Chess Openings: Part VI: Najdorf against English attack
This is my 6th part of openings' "lesson". This time I selected Sicilian defence. This defence is my most favourite one in chess. I play it almost universally in long term games after 1.e4. The reason why many players including super-GMs play the Sicilian is that the defence gives black tremedous counterchances and that's why it's the best scoring response to 1.e4 . The most popular variation of Sicilian family is Najdorf , my most favourite variation.
The Najdorf is a very strong defence , and demands very careful play from white. White can choose different set-ups against Najdorf.
- Bg5(The old main line)
- Be2(Opovchensky or classical variation)
- Bc4(Sozin attack)
- f3(Prints variation)
- f4(Nunn variation)
- h3(Adams' attack)
- g3(Zagreb variation)
- and even a4?!
But in modern times , say since 90's , the most popular answer to Najdorf is Be3 , the English attack . What's so special for English attack . White will play f3 ,Qd2 , 0-0-0 , Kb1, a3 and go for kingside pawn storm with g4 and g5 later.
Now, black has his own plans as well , and that is to choose between 6....e6 (gives black powerful center and rock solid position) and 6....e5(gives black very strong counterattack but less solid center). But there's another option in my view(though I'm not so strong) and that is 6....Ng4 simply attacking the bishop. Of course, white won't give up the bishop and will just move it to g5 square , and after 7....h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 we'll reach a razor sharp position.Black's pawn pushes on kingside may seem suicidical , but in fact that's not so easy for white to exploit that fact. White must play Be2 , h3 , Qd2 , 0-0-0 to oppose black's ideas. Black in his turn will play b6 or b5(depending on if white play a4 or not) , Bg7 , Nd7 , Qc7 but never 0-0 , as black will even have option to castle queenside. Also black keeps the flexible central pawns and will strike in the center anytime he wants. Black creates a strong grip over e5 key square simultaniously creating a nice outpost for his knights. The set-up has been championed several times by Garry Kasparov successfuly.
I've played both with 6....e5 and 6....e6 , but only now I found this crushing move , and also keep in mind that not every opponent will be familiar to the lines aforementioned.
I'm mainly inspired by Nigel Davis's video of "Najdorf for black". You can view the part of English attack and 6....Ng4! below. Play 6....Ng4! with confidence.