Alapin Variation

Since the 1980s there has been a rise in the popularity of 2.c3 against the Sicilian, a move with which White strikes out in a quite different direction from the Open Variations with 2.Nf3 and then 3.d4. Here too, the advance of the d-pawn is the intention, but the preparation with c2-c3 is intended to make it possible to meet ...cxd4 with cxd4. So – at the cost of slowing down the development of his pieces – White would like to retain two pawns in the centre. Not a bad achievement when you remember that in the much played lines of the Open Sicilian he has to make do with only his e-pawn against the black d- and e-pawns. With 2.c3 White can impose on the play a direction which will not be to the liking of every Sicilian fan who has the black pieces. This makes it all the more important for Black to be well prepared for this somewhat different form of the Sicilian.

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