an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/25/20 at 04:09:03:

Since your intended Kan line is

(A) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 **Qc7**

I think you could actually get away with the following "Kramnik" line:

(B) 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 a6 4.Nc3 **Qc7** 5.Be2 Nf6.

(B1) 6.d4 is the only move in Lutes, but 6...cxd4 7.Nxd4 is no problem for you. It transposes to (A) with 7.Be2, but what do you play now? Is it 7...Bb4 perhaps?

(B2) 6.O-O is subtler, now I believe 6...Nc6 is still best. After 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 it's true white has avoided (A) and (B1), but black is probably still okay, at least not worse off than in your intended Kan line. The database offers 13 (!) different moves for black. Most active is 8...Bb4 when the plausible 9.Nxc6 dxc6 looks very much like a typical Kan.

I don't think that it's that simple. First, White might try 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 a6 4.Nc3 Qc7 5.g3!?, which looks interesting given that Black has combined ...a6 and ...Qc7 so early.

More directly, what happens after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 a6 4.Nc3

**Qc7** 5.Be2 Nf6 6.0-0 is an important question. If 6...Nc6, then 7.d4! cd 8.Nxd4 and I believe that White maintains at least a slight edge. He has transposed to a position that normally arises via the Kan move order,

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Qc7 7. Be2 Nc6 8. O-O.

The problem (for Black) is, going back to the position after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. c4 Nf6 6. Nc3 Qc7 7. Be2,

7...Nc6 is considered inferior to 7...Bb4, and possibly inferior to 7...b6, 7...Be7, maybe even 7...d6 as well. After 7...Nc6 8.0-0 Bb4 (as you proposed by the "Kramnik Sicilian" move order), White probably has an edge after 9.Bg5 or 9.Nxc6. 9.Na4!? is also leaves Black with some problems to solve.

Here's one older game (PGN doesn't seem to be embedding):

[Event "Wch U20"]

[Site "Athens"]

[Date "2001.08.19"]

[Round "4"]

[White "Aronian, Levon"]

[Black "Papp, Gabor"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "B41"]

[WhiteElo "2562"]

[BlackElo "2291"]

[PlyCount "59"]

[EventDate "2001.08.16"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nc6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Be2 a6 6. O-O Qc7 7. d4 cxd4 8. Nxd4

Bb4 9. Nxc6 dxc6 10. Be3 O-O 11. Qc2 e5 12. Na4 Be7 13. Nb6 Rb8 14. Nxc8 Rbxc8

15. c5 h6 16. g3 Rcd8 17. b4 Rfe8 18. h4 Nd7 19. Bc4 Nf8 20. f4 exf4 21. Bxf4

Qc8 22. Bd6 Ne6 23. e5 Bxd6 24. exd6 b6 25. Rxf7 Kxf7 26. Qh7 Rxd6 27. cxd6 Kf6

28. Rf1+ Ke5 29. d7 Qxd7 30. Qf5+ 1-0