Taimanov Variation
a flexible Chess Defense

The Taimanov Variation is a chess variation of the Sicilian Defence and named after chess grandmaster Mark Taimanov. It is a very solid opening for Black.

It starts as follows:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6

Please observe that Black has played 2...e6! This flexible move keeps the diagonal for his bishop on f8 open as this bishop will go either to c5 or b4! But this is not sure yet. Black keeps open all options where to place his pieces and observes first what white is doing.

White usually continues with 5.Nb5 or 5.Nc3. If White plays 5.Nb5 d6 and after that 6.c4, then we have reached a kind of Maroczy-Setup. This would stop the black king's bishop on f8 from coming out to b4 or c5.
White can transpose with the usual 5.Nc3 d6 to the Scheveningen Variation and 5...Nf6 is called the Four-Knights-Variation.

Remarkable is that Black must not play 5...d6, but can play 5...a6 instead, still keeping the option open to bring the king's bishop to b4 or c5.

This variation where Black plays 5...a6 and brings out his kings bishop to b4, is shown in this video in a game between two women grandmasters. (White: Alexandra Kosteniuk (Women World Champion) Watch the moves of the black bishop!

Taimanov's idea was 5...a6 (to prevent Nb5) followed by 6...Nge7 then 7...Nxd4 and after that the passiv placed e7 knight goes to the natural square c6 and replaces the exchanged knight, controlling vital center squares.

Taimanov Chess Variation - Replay Chess Games


Press F-Key (or click e7 or d2 on top) = Flip Board

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Most successful opening for Black