How to Face the Sicilian Defense Kan Variation – IM Robert Ris (iChess Club)

The Maroczy Bind is a powerful weapon for White when the pawns on e4 and c4 supported by Nc3 give White great control of the d5-square. You can use it against many variations of the Sicilian Defense, as this series of exclusive iChess club videos by IM Robert Ris demonstrates.

In the Kan variation of the Sicilian Defense, the dark-squared bishop is often developed to e7. This is different from the Sicilian Dragon where the bishop develops to g7, with the pawn remaining on e7.

5.c4 Against the Sicilian Defense Kan Variation
5.c4 Against the Sicilian Defense Kan Variation

In all likelihood, when Black plays the Kan variation, he will often choose the Hedgehog formation with pawns on e6, d6, b6, and a6. Thanks to Black’s piece development, he can keep these pawns defended and has numerous active plans.

White enjoys a space advantage and will play to prevent the …b5 and …d5 pawn breaks by Black. There’s no need to rush to engage your opponent’s pieces when you have a space advantage.

Many of White’s pawn breaks against the Hedgehog formation occur on the queenside with the moves c5, b5, and a5, depending on which pawn break Black chooses. After trading pieces, White can include targeting the d6-pawn in his middlegame strategy.

As mentioned, Black will attempt to play either of two pawn breaks – …b5 or …d5. With enough time, Black can also play for a kingside attack with …Kh8, …Rg8, …g5-g4, and …h5-h4.

All of this takes time, but Black trusts the solidity of his position to give him the time he needs to prepare these plans. However, White is unlikely to sit idly by while Black gets on with his strategy.

Final Thoughts

IM Robert Ris has prepared an excellent repertoire for White players, covering all the moves you are most likely to face. The tactical lines are well-covered and show how easily Black can go wrong if he is greedy.

As in all openings, there is a must-know line, and it’s well-covered in this iChess Club exclusive video.

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