The most popular variations for Black against the Closed Sicilian are 2… Nc6 (covered in Line 416), 2… d6 (the main choice of the Najdorf aficionados), and 2… e6 (frequent choice of those hoping for the Paulsen Variation), while 2… a6 and 2… g6 are also quite popular.
In the Grand Prix Variation (2… d6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4) White’s plan often includes O-O, Qe1-h4, d2-d3 and f4-f5, exerting the pressure on the kingside. A typical example of how the game continues is 5… Nc6 6. O-O e6 7. d3 Nge7 8. Qe1 O-O 9. Qh4 d5, with mutual play.
[Diagram: White to Move] Wen Yang – V. Artemiev, Moscow 2016. White pawn on e5 can hardly be defended, but nonetheless White can obtain a decisive advantage thanks to the strong pressure along the f-file.
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