Sveshnikov Sicilian

The Sveshnikov Sicilian, or the “c3 Sicilian” is an attacking line against the Sicilian. It tends to be tactical play for both sides. This line used to be a way to surprise your opponent (as White) but is now commonly played and less likely to surprise.

Diagram: c3 Sicilian

Black Replies and Variations

Black’s options for replies include:

  • 2..Nf6 … a provocative line where Black tempts White into playing “e5”, hoping to get White to over-extend (a simiar strategy as in the Alekhine’s Defence).
  • 2..d5 … This leads to a very open position, somewhat similar to a Center Counter Variation, but one where there is a pair of extra moves “c3” and “c5”. There is a lot of theory for this line.
  • 2..d6 … This is a non-forcing variation, somewhat passive by Black, which can allow White to play “d4” and own the center.
  • 2..e6 … This tends to head towards a French Defence, after “d4 d5”. It is particularly likely to result in an “Advance French” after White advances with “e5”.


The c3 Sicilian is unlikely to transpose to other main-line Sicilian variations, simply because most of them involve White playing Nc3 rather than c3. Hence, the main transpositions are as discussed above:

Transposition from Smith Morra Gambit

The c3 Sicilian lines can be reached by transposition. Also important to note is that a lot of times when White plays the Smith-Morra Gambit (2. d4), Black can decline the gambit by transposing to lines in the c3 Sicilian, by playing “…d5” or “..Nf6”, transposing to the two main variations of the c3 Sicilian instead of accepting the gambit.

Other Anti-Sicilian Variations

Other types of Anti-Sicilian Openings include: