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Najdorf 6. Bg5
Compiled by AdrianP
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This is a collection of important games in the Najdorf 6. Bg5 variation, with an emphasis on recent games.

After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4


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Black's main moves are:-

A. 7. ...Qb6 (Poisoned Pawn)
B. 7. ...Be7
C. 7. ...Nbd7
D. 7. ...Qc7
E. 7. ...b5 (Polugaevsky Variation)

***** A. 7. ...Qb6 *****

The poisoned pawn variation is extremely sharp. It has been exhaustively analysed by both man and machine. 10. f5 was thought to be the critical line and the verdict was that it was a draw with best play. See F Vallejo Pons vs Kasparov, 2004 apparently representing best play by both sides (but NB 20. Bd3!? Grischuk vs Anand, 2009).

However, the poisoned pawn has attracted renewed attention, with White trying for an advantage in the line 8 Qd2 Qxb2 9 Rb1 Qa3 10 e5!? de 11 fe Nfd7 12 Ne4 h6 13 Bh4 Qxa2 14 Rd1!? Qd5 where White will invest two pawns for a lasting attack:


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Best play seems to continue:

15. Qe3 Qxe5 16. Be2 Bc5! 17. Bg3 Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Qa5+ 19. Rd2 O-O 20. Bd6

Resulting in this position, where ...f5 (!), ... Rd8 (?!), ...Nc6 (!?) are some possible options for Black.

Black seems to be doing OK now in this line.


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Some recent games in this critical line:
Motylev vs Anand, 2007 Anand vs Van Wely, 2007 E Berg vs E Najer, 2007 E Najer vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008

White can decline to enter into the poisoned pawn variation with 8. Nb3 (a line that Kamsky, in particular, is fond of), but it is not obvious that White can set Black serious problems in that line.

8. Qd3!? is an interesting sideline.

***** B. 7. ...Be7 *****

7. ...Be7 is a principled response which has, again, been very heavily analysed and the mainlines are long and well-established with a major branch at White's move 10

7. ...Be7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 O-O-O Nbd7


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B1 10 g4 b5 11 Bxf6 Nxf6 12 g5 Nd7 13 f5 Nc5 (13. ...Bxg5+!?)

B2 10 Bd3 b5 11 Rhe1 Bb7 12 Qg3 (12 Nd5!?) b4! 13 Nd5 exd5 14 e5!?

There are many transpositional possibilities in particular between lines B, C and D.

***** C. 7. ...Nbd7 *****

7. ...Nbd7, is another principled response. Black may want to leave the dark square bishop where it is and not castle. This is the line which Gelfand has always used against 6. Bg5 with very stable results (search "gelfand b96").

Lots of interesting games in this line, including possibilities for White to sac a piece on b5 or d5, to exploit Black's king position. A good choice if both players want a fight, which is reflected in the large number of decisive games.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nbd7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O b5 is the main starting tabiya


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Opening Explorer

and play can continue 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. Rhe1


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One critical line where black needs a solution is: 11. ...Be7 12. Qg3 b4 13. Nd5! exd5 14. exd5 Kd8 15. Nc6+! Bxc6 16. dxc6


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8. Qe2 is now a major line which has taken off in recent years, and may now even be considered the main line


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Opening Explorer

***** E. 7. ...b5 *****

This is the Polugaevsky variation which is even more wild than the poisoned pawn. Black temporarily gives up a piece:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 b5 8. e5 dxe5 9. fxe5 Qc7! 10. exf6 Qe5+ 11. Be2 Qxg5

reaching this position, which is the first major branch


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Opening Explorer

where white can play either 12. O-O or 12. Qd3. White is thought to be doing well here and the Polugaevsky generally has a reputation of not being sound, although it's still occasionally seen at high(ish) levels.

Anyone interested in these lines, should check out KingG's excellent game collection as well - Game Collection: Sicilian Najdorf 6.Bg5

A. [7. ...Qb6] [14. Nd1!N]
Short vs Kasparov, 1993 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

A. [7. ...Qb6]
G Guseinov vs Karjakin, 2005 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 19 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6]
E Berg vs Sadvakasov, 2006
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 72 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5]
Radjabov vs Karjakin, 2006 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 33 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5!?]
Motylev vs Anand, 2007 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 31 moves, 0-1

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5!?]
Anand vs Van Wely, 2007 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 41 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5!?]
E Berg vs E Najer, 2007 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 70 moves, 0-1

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5!?]
E Najer vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 43 moves, 0-1

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. e5!?]
Radjabov vs Grischuk, 2015 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 24 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. f5]
F Vallejo Pons vs Kasparov, 2004 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6] [10. f5] [20. Bd3!?N]
Grischuk vs Anand, 2009 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6]
V Gashimov vs Karjakin, 2010 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Nb3!?]
Kamsky vs Smirin, 2005 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 51 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Nb3!?]
Kasimdzhanov vs Sadvakasov, 2003
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 30 moves, 0-1

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Nb3!?]
Naiditsch vs J Smeets, 2006 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 35 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Nb3!?]
Kamsky vs I A Novikov, 2006 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 92 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Nb3!?]
Kamsky vs C Onyekwere, 2007 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 35 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Qd3] [10. f5]
Negi vs Karjakin, 2006
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. Qd3] [10. f5]
V Gashimov vs Grischuk, 2008 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 64 moves, 1-0

A. [7. ...Qb6] [8. a3!?] [9. Bh4!?N]
Kosteniuk vs D Obolenskikh, 2005 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 31 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [Gothenburg Variation] [20. e5!?]
Naiditsch vs P Enders, 2004 
(B98) Sicilian, Najdorf, 28 moves, 1-0

B. [7. Be7] [8. ...Nc6?!]
Karjakin vs Judit Polgar, 2007 
(B98) Sicilian, Najdorf, 45 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. Bd3]
E Berg vs T Hillarp Persson, 2009
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 41 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. Bd3]
Kaidanov vs Judit Polgar, 2010 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 37 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4]
Grischuk vs L Dominguez, 2010
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 63 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [16. ...Nxe4!!N]
Nunn vs Browne, 1983 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 76 moves, 1/2-1/2

B. [7. ...Be7] [13. Nf5!!N]
S Sulskis vs Pelletier, 2005 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 47 moves, 1/2-1/2

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4] [16. Bd3!?N]
F Vallejo Pons vs Y Gruenfeld, 2015 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 52 moves, 1/2-1/2

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4]
Kotronias vs R Djurhuus, 1995 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 38 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7]
R Vasquez Schroeder vs F Vallejo Pons, 2004 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 53 moves, 0-1

B. [7. ...Be7] [Mainline]
Baklan vs J Gallagher, 2001
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 35 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. Bd3] [11. h4!?]
H Ziska vs D Baramidze, 2006
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 32 moves, 0-1

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. Bd3] [12. ...O-O-O!?]
M Adams vs A A Gretarsson, 2005
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4] [13. Bh3!?]
Radjabov vs Ivanchuk, 2006 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 45 moves, 1/2-1/2

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4] [20. h4!?]
Bronstein vs Browne, 1990 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 34 moves, 1-0

B. [7. ...Be7]
Ivanchuk vs Topalov, 2009 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 54 moves, 0-1

B. [7. ...Be7] [10. g4]
K Spraggett vs P Fogel, 2007 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 33 moves, 0-1

B. [7. ...Be7]
Shirov vs L Dominguez, 2009 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 43 moves, 1/2-1/2

C. [7. ...Nbd7]
Radjabov vs Gelfand, 2005 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 31 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7]
Ivanchuk vs Gelfand, 2005
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [11. e5] [N sac on b5] 13. Ncxb5!?
Carlsen vs Gelfand, 2005 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 26 moves, 1/2-1/2

C. [7. ...Nbd7]
Naiditsch vs Gelfand, 2006
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [11. e5] [N sac on b5] 13. Ncxb5!?
K Haznedaroglu vs G van der Stricht, 2004 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [11. e5] [B sac on b5] 14. Bxb5!?
Nakamura vs Gelfand, 2005 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 39 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [Qb6!?]
D Kokarev vs E Najer, 2009 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 49 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [11. Rhe1!?]
S Azarov vs Kuzubov, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [11. Rhe1!?] [N sac on d5]
The King vs Rybka, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 78 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [N sac on d5]
Radjabov vs A Volokitin, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 39 moves, 1-0

C. [7 ...Nbd7] [13. Nd5!?] [15. Nc6!] [N sac on d5]
Kotronias vs A Lesiege, 2002
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 44 moves, 1-0

C. [7 ...Nbd7] [13. Nd5!?] [15. Nc6!] [N sac on d5]
Shirov vs Van Wely, 2007 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 29 moves, 0-1

C. [7 ...Nbd7] [13. Nd5!?] [15. Nc6!] [N sac on d5]
E Berg vs Negi, 2007 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 84 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qe2]
Ivanchuk vs Van Wely, 2010 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 26 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qe2]
Shirov vs E Berg, 2010 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 36 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [13. ...Rxc3!?N]
Shirov vs Anand, 2008 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 30 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Bc4!?]
V Gashimov vs A Volokitin, 2008 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 25 moves, 1-0

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [N sac on d5]
T Luther vs Sasikiran, 2007
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 53 moves, 0-1

C. [7. ...Nbd7] [8. Qf3] [9. Bxf6!?]
Nakamura vs Van Wely, 2010 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 39 moves, 1-0

D. [7. ...Qc7]
Naiditsch vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 52 moves, 0-1

D. [7. ...Qc7]
B Predojevic vs Carlsen, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

E. [7. ...b5]
Leko vs Ivanchuk, 2001
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 36 moves, 1-0

E. [7. ...b5] [Mainline]
Leko vs E Ghaem Maghami, 2001 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 27 moves, 1-0

E. [7. ...b5] [10 Qe2] [11. ...Nc6!?]
Y Gruenfeld vs Polugaevsky, 1979 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 53 moves, 0-1

E. [7. ...b5]
E Berg vs E Hermansson, 2007 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 33 moves, 1-0

E. [7. ...b5]
Kotronias vs E Hermansson, 2007
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 39 moves, 1-0

E. [7. ...b5]
Negi vs E Hermansson, 2007 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 23 moves, 1-0

6. [...Nbd7?] (an abomination, nicely punished)
Kotronias vs Xiu Deshun, 2011 
(B94) Sicilian, Najdorf, 21 moves, 1-0

66 games

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