Sicilian Defence, Katalymov Variation

In chess, the Katalymov Variation (also spelled Katalimov) is a less popular line of the Sicilian Defence that begins with the moves:

Sicilian Defence, Katalymov Variation
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
c5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
f3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
Moves1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 b6
Named afterBoris Katalymov
ParentSicilian Defence
1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 b6


The Katalymov is considered inferior since it commits Black to a plan with ...b6 rather than more aggressive Sicilian defences incorporating ...b7–b5.[1] Black must protect the b5-square, as an invasion by a white knight or bishop would be very annoying. For example, White retains a slight plus after 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bb7 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bd3 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3 d6 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Qe1 0-0 11.Qh4 Nbd7 12.Bd2.[2]

The opening is a favorite of French GM Christian Bauer, with which he managed to draw a game in 2005 against currently top-ranked GM Magnus Carlsen.[3] It has also been used by top players such as Gata Kamsky,[4] Russian GM Pavel Ponkratov[5] and Soviet GM Lev Psakhis.[6]

The opening is named after Soviet IM Boris Katalymov (1932–2013).[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Schiller (1998), p. 405
  2. ^ Kasparov, Gary; Keene, Raymond (1982). Batsford Chess Openings. American Chess Promotions. pp. 236–37. ISBN 0-7134-2112-6.
  3. ^ "Magnus Carlsen vs Christian Bauer – 38th Biel Chess Festival (2005)". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Ray Robson vs Gata Kamsky – 2012 US Championship". Retrieved 29 October 2013.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Benjamin, Joel; Schiller, Eric (1987). Unorthodox Openings. Macmillan Publishing Company. p. 89. ISBN 0-02-016590-0.
  7. ^ "The risky Katalimov Sicilian". Retrieved 29 October 2013.