Sicilian Defence, Chekhover Variation

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Sicilian Defence, Chekhover Variation
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
d4 white queen
e4 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
Moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4
Named after Vitaly Chekhover
Parent Open Sicilian
Synonym(s) Szily Variation
Hungarian Variation

The Sicilian Defence, Chekhover Variation (also sometimes called the Szily Variation or Hungarian Variation) is a chess opening named after Vitaly Chekhover, from the game Chekhover–Lisitsin, Leningrad 1938.[1] It is defined by the moves:

1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Qxd4

On move four White ignores the standard opening principle to not develop the queen too early in the game. Although the Chekhover Variation is somewhat rare at grandmaster level, it is not uncommon among amateurs.[2]

The Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings (ECO) assigns code B53 to this opening.[3]

Main line: 4...Nc6[edit]

Black's main response to the Chekhover Variation is 4... Nc6 immediately attacking White's queen, leading to:

  • 5. Bb5 pinning the knight: 5...Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6.
  • 5. Qa4?! avoiding an exchange and keeping the light-square bishop.

Other continuations[edit]

  • 4... a6 prevents a future pin: 5.c4 Nc6 6.Qd1.
  • 4... Bd7 prepares 5...Nc6.
  • 4... Nf6 avoids exchanges and continues with development.

Example games[edit]

Evgeni Vasiukov vs Loek van Wely, 2002

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.O-O-O Be7 10.Rhe1 O-O 11.Kb1 Qa5 12.Qd2 Qa6 13.Nd4 Rfc8 14.f4 h6 15.h4 Qc4 16.g4 Kf8 17.f5 hxg5 18.hxg5 Nd7 19.fxe6 Ne5 20.Rh1 fxe6 21.b3 Qb4 22.Rh8 Kf7 23.Qf4 Bf6 24.Rh7 Kg8 25.gxf6 Kxh7 26.Qg5 Rc7 27.Nxe6 Rac8 28.fxg7 Kg8 29.Rh1 Bxe4 30.Rh8 Kf7 31.Nxc7 Qxc3 32.g8=Q[4]

Mikhail Tal vs Robert Eugene Byrne, 1976

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.O-O-O Be7 10.Rhe1 O-O 11.Qd2 Qa5 12.Nd4 Rac8 13.Kb1 Kh8 14.f4 h6 15.h4 hxg5 16.hxg5 Nxe4 17.Qd3 Bxg5 18.Nxe4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 Bh6 20.g4 f5 21.Rxe6 Bxf4 22.Nxf5[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 75, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
  2. ^ The Chekhover Variation Chess Opening Explorer
  3. ^ Sicilian ECO: B53
  4. ^ Evgeni Vasiukov vs Loek van Wely (2002)
  5. ^ Mikhail Tal vs Robert Eugene Byrne (1976)