The Sveshnikov Sicilian – One of Top 10 openings


The Sveshnikov Sicilian is one of the most interesting openings there are, and very special! Must be played very precisely The Sveshnikov is one of those Sicilian variations where you must know how to play, or you can get destroyed in the opening.

The Sveshnikov Sicilian hides some of the most aggressive lines of the Sicilian, and there are many opportunities with black. As you will see, the Sveshnikov has danger all over the place! But the chances and patterns are beautifully hidden all around.

You will surely enjoy playing the Sveshnikov Sicilian, this opening can offer you many wins easily. This is one of the favorite openings at the top level, and it hasn’t stopped giving results.

We will explain the main ideas, plans, and strategies you can follow in the Sveshnikov Sicilian to win! The Sveshnikov must be played carefully, paying attention to the subtleties and different ideas coordinated.

The approach to this opening is very interesting, even if you don’t want to play it, learning it is necessary to know how to fight it.

If you want to become a master at playing the Sveshnikov keep reading this post!

The main lines of the Sveshnikov Sicilian

We enter the Sveshnikov Sicilian by playing the following moves:

Here we have two main options:

  1. Nb5
  2. Nb3

We will go with the move Nb5 first because it is the most popular, and the sharpest too! After 6. Nb5 d6 is necessary, otherwise, Nd6+ is a real pain, and white will keep your d7 pawn blocked, which gives him an advantage.

So, after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 we have for three options to play:

  1. Bg5
  2. Nd5
  3. a4

The first move Bg5 is the mainline, and also the most aggressive. The idea is to put pressure on the f6 knight, so white dominates the d5 square. The game can follow

And we are in a regular Sveshnikov position.

It’s also possible to take the knight earlier and damage black’s pawn structure, for example.

The thing is that now black has two important resources, the open g-file, which can be really dangerous, and a double break… f5. Something to consider.

The second move Nd5 is another important move to be aware of, when white plays directly the knight to d5 means some differences. It’s just some details, but they are important. The game follows

And we are in a quieter position.

Nd5 is not as popular as the Bg5 move in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, the thing is that this straightforward approach is not as advantageous. It’s still playable but lots of the pressure in the position releases, and this is good for black, that’s why usually white will not play this way.

Finally, the move a4 has an interesting idea, in the previous variations, the move b5 by black is really strong. This moves gains space in the queenside with a tempo, because of the threat b4 forking two knights.

But by playing 7.a4 we prevent this idea efficiently, and the game changes a bit, for example:

And we have a long game to be decided.

Now, the second main move Nb3 is also something to keep in mind, this is a quieter position with a positional purpose. What white wants to achieve here is getting the control on d5 and put pressure on the d6 pawn.

White can easily achieve it, for example.

And black still has the weakness. However, black also has a light development lead, black must play actively to prevent getting positionally crushed.

Plans and ideas of the Sveshnikov Sicilian

The Sveshnikov Sicilian - One of Top 10 openings 2

The ideas in the Sveshnikov Sicilian are very simple, in all of the positions we saw about the opening, what’s the factor that is always present? The d6 pawn!

This is what the Sveshnikov is about, the d6 pawn, is a weakness or an asset? That is what every player has to prove in the opening. When black plays e5 is weakening the d6 and d5 squares but is also getting a healthy central space.

If you play the Sveshnikov Sicilian you need to be familiar with defense concepts, and you have to play prophylactically to succeed.

Sample games in the Sveshnikov

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