The Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5) is considered as the most combative reply to white's e4. With “c5”, black fights for the center by challenging white with the control of the “d4 square” and at the same time avoiding equal positions while creating lot of counter chances. To many players, they consider this defense as the only and ultimate reply to “e4”.
The great and well known practitioners of this defense are former World Champions Garry Kasparov with his “Najdorf Variation” and Bobby Fischer noted for his favorite, the “Sozin Attack”.
White's usual reply is “Nf3” followed by “d4” that forces the issue on the control of the center immediately. The struggle between the two sides is intense and often leads to a loss or a win depending on which side is able to handle the pieces more effectively. Usually however, the side that is able to activate the pieces early and gains control of the center ends up victorious. Due to its very combative nature, "fighting draws" are common scenarios on the board rather than tranquil maneuverings often seen in more positional openings.
In the Sicilian, there are several games where white attacks on the kingside. On the other hand, black takes chances on the queenside. I have seen several games where white employs a pawn roll on the kingside and black attacks on the queenside initiated by a knight and queen. The side that is able to successfully lunch the attack and gains the initiative often wins the game.
If you are an “e4” player, it is often that you would meet this defense since it is the most common reply to the king's pawn opening. Thus, if you are accustomed in playing “e4”, learning the intricacies of the Sicilian Defense is a way of life. Without a solid foundation or a working knowledge of the basics of this opening, facing this defense for the first time on the board can be very challenging. If you are an “e4” player, it is a best move to have familiarity with anti-Sicilian systems whose main objective is avoiding its main lines such as the “Kan”, “Kalashnikov”, “Pelikan”, Dragon, “Taimanov”, “Richter-Rauzer”, “Scheveningen” and the “Sozin Attack”.
Instead of the usual "1. e4 e5", the move "c5", immediately creates tension
and a very radical imbalance on the chessboard. Somehow black is able to challenge white in controlling the center by avoidance of the usual symmetrical position. The next couple of moves in the Sicilian Defense show how to systematically take control of the center squares and create counter play.
If we study several games with black employing the Sicilian defense, we can see the tension on the chessboard. The struggle between the players is intense making this defense a very exciting one and worth the time to study.
If you are a beginner in chess, learning the basics of the Sicilian defense can give you the proper fundamentals in playing chess correctly. Once you reply “c5” to the popular “e4”, it immediately sets the tone for an exciting struggle on the chessboard.
The Sicilian Defense may not be the “perfect” defense to the “e4” opening but it can give your opponent a very difficult time finding the correct play and it would eventually give you better chances in winning your game.
This defense definitely commands respect.