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Sicilian (B56)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3

Number of games in database: 4039
Years covered: 1865 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 34.0%
   Black wins 34.8%
   Draws 31.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Sergei Movsesian  27 games
Viktor Kupreichik  25 games
Jonny Hector  17 games
Viktor Kupreichik  44 games
Miroslav Markovic  36 games
Istvan Bilek  20 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs Gligoric, 1959
Fischer vs NN, 1959
Morozevich vs E Alekseev, 2004
J Tarjan vs Ljubojevic, 1969
N Yaremko vs D Recuero Guerra, 2006
de Firmian vs E Tate, 2001
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 page 1 of 162; games 1-25 of 4,039  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Cordel / Gohle vs Knorre / Neumann  1-0371865BerlinB56 Sicilian
2. A Fritz vs A Hensel 1-01718774-board blindfold exhibitionB56 Sicilian
3. A Schottlaender vs W Paulsen ½-½491880Wiesbaden CongressB56 Sicilian
4. G Wainwright vs J Thursby  ½-½2618819th Oxford - Cambridge Varsity mB56 Sicilian
5. Blackburne vs Paulsen 0-1571882ViennaB56 Sicilian
6. M Lange vs Paulsen 0-14618833rd DSB Congress, NurembergB56 Sicilian
7. L Bellotti vs C Salvioli  0-12818865th Italian Championship, RomeB56 Sicilian
8. Mackenzie vs Paulsen 1-03918875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtB56 Sicilian
9. J Noa vs Paulsen  0-12918875th DSB Congress, FrankfurtB56 Sicilian
10. Taubenhaus vs Bird ½-½5918896th American Chess Congress, New YorkB56 Sicilian
11. M M Sterling vs Pillsbury 0-1381900ParisB56 Sicilian
12. J Mason vs Burn 0-1401900ParisB56 Sicilian
13. Salwe vs Rubinstein 1-0301903MatchB56 Sicilian
14. O Krause vs J Moller ½-½561907CopenhagenB56 Sicilian
15. O Chajes vs L Uedemann  0-1421908MatchB56 Sicilian
16. Schlechter vs F Duz-Khotimirsky 1-0381909St. PetersburgB56 Sicilian
17. M Smith vs A Kreymborg 1-0491911New York MastersB56 Sicilian
18. Vidmar vs O Bernstein 1-0421911San SebastianB56 Sicilian
19. T F Lawrence vs A W Fox 0-136191113th Anglo-American Cable MatchB56 Sicilian
20. R Lean vs W C Palmer  0-1341911British ChampionshipB56 Sicilian
21. Nimzowitsch vs F Duz-Khotimirsky 1-0321911KarlsbadB56 Sicilian
22. H Langborg vs V Sjoberg  1-0321912StockholmB56 Sicilian
23. H Strick van Linschoten vs G Fontein  0-1311913NSBB56 Sicilian
24. Bogoljubov vs A Selezniev  1-0301917TribergB56 Sicilian
25. G J van Gelder vs M Marchand  1-0641918VAS tournamentB56 Sicilian
 page 1 of 162; games 1-25 of 4,039  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: From this position, can someone shed some light on the merits of ... e6 instead of ... e5? According to some games that I looked at, 1-0 games are mostly ... e5. And 0-1 games are mostly ... e6. Also, if ... e5 what is the advantage or pitfalls if white's Knight falls back to f3 again?


Mar-28-05  AgentRgent: <WannaBe> I'd say it's likely due to the development white is able to generate from lines like: 5...e5 6. Bb5+ Nbd7 7. Nf5 a6 (8. Nxd6+ is threatened) 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. Bg5. Notice that 5...e5 allows the Knight to land on f5 while e6 prevents it. 5...e5 also fixes the backward d pawn as a permanent target for white to attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: WannaBe -- There might be a problem with ...e5 in this position. Often ...e5 is a good move in the Sicilian, sure you get a backwards pawn, but you have all the tools necessary to resolve the problem. In this specific position however, 5...e5 6.Bb5+! seems to be very good for White, see 24 example games here with a win percentage of over 70% for white. A typical variation runs 5...e5 6. Bb5+ Nbd7 7. Nf5 a6 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. Bg5 and according to this database, Black has never been in this position and gotten out alive!

Here's something else I discovered while poking around in the Opening Explorer. From the diagrammed position, 5...Bd7 has an enormous win percentage for Black. Surely this isn't because Black is better, but perhaps it's due to the shock value of the move, enticing White into making some sort of move-order mistake. Here are 92 games from the database with this move:

The stats might favor this move simply because the very strong player Viktor Kupreichik seems to favor it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <AgentRgent> & <Sneaky> Thank you both for the reply, I (through playing e5 & e6) have now learned the pitfall(s) that the line (e5) have. I now only play e6. And followed by Qc7 then Be7 and 0-0. =)
Oct-22-05  aw1988: Of course, if you want to play e5, try B33 or B32...
Oct-28-05  chesscrazy: I like playing e6 better than e5. It's not really because that e5 may lead to a more of a disadvantage. I am an extremely strange chess player and I've played lots of different openings. Sometimes I don't play e6 or e5, I play a6 or g6. And if you were wondering, I have opened a game with h3 and I have opened another with a3!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <chesscrazy> a6 is part of the Najdorf line that I usually play. Most likely after white's Nc3 I play a6. Of course, 1. e4 c5 2. a6 is the O'Kelly variation.
Dec-30-05  who: Here is a game I just played on yahoo against someone rated just over a 100 points higher than I am. ;Title: Yahoo! Chess Game
;White: NN
;Black: me
;Date: Thu Dec 29 08:02:38 GMT 2005

1. e4 c5?!
I don't play the sicilian against people rated higher than me, but I wasn't paying attention. 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 Nc6
6. Be3 Bd7
7. Bd3

A novelty, and one that seems to block his position and take his white bishop out of the game.

7... Ne5

Not really knowing what to do I decided to try and trade off bishops - expecting 8.Bb5 Bxb5 9.Nxb5 a6 with a position that looks like a normal sicilian position, albeit with the white-squared bishops off.

8. h3?!

Preventing ...Ng4


hoping that if ever I made it to the endgame the bishop would be more useful, though maintaining the tension seems preferable.

9. cxd3 e5
10. Nf3 Be7
11. o-o a6

to avoid the nuisance of Nb5 at some point, and to prepare b5.

12. a3?!

I'm not sure what he wants with this.

13. Rc1 Rc8

the opening is done and black's position seems better.

14. Qd2?!

trying to connect his rooks in case of an eventual trade on c1, but it seems like a waste of time.

14... o-o
15. Rc2 Rc6?!

white sorely misses his white-squared bishop, but 15...Rc7 would probably be better.

16. Rc1 Qa5!?

trying to create an eventual pin of the knight, though risking trapping the queen.

17. d4!

finally converting/creating a space advantage.

18. Nxd4 Rc7

Perhaps after 19.b4 Qxa3 there is a way to trap the queen, but I don't see it.

19. Bg5 Rc8
20. Kh1?

Hoping to play 21.f3 without allowing 21...Qb5+, but it allows a pretty clearing combination that leaves white clearly worse.

20... Nxe4!
21. Nxe4 Qxd2
22. Bxd2 Rxc2
23. Rxc2

23.Nxc2 allows 23...Bf5 and the continuation as in the game.

23... Rxc2
24. Nxc2 Bf5
25. f3?

after 25.Nxd6 black has the bishop pair against a bishop and knight with pawns on both sides of the board, but no material advantage and no clear way to win. After 25.f3 white is down a passed pawn.

25... d5
26. g4 Bg6
27. resigns 0-1

Perhaps a bit premature, but with the an extra pawn plus the bishop pair I have to believe that I could convert this to a win.

Jun-26-07  Bob726: The best move here according to the database is the Suprising 5.Bd7? Black wins almost 50% of the time and white only wins 25% of the time. Is it really that good or is it just a good suprise element?
Feb-03-11  Raspje: 5...e5 in this position is very interesting, it was analysed by GM Igor Glek in Secrets of Opening Surprises 12. The idea is to allow 6.Bb5+ because after 6...Bd7 7.Bxd7 Qxd7 8.Nde2 (8.Nf5 Nxe4 is good for black, see Glek) h6! (prevents Bg5) black kan pressurize pawn e4 with ...Qc6/Nbd7 and maybe ...Nc5.

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