The first part of the book analyzes some seldom played lines on move two for Black. The author devotes special attention to 2b6, which is in fact much better than its reputation as well as to the Nimzovic – Rubinstein system 2Nf6, in answer to which Khalifman recommends 3.Nc3, after which the game usually transposes to the main lines in most of the cases.
The second part of this book is devoted entirely to the O’Kelly system – 2a6. It is worth mentioning that although it is a rare guest in the serious tournaments, it is frequently played in blitz games (including in Internet too). The author recommends 3.c3, which in the majority of cases leads to not so typical Sicilian positions, but the move a7-a6 often turns out to be just a loss of time.
The third part of the book deals with some rarely played lines after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4. Systems like 2e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 (4Bc5) as well as the Sicilian attack (2e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4) require from White exact knowledge of long forced lines.
Finally, the fourth part of this book is devoted to the Paulsen-Kann system (2e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6). This variation is regularly played by Svidler, Ivanchuk, Kamsky, Rublevsky, Smirin and many other strong grandmasters and it is one of the really popular lines of the Sicilian Defence. That system has the reputation of being like the ‘Najdorf system’ but for the lazy players: on the one hand you can obtain a dynamic position with various available resources to seize the initiative and on the other hand it requires considerably less concrete knowledge of forced variations unlike the Najdorf system. Khalifman recommends to White to counter it with 5.Bd3, after which there arises a ‘hedgehog’ pawn-structure in the majority of cases. The order of moves is often not so important in that pawn-structure, but you must have an excellent idea about the possible plans for you and your opponent. The author has found plenty of new and fresh ideas in the most popular variation nowadays – 5.Bd3 Bc5 which doubtlessly will be of special interest for the reader.