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Sicilian, Closed (B23)
1 e4 c5 2 Nc3

Number of games in database: 5815
Years covered: 1723 to 2014
Overall record:
   White wins 35.3%
   Black wins 37.5%
   Draws 27.2%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
PRACTITIONERS
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Gawain Jones  45 games
Nikola Mitkov  36 games
Nigel Short  35 games
Boris Gelfand  32 games
Lev Polugaevsky  18 games
Aleksander Wojtkiewicz  14 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Sutovsky vs Smirin, 2002
Nakamura vs Karjakin, 2004
Vallejo-Pons vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008
S Levitsky vs Marshall, 1912
S Iuldachev vs Aronian, 2004
Ilyin-Zhenevsky vs Lasker, 1925
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 page 1 of 233; games 1-25 of 5,815 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs A Severino 0-115 1723 CasualB23 Sicilian, Closed
2. Paulsen vs Anderssen 1-042 1862 Anderssen - PaulsenB23 Sicilian, Closed
3. Paulsen vs Anderssen ½-½57 1862 Anderssen - PaulsenB23 Sicilian, Closed
4. Paulsen vs Anderssen  1-044 1862 Anderssen - PaulsenB23 Sicilian, Closed
5. Paulsen vs E Schmidt 1-034 1864 LeipzigB23 Sicilian, Closed
6. De Riviere vs G Neumann  1-045 1865 BerlinB23 Sicilian, Closed
7. G Neumann vs G MacDonnell  ½-½61 1867 DundeeB23 Sicilian, Closed
8. De Riviere vs C Golmayo  1-034 1867 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
9. Kolisch vs C Golmayo 1-086 1867 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
10. Steinitz vs De Riviere  1-043 1867 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
11. Steinitz vs C Golmayo  1-059 1867 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
12. G Neumann vs C Golmayo 1-059 1867 Paris m3B23 Sicilian, Closed
13. Steinitz / Blackburne vs De Vere / MacDonnell  1-031 1868 GBR tour simB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. Blackburne vs De Vere  1-040 1870 Baden-BadenB23 Sicilian, Closed
15. Steinitz vs J H Walsh 1-015 1870 London -B23 Sicilian, Closed
16. Paulsen vs J Heral 1-036 1873 ViennaB23 Sicilian, Closed
17. J Heral vs A Schwarz  1-072 1873 ViennaB23 Sicilian, Closed
18. Meitner vs J Heral  ½-½33 1873 ViennaB23 Sicilian, Closed
19. S Rosenthal vs Anderssen  1-050 1873 ViennaB23 Sicilian, Closed
20. S Rosenthal vs Anderssen 1-050 1873 WienB23 Sicilian, Closed
21. S Rosenthal vs Anderssen  ½-½46 1878 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
22. A Clerc vs Anderssen 0-133 1878 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
23. Mackenzie vs Anderssen 0-149 1878 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
24. Blackburne vs Anderssen 0-141 1878 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
25. Winawer vs Anderssen 1-040 1878 ParisB23 Sicilian, Closed
 page 1 of 233; games 1-25 of 5,815 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  
 

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-02-09  MaxxLange: <sentricleclub> That pawn structure is OK against the Closed Sicilian, but I wouldn't play it on move 3 there. I'd play Nc6

You can aim for the reversed English "Botvinnik System" with the center pawns as in your diagram, Nc6, g6, Bg7, Nge7, and 0-0. Then eventually Be6 and maybe Qd7, maybe Rb8 playing for b5 lever, or preparing play in the center, or preparing f5.

It's a decent Black system to learn against English or 1 Nf3 stuff, too.

Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: any thoughts on 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5? after 3. ...Ne4 4.Bc4 it's not your typical sicilian

i want to play the grand prix against everyone but i find 1.e4 c5 2.f4 d5 et al to be strong for black and 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 e6 with ...Nge7, ...d5 etc to be good for black as well...nothing to attack without a ...g6

thoughts on 3.Bb5?

Oct-14-09  MaxxLange: <refutor> I've never heard of this line.

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4

How about 4 Bd3 instead of 4 Bc4? In the regular Grand Prix with Bb5, wasn't that Bd3 idea a big try against the ...Nd4 line, a few years ago? You follow with c3, Bc2, Nf3, 0-0, and d3 or d4, in some order, and how does Black justify his play?

Oct-14-09  MaxxLange: Eh, you can't play c3 soon, your QN is on c3.
Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: i'm going to do a little research and see what i come up with. it's worth a punt (or two) in blitz i figure :)
Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <refutor: any thoughts on 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5? after 3. ...Ne4 4.Bc4 it's not your typical sicilian >

It is a fairly popular move. The ChessLab database has scores of games with it.

Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: there's lots of games with it but the positions aren't common sicilian positions by the looks of it
Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: As long as White avoids d4 I think it is more like a Rossolimo variation than a Closed - although technically they are both 'closed' without White's d4.
Oct-14-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <refutor: > I saw your question on the Bird's forum also. You might like John Watson's Mastering the Chess Openings series (3 volumes).
Oct-14-09  MaxxLange: <parisattack>It's Rossolimo-ish, yes, but, the Knights are reversed - in the Rossolimo, the KN is at f3, and the QN is at b1. Here, the QN is at c3, and the KN is at g1.
Oct-14-09  MaxxLange: seconding Watson's opening books - I have the first two volumes, which have been of immense help in my chess studies. I've been inspired to play lots of main line openings by them, that I had previously feared.
Oct-14-09  MaxxLange: Example: I scored 2 easy wins at the last weekend tourney I went to, using Watson's explanation of the 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 system against the Caro-Kann. He explains with such fairness and lucidity how Black should play to equalize against this sideline, and what can happen if Black strays from the path.

I was in the 'B' class, and the opponents were just clueless against that line. They did not even play ..Bg4, they just went into their autopilot CK development

Aug-25-13  Conrad93: This is a perfect opening against stronger players.

Plus, it beats playing against booked players.

Aug-25-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I concur, Closed Sicilian a good choice against stronger opposition. The only game I won against a senior master was with the CS.
Aug-25-13  nescio: <Conrad93> <parisattack> I don't necessarily agree. A lot depends on the situation and your own style. Smyslov had a quiet style and played the Closed Sicilian like the virtuoso he was. Spassky used it in the candidates matches in 1968 to deal with the aggression of Geller and Larsen.

Karpov played it exclusively in his youth but when he reached grandmaster level he found that it didn't have enough bite to beat his colleagues and switched to the open Sicilians.

Spassky continued to use it, remarkably enough against weaker opposition, but he was so talented, he could create an attack from the quietest positions.

If you need a win or a draw against a strong player you should only play the Closed Siciiian if you have a lot of experience with it. Otherwise you will have more chances with your usual set-ups where your knowledge may well be equal to that of your opponent. I don't believe in the idea that strong players always know the opening better and anyway, you don't have to win a game in the opening and very rarely do.

Aug-25-13  Conrad93: Nescio, the reason I like it is because the Closed Sicilian is much more natural to play. When you play the open variation, it feels like you are walking on thin glass.

This is better for players who would rather play chess than play out 20 moves of a prepared line.

Here is the version of it that I played.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "New game"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "15"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 $5 d6 4. d3 Bd7 5. Be2 b5 6. Qd2 $5 b4 7. Nd1 Be7 8. Qf4 *


click for larger view

I was playing an 1800 and got a winning position.

Aug-25-13  Conrad93: If he plays, 8...e5 9. Qg3 should give him a headache.
Aug-25-13  nescio: <Conrad93: This is better for players who would rather play chess>

Everyone does

<than play out 20 moves of a prepared line.>

But that never happens lower than the grandmaster level. We pick up opening knowledge from studying master games and trying to figure out the ideas behind their opening moves. That way you don't have know the exact sequences, but can apply those ideas also if the opponent does something different which always happens.

<I was playing an 1800 and got a winning position>

Why not? I have no wish to insult you but at that level it hardly matters what you play in the opening because both players will invariably commmit a lot of mistakes afterwards. Just as an example I'll quote you again:

<If he plays, 8...e5 9. Qg3 should give him a headache.>

I think he doesn't even need any aspirin because he can just play 9...Nf6 10.Qxg7 Rg8 and White has achieved exactly nothing.

If you would like to know what the Closed Sicilian is really about I can recommend playing over some of the following games: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

Aug-26-13  Conrad93: Why would you want to give white counterplay?

Black should punish white for his opening choice, not allow white to equalize with 10. Qxg7.

Otherwise this is a perfectly playable line.

Aug-26-13  Conrad93: I know the mainline and most of the deviations, Nescio, but I would prefer to avoid the mainline.
Aug-26-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <nescio: <Conrad93> <parisattack> I don't necessarily agree. A lot depends on the situation and your own style. Smyslov had a quiet style and played the Closed Sicilian like the virtuoso he was. Spassky used it in the candidates matches in 1968 to deal with the aggression of Geller and Larsen....If you need a win or a draw against a strong player you should only play the Closed Siciiian if you have a lot of experience with it. Otherwise you will have more chances with your usual set-ups where your knowledge may well be equal to that of your opponent>

I fully agree the TOP priority is playing something you know well, feel comfortable with, also. Smyslov's games were among the first I studied and I also saw the Spassky-Geller games.

For Example -I play 1. b4 a lot nowadays. Not a particularly good first move - but I've studied it for years and played it perhaps in 100 games. I feel comfortable with it and know the lines reasonably well (for a patzer!).

The CS is solid but still fairly aggressive - and White gets the K-side which is by nature a bit more sensitive than the Q-side.

Aug-28-13  Conrad93: <For Example -I play 1. b4 a lot nowadays. Not a particularly good first move - but I've studied it for years and played it perhaps in 100 games. I feel comfortable with it and know the lines reasonably well (for a patzer!).>

Even a patzer might gain the advantage over you if you play such a strange flank opening, but at least it's better than 1. g4.

Aug-28-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: No, I've beaten some +2200 players with it. It has some finer points to it.

But yes, would think better than 1. g4 but I am sure there are those who have gotten traction with that move, also.

Aug-28-13  Conrad93: Maybe they were unfamiliar with the opening.

It doesn't seem all that strong.

Aug-28-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: You could always study it, make an informed decision. Fifteen or so books on 1. b4 and a large online DB here -

http://www.algonet.se/~marek/

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