Najdorf Returns

Najdorf Returns‎

GM thamizhan
15 | Opening Theory

Today we have decided to take a different perspective on opening ideas. We are sure that most of our readers have encountered a situation where you get the black pieces against a slightly or even much weaker player than you and they end up playing this deadly equal variation where you can try for as long as you want, but you will get nothing more than equality. The worst part about this is that this kind of an option is available in almost all variations for white. If white wants to take a draw and decides to make your life hard, there is nothing else you can do but just get prepared to face it. Now, we all know that openings are not everything in chess, you can always try to outplay your opponent if you are really so much stronger than him/her.


We decided what better variation to prove our idea than the deadly Najdorf. One of the most sharp and dynamic openings in chess and yet white has his choices to make it very simple and clear. Personally, one of the things I would least like to face as black is to play a completely dull position where I do not have any chance whatsoever to play for a win, but even the slightest mistake can cost me the game. This may not be the case exactly in the Najdorf as black can always find some play, but there are some variations that you will see from the games that make it hard for black to avoid a forced theoretically drawn variation.


In this part we will take a look at some of these variations that can be used by white to try and achieve a safe draw. This is not necessarily a bad idea; sometimes it is better to play our cards safely. There are other times when you play an equal position against a higher rated player. They would rather go into an inferior position where they can try and trick you than play an equal position where the chances for you to go wrong may be minimal. Either way it can work out well depending on the situation. The first two games we will study theoretically drawn ideas that have been established and well-known for many years now. Like we mentioned earlier, there are times black runs out of choices to avoid such clear-cut draws. Though the position looks razor sharp with the material imbalance there is nothing left for both sides other than signing the truce.





The next game from the young Norwegian prodigy Carlsen does not exactly fit into the description of a safe draw, however we feel that it is quite an important game in this particular opening. It would be interesting to note how such interesting games also can end up in a draw after some precise play from both sides. 



In our last game today, Naiditsch tries to sacrifice his Bishop for a strong attack against Gelfand, however he ends up taking a quiet draw as white did not achieve much after black's accurate defense.



We hope our readers enjoyed these draws as much as the fantastic attacking games that we had seen in the Najdorf before. There are different styles to approach a game, and this is one of them. It is important that you know how to face it and maybe even use it at times to your advantage. Next week we will take a look at some of the ideas to avoid such variations.

More from GM thamizhan
Deterring Scholastic Chess Cheating

Deterring Scholastic Chess Cheating

How to Improve your Calculation

How to Improve your Calculation