The Najdorf Sicilian

by hajm 2 October 2021

A brief guide for Black.

1. e2-e4 c7-c5

Staking a claim on d4.

2. g2-f3 d7-d6

Restraining e4-e5.

3. d2-d4 c5xd4

4. f3xd4 g8-f6

Attacking the loose pawn on e4.

5. b1-c3 a7-a6

Denying Whites knights and light-square bishop of b5.

6. c1-e3

The most popular continuation; however White has a number of alternatives here, including 6. f2-f3,
6. c1-g5, and Karpovs 6. f1-e2.

6. .. e7-e5

This move heralds the Najdorf Sicilian. Black gets good piece play while accepting a problematic central pawn structure.

7. d4-b3 c8-e6

Blacks bishop joins the fight for d5. If Black can successfully open lines with d6-d5, he frequently will get a good game.

Typically, White castles queenside and Black kingside, after which pawn storms against the opposing king are launched by both players.


8. f2-f3

This move prevents the Black knight from harassing Whites dark-squared bishop (DSB) on e3 while also preparing the pawn foray g2-g4.

8. .. f8-e7

9. d1-d2 0-0

10. 0-0-0 b8-d7

Now that both sides have almost completed their development, each takes aim at the opposing king.

11. g2-g4 b7-b5

12. g4-g5 b5-b4

13. c3-e2 f6-e8

The pawn storms intensify.

14. f2-f4 a6-a5

15. f4-f5 a5-a4

16. f5xe6 a4xb3

17. c2xb3 f7xe6

Black is nearly equal in a complex, fighting position.

A different, quieter approach by Black has its own appeal.

8. f2-f3 h7-h5!?

Countering Whites threat to push the g-pawn while also claiming space on the kingside.

9. d1-d2 b8-d7

10. c3-d5 e6xd5

11. e4xd5 g7-g6

Blacks dark-squared bishop (DSB) is best placed on the long diagonal, so room is made for the bishop.

12. f1-e2 f8-g7

13. 0-0 b7-b6!

Black claims important space on the queenside and intends to castle kingside on his next move.

The position is equal and quite quiet.