Chess openings – Sicilian Defence: Open Sicilian

Chess openings – Sicilian Defence: Open Sicilian

Welcome back to In today’s
video, we take a look at the Open Sicilian. The Sicilian begins with the
moves, pawn to e4, and now, pawn to c5. With this move, pawn to c5, Black
anticipates and aims to neutralize White’s attempts to expand in the
center with the move, d2 to d4. The overall idea is that when White plays
d4, Black will capture a center pawn with a flank pawn, leaving him
with a two to one central pawn majority. However, in the Open Sicilian, White
happily accepts this situation, and he simply plays knight f3 aiming
to play d4, and he’s going to bank on a fantastic lead and development,
which we’ll take a look at today. Let’s take a look. The Open Sicilian starts with the moves, e4,
c5, and then knight to f3. Now, pretty much no matter what Black does,
maybe d6 being his slight favorite in this position, White will play
pawn to d4, and takes, takes. In the Open Sicilian, Black’s two center pawns
to White’s one nearly always end up being a very annoying factor for White
to face. In the Sicilian, Black stakes many of his counter chances on
the unique possibilities that are offered to him by this simple two to one
pawn majority. As it turns out, theory and practice demonstrates time
and again that this factor of the position is extremely helpful for Black,
and even offers him real, dynamic chances. So why does White just willy-nilly
go in for this exchange on the d4 square? Well, the main answer is
that White nearly always gains a tremendous lead in development in the Open
Sicilian. Let’s study these positions really closely,
and see why this happens. Now, right away, let’s consider an interesting
point which you may not have looked at before. When White opens the game
with e4, he not only sees his important squares in the center, but he also
contributes to the development of his king’s bishop, and in certain cases,
he also develops the queen. In contrast, when Black plays the Sicilian, we
can right away surmise that, sooner or later, he’s going to have to spend
another move with his pawns in order to help develop his king side bishops,
since the move, c5, does nothing to actually contribute to the development
of a piece. Since piece development is usually more than pawn moves,
the Sicilian already incurs a slight risk that Black will fall behind a
move in piece development, when he goes to deploy this bishop. To show an example of how this works, let’s
take a look at the variation known as the Classical Sicilian, which begins
with the moves, knight to f6, knight c3, knight c6, and now after White
simply plays bishop g5, we run into this little issue which I talked about
before. Since Black’s first move did nothing to contribute to the development
of his dark squared bishop, he is now going to have to use another
pawn move. He plays pawn to e6, usually, to bring out this bishop, whereas
White simply continues queen d2, bishop d7, castles queen side, and castles
king side. Now, while it may not seem like such a big deal, you’ll notice
that in this position that White has developed four pieces – one, two,
three, four – and also managed to castle, whereas Black has only managed
to develop three pieces and has managed to castle. Also, White even has the
right to move, so White has gained a little bit of piece development here.
This all stems from the fact that Black’s first move, pawn to c5, did nothing
to help contribute to piece development. We’ve discovered one way that White gets a
little extra time for his piece development in the Sicilian, but there is
an even bigger bonus tempo for White in the Open Sicilian. Take a look at
the basic position after pawn to e4, pawn to c5, knight f3, d6, and pawn to
d4. Now Black has no choice but to engage in the exchange, C takes d4, and
knight takes d4. Of course, he’s happy to do this, since he’s banking on the
two to one central majority to play out in his favor. But, did you ever notice
that the exchange on d4 actually grants White a free tempo for his
development? Normally, we would expect that whenever it’s Black’s turn, White
would be one move ahead in development, since he begins with the right
to move. In this case, White is two moves ahead, since his knight has been
allowed to move a second time, to a more pleasant central square, at no penalty
whatsoever. This occurred because Black initiated the exchange, and
White’s recapture on d4 contributes to his overall development and
any time a player initiates an exchange, and the recapturing party’s recapturing
move helps to advance his development, the recapturing party gains a
tempo. Here are a couple of other examples of this
similar principle. For example, if White would simply play the move, pawn
to d4, Black takes, and, in fact, queen takes d4, is a situation where it appears
White has made two moves and Black has made zero at the moment. Of
course, in this position, there is no value to the extra tempo, because the
queen’s exposure will instantly cause White to lose whatever time he’s gained,
for example, with knight c6. But, I do want to show that once this exchange
happens on d4, there is simply a gain of tempo which takes place. To draw another interesting comparison, let’s
take a look at the Scotch Opening, which begins with the moves, pawn
to e4, pawn to e5, knight f3, knight c6, and now, once again, in a very
different position, pawn to d4, taking on d4, and knight takes d4. Now, how
does White gain a tempo? In fact, he has. It appears that in this position,
on the board, it looks like White has made three moves – one, two, three
– as opposed to Black’s one. So, White has gained a tempo from this voluntary
exchange on d4. However, here’s where that notable difference between
the movement of the E pawn and the movement of the C pawn comes out, and
that is, that Black’s move, pawn to e5, contributes to the development of his
bishop and his queen. Black is able to make use of this fact, in order to
make sure that White does not profit too much from this extra tempo, in
this position. For example, one way that Black can do this is he can play
the move, bishop to c5, attacking the knight on d4. Now, clearly, if White were to play knight
take c6, he would dissolve two of the tempi he invested in this knight, so
he would actually fall behind in the development, and that’s not to say
that knight take c6 is a bad move – it’s used to sometimes damage the pawn structure.
However, the most principled reaction would be bishop to e3,
trying to maintain this knight on the centralized square. But, Black once
again makes use of the fact that he can bring his pieces into the play a little
bit more quickly, using the move, queen to f6, to further pressure d4.
It’s at this point that White finally has to make a concession with the
move, pawn to c3, in order to solidify the position of the knight on d4.
It’s because of this little move, a pawn move, which does not contribute
to piece development, and which also takes away the ordinary square
for this knight on b1. It’s because of this little move that White’s advantage
in time has significantly diminished in its value. This is mainly because of the fact that the
move, e5, as opposed to c5, contributes to the development of Black’s
pieces. It’s not going to be nearly as easy for Black in the Open Sicilian.
After, let’s say, pawn e4, c5, knight at 3, knight c6, pawn d4, takes,
and takes, White has gained the tempo. Attempts to force White to make concessions
by defending the knight or exchanging it simply won’t succeed; Black
simply doesn’t have a rapid enough development to ensure that this becomes
a key factor in the position. Black has a harder time building
a concentrated attack on the d4 knight, and often, if he does succeed, White
is still OK with moving the knight to b3, where it still contributes to
the overall development by helping to defend the queen side, and it also
gets out of the way of the king side pawns, which will be useful in a
pawn storm. Meanwhile, any measures which Black took to force the knight
to move away from d4 often have downsides of their own. For example,
the most straightforward method of playing to assert the knight on d4 is actually
an early e5. In fact, this position would be one place
where you could do this. But, this seriously weakens the d5 square, and
this is one of the major drawbacks of playing in this way, whereas
certain other plans involving an eventual queen b6 have the downside of this
queen will often be vulnerable to an attack at a later point. Thus, we have
established a second way that White profits in development in the Open Sicilian.
The exchange on d4 actually gives him a tempo, a tempo which
he is actually able to profit from since the advance knight can be adequately
protected, and its movement away from the f3 square greatly contributes
to his ability to deploy the F pawn, which will definitely help in generating
an attack in a later phase of the game. There is a third and final reason why Black
tends to fall so far behind in development in the Open Sicilian, and this
has to do with his tendency to play another little pawn move, in the form
of a7 to a6. Probably the best example of this is in the Najdorf Sicilian,
which is the position arising after pawn to d6, pawn to d4, pawn takes pawn,
knight takes pawn, knight f6, knight c3, and now simply this little
move, a6. This is a very popular move, with a very strong reputation. In fact,
the careers of both Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov were enhanced greatly
by playing these positions on the Black side and they both managed to
do very well. The idea in the current position is simply
to, in the future, prepare b7 to b5, and at the same time, to deprive some
of White’s minor pieces of the b5 square, but, of course, this is yet another
pawn move that contributes to White’s overall increase in piece development.
For example, after the moves, bishop b2, e6 – getting ready to bring
that bishop into the game – and castles king side, White has an impressive
four pieces to play, and he has managed to castle, whereas Black has only
one single piece to play, and has not yet managed to castle. Yet, this position
has a very strong reputation for Black, which should begin to
tell you a little something about the inherent strength of these two to
one pawns in the center, which are a major compensating factor for Black. Time and time again, it has been shown that
Black gradually unfolds his pieces, he puts some pressure on the e4 pawn
along the way, and he begins to expand his queen side pawns, and suddenly,
White finds that his development advantage has disappeared, and
he’s faced with substantial difficulties in addressing Black’s counter-play.
During all of this time, White hopes to crash through, with a winning
attack based on his extra development, and he often succeeds, but the
central pawns go a long way in slowing him down. Notice that they control
quite a few squares. They control c5, d5, e5, f5, making it difficult
for White to get into the position. It’s this factor which often gives
Black just the amount of time he needs to lead his development, keep his
position solid, and later, to turn the tables on White. In the end, both sides are taking important
strategic risks in the Open Sicilian. White, for example, gives up his
central pawn, exchanges it for a flank pawn, but he does so in order to get
a fantastic lead in development. If he can manage to crash through Black’s
position before Black is able to catch up in development, White will often
be rewarded with a spectacular attacking victory. On the other hand, if he
does not manage to crash through, Black often completes his development,
and then relies upon this factor of the central pawn majority, as well
as other sorts of factors in the position to gain serious counter chances. This is the exciting paradox contained in
the Sicilian, and it’s the source of many of its basic mysteries. If you have
an appetite for chess, where deep strategy and imagination come to the
forefront, then the Sicilian is worth examination for both sides. That’s all
for today. We’ll see you soon.

100 thoughts on “Chess openings – Sicilian Defence: Open Sicilian

  1. Sannan playing that knight is the classical variation it's only preference so just look at classical lines if you like playing 5….Nc6

  2. do u have facebook acc i wanna add you there mine mail is [email protected] search there and add me if you have or tell me your,
    have u posted any video queen gambit declined which is best opening for aggresive players and which is best for defensive players

  3. please explain in scilian dragon variation if opponent try to break pawn structure of castle side how to protect it

  4. If you are referring to 1.e4 c5 2.Bc4?! Black most often is able to harass the c4-bishop early on with tempo. For example many games have continued: 2…e6 (threatening 3…d5) 3.Nc3 a6 (intending …b5) 4.a4 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.d3 d5 – and Black's position is already slightly preferable to White's thanks to his greater central control

  5. A) best opening videos on the web. B) could you do the trompowsky opening? Or is that not terribly popular? C) Have you thought about writing books…or are chess publishers only interested in applicants with "GM" on their cv?

  6. @Timothy Nixon: a) Thank you! b) I appreciate the suggestion – perhaps one day! No, it is not terribly popular. c) I am mainly interested in building applications and software.

  7. Your videos have made me a SIGNIFICANTLY better chess player. Thanks so much for your clear explanations, and your fantastic videos!

  8. HI Dereque – enjoy your videos. I have heard that black should not castle until white does. would you agree with this?

  9. Could someone please explain to me whether it is better as black to capture white's D pawn on the 3rd move instead of playing b6?

  10. Thanks for your excellent videos! I'm getting back into chess after a long layoff; your videos are perfectly based and woffle-free – a great way to begin an exploration of  unfamiliar openings!

  11. Your videos are helping me a lot there very informative and constructed in a clear and concise manner please keep making more of them so i can keep increasing my knowledge. 

  12. This video was fantastic! Dereque has explained the concepts very clearly, and in great detail. I was engrossed throughout. Thank you.

  13. Been visiting I started playing officially 2 years ago and i most say you are one of those helping me to play better. When I become a World Master, I will remember to name you. Thank you

  14. Been watching a lot of chess videos on you-tube lately and Dereque's explanations are great for players like me. It is really important to know WHY they make these moves in the openings. I hope you make a lot more of these videos in future, but if you can, please put the co-ordinates of the squares on the board graphic. Dereque will sometime mention possible moves with co-ordinates and the grey board doesn't have the letters written on it so I need to open up another program. Anyway, keep up the good work, and along with "Kevin from the chess website" you are really helping my game!

  15. Dereque, this video is really fantastic.  I learned more here than I have ever learned.  Comparing the Sicilian to the Scotch game was really really helpful, because in every case the issues involved are so subtle and long-term, it is hard to really grasp what the issues are even if you're following along.  You might want to consider doing more videos focusing on that–the Ruy Lopez vs. the Scotch Game, Scotch Game vs. Sicilian, etc.  It really provides insight.

  16. Thanks for the brilliant explanation; i have watches quite a few games with the sicilian defense but never new exactly what it was about, for me this lecture has stripped away the mystery and got right down to the bare bones of it. Many thanks.

  17. At 10:30, why does black not play e5 instead of e6? This would cause white to lose tempo by forcing the knight off d4 and provide space for black's light square bishop.

  18. Man! This is the best channel about chess I've found on YouTube. Everything was explained so nicely…

  19. you didnt really teach me much about how to play this opening well. just how black falls behind in development

  20. A big advantage for black in the Open Sicilian (as far as average players are concerned) is, that he has "only" to know his pet variation. White has to know good lines against, the Dragon, Najdorf, Sveshnikov, Scheveningen, Kan, Paulsen, Kalashnikov, Classic and even more.

  21. This truely is all you need to know about the position. It's a speed based position for white. A central pawn has been 'gambited away' in exchange for a flank one. White's desperation to keep moving forward makes his moves both predictable, and hard to counter. This is why you can get such fantastical positions. White cannot play positional moves. White aims to deploy all pieces without moving another pawn. Black creates a huge positional imbalance by entering into the najdorf. Yes, black goes down in piece development, however black suddenly gains a lead in 'position/pawn structure'. Also, it enables black to reply to a queenside castling with B7-B5, which is probably the reason the najdorf is so good. Queenside castling counts as a two-fer in terms of piece deployment, if you can pull it off.

  22. I have watched several 1 hour long videos on the Sicilian and none of them even mention the basic idea that it is about giving up a flank pawn for a center pawn. I learned more in 12 minutes than in probably 7 hours of other presentations. Thanks.

  23. I know that the Sicilian is one of the best replies to 1.e4. But I never play it as black, because I'm afraid of the english attack, which accurs after the dragon and najdorf. I know that I have to counter attack on the queenside, but I'm not a very good attacking player! My style is more defencive and solid. Do you recomend this opening to me Dereque?

  24. when I play this defence against a computer white never makes the moves that you suggest here. Never takes my central pawn This makes the defence useless.

  25. I have to say that Dereque's videos are not balls deep, but they are deep enough to understand the majority of the tactics. I especially do like that he tries to tell us the ideas behind every significant move.

  26. You're really good at explaining these complicated ideas in a way that is understandable and it seems I can take away key implications and premises

  27. So if there three reasons why the open sicilian doesn't favor black in terms of development, why does anyone play it at all?

  28. This is easily one of the top 3 instructive chess channels that i have come across. It is very lucid and thorough in it's analysis and it is well produced.

  29. After the C5 pawn opening, I find Bishop to C4 the most natural move but never see it. wonder if that’s considered a bad move and why.

  30. In the Scotch opening variation that you showed, after white plays 4.Nxd4, if I count the moves, white has made 4 moves [ 2 pawn moves and 2 knight moves] to reach that position. But black has only made 3 moves [one pawn advance, one pawn capture and one knight move] to reach the SAME position. So how is white the one that is ahead in development when it has taken him more moves to get there? [ needless to say this whole subject of winning and losing tempi is way over my head.]

  31. Ive been playing about a year. Just a beautiful explanation of the opening and ideas behind it. A comment under me said that he didn't learn anything. Then he wasn't ready for this video. Im playing a correspondence game against someone superior to me. Here is why i watched this video. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4. What do i do now? Did I mess up playing my knight instead of d6? anyway 3…cxd4 4. Nxd4 and i played g6 looking to play Bg7, castle then push my center pawns. get my knight out and my center pawns….. My c pawn an e pawns were never issues for my bishop because i am fianchettoing my dark square bishop. Anyway great video.

  32. Hello Dereque, so I got all your Apps for Carlsbad, QGD Be7, QGD Tarrasch, KID Bayonet… question is do you have any other Apps for defences against e4, love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! your explanations and it makes sense and helps my understanding very well. If not please consider making it available. I am a loyal follower. Thanks

  33. Since we are supposed to be learning how to play with the black pieces here, wouldn't it make more sense to have black at the bottom of the board?

  34. You are so good at explaining stuff. I finally got into playing the game after over 3 decades away. And I'm familiar with the names or the openings and some of the basic movements. But you're so good at explaining the reasoning behind choices.

  35. Ah thank your for summarizing this openng. Now I understood that when Im playing black and choose the Sicilian defence its bascially an advantage in the longterm if white can be kept from breaking through (and ofcourse the probably occuring own flaws are not decisive enough).

  36. Check out the damn picture quality of this 2010 video! Holy crap! I don't even have this good quality in 2019! Also, I like the way he explains in terms of WHY the position is valuable for both black and white and what strategies they imply.

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