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Sicilian, Kan (B42)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3

Number of games in database: 5281
Years covered: 1859 to 2017
Overall record:
   White wins 37.5%
   Black wins 30.6%
   Draws 31.9%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Milan Matulovic  31 games
Arkadij Naiditsch  28 games
Efim Geller  27 games
Ilya Smirin  45 games
Sergei Rublevsky  44 games
Vladimir Epishin  43 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Fischer vs Petrosian, 1971
Tal vs Suetin, 1969
Stein vs Portisch, 1962
S Bouaziz vs Miles, 1979
Parma vs M Damjanovic, 1960
Leko vs Ivanchuk, 2008
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 page 1 of 212; games 1-25 of 5,281 
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. B Suhle vs Anderssen 0-149 1859 CologneB42 Sicilian, Kan
2. A Schwarz vs Anderssen 0-140 1873 ViennaB42 Sicilian, Kan
3. J Mason vs L D Barbour 1-027 1876 4th American Chess CongressB42 Sicilian, Kan
4. Olland vs A Prange  1-026 1889 Amsterdam-BB42 Sicilian, Kan
5. M Porges vs W Paulsen 1-070 1892 DSB-07.KongressB42 Sicilian, Kan
6. G Marco vs Von Gottschall  1-037 1904 Coburg (Meisterturnier)B42 Sicilian, Kan
7. Taubenhaus vs Tarrasch 0-147 1905 OstendB42 Sicilian, Kan
8. H Von Hennig vs A Hallgarten 0-156 1913 Lower Elbe Ch TtB42 Sicilian, Kan
9. Capablanca vs Tartakower ½-½37 1914 ViennaB42 Sicilian, Kan
10. M Steffelaar vs M Garschagen  1-018 1917 Parkwijk-HSVB42 Sicilian, Kan
11. G Marco vs Reti  ½-½31 1922 Bad PistyanB42 Sicilian, Kan
12. D Daniuszewski vs O Naegeli 1-032 1924 Paris f-BB42 Sicilian, Kan
13. G A Thomas vs Tartakower  ½-½35 1925 MarienbadB42 Sicilian, Kan
14. R P Michell vs Tartakower 0-159 1925 MarienbadB42 Sicilian, Kan
15. M Romi vs A Louis  1-049 1925 Scarborough-AB42 Sicilian, Kan
16. K Klaman vs Furman  ½-½29 1957 USSR ChampionshipB42 Sicilian, Kan
17. N Karaklajic vs Furman  ½-½21 1957 URS-YUGB42 Sicilian, Kan
18. J Penrose vs Filip 0-149 1958 Hastings 1957/58B42 Sicilian, Kan
19. Geller vs Tal  ½-½17 1959 Moscow USSR Team chB42 Sicilian, Kan
20. W Pietzsch vs Gipslis  ½-½41 1959 Riga (Latvia)B42 Sicilian, Kan
21. Y Nikolaevsky vs Polugaevsky  1-064 1959 MoscowB42 Sicilian, Kan
22. Stein vs J Klavins 1-034 1959 Olympiad URSB42 Sicilian, Kan
23. B Milic vs Taimanov  ½-½31 1959 KievB42 Sicilian, Kan
24. D Mardle vs P Clarke  0-131 1959 BCF-chB42 Sicilian, Kan
25. A Fuderer vs Udovcic  0-133 1959 CRO-chB42 Sicilian, Kan
 page 1 of 212; games 1-25 of 5,281 
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  refutor: a good attacking line v. ...Be7 was shown in A Ivanov vs Gulko, 2003
Jun-01-04  Dudley: Attacking always carrys a certain amount of risk for the attacking side. A slow strategic line like the Kan is harder to attack in relative safety than a more aggressive line like the Dragon. Black doesn't give anything for white to attack, like a fianchetto pawn formation or a knight on f6. By playing lines like this,Black can force white to play positionally or unsoundly if he insists on attacking. There is always some wild line you can find if attacking at all costs is your goal, and if you are the stronger player it might work. If not, you tend to get slaughtered.
Jun-01-04  OneBadDog: Look out world! I just purchased Emms book on the Kan!
Jun-01-04  PinkPanther: <Dudley>
No knight on f6? I don't know what kind of Kan Sicilian formations you've been playing, but nearly every time I ever played the Kan my knight came to f6 fairly early on.
Jun-01-04  Dudley: Well, there is a line in the Kan where the KB goes to c5 followed by Ne7 so it doesn't have go to Nf6, which I have looked at as a way to avoid the Keres attack.
Jun-01-04  PinkPanther: <Dudley>
But in the line you mentioned the bishop CAN come back to e7. Also, the Keres Attack is part of the Scheveningen not the Kan (although the openings sometimes transpose, I don't think they really can in this case).
Jun-01-04  Dudley: Maybe you are right, but I think the intention is for the bishop to go to a7 if attacked by Nb3. Another option might be to move Ne7 before the KB moves, play Nc6, NxNd4 and then Ne7-c6. To tell the truth, I am mainly an acc. dragon player and am looking for another type of Sicilian to play that requires less memorization.
Jun-02-04  PinkPanther: That Ne7 to c6 maneuver to "replace" the knight that has just captured the white knight on d4 is a common theme found in the Taimanov Sicilian, a close "relative" of the Kan.
Jun-02-04  Minor Piece Activity: I've been thinking about the Taimanov. :/ Ppl say it is one of the most flexible Sicilian lines, but doesn't putting out that knight on c6 let your friend (I don't like to call him an opponent :D) setup appropriately?
Jun-02-04  Prophylaxis: An interesting point you make. Perhaps the ability to exchange early on d4 is a reason the Taimanov is considered flexible? I have more classical tastes and play the Ruy Lopez against 1. P-K4, sorry for not being much help.
Jun-02-04  PinkPanther: <MPA>
I almost never play Nc6 in the Kan. Instead, I almost always play Nbd7 with the intention of moving the knight to c5 at some point, or perhaps to b6 to get better control over d5.
Jun-02-04  Minor Piece Activity: Hey Pinky, I was talking about the Taimanov. Sorry for confusing you and going off topic. :D
Jun-02-04  tomh72000: Thankyou everyone for your comments. Thanks for the game link <refutor>. <OneBadDog> Does the Emms book have any info on this ...Be7 line? Is it any good? <PinkPanther> I just find playing white against the Kan difficult. Black has a number of good lines, and transposition into the Scheveningen is sometimes a possibility.
Oct-04-04  RKelley: Yes, the Emms book covers Be7 as well as Ba7. When first learning the Kan I was very intrigued by Ba7 and I liked it very much because of its attacking prospects against the white king. All my interest in this line vanished once I discovered that Be3 is pretty much always played after Qe2 and that "nice" bishop is traded off. Therefore I personally feel Be7 is better as it is a very important defensive piece.

I like the Kan alot, as it has been said it's very flexible. I think one should typically play it with keeping in mind the general principle of the Sicilian: white usually gets attacking chances, but if he slips or overextends black's structure and position generally holds out and black has the advantage. The Kan definitely requires patience, if you're impatient you probably should play another Sicilian.

Aug-26-05  Backward Development: I think the ...Ba7 lines are maybe strongest for black; they resemble the Bc8-f5-h7 maneuvers that frequently occur in the Classical Caro-Kann. The ...Be7 lines are more in line with a French Defense manuever; not really my flavor and more passive.
Feb-14-06  Marvol: Great opening, this one :-).

Currently I am also going through Emms's book. Interesting stuff.

So far my favorite is the 'main line' with g6 and Bg7 to strengthen the king's quarters. But that is because my girlfriend is very fond of majesticide, so any help around the king is welcome :-O.

I like it being less dynamic than other Sicilians... nothing wrong with some patient positional play while still keeping an eye out for tactics.

Sep-01-06  weisyschwarz: For those who have played this opening, what is the best strategy for white?
Sep-01-06  Open Defence: probably a good plan for white is to concentrate on the center maybe like this Matulovic vs D Ciric, 1967
Sep-16-06  yanez: <weisyswarch> I dunno but I like ♗f4, ♘c3, ♕d2 and 0-0 then h4 and g4 wih a pawn storm
Premium Chessgames Member
  RonB52734: Kan anyone komment on how the Kan Sicilian kame to have this name? Certainly it kan't be this:
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Hello again <Ron>
They named it after Ilia Abramovich Kan - but other people still call it the Paulsen Variation after the 19th century pioneer of 2...e6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  RonB52734: Thanks, <Domdaniel>, I see it now:, just not B42 itself.
Oct-08-10  WTHarvey: I made a database of every position of the B42 that has occurred 100 times in tournament play. There's no analysis of the moves - it's just repertoire. You can copy and paste the data and put it on your favorite chess program. Go to
Jan-29-12  fisayo123: Im starting to play this line. Me likely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: A Sicilian variation which continues to have decent success. I especially like that black can get play on both sides of the board.

Sicilan Kan Books -

Play the Sicilian Kan - Hellsten
Sicilian Kan - Emms
Sicilian Paulsen - Taimanov
Sicilian Kann(sic)/Paulsen - Chess Digest
Winning with the Kan - Mortazavi

Of course ...Nc6 can become/transpose to a Taimanov. My own experience tho is the exchange Nc6:, bc: with ...a6 already played gives black some very weak Q-side squares. Fischer of course was fantastic at exploiting those.

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