But this has everything to do with the nature of the position; in the Sveshnikov, the chief battleground is the d5-square so having a bishop on b7 is very useful and worth a bit of extra effort. In the Dragon, Black is usually attacking the queenside.

But even then, you can't just play a Sveshnikov and plonk a bishop on b7; it may not be appropriate in your specific position. To give you an idea about how much difference small changes in the position make, take some Dragon-like positions:

After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6, White can play into the Yugoslav Attack if he wishes. In the Yugoslav, Black castles kingside and White queenside, and then the game usually becomes a race to mate the opponent's king. So there could follow 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6. White is preparing to castle queenside when he'll try for Bh6 to exchange off Black's powerful g7-bishop (weakening both Black's king defense and diminishing Black's attacking potential on the queenside) and usually some type of h2-h4-h5 pawn thrust to weaken Black's kingside and open up the h-file for an attack. Black in turn will try for a pawn storm on the queenside and will post a rook (or double rooks, even) on the c-file to generate an attack against White's king. The tactics are all complex and there's usually a lot of hacking and slashing going on.

So back to the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6. A common continuation for White is 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. h4 when the battle lines are clearly drawn; White's going for an all out attack on the kingside, Black on the queenside. However, if instead of 9. Bc4, White castles, 9. O-O-O, now Black can respond with 9... d5 and now the fight is in the center, not on the wings. All because White didn't clamp down on the d5-square with 9. Bc4 before he castled. Both 9. Bc4 and 9. O-O-O are perfectly acceptable options for White, but a difference of a single move transforms the nature of the fight radically.

Going even further, a strategic trap that has caught many Yugoslav Attack players unaware is 1. e5 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6. Just another Dragon? Certainly not, Black has not yet played ...d6. However, if White tries to borrow ideas from the Yugoslav Attack anyway, he receives a rude awakening. 7. f3 O-O (just another Yugoslav Dragon?) 8. Bc4 Qb6 (nope, definitely not a Dragon) 9. Bb3 Nxe4. A far cry from White's Bh6 and h2-h4-h5 ideas in the Yugoslav Dragon. Even worse is (after 1. e5 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. f3 O-O) 8. Qd2? d5! (shouldn't White already be castled before Black plays this? But Black saved a move, because he never played ...d6, so he's one step ahead) and Black will obtain a good game.

To play a Sicilian well, you always need to keep focused on the specifics of the position; simple general principles will not do.