Understanding the Sicilian Najdorf

Jan 10, 2008, 12:23 AM |
 Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Najdorf Variation) Part I

1 e4

Controlling the central square d5 plus
near-central square f5, and, opening
up a diagonal for both the Queen and
f1 bishop.

1 ... c5

The d4 and b4 squares are now under
Black's influence, and his Queen also
gets breathing space along the a5-d8

2 Nf3

White prepares for d4 so as to
challenge Black's hold on that
key square.

2 ... d6

Shielding e5 from a prospective
e4-e5 advance. Please remember,
the acquisition of e5 is a
critical theme for the defense.
This move also opens up a
diagonal for the c8 bishop.

3 d4 cxd4

By trading his c-pawn for White's
d-pawn, Black guarantees pressure
down the half open c-file and
chances to mold his central pawn
majority into a strong center.

4 Nxd4

In return, White gains a developmental
lead, the half open d-file and an edge
in space.

4 ... Nf6

The e4 pawn now needs protection,
and so White responds with:

5 Nc3

5 ... a6

Initiating the Najdorf Defense.

Black achieves two goals with
this move:
(i) He deters White's pieces from
intruding on the b5 square.
(ii) He prepares for the ... b5 break,
which, in turn, initiates queenside
action and makes room on b7 for the
c8 bishop.







 Chess: Understanding the Sicilian Defense
(Najdorf Variation) Part V
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6
6 Be3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 f3 Nbd7 Line (English Attack)

What's the game plan for White?

White intends to acquire and dominate the
vulnerable d5 square (Qd1-d2, O-O-O,
followed by a timely Nc3-d5). To augment
that objective, he also aims to destabilize
the f6 knight and subsequently eliminate its
d5 influence (g2-g4-g5/h2-h4/Rh1-g1). Finally,
he wants to avail himself of the c5 square
(Qd2-f2/Nb3-c5/Be3-c5), thanks to a more than
likely Rd1-Qd8 x-ray, which prevents ... dxc5.