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In many variations of the Sicilian Black’s king’s bishop is blocked in early by ...d7-d6, and then mostly occupies a modest place on e7 and in the early phase of the game has to content itself with defensive duties such as the protection of the d6-pawn and possibly the unpinning of the Nf6. That things can be different can be seen from the complex of variations around 2...e6, in which Black does without ...d6 and instead leaves the bishop’s diagonal open. Black mainly advances his game at first with moves such as ...a6, ...Nc6, ...Qc7, ...Nf6 and ...b5 and then decides, depending on White’s setup, what the best square for the bishop is. This complex includes the Kan Variation, the Paulsen and the Taimanov System, which are all characterised by great flexibility, including in connection with the possible move orders. Many strong grandmasters play these systems, e.g. Vassily Ivanchuk and world champion Viswanathan Anand.
The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen
The Sicilian has been known for decades as the most reliable way for Black to obtain an unbalanced but good position. Among the most popular Sicilians at the top level the two that certainly stand out are the Najdorf and the Paulsen.