Najdorf Returns Part 2

Najdorf Returns Part 2‎

GM gmarunchess
11 | Opening Theory

Last week we saw some of the straight-forward theoretical draws and some exciting well-fought draws. Today we will take a look at some other continuations for black. To begin with, playing the sicilian itself is a huge move towards avoiding a straight-forward draw. Unlike some dry openings, the Sicilian gives both colors good opportunities to create counterplay and push for a win. However we did see that some of those forced, well-analysed draws do occur occasionally. So the one thing that can be done to avoid them is to know the pitfalls. Study the opening thoroughly to know where such technical draws can happen and where they can be avoided. This knowledge will definitely help you choose between the variations in different tournament or match situations.


We will start our proceedings today with the recent world championship game between Anand and Kramnik. This was the last game in the match and Anand, playing white, just needed a draw to wrap up the title. Kramnik managed to come out of the opening succesfully; we call it a success since it was more of a double-edged position rather than a dull one. It is interesting as one of the comments in the previous article about “Playing for a draw” is more relevant here. This is a typical situation where one player might be interested in playing for a draw, but if you notice Anand played actively in his process to achieve the draw.



That game decided the world champion! It does take a lot of pressure to play such games and Anand came out with what he needed. At this point we would also like our readers to understand that we are trying to cover all the possible moves out of this variation, that way when you guys encounter this on the board you will know your choices. The next game is from the young French GM Vachier Lagrave and he has tried 7...Nc6:



The endgame in that game was definitely good for black. Active pieces, the weak e5 square for white all summed to a good game for the young French GM. Our last game today will be between Shirov and Ivanchuk



The Najdorf is such an interesting opening with so much more scope, that it is bound to return again. Our suggestion to our readers would be to study more than one variation within an opening, that way depending on the situation you may be able to avoid a drawn variation or take your opponent into one.


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