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Sicilian, Najdorf (B98)
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6
7 f4 Be7

Number of games in database: 1015
Years covered: 1955 to 2023
Overall record:
   White wins 44.2%
   Black wins 31.7%
   Draws 24.0%

Popularity graph, by decade

Explore this opening  |  Search for sacrifices in this opening.
With the White Pieces With the Black Pieces
Milan Matulovic  12 games
Thomas Luther  7 games
Heikki Westerinen  5 games
Walter Browne  15 games
Jacek Bednarski  15 games
Milko Bobotsov  13 games
NOTABLE GAMES [what is this?]
White Wins Black Wins
Geller vs Panno, 1955
Spassky vs Pilnik, 1955
Keres vs Najdorf, 1955
Jansa vs Smejkal, 1969
M Matov vs Fischer, 1968
R Cardoso vs Fischer, 1957
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 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,015  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. B Rabar vs Z Vospernik  1-0421955Yugoslav ChampionshipB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
2. Geller vs Panno 1-0231955Gothenburg InterzonalB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. Keres vs Najdorf 1-0251955Gothenburg InterzonalB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
4. Spassky vs Pilnik 1-0311955Gothenburg InterzonalB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
5. P Ravn vs Scherbakoff  1-0431955ParisB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
6. G Porreca vs M Bertok  1-0471955ZagrebB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
7. M Momic vs D Dimc  0-1301955Zagreb-BB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
8. B Milic vs M Bertok  ½-½541955ZagrebB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
9. F Olafsson vs Pilnik 1-0481955Pilnik - OlafssonB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
10. Kalatozishbili vs A Blagidze 1-0231956Georgian ChB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
11. R G Wade vs M J Franklin  1-0251956Ilford PremierB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
12. V Strekalovski vs I Khokhlovkin  1-029195616th Ch RSFSRB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
13. Y Vasilchuk vs Suetin  1-0301956URS-ch sf KharkivB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
14. R Dworzynski vs T Ciejka  1-0311956Warsaw, decemberB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
15. Stein vs V Zheliandinov  0-1511956Soviet Army ChampionshipB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
16. Y Vasilchuk vs L Aronson  ½-½381956URS-ch sf KharkivB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
17. P Moran Santamaria vs G J Martin  0-1291956Hoogovens-CB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
18. A Lundqvist vs B Koch  1-04119562nd Correspondence World ChampionshipB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
19. L Endzelins vs B Koch  1-04819562nd Correspondence World ChampionshipB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
20. J Gondim vs R Shocron  0-1341956Mar del PlataB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
21. Pilnik vs F Pithart  1-0651956Steinitz MemorialB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
22. I Balanel vs Pilnik  1-0661956Steinitz MemorialB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
23. I Balanel vs F Pithart  ½-½281956Steinitz MemorialB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
24. Ragozin vs Pilnik  ½-½571956Steinitz MemorialB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
25. J de Souza Mendes vs L Bauza  1-0401956MontevideoB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
 page 1 of 41; games 1-25 of 1,015  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-09-05  Alaric: I think black wants to prevent 9 Bc4! which gives white a lot of pieces to attack with
Jan-09-05  lasher: can anybody tell me how to use black's dark square bishop offensively and not just defensively?
Feb-09-05  akashic: 8...Qc7 is popular because it allows 9...b5. If black were to play 8...b5? white could respond with 9. e5! winning a piece. With Qc7, e5 can be answered with Bb7 threatening the Queen.
Feb-22-05  PaulKeres: thank you <Alaric> and <akashic>! (for your answers to why 8...Qc7)
Jun-05-05  chessboyhaha: the quenn's bishop is developed by b7 to put pressure on the a8-h1 diagonal especially e4 and the quenn. he could go to d5 forcing the white's castle or just give some space to the rooks. To developed it you play b5 lauching a quenn's side attack and freeing the b7 square to the bishop. lasher I tryed to be the most compreemsive as I can.
Jun-05-05  BiLL RobeRTiE: Are you fluent in English?
Jun-05-05  BiLL RobeRTiE: I am transported back to my kindergarten class merely by looking at your post.
Jun-05-05  dac1990: <Bill Robertie> If you're the Bill Robertie I think you are, then thank you very much for supplying me with my first two chess books. I never would have found chess if it wasn't for Winning Chess Tactics.

Or, if you're some other Bill Robertie, my apologies for sounding like an idiot.

To translate <chessboyhaha>'s post, it goes:

"The Queen's Bishop is developed to b7 to put pressure on the a8-h1 diagonal, especially the square e4 and the the queen. Black could go to d5 forcing white's castling or just to give him some space for the rooks. To develop it, you play ...b5, launching a queenside attack and freeing the b7-square for the bishop. I tried to be as comprehensive as I could."

Jun-06-05  BiLL RobeRTiE: Oh, I'm not really Bill Robertie. Thanks for your kind words though - I'm sure the real one would be delighted to hear them! (Though honestly I found his books to be potboilers, which is partially why I chose this name; also contributing factors were the funniness of both his name and appearance.)
May-13-06  AdrianP: <Wannabe>

As I suspected, in the given position

click for larger view

In 381 games in Megabase, White has never played Bxf6. If he did Black equalises with Bxf6 or Nxf6. When White does play Bxf6, it is usually with a specific idea in mind.

Here is the position from the mainline which I referred to

click for larger view

After Bxf6

(A) Nxf6 is usual, then 12 g5 Nd7 13 f5 (as <Hitman> and I recently played in a game on Gameknot) (B) gxf6?! was Fischer's initial choice but 12. f5! Ne5 13 Qg3!? is good for White (see Gligoric-Fischer, 1959 x2; and Mednis-Fischer, 1959) but he moved onto Nxf6 (see e.g. Minic-Fischer). (C) Bxf6!? is playable and again, my memory/instinct was right in that critical is 12. Bxb5!? O-O (12. ...axb5? 13. Ndxb5, 14 Nxd6+ and 15 e5 is good for White; 12. ...Rb8?! 13 Bxd7! Bxd7 14 g5 Bxd4 15 Rxd4 Qb6 16 Qd3 Qxb2 17 Kd2! favours White Sulskis-Najer 1998).

(Analysis from Palliser's new book on the Najdorf).

May-13-06  AdrianP: A further gloss on Palliser's note

12 ...Bxf6!? White does not have to go in for Bxb5 but can play 13 g5 Be7 which transposes back into the mainline (A) 12 ...Nxf6. This happens quite often, so perhaps 13. Bxb5!? is not fully trusted at the higher levels.

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <AdrianP> Thank you. :-)
Jul-31-06  gambitfan: I had two games playing the "Poisoned Pawn" : 1 e4c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 ed 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Qd2 Qxd2 9 Rb1 Qa3 10 Bxf6 gf ... There my opponents played both : 11 g3 !?

The Opening Explorer does not give this variant...

Is it a new move ? Fashionable ???

Jul-31-06  ganstaman: <gambitfan> I think this is what you were looking for: Sicilian, Najdorf (B97)

Also, it's 8...Qxb2.

But anyway, I know nothing of this opening, I'm just here to annoy. But I'll try: it looks like they're trying to allow their light square bishop to develop. Either it can fianchetto (but should it be aiming at the queenside?), or develop elsewhere without really weakening the g-pawn as much. How did the games continue? What were their actual plans as it played out?

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: After lettting it run for a while, my computer thinks 11... Bg7 is the move.
Nov-16-06  onesax: As White I played a game yesterday in this opening, could anybody care to take a look at it and suggest any improvements or critique my comments etc please?

White: onesax (ACF rating 1730)
Black: (ACF rating ~ 1890)
Time Control: Game in 60 minutes

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qc7 9. O-O-O Nc6 <an interesting move, the opening explorer only has 18 games with it> 10. Nxc6 bxc6 <best> 11. Bc4 Bb7 12. g4 O-O-O !? <looks very odd, but how to take advantage of it?> 13. f5 <with idea to bring DSB back probably to e3> d5! <my free version of Fritz 5.32 says = here> 14. Bd3 c5!? <q-side pawn storm?? what is white to do, totally unexpected! my k-side attack is looking a little silly almost> 15. e5! <Found after only about 5 mins of thinking, idea is to lure the queen to e5 with threat of trapping it there after Bxa6 and Bf4, Fritz also says its the only move allowing white to maintain any advantage> d4 <my opponent overlooked my immediate response> 16. Bxa6! <here I feel white is )

click for larger view

16. ... dxc3! <finds the best defense to the situation, I now see a "favourable" endgame and go for it> 17. Qxb7+ Qxb7 18. Bxb7+ Kxb7 19. exf6 cxb2+ 20. Kxb2 Bxf6+ 21. Bxf6 gxf6, leading to this position:

click for larger view

Fritz 5.32 now says that white's advantage is slim, despite black's doubled (and nearly impotent) pawns, and my passed a-pawn (which admittedly is going anywhere fast). Could I have won this? Did I ever even have a chance for advantage, or was this all I could get? (One possibility was 17. exf6 instead of trading off the queens straight away, Fritz likes it but it can get murky after Qb6+ etc, given the time control its obvious why I went the simpler route). The game continued with some possibly mediocre endgame play from me to this conclusion:

22. Rhe1 Rxd1 23. Rxd1 Kc6 24. a4?! Rg8 25. fxe fxe 26. Rf1 Rxg4 27. Rxf6 Rxa4 28. Rxe6+ Kd5 29. Rh6 Ra7 <Draw agreed>

Overall though I feel it was a fairly strong game (esp for G/60 time control), most moves were considered best play or very close to when I checked it through with my computer, given how quickly it disintegrated into a draw though, could this Nc6 and castle q-side line be decent for black? My intuition during the game said maybe not, I'd really appreciate it though if somebody could help me out and have a look through this for me though as I can't see too much else to question the validity of this variation ... Thanks.

Jan-12-07  buRnINGbeNd: <akashic> Your comment is not entirely accurate. 8. ...Qc7 is played to stop 9.Bc4, not to play 9. ...b5, as it is still too early and White can in fact play e5. Such as:
8. ...Qc7
9. 0-0-0 b5?
10. e5! Bb7
11. Qg3 Nh5
12. Qh4 Bxg5
13. Qxg5 dxe5
14. Bxb5+! and White will win easily

A variation on the last line:
8. ...Qc7
9. 0-0-0 b5?
10. e5! Bb7
11. Qg3 Nh5
12. Qh4 Bxg5
13. Qxg5 g6
14. exd6 Qd7
15. Ncxb5!

Here's another:
8. ...Qc7
9. 0-0-0 b5?
10. e5! Bb7
11. Qg3 dxe5
12. fxe5 Nh5?
13. Qh4 Bxg5
14. Qxg5 g6
15. Bxb5+! axb5
16. Nxe6! fxe6
17. Nxb5 and the open lines spell disaster for the Black king.

One last similar variation:
8. ...Qc7
9. 0-0-0 b5?
10. e5! Bb7
11. Qg3 dxe5
12. fxe5 Nfd7
13. Bxe7 Kxe7
14. Qxg7 and wWite is better. Black cannot continue ...Qxe5, for instance, because of the continuation 15. Nxe6! Kxe6 16. Bc4+! bxc4
17. Rhe1 and Black doesn't have enough for the queen and pawns.

I used to see the early ...b5 all the time in blitz and never knew what the refutations were until I went through and studied all the themes. Fortunately they're all fairly similar. Hopefully my analysis is sufficient and there aren't any holes in it. I certainly haven't had any more problems with early ...b5s. I hope this helps people see why both Qc7 and Nbd7 are necessary to hold e5!

Jul-09-08  Cactus: <akashic> Actually that's totally wrong. Instead, after 8...b5 9.e5 Qc7! taking advantage of the double attack on e5 keeps the piece. (a variation created by the "White World Champion", Lev Polugaevsky
Jul-13-08  falso contacto: hey you call "argentine variation" a line that barely draws, kind of the worst line on the najdorf. totally unfair.
Jul-13-08  Jim Bartle: Not unfair--factual.

I think it's known as the Argentine variation because three Argentines tried it simultaneously against three top Russians at Gothenburg in 1955, all three losing.

Jul-13-08  falso contacto: so we can call the marshall variation "kramnik's failing computer variation" cause he lost on that in a very important game. factual. or 2Qh5 "nakamura variation" cause he likes to pretend to play chess that way.
Jul-13-08  Jim Bartle: Be reasonable. Three Argentinians playing a new move simultaneously at an Interzonal? Of course it's sometimes going to get that name, though I think it's more often the Gotheburg.

Count your least every time someone scores a goal with his hand it's not called an "Argentinian goal." :)

Jul-13-08  falso contacto: it was still a goal, and a good one.
yeah maybe they did something easy to remember.
Jul-14-08  Jim Bartle: Of course when a player takes the ball all the way down the field, leaving 5 or 6 defenders wondering where he went, to score, it's always known as a Maradona.
Mar-12-10  rapidcitychess: In fact the Gothenburg still holds out after 14 Rh7! Not taking the poisoned bishop.15 O-0 with mate. Bb5 is very complex but Rh7 holds the fort.For more Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line (B99)
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