The Modernized Grivas Sicilian
The Sicilian Defense is an opening that commences with the moves 1.e4 c5. The Sicilian Defense is the
most popular and best-scoring response to White’s first move 1.e4. For example, 1.d4, is a statistically
more successful opening for White because of the high success rate of the Sicilian Defense against 1.e4.
New In Chess stated in its 2000 Yearbook that of the games in its database, White scored 56.1% in
296,200 games beginning 1.d4, but 54.1% in 349,855 games beginning 1.e4, mainly because the Sicilian
Defense held White to a 52.3% score in 145,996 games. 17% of all games between GMs and 25% of the
games in the Chess Informant Database, begin with the Sicilian Defense Almost one quarter of all games
use the Sicilian Defense. Grandmaster John Nunn attributes the Sicilian Defenses’ popularity to its
combative nature since in many lines Black is playing not just for equality, but for the advantage. The
drawback is that White often obtains an early initiative thus Black has to take care not to fall victim to a
quick attack. Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson considered why the Sicilian Defense is the most successful
response to 1.e4, even though 1…c5, develops no pieces and the pawn on c5 controls only d4 and b4.
Today, most leading GMs include the Sicilian Defense in their opening repertoire. In 1990, the authors of
Modern Chess Openings (13th edition) noted that ‘in the twentieth century the Sicilian has become the
most played and most analyzed opening at both the club and master levels.’ In 1965, in the 10th edition
of that book, Grandmaster Larry Evans observed that: ‘The Sicilian is Black’s most dynamic,
asymmetrical reply to 1.P-K4. It produces the psychological and tension factors which denote the best in
modern play and gives notice of a fierce fight on the very first move.
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