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eurookie 61 ( +1 | -1 )
the closed sicilian
can anyone tell me whites (and blacks) basic plans in the closed sicilian?

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3

Does white normally play a kingside fianchetto and is white castling kingside etc? what do you think are the (dis-)advantages of this opening? Does it normally lead to tactical or to strategical positions? has anybody some games to share?

i'd like to know a little more about this opening, since there's not as much theory to know as in other openings. thanks to anyones help (regardless of rating etc) in advance.

un saludo, eurookie
ccmcacollister 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Closed Sicilian The games of Botvinnik should provide a good source for one method Black will use in it. With pawns on c5,d6,e5.
In general, it may make a big difference whether you mean a Closed Sicilian where WT plays e4,d3 & Nc3 or plays e4, d3 & Nbd2.
eurookie 16 ( +1 | -1 )
thx for your post. could you point out that difference a little more?

d3 is played in both closed variations?

i hope i make sence.
un saludo
jstack 68 ( +1 | -1 )
closed sicilian This is what I always play against 1..c5. Ussually both white and black castle kingside both sides fianchetto the dark bishop. White attacks on the kingside. putting Qd2 Be3 aiming to exchange bishops Black tries to attack on the quenside with Rb8 a6 b5 ect. Black also trises to land a knight at d4 I counter this with Nd1 followed by c3 chasing the knight away and peparing d4. The position is mostly strategical but tactics also play an important role. The main reason I play it is I know what I am getting into every time I face the sicilian. It also seems less risky to me than other variations of sicilian.
ccmcacollister 460 ( +1 | -1 )
Re:1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 , after just mentioning there is also a closed Sicilian with 2.c3. Completely different than the other 2 types.
I'll have to ask you to see some d-base games, or let someone else advise, if you want more info on those other 2 lines. I'm not too interested in the Closed, & each could be a Chapter, in a Long Book. Rarely I may try the line 1.e4 c5 2.d3 & 3.Nd2 . Really a line of Kings Indian with colors reversed. In that vein, I might even play a reversed KI or Rev'd Old Indian with Na3, probably preceded by pawn to a4, if I feel like playing toward hindering BL's Q-side play. But 2.c3 and 2.Nc3 are not my style at all. I never play them. Purely a matter of taste. They are not unsound.
.......... RE: your Q; yes the pawn goes to d3 with either QN's placement.
[Sometime I play a 4th var.of Closed involving placements of e4,d3, b3 Bb5,Bb2,Nf3 and Nc3 or Nd2, and usually o-o. This b3 idea can also be played as an open Var. either by d3 & later d4 or justr d4 instead of d3. If you wanted to learn something that will not be commonly seen or familiar to others.I've had good results with it in OTB play. As yet have not tried it in Corr.Chess.]
.......But back to the 2.Nc3 line. I now see you first asked about. Besides agreeing with Jstack's remarks above, a few others.
.......While the 2.Nc3 tends to the positional, or delayed tactics if any; there is a Gambit line for WT to try for some tactics earlier. Instead of a fianchetto of Bg2, he plays Bc4 instead and the move f4. After BL plays g6 to fianchetto, white plays f4 to f5 allowing BL to win the pawn by g6xf5, but the BL K-side is weakened & WT gets some activity & piece placements on h4 aor h5. Not a Knock-Out blow for WT & BL can decline. But some players of BL may find it discomforting. As I do. Not to say I'd fear or avoid it. More likely to be a matter of mood, at that moment.
.....When WT does go ahead into the usual fianchetto Bg2, he has option of playing his KN to either Nf3 or Nge2....
( Or Yes, even Nh3 at times,ala StephenGerzadowicz who would probably be going
to Nf2 from there. Quite a strong Master player but quite unique style as well. He's been known to make that maneuver, along with Nbd2, Nd2f3 after d3, g3, Bg2 and f4 have been played. Perhaps having opened with 1.g3 . I also like 1.g3 but cannot go so far as to play the Gerzadawicz style, tho he is quite successful with it. Perhaps you could be too, if this sounds at all good to you. Since you mention- ed wanting less theory. This has Theory There, but Most won't know it, or under- stand it if they do! He, & perhaps Duncan Suttles,may have written over half of it)
Also whether he plays f4 before placing his KN. Its not unusual that WT may play Nf3, Bg2 and o-o before then moving his KN again to allow his f4 push. It should all appear pretty straightforward & obvious after viewing a few games. It is a system that is not hard to learn to play. But does permit Black a wide variety of choices as to how he will meet it.
....Just a few alternatives to the mainline style of BL play with Bg7, Rb8, b5 etc for Q-side attack, as mentioned by Jstack. Instead BL can opt for a more Scheveningen type Sicilian set-up, with Nf6, d6, e6, and Be7. To play for d5 push, or stay with the b5 push idea. Or seek transposition to the Closed French. Even with the Bg7 line he has options of e6 or e5 with Nge7, or with Ngf6, or f5 first and then either KN move.
....So if you like that WT has a lot of straight forward ideas to follow, without too much deviation of his plans necessary, to meet most of BL's ideas....and don't mind BL having many choices and options available for his play, give it a try. But you can do little to force his play. So must accept that you will be responding to HIS lead. Which is Hypermodern in spirit. Just know giving BL so much leeway, it will be almost impossible for you to get him into a position that HE does not"like" stylewise & feel comfortable with. After all, he gets to pick his own set-up. So I would not expect to have many early draw offers accepted, should you happen to be playing for one.
There are books for the Closed Sicilian & KI Attack. I cant way which might be good. If it were me, I'd be very tempted to get the English Opening book by John Watson since I know him to be such a competent and honest analyst. Even though the positions would be "reversed" & a tempo different. If I were you, I'd first be looking to see some sample games, from the online d-bases, or whereever. Or an Opening Text like MCO aor BCO, etc. To try to understand the general ideas first and get a feel for different lines. Then decide which, if any, you might want to specialize in. So there's some things to think about. But mostly, See Games !
R.J.Fischer also played the Closed or KI Attack early in his career. So you might want to see some of those games. If so, they are at :
Good Chess to You, Craig.
eurookie 66 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks to both of you ... for advising me.

as i am going through my past game history, i find one game i've played with the closed sicilian. i played it as a gambit - i've the feeling that i did some things wrong, maybe i just feel a little uncomfortable about these positions.

board #1216993

anyway, craig, you were absolutely right about finding out that i do not like openings, which require a big opening knowledge. i'll definitely go trough some games of the closed sicilian and also of 1. g3, since i do know some things about the grob 1 g4.

thx again. un saludo
eurookie 15 ( +1 | -1 )
mini tournament
fyi, i just startet a thematic mini-tournament (1700-2050) about the closed sicilian. everyone (within rating range) is welcome.
atrifix 132 ( +1 | -1 )
f4-f5 Sacrificing the f-pawn is a pretty typical theme in Closed Sicilians/Grand Prix positions. Black usually plays ...f5 himself to counter this. Honestly, I don't understand 10. g4, even though I've seen it a number of times in similar positions. I suppose White is trying to open the g-file and weaken Black's kingside pawns, but it seems to directly invite 10... f5 to me.

".......While the 2.Nc3 tends to the positional, or delayed tactics if any; there is a Gambit line for WT to try for some tactics earlier. Instead of a fianchetto of Bg2, he plays Bc4 instead and the move f4. "

At least in America, this is known as the Grand Prix. The Closed Sicilian (proper) only features g3 and Bg2. The Grand Prix usually features development of the Bishop on either c4 or b5. In any of these variations white is often sacrificing his f-pawn.

Also, if you're going to play ...Rb8 and ...b5, ...a6 is usually a waste with the bishop on g2. Often the pawn will go to a5 (or stay on a7), when ...a6 is a wasted tempo. Nd1 and c3 should be met with ...b5-b4xc3, opening the b-file.

The greatest master of the Closed Sicilian was Smyslov, who had a very fine sense of positional balance and harmony. You should look at his games if you want a better understanding of the Closed Sicilian--most of the theory hasn't changed since Smyslov's day since the Closed Sicilian isn't very tactical and it hasn't been explored as much as the main lines.
ccmcacollister 142 ( +1 | -1 )
HI Atrifix I believe what I am describing is different than the Grand Prix [Or what we call that in Iowa. {8-D...) Which we always started with 1.e4 c5 2.f4 which could certainly transpose, but I don't expect it to if BL is a good player who also knows the French. I'm sure youre aware BL can play 2....e6 and 3....d5 in that sequence,
to approach French positions I would be pretty happy with myself.

I once considered the WT side of that GP to play, but I felt embarrassed by 2.f4 even by 2....d5. Then WT's left pondering, Whys my f-pawn out there all alone? Or attached to an e5 pawn thats not supprted from d4, & will probably "disappear" soon if BL feels like it.

The line I discribe (older I believe) arises from the move order 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 and
3.Bc4 before f4 (& d3) are ever played. As evident, this move order precludes BL's options of 2...d5 ; or 2....e6 3......d5. Optionally WT then gets choices open as to whether to play Nf3, Nge2 or Qf3 which can all be played after, or before his f4 push.

I'm not a Grand Prix student though. {So maybe its become a "WT to play & win" opening since I looked at it in the 1980's ?!} Primarily because I considered the older move order cited as superior (before getting turned-off most any of the "Closed" concepts), allowing less options to BL, and the reasons previously mentioned re 2.f4 !? I imagine it transposes if BL is kind enough to continue along with a standard Bg7 formation. [But knowing the French as you do, would You really do that ?] {8-)

Regards Craig
atrifix 99 ( +1 | -1 )
In most places, at least to my knowledge, the GP refers to either 1. e4 c5 2. f4 or 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4, or usually any combination of f4 without K-side fianchetto. Back in the long ago days, people used to play 1. e4 c5 2. f4 as the main way to reach the GP, but I believe Tal showed that 2... d5! was sufficient to equalize, so the main move order became 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 to avoid the ...d5 counter. Some people still play 1. e4 c5 2. f4, which is still a branch of the GP, but not a very common one.

The move order of 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 and 3. Bc4 is interesting, probably some sort of irregular sicilian, but after f4 it would transpose into the GP. You probably don't want to play 3. Bc4 against 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6, though, since 3... Nf6 and 4... d5 looks sufficient. I suppose it would be plausible if White was willing to play 4. Qe2, but the early development of the Queen can't be good, especially since the Queen usually goes to e1. Against 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 White should probably keep the Bishop on f1 to deploy on b5, e.g., 3. f4 Nc6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb5 is strong. Of course White can also transpose back into open Sicilian lines with Nf3 and d4, having avoided variations like the Sveshnikov, Najdorf and Dragon.
fmgaijin 77 ( +1 | -1 )
Saidy-Fischer, 1969 The plan of Nc3, Bc4, f4-f5 goes back at least to this Sicilian Reversed game which won the Informant Best Game prize that year. Not long after, some sensible Dutch players figured out that the attack would be better with an extra tempo, playing it directly vs. 1.e4 c5. It had a brief fling with popularity in the 1970's and then reverted to obscurity . . . . The British Grand Prix tournaments in the 80's and 90's brought the move order 1.e4 c5 2.f4 to prominence as an aggressive alternative to the heavily theoretical Nf3 lines. The two variations got lumped under a single moniker ("Grand Prix") by some chess authors because neither had enough detail to make a separate opening volume and because they sometimes transpose into each other.
atrifix 41 ( +1 | -1 )
Saidy-Fischer, 1969 The theory of Saidy-Fischer is fairly atypical of the GP (Saidy got no play the entire game). I had thought the plan of f4-f5 had originated before this, but Fischer clearly illustrated the kind of long-term compensation that White can get and the whole idea of sacrificng pawns for spatial advantages quickly became a mainstay of GM play. Great game, not only of the GP but one of the great games of Fischer's career and of all time.