Sicilian-najdorf
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Sicilian Najdorf variation

The Sicilian Najdorf is one of the most aggressive approaches to the opening with black, a good way to fight for the win. This opening was introduced by the Argentinian master Miguel Najdorf, one of the best players in chess history.

There are many different ways to play with black, the Sicilian Najdorf is known for being an extra aggressive opening. Let me tell you that is not the case, you can also get very good positional chess games with black.

Of course, that will depend on how white chooses to play, either way, you have to be prepared for any kind of position in the Najdorf. This is one of the favorite openings of many elite masters, it offers so many opportunities to win an advantage with black.

However, black must play accurately, otherwise, you can see yourself in a bad position really quickly. If you try to play the Sicilian Najdorf with no knowledge of theory, or at least the basic ideas of the opening, you will have problems.

Today we will explain the ideas of the Sicilian Najdorf move by move, make sure to read the post until the end!

The mainlines of the Sicilian Najdorf

Sicilian-najdorf-play

The Sicilian Najdorf appears on the board after the moves “1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6”. Now there are a lot of options for white, but we will go for the most common moves:

  • Bg5: The mainline
  • Be3: The English attack
  • Be2: “the quiet line”
  • f4

First, Bg5 is mainline, and this is called the Ritcher-Rauzer variation. It’s one of the most aggressive lines for white, and black should play with respect. The game could go like this according theory:

Take into consideration that black doesn’t castle short because it would be too dangerous. But is also dangerous to keep the king at the center of the board, that’s why you have to create initiative fast.

Just for you to know there is also the poisoned pawn variation:

Black is a pawn up, but white’s initiative is something to fear, but this is playable of course.

Be3 is another interesting line, which prepares a simple but effective development on the queenside for white and then attacks. Here I will recommend you to play with:

Which is a very effective move.

You indeed assume the weakness on d6, but you also have a solid position, and a clear plan: Advance d5.

However, you can also play with:

6…e6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.O-O-O Bb7 10.g4 Nb6 11.Qf2 Nfd7 12.Bd3

Which also leads to good positions.

The move Be2 seems like the most comfortable position to play, yet is not to underestimate. This line is simple, just preparing to castle short, and normally white will try to push the f-pawn to gain space. For example (again you can play the same idea)

But if you don’t like it too much you can also go for “e6 7.O-O Be7 8.f4 Qc7 9.Kh1 O-O 10.a4 Nc6 11.Be3” with a decent position.

Finally, the move f4 is not considered as one of the best moves for white, this advance is indeed a little premature. However, black has to be careful, because this is a tricky line, DO NOT allow e5, that will not be good.

This is how you have to play: the same idea for the same setup

With a very good position. Again if you don’t like having weakness on d6, then go for this line:

6…e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.O-O Qc7 9.Kh1 O-O 10.a4 Nc6 11.Be3 Re8 12.Bf3 ends up being really similar to other lines we have seen.

Plans and ideas of the Sicilian Najdorf

Sicilian-najdorf-chess

The idea of the Najdorf is simple, with a setup where you play e5 you want to prevent white to take space. To make it simple: If black can play the move d5 in conditions he will surely have an advantage at the end.

But again, this will depend on how white plays, in other opposite castle positions you will need to know defense principles. And this is an opening where Prophylaxis is so important, one single mistake you are out.

Sample games of the Sicilian Najdorf

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