Basics of the Sicilian Defense | Chess

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Hi. My name is Rebecca Taxman and I am with Chess NYC. Today, I am going to show you the basics of the Sicilian defense. Now, when people think of the Sicilian, they’re like woo! It’s a huge opening. This is one of the strongest defenses for black. There are probably about over ten variations that can be strongly played in the Sicilian defense.

I’ve played the Sicilian defense, maybe, over 2000 times and every time that I play it, I learn something new. So today, I’m just going to show you the raw basics of the Sicilian defense. So, let’s start.Usually, white wants to start off with E4 controlling the center. Now instead of playing E5, black decides to play C5, a counter center. White then proceeds with knight F3. And now again, there are different variations that can be played here, but the typical variation is D6 creating a minor little pawn chain and opening up way for bishop development. Next, white wants to develop and attack the center. So, they play D4. This is a must take.

Then, white takes back. Now, we notice that white seems to have a little bit of an advantage here because they have their knight in the center and a pawn in the center. We want to stop white from playing C4, which is called the Moroczy Bind. And, we want to stop them from playing this and really controlling a lot of the center. In order to do that, we play knight F6 attacking the E4 pawn. Therefore, white cannot play this because we can take the E4 pawn. White’s next move is knight C3. Now in order to stop an attack on this B5 square which is aiming directly at black’s king, it is extremely imperative that black plays A6 to stop an attack on B5.

The knight, now, cannot come to B5. This knight cannot come to B5. Additionally, this bishop is hindered from coming to B5 and is forced to go to C4 or somewhere further back. And, this is the raw basics of the Sicilian. From here, we can go on to many different variations, such as the Scheveningen, the Najdorf, and the Dragon, just to name a few.


  1. Wow, I've watched the much longer videos and can't remember everything. Great video ChessNYC lady ! First game diverting away from the scotch game and actually trying the Sicilian as black. Win by resignation with +18 in material.

  2. very well explained for beginners. most of the players memorize those variations and play them blindly. thanks.

  3. Rebecca,it is weird for me that your making a video on the opening you always play against me🤣

  4. never actually took chess seriously until i watched the queens gambit. first thing i wanted to know was what in the world is the sicilian defense

  5. What if he does queen pawn instead of knight pawn ?

  6. This is good !! But what if the opponent plays the queens pawn! the sicilian defense is not good>?

  7. Thanks for this video. You’re the first one to explain the Sicilian Defense in a way that I understand. Just watched The Queen’s Gambit and started learning about chess

  8. oh hey dont mind me i just finished the queen’s gambit haha

  9. Played Sicilian defense.
    Felt like Vito Corleone.. I will make him an offer he can't refuse. 😀

  10. Yes, this is me at 3am learning to become Beth Harmon

  11. Wow … 10 variations …. I think you mean more like 100 at least smh

  12. but what if white still moves pawn to C4?

  13. I'm pretty sure if I start taking tranquilizers, I'm going to be really good at this

  14. im so curios about this Sicilian Defense after queens gambit

  15. Another way to prevent the pawn moving up and controlling the center, is after the white Knight moves up to the center, check with the black queen side bishop, this will force the king the either move which prevent a castle, OR if black is lucky, its opponent will blunder and move the queen to protect, losing a queen to a bishop

  16. I think what makes others struggle with playing against me is that I don’t play the typical openings that everyone study their whole lives studying and playing for.

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