The Popov Variation against the Taimanov

One of the biggest and best Sicilians is the Taimanov variation, so what to play against it? One of the easy, sharp and semi-rare options is the Popov variation. It starts with 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2, which seems like white is intending to go for an English Attack set-up, but then after 7…Nf6 8.f4 will follow, the Popov variation. The main idea is to play e5 and chase the f6 knight. Black has many ways to try and fight against this idea, but few of them are really good. The main move is to play 8…Bb4 9.Bd3 Na5 to put pressure on the pin. The mainline is to go for a very safe endgame with 10.a3, but 10.0-0 gives surprising sharp play. Both options are in the 60 minutes DVD, so you can choose how to play. Furthermore, the author shows his own preferences, plus some alternatives in the difficult lines.


Sample video


  • Theory
  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.f4
  • Introduction
  • 8...d6
  • 8...b5
  • 8...Bb4 9.Bd3 9th move sidelines
  • 8...Bb4 9.Bd3 Na5 10.a3
  • 8...Bb4 9.Bd3 Na5 10.0-0
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