Ideas in the Sicilian Rossolimo Part II: 4.c3

As I mentioned in the first post dealing with this opening, some of these variations can transpose. As the moves 4.Bxc6, 4.c3, and 4.0-0 are not mutually exclusive, the Rossolimo has the potential for fluid transpositions. Often, there are only a few ideas, and like the c3 Sicilian, the variations are not forcing but rather it is more of an “ideas” opening.
However, the move 4.c3 does open up some unique possibilities for white. By preparing to hit the center with a quick d4, white can quickly pressure black on the light squares, though the position can also transpose to a c3 Sicilian completely. By playing 4…Nf6, black beckons the white pawn to e5. This variation can be sharp when white pressures the f7 square with his queen and bishop, requiring black to do some gymnastics with his knights in order to keep up. The sample games below illustrate some ideas for both sides.

While the plan with Qb3 and Bc4 is “correct” and pressures black position from the get go, it is by no means the only plan available to white. After black retreats his knight to c7 hitting the bishop on b5, white may chose to support the bishop with a4!? or even Nc3, as in the following games.

And finally, white may also try to handle the position differently by refraining from pushing the d4 pawn on move 7, instead choosing either Bxc6, Qe2 or Re1, as in the following games.