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Sicilian Defense: Alapin Variation, a3, Nf6BETA

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    A strong move in the Alapin, developing a piece and immediately counter attacking white's e4 pawn. Nf6 typically leads to play similar to the Alekhine Defense. However, the inclusion of c5 and c3 is beneficial to black since white cannot kick around black's centrally located knight on d5 and gain a huge center without losing time.


The Alapin Sicilian avoids the main lines of the Sicilian, and tries to build a strong center with c3-d4. If black plays too slowly, white will simply control the majority of the center with the e4 and d4 pawns. White could then develop their pieces comfortably behind this pawn mass, while black is slowly squeezed for space. However, in the main lines (an immediate Nf6 or d5), black prevents white from having an uncontested center by immediately striking back. As opposed to most Sicilian variations, black can gain a lead in development that ensures their fair chances against a potentially over-extended white pawn center.