Last week we looked at the importance of the d5 square in the Sicilian Defence from White’s point perspective. In this article we will see it from Black’s point of view. Black plans for either d7 to d5 or d6 to d5 in order to free his game. If you just start learning the Sicilian, you might wonder why it frees Black’s game? Well here is the answer:
1) In most the Sicilian lines White attacks Black’s kingside and we all know that a flank attack can be countered by an attack in the center. Playing …d6-d5 fits this bill.
2) Black can neutralise White’s attack along the half open d file by opening it for his rooks.
3) To eliminate the weakness on d6.
4) Once Black plays d5, his position will be not be cramped. Thus he can use his pieces to their full potential, especially a dark square bishop on e7.
What happens if Black is not able to play d5? What would be the next strategy? He needs to stop White from using is for his pieces and at least try and force White to recapture with a pawn on d5.
Here are a couple of games in which Black manages to get …d6-d5 in, with great success:
Semyon Dvoirys vs Wang Yue in 2007 (Black sacrifices a pawn on d5 for piece activity)
Alexander Kovchan vs Sergey Karjakin in 2010 (Just counting the numbers of attack and support of d5 is not sufficient)