- 1. e4 c5
The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White’s first move 1.e4. By advancing the c-pawn two squares, Black asserts control over the d4-square and begins the fight for the centre of the board. The move resembles 1…e5, the next most common response to 1.e4, in that respect. Unlike 1…e5, however, 1…c5 breaks the symmetry of the position, which strongly influences both players’ future actions. White, having pushed a kingside pawn, tends to hold the initiative on that side of the board. Moreover, 1…c5 does little for Black’s development, unlike moves such as 1…e5, 1…g6, or 1…Nc6, which either develop a minor piece or prepare to do so. In many variations of the Sicilian, Black makes a number of further pawn moves in the opening (for example, …d6, …e6, …a6, and …b5). Consequently, White often obtains a substantial lead in development and dangerous attacking chances.