Thematic Knight Sacrifice in the Najdorf Sicilian

Thematic Knight Sacrifice in the Najdorf Sicilian‎

GM gmarunchess
21 | Opening Theory

by GM Magesh and GM Arun

 This week we shall see a sacrificial idea in the Sicilian Najdorf. 6.Bg5 has always been one of the finest systems to counter the Najdorf. The arising positions are full of complications when White tries to pressurize Black on the kingside or in the center, while Black often creates counterplay on the Queenside.

In today's article we feature a sacrifice that allows white a lot of activity on the kingside and in the centre. On the other side, black is often left without much counterplay and his main focus is on exchanging the pieces till his material advantage is really felt. The following position illustrates the importance of this thematic sacrifice.



Here the sacrifice is more or less forced for White. White's pieces are well coordinated and optimally placed to start an attack in the centre. We shall now see the game Shirov - Van Wely Aerosvit 2007. White made this sacrifice and with a couple of inaccuracies Black managed to hold the game.



After the knight sacrifice it is not easy for Black, as he has to avoid several mines in his defense of his king. Shirov in his best form would have definitely created a masterpiece but a few inaccuracies cost him the game. In our next game we shall see Kotronias - Shneider Korinthos Open 2004. White deviated on move 17 from the previous game and managed to create more problems for Black.



Black has no ways to escape as Kb8 loses to Qe7 and Kb6 losing to Qe3+. The position arising after the knight sacrifice is not completely lost for Black, but requires patience and precision to defend. Life is easier for White.

More from GM gmarunchess
Basic Opening Ideas

Basic Opening Ideas

Systemize your Thinking Process

Systemize your Thinking Process