The Sveshnikov Variation is one of the most popular variations in the Sicilian Defense and starts with the moves:
1. e4 c5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6
5. Nc3 e5
From here the white knight is under attack and there are three primary ways for white to continue.
6. Ndb5 is the critical move that puts black to the test. The threat is Nd8 check and the knight is being protected by its queen. To battle against this black must play d6. From here black has a very strong game and it’s difficult for white to break through. Black does have a backward d-pawn that he’ll have to worry about later in the game but the setup is strong.
Some of the other options for white include Nf5 or retreating back to Nb3 or Nf3 where it came from. All of these options leave black with a solid game plan. This is the reason that so many players at all levels enjoy playing the Sveshnikov variation.
If you would like to learn more about each of these variations be sure to watch the video below.