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"Taimanovish" sideline against the 2.Nc3 Sicilian

Hello coaches, hello everyone :-)

I am fascinated by our coaches’ repertoire recommendation 2.Nc3 against the Sicilian. But I have a question that’s been burning in my mind for about two decades now :-)

Before I became a ChessMoods PRO member, I was never too worried about facing 2.Nc3 as black in the Sicilian, because I had/have sort of my own little – and rare – pet line that I had a lot of confidence in (and in fact still do – so maybe the CM team can change my view after all these years). I never really fully knew for sure whether I was right, but then again I never really much cared about what white should play. After all, my reasoning was… it’s white’s problem!

Well, now that I’m seriously considering to play this as white, I guess you might say that it has finally become my problem too! ;-)

The line is this: 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Na5!?

I realise that a good number of you – especially those who’ve never seen this before – may scoff at this ridiculous, tempo-losing, knight-edging move. I know I did too when I first saw it. However, let me try to defend the logic behind it.

Compare this variation from the Open Sicilian:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 b5 8.Be3 Bb7 9.f4 Na5. This is the Taimanov/Paulsen/Kan Sicilian (okay, it’s a bit of a sideline and other ways of playing are considered better, but then again I think even the great Taimanov himself sometimes played his system with Na5).

Now look at this:

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Na5 4.Nf3 a6 5.Be2 e6 6.0-0 b5 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bb7 9.Be3 Qc7. The result is the same position with an extra move for black. So, even though the first variation (above) was maybe not the best line for black in this system, the fact that he has an extra move in an otherwise generally quite well-reputed opening makes me rather uncertain that this is the way for white to go.

And of course I do realise that these are just sample lines and by no means “The One Truth” ;-). Maybe there is a specific move order somewhere to punish black’s idea, but so far I haven’t found it yet and my general feeling is that white has to either play this line a tempo down or else restrain himself with d2-d3. That makes me feel a bit uneasy ;-).

At any rate, my results with this line have always been quite good with black (although it must be said that the instances where I faced 2.Nc3 and 3.Bb5 have been few and far between – which is another very good reason to play it!)

So then…To Avetik and friends, of course you already know all the things that I have written above – and much more too – so maybe you can shed some light on this? I would be very interested to hear the experts’ opinion on this little line that I have always found interesting, but the soundness of which I have never been able to (dis)prove…


Thank you for sparing the time to plough through this long post!

Kind regards


P.S. By the way, I will of course never consider playing like this against the Rossolimo, because after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Na5? 4.c3, black is just sitting at the wrong side of a very bad Alapin! ;-)

PRO Members

French game Question

I recently had a French game , there was little bit difference between the line you showed in Video 


If you get chance can you please look into the game and update the pgn file with your comments , I wrote some of the things I thought in the annotation , want to find out what I have missed or could have been improved . 

PRO Members