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Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation (B28)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 a6

Number of games in database: 2130
Years covered: 1852 to 2018
Overall record:
   White wins 36.3%
   Black wins 37.0%
   Draws 26.7%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Efim Geller  8 games
Kateryna Lahno  6 games
Alexey Suetin  6 games
Mark Taimanov  24 games
Istvan Csom  22 games
Pia Cramling  16 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Anand vs Morozevich, 2004
Zsofia Polgar vs A Rabczewski, 1989
P Blazkova vs J Manak, 1995
NN vs Pandolfini, 1967
V Liberzon vs Taimanov, 1967
B Pietrusiak vs Velimirovic, 1964
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 page 1 of 86; games 1-25 of 2,130  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Staunton vs NN 1-0251852LondonB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
2. Cochrane vs Somacarana 0-1291858CalcuttaB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
3. Cochrane vs Somacarana  1-0591858CalcuttaB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
4. Meitner vs Anderssen 0-1261873ViennaB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
5. Blackburne vs W Paulsen 1-0521892DSB-07.KongressB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
6. Lasker vs NN 1-0211898Simul, 28bB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
7. S Passmore vs E O Jones  ½-½461900LondonB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
8. G Marco vs Schlechter ½-½301904Cambridge SpringsB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
9. H Suechting vs Von Gottschall ½-½171904Coburg (Meisterturnier)B28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
10. G Marco vs Maroczy 1-0131905OstendB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
11. W Kunze vs A Sartori 0-1401905Barmen Main A, GERB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
12. Gajdos vs A Sartori  ½-½481905Barmen Main A, GERB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
13. Vidmar vs A Sartori 1-0361905Barmen Main A, GERB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
14. F Englund vs A Sartori  1-0301905Barmen Main A, GERB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
15. Reggio vs Marshall 0-1301905ScheveningenB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
16. Loman vs Marshall 0-1441905ScheveningenB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
17. Breyer vs M Brody  ½-½121913BudapestB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
18. K Sterk vs M Brody ½-½591913Aus-Hun ChampionshipB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
19. K Geus vs M Lange  1-0321914Mannheim-BB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
20. Schlechter vs J Mieses 1-0291918Berlin Four MastersB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
21. A Kier vs T Aalheim  1-0301920Gothenburg CB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
22. Olland vs V Sjoberg  ½-½921920Gothenburg BB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
23. Spielmann vs Tartakower 1-0751921Vienna mB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
24. D Marotti vs G Matteucci  1-0521921ITA-chB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
25. J Krejcik vs D Hell 1-0441921Vienna-AB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
 page 1 of 86; games 1-25 of 2,130  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-25-04  PaulKeres: Interesting, 2...a6 to stop 3. Bb5, and a 'Rossilimo type' attack? Does the lead more easily into the Najdorf as well I wonder? Any Sicilian experts out there to lend a view? I'm new to the Sicilian, just starting to play it, so advice and comments always welcome.
Feb-25-04  ruylopez900: <PaulKeres> A play the Sicilian as Black and White but have never seen this. I usually play Dragon/Scheveningen... But I would agree with you that this could transpose rather easily into the Najdorf. The moves you need to get there aren't crazy moves, I could definitely see someone playing them.
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: the problem is 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5! is very good here. white can only retreat (not move to the active square b5) and black can play for ...d5 more easily i'd think
Feb-25-04  Helloween: 3.d4? is a mistake in the O'Kelly as it gives Black the initiative after 4...e5 and 5...Bb4. 3.c4! is the move for White that positionally refutes this sub-line.
Feb-25-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: 3. c3 is also good versus this variation. However the 3. d4 mistake is important to remember if you ever run into the move order 1. e4 c5 2. d4?! cxd4 3. Nf3 a6!, where White can play 4. Nxd4 e5 and be slightly worse or enter the dubious and gimmicky Smith-Morra with 4. c3.
Apr-18-04  Viking: I find this opening kinda intresting. Sicilian is loaded with theory, and personally I don't even like the regular Sicilian variations. But O'kelly seems fun though.
Jun-04-04  paradigmshift: I believe a Maroczy Bind (i.e. C4) is the best answer as Helloween says, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it refutes the O'Kelly.
Jul-13-04  themindset: although gimmicky, i dont believe the morra gambit is dubious.
Jul-13-04  BiLL RobeRTiE: Really? I haven't actually played much chess / read up on theory recently, but I recall peeking inside my math teacher (and chess coach)'s copy of NCO and seeing a 'refutation' to the Smith-Morra based on ...e6 and ...a6. Anybody have more information?
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: I don't know if there is a "refutation". Depends what you mean.. Black often, in practical play on club-level, finds it not that easy to both neutralize White's initiative and keep the extra pawn - the Morra sucks objectively of course but..

Black of course has the option of not accepting the gambit - in the normal move order 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 he may play 3..Nf6 transposing into the Sicilian Alapin, also a fine alternative to the regular Open Sicilian, but also theoretically inferior.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AgentRgent: I've posted comments regarding the Smith-Morra over at: Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4 (B21)
Jul-13-04  Dick Brain: <bill robertie> Yes, NCO does show a line with development for Black similar to the Kan Sicialian and evaluates it as leading to a slight advantage for Black. In the notes they mention that Black might try this sort of scheme if he is looking for a refuation. Obviously there are many ways White can play differently and the evaluation of advantage to could easily prove to be wrong. My RX for most of us is that unless you know that you will be meeting somebody who plays this gambit you should follow acirce's example and just steer the game back into the Alapin's variation (which you should prepare for anyway since it's so common).

It's just not practical to prepare heavily for complicated offbeat openings that you may never see if you can bypass the complications.

Sep-01-04  joeyam30: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.c3! d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.d4
Sep-01-04  joeyam30: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.d4??? cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5!
Jan-20-05  cuendillar: This seem to have become fashionable at, faced it 3 times in 1 hour. In those games 3.c3 seemed to work well, white basically being a tempo ahead in the Sicilian, Alapin (b22)
Jan-20-05  Akavall: It seems that after 2... a6, black doesn't allow an open Sicilian, but..

If white wants to play open Sicilian they can just play 3. Nc3 instead of 3. d4. And after I think any black move they can play d4.

So I don't really get the idea behind O'Kelly...

Feb-13-05  hintza: Here is a nice variation of fool's mate I played today against a weak opponent in a blitz game:

White: hintza
Black: Guest[insert a few random numbers here]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 <The O'Kelly Variation; a rarity in my experience.> 3.c4! <This is much better than 3.d4, after which Black's somewhat dubious 2...a6 serves a real purpose.> 3...f6?? <Whether Black moved the wrong pawn accidentally or through a blunder we will never know, but after this weak move his fate is sealed.> 4.d4 b6 5.Be2 Bb7 6.Nc3 g6 <Clearly Black's plan is to weaken his K-side as much as possible!> 7.Be3 h6 <The natural continuation of Black's plan! (see note to move 7)> 8.0-0 g5?? 9.Nxg5! fxg5?? 10.Bh5#

Black could have averted the mate by 9...Bg7, but he would still be virtually lost.

Feb-13-05  hintza: An interesting companion to the above game is the well-known trap in <Knight13>'s beloved Bird's Opening: 1.f4 e5! <The dangerous From's Gambit> 2.fxe5 d6! 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nc3?? <This natural-looking developing move actually loses immediately:> 4...Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3 6.hxg3 Bxg3#. This is another example of the fool's mate theme being exploited to the full. 4.Nf3 is the only safe way of meeting From's Gambit, eliminating Black's threats unless of course White plays h3!(after 4...Nc6)!
May-09-05  chessboyhaha: Refutor you're wrong!!!!!!It's not 3...e5 the main line ,it's 3...Nf6 4.Nc3 and now 4...e5 begging a type of Sveshnikov without Nc6 and alredy played a6.
May-09-05  chessboyhaha: 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 ( 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 e6 = ) 5...cd4 6.Nd4 d6 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb3 Cc6 9.Cc3 d5 10.h3 Bf5 11.Nh4 Be6 12.f4 g6 13.g4 Bg7 with incert future. 3.c3 not is the "refutation" of the O'Kelly. If someone wants to discuss the Hungarian Variation(B53) leave your comment there. If someone wants to discuss the O'Kelly(B28) more profund leave your comment here.
May-09-05  chessboyhaha: 3.d4 not is a mistake. it's the move that more complicate the position
Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: 3.d4 is a mistake in this line
May-10-05  BiLL RobeRTiE: <chessboyhaha> It's definitely a mistake, and you definitely are horrible at both chess and English.
May-11-05  chessboyhaha: BiLL RobeRTiE, try to live in the South America, try to have 11 and try to write in English with 11 years old living in South America
May-11-05  chessboyhaha: What line refutor?
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