[December 03, 2018] Updated Opening Line by Trajko Nedev:
Sicilian Defense, Paulsen Variation – Taimanov-Bastrikov Variation with 5. Nc3 (incl. Four Knights Variation)

[Line 450 : 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 without 5… Qc7, 5… a6]

The most frequently played lines of the Paulsen Variation are 5… Qc7 (Lines 453-456) and 5… a6 (Lines 451&452), while from other notable moves we point out 5… Nf6 and 5… d6.

Against 5… Nf6 White can try 6. Ndb5, where Black can transpose to the main line of the Lasker Variation with 6… d6 7. Bf4 e5 8. Bg5, while after the alternative 6… Bb4 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Nxc3 d5 9. exd5 exd5 10. Bd3 White gets a small but lasting advantage. Move 6. Nxc6 seems like a more principal continuation. After 6… bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8. Ne4 occurs a highly dynamical position that is generally easier to play with White pieces.

Move 5… d6 is a bit passive sideline for Black. In case of 6. Be3 a game often transposes to the Scheveningen Variation with 6… Nf6. The other promising option for White is 6. g4, resembling the Keres Attack. After the usual 6… a6 7. Be3 Nge7 8. f4 the arising position is in White’s favor.

[Diagram: White to Move] If White plays Nd2-c4, Black will parry his opponent’s threats with Ne7-c8. How can White achieve more and seize the initiative?

Click here to see the line in our viewer…

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