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Sicilian Defence. Najdorf variant: classification, evaluation, recommendations on complex and relevant options
Sicilian Defence. Najdorf variant: classification, evaluation, recommendations on complex and relevant options

The Sicilian Defense is one of the strongest responses to White's 1.e4, as well as one of the most common defenses played by the Master of Sports when White makes the first move with the king's pawn. The Najdorf Variation in the Sicilian Defense is one of Black's best opening variations and often wins.

What is the Sicilian Defense in chess?

Sicilian Defense

The Sicilian Defense is a chess opening that begins with the moves 1.e4 c5. It owes its name to its inventor, the Italian priest Pietro Carrera. Initially, this opening of Black's game was considered weak, but after Luis Carlos used it with success against Alexander McDonell in the 1834 championship, it began to gain popularity. The Sicilian Defense developed in the second half of the 20th century.

Sicilian Variations

Due to its aggressive nature, the Sicilian Defensepopular with chess players of all levels. In addition, games using such an opening always unfold interestingly and have great flexibility.

Because the defense offers various opportunities for developing the attack, both for white and black, many famous chess players have developed several variants of its game. So, there are variations in chess in the Sicilian Defense:

  • Najdorf;
  • dragon;
  • Paulsen;
  • Scheveningen;
  • Sveshnikova and others.
Miguel Najdorf

This article discusses only the Najdorf variant and its features. For a more complete acquaintance, advanced chess players are advised to read the book "Sicilian Defence. Najdorf Variation", 1985, edited by V. F. Lepeshkin

General essence of the Sicilian Defense

The Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation has gained a lot of popularity lately. This variation is quite simple, but at the same time a tactical opening for Black. It is played by chess players of all levels, from amateurs to masters of sports at world championships. Therefore, every person who is fond of chess should study the basic ideas of the Sicilian Defense and the Najdorf Variation in particular.

So, the game starts like this: 1.e4 c5, that is, Black does not respond symmetrically with e5, but chooses the tactic to shift the center of his attack by moving the pawn to c5. The general idea of ​​this move by Black is exactly the same as White's move, that is, the desire to control the important square d4.However, due to Black's asymmetric position, his game plan differs from that of White, who has concentrated on the e4-e5 line. This opening already allows us to say that White has the advantage of attacking on the kingside and can develop it fairly quickly. Black, on the other hand, tries to answer the opponent with a counterattack, but already on the queen's flank.

Continuation of the game

Start of the game in the Sicilian Defense

The next three moves in the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation for Black look like this: 2.Kf3 d6 3.d4. That is, White develops the king's knight on the f3 square, thus holding back the black counterattack on the d4 square. White's idea is very clear, he wants to exchange pawns on the next move on d4 and put his knight on this square. It should be noted that White's pawn on d4 is protected not only by the knight on f3, but also by the queen, but the capture by the queen in the opening is not recommended, since this piece becomes vulnerable in the center of the board. The fact is that a capture with the queen on d4 instead of a capture with the knight will lead to an attack by black pawns on the white queen and, as a result, the rapid development of the black attack.

Black's pawn move to d6 is forced to avoid the threat of e4-e5, which leads to White gaining space. White's third move on d4 leads to the so-called open Sicilian Defence, which can give rise to rather complicated positions. Therefore, the theoretical knowledge of this position is extremely important, and having it, a chess player can learn how to play this opening quite strongly.

Development of the party and the Najdorf Variation

Najdorf Variation in the Sicilian Defense

The next series of moves looks like this: cxd4 4.Kxd4 Kf6 5.Kc3 a6. The c and d pawns are exchanged, the white knights are aimed at the center, and the black knight is developing on f6. Black's a6 move is a warning against White's white bishop on b5. In addition, this square is the key to the attack of both developed white knights. The resulting position on the chessboard is the key to the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation.

In this position, each side has its own plan:

  • Black conceived the quick move e5 in order to gain space and move White's knight from the square d4.
  • White's plan is to castle long and then attack with pawns on the kingside.

From this position, having the advantage of the next move, White can implement his plan in various ways.

English attack

Chess tournament

In this variation, the moves look like this: 6.Ce3 e5 7.Kb3 Ce6 8.f3. It is White's 6th move with the black bishop on e3 that bears the name of the English attack. This attack in the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation entails castling on opposite sides of the opponents and attacking pawns from both sides of the board. White's move on f3 is necessary to avoid black's knight moving to g4 in order to exchange it for white's strong black bishop.

Further on, White will have to bring the queen to the square d2, castle long and advance his g and h pawns to the opponent's kingside. After the black king is well pressed by the pawns, the final blowWhite's black bishop, queen and rook will have to strike.

As for Black, they won't sit still either. In the English attack in the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation, it is recommended for Black to play as follows: make a short castling, develop the black bishop on e6, place the knight on f6 or d7 and start a quick attack with the a and b pawns on the queenside.

The resulting position is quite sharp, and any wrong move can decide the outcome of the battle. Here, theoretical knowledge, accurate calculation, intuition and experience of the players are decisive for the final result of the game. Note that this variation of the game is aggressive on the part of Black, so it is recommended to include it in the attacking repertoire of any chess player.

Adams Attack

Weaver Warren Adams was a famous American chess theorist in the middle of the 20th century. He himself did not distinguish himself at the world championships, but he won many awards at national competitions in the United States. Adams is best known for his idea that White's first-mover advantage predetermines his victory if his opponents play correctly.

Miguel Najdorf game

Also, many chess players know the Adams attack in the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation. The essence of this attack lies in the realization by White on the sixth move of the pawn advance to 6.h3 in order to support the g-pawn and the subsequent development of the g-h pawn attack on the kingside. It is precisely this development of the game for White in the Sicilian Defense of the Najdorf Variation that is recognized by most modern chess players as one of the moststrong continuations.

Black defends against Adams's attack in the same way as against the English attack: a knight, a rook and a white bishop should remain near the king. At the same time, Black does not forget about his counterattack with pawns a and b.

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