Delayed c3 Sicilian

Rather than the well-known lines of the “c3 Sicilian” (1.e4 c5, 2.c3), it is possible to delay the move c3 by a move (or two). The idea is to then play d4 and claim the center with two pawns at d4 and e4. This delayed version is related to these openings:

The delayed c3 line is primarily useful against the “d6 Sicilian” lines (e.g. Nadjorf or Dragon lines), but is less useful against the “e6 Sicilians” (e.g. Kan, Taimanov) or the “Nc6 Sicilians”.

Delayed c3 Sicilian against d6 Sicilian

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian (d6 line)

Delayed c3 Sicilian against Nc6 Sicilians

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian (against Nc6 Sicilian)

Delayed c3 Sicilian against Nc6 Sicilians

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian (against e6 Sicilian)

Black Replies: In many of these lines, Black’s best response to “c3” may be to play “..d5” (as in the main “c3 Sicilian”). Hence, this idea may work best against “2..d6” Sicilian lines, where the "d’ pawn has already moved, and playing d5 would lose a tempo.

Black may also consider playing “..e5” in some lines, since White has allowed that by delaying “d4”. However, the structure of a “c5” and “e5” pawn is somewhat cumbersome and likely to lead to a mostly closed position. White may even still play “d4” hoping to exchange center pawns and play against the backward "d’ pawn and the hole on the d5 square.

Analysis of the Delayed c3 against the d6 Sicilian

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian, gambit line

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian, gambit accepted line

Diagram: Delayed c3 Sicilian, gambit declined line

References

References: MCO 15, page 350, column 10 has a “Delayed c3 Sicilian” against 2..d6 line; MCO 15, page 354, note (y) has “1.e4 c5, 2.c3 d6, 3.d4 Nf6, which is similar but missing Nf3.

Other Anti-Sicilian Lines

Other types of Anti-Sicilian Openings include:

Related Chess Openings Topics

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