Sicilian Defence, Alapin Variation

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Sicilian Defence, Alapin Variation
a b c d e f g h
8
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a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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2 2
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Moves 1.e4 c5 2.c3
ECO B22
Named after Semyon Alapin
Parent Sicilian Defence

In chess, the Sicilian Defence, Alapin Variation is a response to the Sicilian Defence characterised by the moves:

1. e4 c5
2. c3

It is named after the Russian master Semyon Alapin (1856–1923). For many years it was not held in high regard, since 2...d5 was thought to allow Black easy equality.[1][2]

Today, the Alapin is considered one of the most solid and respectable Anti-Sicilians and is championed by grandmasters such as Evgeny Sveshnikov, Eduardas Rozentalis, Sergei Tiviakov and Drazen Sermek. It has been played by World Champions Viswanathan Anand, Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Veselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik.

The Alapin is also sometimes seen in deferred form, particularly if Black chooses an unusual second move after 2.Nf3. For example, after 2.Nf3 a6 or 2.Nf3 Qc7, 3.c3 is often seen, since neither ...a6 nor ...Qc7 are particularly useful moves against the Alapin.


Main variations[edit]

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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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5 5
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2 2
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Alapin Variation 2...Nf6

2...Nf6[edit]

The main line in current practice is 2... Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 and can also arise if White offers, and Black declines, the Smith–Morra Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5).

White has a number of options including 4.d4, 4.Nf3, 4.g3 and 4.Bc4.

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black pawn
d5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
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Alapin Variation 2...d5

2...d5[edit]

This is the main alternative to 2...Nf6 for Black. The usual continuation is 3. exd5 Qxd5, a line known as the Barmen Defense.[3] 3.e5 may transpose into the Advance Variation of the French Defence if Black responds with 3...e6, but Black has other alternatives. After 3.exd5, 3...Nf6 is possible, but it is not clear whether Black receives sufficient compensation for the pawn.

The main options revolve around:

  • 4. d4 Nc6 and now 5.dxc5 or 5.Nf3
  • 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 when after both 5...e6 and 5...Bg4 White can try a number of different moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e6 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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Alapin Variation 2...e6

2...e6[edit]

This is Black's most solid response, preparing 3...d5. It is closely related to the French Defense, to which it often transposes. White can transpose to the Advance Variation of the French Defense with 3.d4 d5 4.e5. Alternatively, White can transpose to a sort of Tarrasch French with 3.d4 d5 4.Nd2, or try to demonstrate a slight advantage with 3.d4 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Be3.

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
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Alapin Variation 2...d6

2...d6[edit]

This is a sharp response. Black often offers a gambit with 3.d4 Nf6 4.dxc5 Nc6 (4...Nxe4?? 5.Qa4+) 5.cxd6 Nxe4. White can instead play quietly, however, with 3.d4 Nf6 4.Bd3, occupying the centre and maintaining a spatial advantage.

Other tries[edit]

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
c3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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Alapin Variation 2...e5

2...e5[edit]

Play usually continues 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4, with a solid edge for White.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Siegbert Tarrasch wrote, using descriptive chess notation, "To 2.P-QB3? Black can advantageously reply with 2...P-Q4!." Siegbert Tarrasch, The Game of Chess, David McKay, 1938, p. 322. ISBN 978-1-880673-94-2 (1994 Hays Publishing edition).
  2. ^ Walter Korn, much like Tarrasch, dismissed the Alapin with "2...P-Q4!=." Walter Korn, Modern Chess Openings, 11th Edition (commonly referred to as MCO-11), Pitman Publishing, 1972, p. 148. ISBN 0-273-41845-9.
  3. ^ "David Howell vs. Wang Yue (2012)". Retrieved 31 January 2012. 

Bibliography

Further reading[edit]

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