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Evgeny Najer vs Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
Dortmund (2016), Dortmund GER, rd 5, Jul-15
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  0-1
To move:
Last move:

explore this opening
find similar games 3 more E Najer/M Vachier-Lagrave games
sac: 21...f5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-15-16  fisayo123: MVL is the only top 10 player (and Ding) that hasn't bought into the myth of only seeking to draw with black or the myth of the Berlin being an automatic response to 1.e4

And it's paying off for him.

Jul-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: It looks like he ONLY plays the Sicilian like Fischer. Not 100% of the time but pretty close.

The other top players have multiple defenses to e4.

So, you know MVL is going to play c5....and he still beats you. With a Poisoned Pawn, no less.

Next time I play MVL, 1.Nf3

Jul-15-16  Tartalacreme: 27,Rd3 is an horrible blunder for a player of Najer's caliber.
Jul-15-16  CountryGirl: I think MVL has inherited the mantle of Najdorf supremo from Kasparov and Fischer. He knows the variation so well, no one can surprise him in it.
Jul-15-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sokrates: Agreed, <fisayo>. It's a genuine pleasure to see an absolute top-player like MVL use the good old very exiting Najdorf, elevating and refining the opening to seriously challenge e4 players. The Berlin has been a dreadful success for romantic players like me.
Jul-26-16  Conrad93: < 27,Rd3 is an horrible blunder for a player of Najer's caliber.>

Even with an engine assistance, finding good moves for white is incredibly difficult.

Perhaps White is better off playing 9. a3!?

Aug-10-16  Conrad93: No one is mentioning just how deep MVL prepared 17..Qd5!


click for larger view

Here white could have played 18. Bf3!? 0-0 19. Qc3! preventing the pin, and now... Ba7 20. Nf6+ sacrificing the queen.


click for larger view

20...Nxf6 21. Bxd5 exd5 22. 0-0 Ne4 23. Qf3 Nc6 24. c3 Bd7


click for larger view

With an advantage to black.

Aug-10-16  Conrad93: Compare this to the game Motylev-Anand, Corus 2007, which went 17...Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Qa5+ 19. Rd2 0-0.
Aug-10-16  User not found: Wow. I don't understand the idea behind saccing the a and b pawns for zero counterplay that ended in a loss!?
Aug-10-16  Conrad93: < Wow. I don't understand the idea behind saccing the a and b pawns for zero counterplay that ended in a loss!?> You're wrong. White gets tremendous counterplay against the king if black isn't careful.
Aug-10-16  User not found: Well I've not looked with an engine but I'll take your word for it. To me it just looks crazy and the ends obviously didn't justify the means because he got hammered. Blacks king never once looked in danger to me.
Aug-10-16  Conrad93: You should look at the line I mentioned.
Aug-10-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The game up to move 21 followed A Borstnik vs L Quaresma, 2008 here


click for larger view

Max instead of moving the f8 Rook played 21...f5. (the linked game was drawn but White managed to get an attack going. Even when the Queens off. Black was a piece down at the end.)

---

Hi User not found,

" I don't understand the idea behind saccing the a and b pawns..."

White also threw in the e-pawn. Your computer is not showing all the ways to go wrong in this variation. And better players than me and you have stumbled grabbing the theoretically safe a & b pawns.

Black is far behind in development and has an exposed Queen on an open board nicking pawns.

You have to have complete faith in your ability (and your seconds..and their computers) to venture into this these days.

You also have to thank the many poor souls before you who were torn to shreds as Black trying to keep this opening alive.

This game follows most of the thread game where White won.

M Pacher vs R S Kalugampitiya, 2010

It hints that Black followed his book theory and then, like it always has to at some stage, he ran out pages to recall. BANG!

---

Hi Conrad,

Good line. With three pawns in the bag a Queen sac for two minor pieces may just be OK. There it looks just fine.

Fischer tried a Queen sac against Spassky in a relatively unknown game in '72 in this line, it did not come out too well....(a joke).

Aug-12-16  Conrad93: <Hi Conrad,

Good line. With three pawns in the bag a Queen sac for two minor pieces may just be OK. There it looks just fine.

Fischer tried a Queen sac against Spassky in a relatively unknown game in '72 in this line, it did not come out too well....(a joke).>

Thank you.

I have a feeling that the queen sacrifice is forced there. It's considered safer to just play 17...Bxd4 18. Rxd4 Qa5+ 19. Rd2 0-0, but unfortunately white still has a lot of counterplay against the king.

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