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LCB, Issue #096 --, Fight Against the Najdorf Defense
June 01, 2023

Fight Against the Najdorf Defense

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #096 -- GOTM #66

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The Najdorf Defense has a great reputation for giving Black an attacking game. He is the second player and from the start is fighting to maintain equality. One approach is to play perfectly and hope White errs and hands him the advantage.

The Najdorf gives Black another way. He attacks from the off. White must know his ps and qs as one mistake could see him in hot water.

But don't be scared. Every system in chess can be combatted. It must be remembered that in order to fight for the advantage early on, Black must compromize on his security. White, playing with craft and guile, can exploit these slight chinks in his armour.

The nature of the Najdorf positions means that White can also respond with tactical flavors. This always leads to sharp, exciting battles where the better tactician comes out on top. Who can better balance defense and attack? This month we will see a brilliant Najdorf game played between David Navara and Jan Helbich in Olomouc in 1998.

Fight Against the Najdorf Defense

Navara, David (2275) - Helbich, Jan (2250) [B99]

GotM #66, Olomouc, 1998
[Connaughton, Ken]


King's Pawn Game


Sicilian Defense


Open Sicilian

2...d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

Game position after 5...a6

Najdorf Variation

6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7

Game position after 9...Nbd7

Main Line of the Najdorf

10.Bd3 b5

One of Black's main ideas in this line.

11.Rhe1 Bb7 12.Qg3 b4 13.Nd5

Game position after 13.Nd5

A surprising choice perhaps to unfamiliar eyes but this is actually by far the most popular move in the position (we're still in book).

(13.Na4 h6 14.Qh3 Qa5 15.Bxf6 Nxf6=)

13...exd5 14.e5

And the upcoming tactical maneuver sees White regain the material invested on d5.

14...dxe5 15.fxe5 Nh5 16.e6?!

Game position after 16.e6?!

Now the Queen is sacriced too!

(16.Qh4 looks a little safer: 16...Bxg5+ 17.Qxg5 g6=)

16...Nxg3 17.exf7+

(17.exd7+ Qxd7 18.Rxe7+ Qxe7 19.Bxe7 Kxe7-+)

17...Kxf7 18.Rxe7+ Kg8 19.hxg3

White has a Bishop for his Queen but his pieces are better and his King is safer.

19...Qxg3 20.Ne6

Game position after 20.Ne6

Now the pieces swarm.

20...Qe5 21.Rf1 Nf8? 22.Bf5 Bc8 23.Re8!

Game position after 23.Re8!

Holding everything and threatening #.


Natural but he overlooks a laconic reply.



Bf7# is of course the deadly threat.


(24...hxg6?? 25.Rfxf8+ Kh7 26.Rxh8#)

25.Bxf6 gxf6 26.Rxf6!

Game position after 26.Rxf6!

Always renewing threats on each move.


He didn't have time for that.

(26...hxg6 27.Rfxf8+ Kh7 28.Rxh8#)


Game position after 27.Bf7#

A brilliant mating attack is rounded off leaving us with a beautiful #.


Navara, David (2275) - Helbich, Jan (2250)

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