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Is There a Difference Between 6.Bg5 vs the Najdorf and the Scheveningen?

  • #1

    It looks like you can get the same positions with either move order but I don't really understand the difference between playing this 6...a6 move and not playing it:

     

     

  • #2

    Good question. The only obvious difference is that white can't play Bb5 in Najdorf. happy.png

  • #3

    I think the simplest answer is that White has achieved the best results with the Keres Attack 6.g4 or the English Attack 6.Be3 against the Scheveningen.  GMs have tried 6.Bg5 a few times, but often lost, so they have looked to other more popular moves.  Karpov taking up 6.g4 with success probably had something to do with its popularity.  Kasparov wrote a book about the Scheveningen, played it once against Karpov, and then abandoned it in favour of the Najdorf, Classical and Taimanov presumably out of fear of the Keres Attack.

    Against the Najdorf, nowadays, GMs tend to play the English Attack 6.Be3 or 6.Be2.  The old 6.Bg5 is thought to lead to drawish positions, so it is not played as often as it used to be.

  • #4

    In Najdorf the point of Bg5 is to continue with f4-Qf3 and long castling.

            One of the key components in the success of this system is Nd4 as it is a piece that offers  many attacking (sacrifices on e6 or on f5 or on b5) or defensdive options(can withdraw to b3 if Black plays Qa5) making Black's life really difficult. 

    So it is reasonable for Black to attack the knight(or at least seriously examine the option). 

    That is possible in Scheveningen.

    but not so effective in Najdorf as Black doesn't have the time to unpin Nf6 and he must allow a very dangerous line.

    Now after the critical 12...Qb6 , the position has been analysed till move 25 and more and in most lines Black has to defend a difficult position or force a draw.In the age of engines noone wants to get caught in an engine preparation in a line like this.Good players indeed have played the line(Lagrave ,Leko , Gelfand) but none of them tried it twice. Domingues has defended the position succesfully 3 times but in neither of the 3 games had any winning chances while Walter Browne had some painful defeats from players that were 200 points lower rated.

          So overall after 6.Bg5 Black can stop f4-Qf3 without concequences in Scheveningen while he has to deal with a very dangerous line if he tries to do the same in Najdorf.White has tried alternative plans in Sceveningen(Bg5-f4-Qd2 or the Rauzer like Bg5-Qd2 with a later f4 or f3) but nothing has worked and the move is considered rather harmless.Not surprisingly, it is rarely employed in top level. 

     

  • #5

    DeirdreSkye - although what you say sounds plausible, the top GMs have tended to prefer 7...h6 after 5...e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.f4, and have arguably scored even better with that move than 7...Nc6.

    I think you are right though that the answer has to do with the fact that Black can get their dark squared bishop out quickly, and is ready to castle in the Scheveningen, but Black's development lags a bit in the Najdorf.

  • #6
    wayne_thomas wrote:

    DeirdreSkye - although what you say sounds plausible, the top GMs have tended to prefer 7...h6 after 5...e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.f4, and have arguably scored even better with that move than 7...Nc6.

    I think you are right though that the answer has to do with the fact that Black can get their dark squared bishop out quickly, and is ready to castle in the Scheveningen, but Black's development lags a bit in the Najdorf.

    But after 7...h6 8.Bh4 Black's best chance is again 8...Nc6(especially if Black wants to avoid the almost endgame position after 8...Nxe4 9.Bxe7 Nxc3 10.Bxd8 Nxd1 11.Rxd1 Kxd8 12.Nb5 d5 13.c4 a6 14.Nc3 d4 15.Rxd4) so it's pretty much the same idea.

  • #7
    DeirdreSkye wrote:

    But after 7...h6 8.Bh4 Black's best chance is again 8...Nc6(especially if Black wants to avoid the almost endgame position after 8...Nxe4 9.Bxe7 Nxc3 10.Bxd8 Nxd1 11.Rxd1 Kxd8 12.Nb5 d5 13.c4 a6 14.Nc3 d4 15.Rxd4) so it's pretty much the same idea.

    Agreed.   7...h6 8.Bh4 Nc6 looks strong... or maybe 8...0-0 even.

  • #8

    Ok this is above my pay grade lol. I definitely don't know the subtle differences between these setups that White can play especially considering that a queen on d2 is probably no worse than a queen on f3 against me. The open sicilian is an interesting labyrinth of ideas. Thanks for the help.

  • #9

    White simply doesn't have time for Bg5/f4/Qf3 when Black hasn't spent time on ...a6.

  • #10

    For those asking why 5...a6 in the Najdorf, Tony Koston writes in Easy Guide to the Najdorf:

    "The idea of this little move 5...a6 is to control the b5-square, so that Black might be able to play ...e5, driving away the advanced white knight on d4 and gaining greater central influence...

    by avoiding the exchange of light-squared bishops, Black maintains control of his light squares, in particular f5 and d5...

    The Najdorf Variation is an attack on White's e-pawn...Here is a position from Chapter 6 (book's diagram has arrows showing b7-Bishop and f6-Knight attacking e4):"

     

  • #11

    Yeah, the original idea behind the Najdorf was to follow up with ...e5, but unfortunately, after 6.Bg5 or 6.Bc4, 6...e5 is no longer such a good move.  That may be why 6.Bg5 was popular in the 1960's and '70's, but nowadays, White doesn't fear ...e5, and just allows Black to play it, hoping to make use of the weak square at d5.

  • #12
    wayne_thomas wrote:

    Yeah, the original idea behind the Najdorf was to follow up with ...e5, but unfortunately, after 6.Bg5 or 6.Bc4, 6...e5 is no longer such a good move.  That may be why 6.Bg5 was popular in the 1960's and '70's, but nowadays, White doesn't fear ...e5, and just allows Black to play it, hoping to make use of the weak square at d5.

    Great point!  I have a passing interest in it, being mostly a Caro-Kann player and 2 c3 or Bb5 player as White so I'm sure I don't have your expertise, but looking through several games, the white-square control and pressure on e4 appears to be consistent in 6 Bg5 games even though e5 is out of the question.

  • #13
    StupidGM wrote:
    wayne_thomas wrote:

    Yeah, the original idea behind the Najdorf was to follow up with ...e5, but unfortunately, after 6.Bg5 or 6.Bc4, 6...e5 is no longer such a good move.  That may be why 6.Bg5 was popular in the 1960's and '70's, but nowadays, White doesn't fear ...e5, and just allows Black to play it, hoping to make use of the weak square at d5.

    I don't let Black get that far in the main line, as I prefer 3. c4 which leads to a Maroczy Bind or Symmetical English, with almost all other alternatives crushing for white.  Black can handle the Maroczy, but it's very complicated, though anyone who can navigate those complications will give White fits at around 0.15 with a huge edge in familiarity for Black.

     

    Off topic, but isn't 3 c4 e5 just excellent for Black, who can still place his King's Knight on the correct (for this structure) K2 square?

  • #14

    penandpaper - there is a slight difference.

    5...a6 goes for the Najdorf and the tempo gives white the initiative with 6. Bg5 which pretty much compels 6...e6 and white can push things for awhile with pressure on the e, f, or g files. But ...a6 also could give black a leg up on the queen side expansion ...b5.

    5...e6 6. Bg5 gives Black the option to get to the Najdorf but also to use the tempo for something like 6...Be7 or 6...h6 which now forces white to react without maybe the time to get the desired center/kingside aggressive set up. But now it can take more time for any black queen side ideas.

    Because the open Sicilian is often so aggressive and unbalanced, these tempo and trade off type decisions are usually common.

  • #15

    6Bg5 actually seems to be in vogue in top-level games, especially the delayed poisoned pawn with h6 and Qb6. Not completely sure why 6Bg5 not very popular against Schveningen but thought it was something to do with 6...h6 7Bh4 be7 with nxe4 to follow was easy equaliser.

  • #16

    Lorin D'Costa mentions the 5...e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.f4 h6 8.Bh4 Nxe4 line as leading to an equal endgame in his 2012 book on the Scheveningen, so that could well be it.

  • #17

    1.e4 c5  2.Nf3 d6 3.c4 is nothing special and allows Black to get a good game with many ways.Even 3...Bg4 is good

    3.c4 is one of the anti-Sicilians that never found supporters in top level.

    Black has no problems even if he allows Maroczy and he has plenty of set ups to choose from.Overall it's a move that gives Black more options than white but of course nothing is bad for levels under 1500 or for bullet. 

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