The Najdorf Explained (English Attack)

Mar 26, 2010, 3:28 PM |

Hello. In this blog, I am going to analyze white's most dangerous option of playing 7.f3 right after 6.Be3. The move order can be reversed with 6.f3 and 7.Be3, but it'll lead to the same position. This is called the English Attack, made popular by a group of English GM's, including Short, Nunn, and Chandler. White will follow up with Qd1-d2, 0-0-0, and g2-g4-g5, followed by h2-h4, creating an attacking scheme similar to the Yugoslav Attack in the dragon, but there are major differences. In the English Attack, there is nothing to latch onto on the kingside (no g7-g6 and Bf8-g7!), and white's kingside pawns will have a harder time exploiting black's weaknesses than in the Yugoslav Attack. On the flipside, white's king will be much safer to castle on the queenside than in the Yugoslav (No such thing as a monster bishop on g7 in the English Attack!). You may conclude that play will not be as sharp as in the Dragon vs. Yugoslav games, but they come pretty close!

Here's the English Attack. Note that we are still sticking to our Najdorf/Scheveningen repertoire in an attempt to reduce theory.

Against the English Attack, I'm advocating two separate approaches to combat the English Attack. Line A is more solid and carries less risk, and line B is ambitious, but can be quite risky. In my opinion, it's just a matter of taste.

A) 7.Be7

B) 7.b5


A) 7.Be7

White has two ways to recapture.
A1) 11.Qxd4
A2) 11.Bxd4
B) 7.b5
Now, white has two choices.
B1) 8. g4
B2) 8.Qd2
White has two ways to progress through the game.
B11) 9.h4
B12) 9.Qd2
B2) 8.Qd2
White has three ways to continue.
B21) 11.g5
B22) 11.Bd3
B23) 11.Qf2
After 11. Qf2 Nfd7, white has two ways to continue.
B231) 12.Kb1
B232) 12.Bd3
The English Attack is one of the most forcing replies white has when combating 5.a6. The mid-game positions can be very sharp as each team goes berserk on the enemy's king. Next time, I will analyze white's major option of 6.Be2.
P.S. It would be nice if I had some comments on this.