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|Sicilian Defense - 2...e6 Variations|
|Chess Opening Tutorial|
Overview - 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6
The diagram shows the position after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 (ECO B40-49). Unlike the 2...d6 variations, Black keeps the a3-f8 diagonal open for the Bishop on f8. The move ...Bb4 is often an option and ...Bc5 is sometimes possible. After 4.Nxd4, Black has three moves which are equally popular.
B: Related Opening : the Scheveningen Variation
The moves 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6, shown in the diagram, are called the Scheveningen Variation. We treat this elsewhere using the different move order 2...d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6, where Black's 2nd and 5th moves have been switched.
Also leading to the Scheveningen is 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6. Black has played ...Nc6 instead of ...Nf6, but this is only temporary. The Knight on g8 doesn't have many options. If it moves to e7, where will the Bishop on f8 be developed? Some examples leading quickly to the Scheveningen are
C: Related Opening : the Sveshnikov Variation
The diagram shows the position after 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5. This is called the Sveshnikov Variation, which is more often played using the move order 2...Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5.
It may seem surprising that Black can play ...e6 and later ...e5 without losing a tempo. This is possible because White has also lost a tempo with the sequence Bc1-f4-g5.
Another line which really does lose a tempo, but for White, is 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6. Compare the position after 5.Nb5 d6 6.Bf4 e5 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Bg5, with the diagram. You will see that it is a tempo behind the Sveshnikov.
White isn't forced to play 6.Bf4. Another possibility is 6.c4, followed by 6...Nf6 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 Be7 (8...d5 is known as Kasparov's Gambit). White should only grab space with c2-c4 after moving the Knight off d4. This is shown in the variation 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 where the exposed position of the Knight on d4 weakens the White center.
D: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2
An important line of the Taimanov Variation is 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2, as shown in the diagram. Now after 6...a6 White has several possibilities.
E: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3
The diagram shows the position after 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3. With this move order White protects the Knight on d4 and retains the possibility of playing Bd3 instead of Be2. Black usually plays 6...a6.
Now if White plays 7.Bd3, the game often continues 7...Nf6 8.O-O, when Black has a choice among the moves 8...Ne5, 8...b5, 8...Nxd4, and 8...Bd6. Black's main alternative at the 7th move is 7...b5; White can continue 8.O-O or 8.Nxc6.
White can also try 7.Qd2 Nf6. The move 7.Be2 transposes into the variations that follow 6.Be2.
F: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3
As an alternative to developing the light squared Bishop on its long diagonal, White can fianchetto it. The diagram shows the position after the moves 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3. Black's usual move is 6...a6. Black should avoid 6...Nf6? Nbd5.
After the natural 7.Bg2, the main continuations are
G: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6
After 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6, as shown in the diagram, the sequence 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5 is the Sveshnikov Variation that we treat under 2...Nc6.
After 6.Ndb5, Black can also try 6...Bb4 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 d5 9.exd5. Now both 9...exd5 and 9...Nxd5 are playable.
White also has 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4. Now Black has the choice of 8...Qc7, 8...f5, 8...Bb7, and 8...Qa5+.
H: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3
Our first position from the Kan Variation, 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 followed by 5.Nc3, is shown in the diagram. Black has two familiar moves.
More unusual is
I: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3
If after 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6, White wants to avoid moving the Queenside Knight into possible attack by ...b5, a good continuation is 5.Bd3 as shown in the diagram. Black has many possible continuations.
The most natural move is undoubtedly 5...Nf6. After 6.O-O Black can commit the Queen with 6...Qc7. Now 7.Nc3 leads back to familiar lines which White can avoid with 7.Qe2 or 7.c4. Black can also play 6...d6, allowing 7.c4 which can lead to a Hedgehog position after moves like 7...Be7, 8...O-O, 9...Nbd7, 10...b6, and 11...Bb7. Black should definitely avoid 6...d5 7.e5 Nfd7 8.Nxe6!
Also possible is 5...Bc5 6.Nb3. After 6...Ba7, White can castle 7.O-O (7...Nc6 or 7...Ne7), or play 7.Qe2. This prepares Be3 and leaves the option of O-O-O, e.g. 7...Nc6 8.Be3 Bxe3 9.Qxe3 Nf6 10.Nc3 d6 11.O-O-O. Black can also retreat with 6...Be7 (7.O-O or 7.Qg4).
Also playable for Black are 5...Qc7 (6.Nc3 or 6.O-O), 5...Nc6 6.Nxc6 (6...dxc6 or 6...bxc6), 5...Ne7 preparing 6...Nbc6 7.Nxc6 Nxc6, 5...g6, and 5...b5.
J: 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4
After 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6, another way of stopping ...b5 is with the blunt 5.c4. After the obvious 5...Nf6 6.Nc3, Black can try
In this tutorial we have only given an overview of the many plans available to both players. The watchwords for the Sicilian ...e6 variations are flexibility and double-edged play.