August 14, 2014

Najdorf with 6.Bc4

dvdbox1-176x300As noticed previously on the RCA social media pages, a NEW GUEST LESSON is now ready for you!

This article was written by a young IM (18 y.o.) from Cannes (France) named Gary GIROYAN. He was French youth champion many times, European Union champion and always in the top places at the European and World Championships.
His article is about the Najdorf with 6.Bc4.  That’s a very interesting variation for White which forces Black to be very precise during the opening.  In this lesson, Gary will tell you his secrets in this variation which he really enjoys.

Nadjorf with 6.Bc4


Hi everybody,

Today, we are going to see a dangerous variation of the Najdorf Sicilian: 6.Bc4. It’s a tricky variation and Black has to pay attention if he doesn’t want to lose quickly.

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There are two main ways for Black to play here, with 7…b5 or 7…Nbd7.
Let’s begin with 7…b5, which is the more current move.
8.Bg5 !?
Of course, the simple 8.0-0 followed by Qf3, Qg3, Bh6, etc. is correct and leads to an equal position. But Bg5 is more surprising and can be a good weapon against an opponent who isn’t prepared for it, even though there are some issues in this line and it must be used only for a game or two if your rating is above 2,000.
…Be7, 9.Qf3 …Qc7, 10.Bxf6 !?
I have got to confess that I used to play this variation a lot and won a lot of easy games.
…Bxf6, 11.0-0-0 …0-0
“11…Bb7?”, which seemed normal, is punished by 12.Ndxb5 ! …axb5, 13.Nxb5 …Qc6, 14.Nxd6+ …Ke7, 15.Qg3 ! +-. cf. Volokitin-Harikrishna, Cap D’Agde 2006.
12.e5 !
picnew2
And here the game begins.
12…Bxe5 !
Not so easy to find: a lot of people have made the mistake of “12…dxe5?”, which is punished by the simple Nxe6 and Qxa8. You can check for yourself if you want to, but this position is winning for White.
13.Qxa8
picnew3
13…Bxd4 !
The only move. If Black doesn’t play this way, the game is over. However, while it may seem easy to play behind a computer screen, during the game it’s not the same. A lot of Grandmasters have gone wrong before – ask our friend “Harikrishna” who lost two times in this variation against “Volokitin”.
14.Rxd4 …Nc6, 15.Rd2 ! …Bb7, 16.Nxb5 ! … axb5, 17.Qa3
This is not easy, but White still has still a material advantage.
…b4, 18.Qa4 …Qb6 ! – only move, 19.Bc4 !
picnew4
This is a complicated position, but anyway it plays and White is totally ok.
19…Na5 ?!, like Grandmaster “Ibrahimov” played against “Bologan”.
20.Bb5 ! += better than the incorrect Qb5?! played in the game.
Anyway, this position is still unclear, but Black has to be prepared for this, or he is going to have, at least, one hour or less!
Now, let’s see 7…Nbd7
8.f4
8.Bg5 is also possible, but this is not as strong as it would be after 7…b5 and White would have a lot of issues.
8…Ndc5, 9. 0-0 9…Be7
If Black takes the e4 pawn, he is going to suffer a lot. 10.f5 ! ..e5, 11.Qh5 … d5, 12.Re1 ! …Bc5, 13.Rxe4…Bxd4+, 14.Rxd4 …Qb6!, 15.c3! …exd4, 16.Qe2+, Kf8, 17.Qe5 ! Qf6, 18.Qxd5 …h6 (only move, to avoid the threat of Bg5) Bf4 – and White has a very dangerous position.
picnew6
10.e5 !
Whatever variation Black plays, you are going to play with e4-e5 !
…dxe5, 11 fxe5 … Nd7, 12.Qh5 …Nf6 !
After Qd1, White has a draw. After 12…0-0 ?!, 13.Rf3 ! with a dangerous attack coming
13.exf6 !? … Qxd4 +, 14.Kh1
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In this position, Black is going to have an extra pawn, but it’s going to be complicated to play against White’s growing initiative.
…gxf6 !
14…Bxf6 ?, 15.Bf4 ! += and after …0-0 15.Rad1 …Qb4, 16.Bd6 ! s+-
15.Bf4 … Nxb3
15…f5, 16.Qe2 ! …Rg8, 17. Rad1 … Qf6, 18.Bd5 ! followed by Bf3 and Black can’t move. This is a very difficult position to play with Black, because he can’t find any ideas while White is making every piece better than it was.
16.axb3 … Bd7, 17.Rad1 …Qc5, 18.Qh6 …0-0-0, 19.Ne4 !
picnew8
Here’s it’s clear that only White is playing for a win and Black will try to resist White’s offensive. Don’t forget that you’ll have 1h30 in this position, but what about Black’s clock?
19…Qb5, 20.Bd6 … Bc6 !, 21.Bxe7 Rxd1, 22.Rxd1 Bxe4, 23.Qg7 Re8, 24.Qxf7
pic8
We may think that White is winning, but here’s the miracle:
… Bxg2 + ! 25.Kxg2 …Qe2+=
And Black finally ended with a drawn position. But all of this wouldn’t be easy to reproduce in a game, especially if this variation is used as a surprise.
What do you think?
P.S. Your comments are always welcome. It helps us to encourage more guest authors.
 P.S.2.  For a better preparation you must check our opening courses “The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory series” (LINK)