This paper investigates the control of the continuous time Rabinovich chaotic system with the sliding mode control method. Based on the properties of the sliding mode theory, the controllers are designed and added to the nonlinear Rabinovich system. Numerical simulations show that the Rabinovich chaotic system can be regulated to its equilibrium points in the state space by using the sliding mode controllers, which verifies all the theoretical analyses. Simulation results of the proposed sliding mode control strategy have been also compared with the passive control method, and their performances are discussed. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.