Sicilian Kalashnikov

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 is the Kalashnikov Sicilian. This line is very similar to Sveshnikov, with a difference that Nf6 and Nc3 have not been played. This way black avoids the pin that occurs in Sveshnikov after Bg5.

5.Nb5 is the best move here. Other moves allow black to equalize easily. For example, after 5.Nf5 d5 6.Qxd5 Qxd5 7.exd5 Bxf5 8.dxc6 bxc6 black gets a good lead in development.

5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 is also good for black.

5.Nb3 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 Nf6 and 5.Nxc6 bxc6 also lead to quick equality.

So the main line is 5.Nb5 d6. And here white has two main moves.

White plays 6.Nbc3

6.Nbc3 a6 7.Na3 b5 8.Nd5 is the main line.

And here, the main line is 8…Nge7 avoiding the Bg5 pin. 8…Nf6 9.Bg5 Be7 transposes to Sveshnikov variation.

The main line goes 9.c4 Nd4 and here white has two possible moves.

10.cxb5 Nxd5 11.exd5 Be7 12.Bd3 0-0 13.0-0 f5 and black tries to create counter play in the center.

Objectively, the game is better for white due to his extra pawn, but black has good piece activity and initiative.

And another line is 10.Be3 Nxd5 11.exd5 Nf5 12.Bd2 Be7 13.cxb5 0-0 14.bxa6 Bf6 15.Bc4 e4 16.Rb1  with an equal game.

The a6 pawn will fall but still white keeps an extra pawn. However, black’s pieces are very active. For example, if white castles short, black can also generate a kingside attack with Be5-Qh4..etc.

Instead of 7…b5, black can also play 7…Be7

There are two main lines here: 8.Nc4 b5 9.Ne3 Nf6  and white can continue with either 10.g3-Bg2 or 10.Bd3

Notice that white’s g1 knight has travelled a long way g1-f3-d4-b5-a3-c4-e3. Six out of 10 moves have been made by the king’s knight. However, white is able to escape from this sin because of good control on d5 square.

 Another line is 8.Be3 Nf6 9.Nc4 b5 10.Nb6 Rb8 11.Nxc8 Qxc8

The bishop on c8 was worth exchanging. White has two bishops advantage and a good center control where black has completed development and is ready to counter on queenside with b4.

White plays 6.c4

With 6.c4, white stops b5, and tries to establish a powerful square d5 first. After 6…Be7 7.Nbc3 a6 8.Na3 black has two options.

8…f5 9.exf5 Bxf5 10.Bd3 Be6 11.0-0 Nf6 12.Nc2 0-0 13.Ne3 with an equal game.

Both sides have completed development and black has a very solid structure. White’s strong control of d5 square is countered by black’s active rook on f file and the weak d4 square.

Instead of 8…f5, black can play 8…Be6 9.Be2 Rc8 10.0-0 Nf6 11.Be3 0-0 with somewhat safe but solid position.


Black can play Kalashnikov to avoid the annoying Bg5 pin. The opening doesn’t offer any extra advantage compared to Sveshnikov, but a good point is that black gets more flexibility in terms of opening choice, like playing Be7 or b5.

A good way to learn this opening is to play games with both Sveshnikov and Kalashnikov to understand subtle positional differences.

Harikrishnan A

I am an International Fide Rated player with 10+ years of experience. Played many International Chess Tournaments and Commonwealth games.

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