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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Are d4 players scared of the sicilian?

Just wondering if that's the reason people play it. Bobby Fischer said e4 is best by test so that's what I play. I've noticed that most d4 players seem to enjoy playing quite timidly which is the opposite of the sicilian. I've tried to get more exciting games against d4 players by hitting them with 1... c5!! but most of the time they just play d5 and we get a very timid game again. I don't think you should be scared of the Sicilian. It's one of the more exciting openings in my opinion.

Isn't that the Benoni, that opening is intense and vast. I would not call it timid, a trade of space for control, possible overextension is a theme. But white has the move so, not lost. I think the difference is that alot of e4 positions are open and possibly sharp, which is likeable to attackers who have no intention of defending. But more advanced players realize this does not work as well as fighting for small advantages till one player breaks. Which is the Benoni and other D4 lines. To make the point more clear, I think Karpov in his prime would have destroyed Fischer, so would have Kasparov and Krammnik and probably any current top ten player. Fischer was the best when computers had not yet revolutionized the opening. Which is precisely why He invented 960. As he should and great forsight. The new frontier is AI and crazyhouse 960. We will see what next world championship pays the winner. If its less than 1 million then classic chess is dead.

The old benoni it's called. Someone said it's not as good because white hasn't played c4 yet but I didn't really understand why. Sometimes they take the pawn but better players usually play d5 then I get crushed.

lichess.org/UOvjpJrO/black

1. d4 is a more subtle approach. In my opinion even „richer“ but this is debatable.

Sicilian is a good opening and the structural benefit is on Black‘s side long-term. Not everyone is a natural-born attacker. For example I was better off with Rossolimo and KIA against the Sicilian.

Note to #1 Fischer was all about e-4 or[ P-K4] in his day... However When he played Spassky for the world title , in game 6 he played c-4 and it transposed into the QGD. this was Fischer's first serious attempt at a non e-4 opening...And he won the game. There is an interesting note about Fischer playing Only e-4. Prior to the Fischer/Spassky match. There was a illustration on the cover of an issue of Chess Life and Review, the magazine of the USCF...It showed Spassky with his soviet chess associates. They had a number of chess books showing, that were all studies with play against e-4. The caption read..."But Boris... What if he doesn't play P-K4! It was an attempt to Psych Spassky out! :]

True,
But all the pre- Karpov soviets conspired to draw to win..... Allegedly.
Not that Spassky was a bad player. But you really need to look at what a Karpov vs Fischer match would be like. Because that is when Bobby stopped playing. To be blunt, he ducked Karpov. Because he knew like we all do now that, at the time, Karpov was too strong defensively for Fischer to even begin to unlock even the opening. No disrespect to one of the greatest attackers in chess history, top 5 no doubt. Tal , Fischer, Topolov, Keres, Nakamura. I say Naka because of his 1/0 1/1 games but you can throw in any champ to the list so its top 10 no order, attackers not overall players. We will find out if Carlsen can beat Naka in a few days...
We already know Carlsen is the best of modern times, but Naka is fast so we shall see.

No, they don't see many Sicilians

If I understand well the original question, it's not about playing 1.d4, it's about playing "something else than 1.e4". Here are a few reasons not to focus on playing 1.e4 only :

1) Black has a lot of choice in the opening after 1.e4, partly because the e4 pawn is not defended. Against 1.d4, you see 1...d5, 1...Nf6, 1...f5 and other first moves can transpose or almost so (1...b6, 1...c6, 1...c5, 1...d6, 1...e6, 1...g6). Some lines are less recommended against 1.d4 than the symetrical line against 1.e4 (1.d4 e5 is worse than 1.e4 d5 ; 1.d4 Nc6 is worse than 1.e4 Nf6 ; this argument has limits when the f-pawn is involved). Overall playing 1.e4 requires more study. I've heard several times "With 1.e4, Black chooses the opening and White chooses the variation ; with 1.d4, White chooses the opening and Black chooses the variation" (of course, that cannot be true as such, but there is a trend).

2) In the development of a chess player, learning to play 1.d4 plays a major role (Watson). One could argue to learning to play 1.e4 is just as important and perhaps it should be done first (Yermolinksy tells that he rejected 1.e4 early and had to do some hard work later to catch up what he hadn't learn by playing 1.e4). To put it mildly, in order to know whether 1.e4 is really best for you, you have to learn something else.

3) Several times in chess history, at the top level, it was felt that 1.e4 was drawish. This feeling is statistically wrong, but not unfounded. Tensions tend to dissipate quickly in 1.e4 openings if at least one player wants it. After a wild tactical phase, either the winner is known or the game "peters out to a draw" as commentators say. Maybe my memories are biased, but I feel that in a must-win situation, many World champions actually won by avoiding 1.e4 (or lost when playing 1.e4).
This is partly irrelevant for us rank-and-file players, but the tendency remains at all levels : it is easier, especially for White, to maintain a tense atmosphere for a long period in 1.d4, 1.c4 or 1.Nf3 openings than in 1.e4 openings.

Those reasons have nothing to do with the Sicilian and its alleged "sharpness". Check the Botvinnik variation of the semi-slav and let's discuss "sharpness" in an opening that can start with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6. There are sharp openings everywhere and tame openings everywhere, you can't avoid one type of position completely when you construct a repertoire, much less when you choose your first move as White.

It might be because of the rating of my opponents, but after 1. d4, I would say that 75% of the time black responds with nf6, the indian defense, and the other 25% it's d5, and after that, 90% of the time white responds with the queens gambit, which makes me think about d4, why so few options? Are there other good moves to explore? I know the indian defense can lead to very different positions, just saying e4 seems to have more options for both players like the french, caro kann, sicilian, spanish, scandinavian, scotch, russian, and so many others, all playable, and their branches, variants and defenses, while even the english opening most of the times transpose to the queens gambit or some indian defense, we have the dutch which has a bad reputation, what more? I am really closed to the indian defenses and the queens gambit on d4!

I guess d4 players are more scared of the Berlin Variation of the Ruy Lopez or the Marshall Gambit of the Spanish Ruy Lopez or the Petrov Russian Defence or the Giuoco Pianissimo Italian.
Fischer called 1 d4 "dull & drawish" and remarked that he had never opened 1 d4 on principle.
I think Fischer would have beaten Karpov if they had played in 1974. After all Fischer demolished Tigran Petrosian, which was aguably the best defensive player ever. I do not see Karpov as a prototype defensive player: he was at his strongest in winning games from a very small advantage.