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  1. 14 May '07 21:50 / 6 edits
    Here's an interesting try for an advantage against the Najdorf:

    6. Be3 e5 7. Nde2!? I've just found it by accident in the Shredder database. It scores >67% from 23 games with players of >2500 ELO, but this is probably primarily because it's a recent development. I don't think it's objectively stronger than main line. Still, it can't be ignored because Nisipeanu and several other strong GMs have been been playing it with fantastic success against tough opposition.

    It seems that Nde2 is very flexible and perhaps more useful move in trying to prove that Black's d5 and f5 holes are weaknesses. Nde2 often goes to g3 (against Be7 and Nbd7) from where it can go to f5 and basically force Black to play Bxf5, thus weakening d5. Moreover, Nde2 can also support an immediate Nd5 with Nec3, giving White a d5 stronghold. It's also interesting that it supports f4. Thus, Be6 can be well-met by f4-f5 and if Black isn't careful, White can get a dangerous attack. Also, it is important that Black's queenside play is in many ways rendered ineffectual because the b5-b4 advance no longer kicks the knight on b3 and White doesn't generally plan long castle. White's better central control can also be used to diffuse much of Black's counterplay. It is really a very clever move with some deep ideas attacking the very heart of the Najdorf, the d5 square (and to a lesser extent f5).

    Since, natural developing moves seem to do very poorly for Black, the best try might be Ng4. The knight blocks e2, the queen cannot defend f2 and thus, Qb6 is very strong if White tries to move the bishop out of the way. Thus, Black is at least guaranteed the the bishop pair as compensation for his structural weakness. However, this might prove to be a temporary trump because he might have to exchange the light square bishop for a knight on d5 or f5 and the dark squared bishop might be captured by the d5 knight, or even exchanged for the supporting e3 knight to improve d5 control.

    Here is a possible variation: ... 6. Be3 e5 7. Nde2!? Ng4 8. Nd5 (Ng3 and the meek Qd2 are alternatives) Nxe3 9. Nxe3 (other moves give White doubled pawns, which Black can attack with g6 and Bh6) Be6 10. Nc3 Be7 11. Ncd5 (Bc4 is also interesting)


    Black to move

    After this, I'm not sure how Black or White should play (Nde2 has very little theory), but play could continue 11. ...Bg5 (or 0-0 or Nbd7) 12. Be2 0-0 13. 0-0 Nd7 14. c4 Rc8 15. Nf5 Bxf5 16. exf5 Nf6/Nb6 with a positional bind type of position and an apparently small edge for White. Suggestions and/or analysis is very welcome.

    I'm really curious about what you all think of this new idea! It's very interesting, relatively unknown and difficult to play against. There is great scope for creativity and improvement for both sides. Maybe some time in the future, this will be an alternate main line or at least popular outside of a small circle of strong GMs. The Najdorf seems to change every time I look at it, but it never loses its appeal and excitement.

    Here are some example games of GM Nisipeanu with decent play from both sides:

    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1404531 1/2 - 1/2
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1436773 1/2 - 1/2
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1418820 1 - 0
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1415018 1 - 0
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1456750 1 - 0
    http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1419017 1 - 0
  2. 14 May '07 22:02
    interesting find, though I'll be the first to say that I don't think that the first game listed is Nadjorf (my understanding is that 5. a6 is played, not 5.e6). Seeing as how I'm learnign the nadjorf variations, I may want to look at some of these (specifically any drawn games) to see what I could learn from those.
  3. 14 May '07 22:10 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by endgamer
    interesting find, though I'll be the first to say that I don't think that the first game listed is Nadjorf (my understanding is that 5. a6 is played, not 5.e6). Seeing as how I'm learnign the nadjorf variations, I may want to look at some of these (specifically any drawn games) to see what I could learn from those.
    You are right of course, my clipboard was a jumble. I corrected this now.

    Here is an alternate way for White to play:

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nde2 Ng4 8.
    Nd5 Nxe3 9. Nxe3 Be6 10. c4 Be7 11. Nc3


    Black to move

    Notice the complete control of d5 and the difficulty for Black to get serious queenside counterplay.
  4. 16 May '07 18:42
    No one has any comments on this critical theoretical development? I guess I refuted the Najdorf.
  5. 16 May '07 18:50
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    No one has any comments on this critical theoretical development? I guess I refuted the Najdorf.
    That's how Topalov dealt with it as black TODAY:

    [Event "3rd M-Tel Masters Sofia"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2007.05.16"]
    [Round "6"]
    [White "Nisipeanu, Liviu Dieter"]
    [Black "Topalov, Veselin"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "2693"]
    [BlackElo "2772"]
    [Annotator "Robot 2"]
    [PlyCount "108"]

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nde2 Be6 8. f4
    g6 9. h3 h5 10. fxe5 dxe5 11. Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. O-O-O+ Nbd7 13. Ng1 Rc8 14. Bd3
    Bh6 15. Bxh6 Rxh6 16. Nf3 Ke7 17. Ng5 h4 18. Be2 Rc5 19. Rhf1 Rh8 20. Rd3 Rhc8
    21. Kd2 b5 22. a3 a5 23. b4 axb4 24. axb4 R5c6 25. Rdf3 Bc4 26. Bxc4 Rxc4 27.
    Ra1 Rxb4 28. Nd5+ Nxd5 29. Rxf7+ Kd6 30. exd5 Rd4+ 31. Kc1 Nc5 32. Raa7 e4 33.
    Ne6 Rc4 34. Nxc5 R8xc5 35. Rad7+ Ke5 36. Rf2 b4 37. Re7+ Kd6 38. Rb7 Kxd5 39.
    Kb2 e3 40. Re2 Re4 41. Kb3 Ke5 42. Rf7 g5 43. Rf8 Rd5 44. c4 Rd7 45. Re1 Rd2
    46. Kxb4 Rxg2 47. Kc3 Rg3 48. Re8+ Kf5 49. Rf1+ Kg6 50. Rxe4 e2+ 51. Rf3 Rxf3+
    52. Kd2 Rxh3 53. c5 Ra3 54. c6 Ra2+ {Topalov wins 0-1} 0-1
  6. 16 May '07 19:09
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    Since, natural developing moves seem to do very poorly for Black, the best try might be Ng4. The knight blocks e2, the queen cannot defend f2 and thus, Qb6 is very strong if White tries to move the bishop out of the way.
    Hi there - I actually think Blacks best response is still proably Be7 (before then playing Ng4) but I agree that white has a very slight advantage.

    I don't particularly see whats wrong with white playing Nf3 (or even Nb3) instead of Nde2 - i think White is still slightly stonger with either of these.
  7. 17 May '07 03:36
    Originally posted by adricsrevenge
    Hi there - I actually think Blacks best response is still proably Be7 (before then playing Ng4) but I agree that white has a very slight advantage.

    I don't particularly see whats wrong with white playing Nf3 (or even Nb3) instead of Nde2 - i think White is still slightly stonger with either of these.
    Well, it's not that Nb3 or Nf3 are wrong, but the way to equality for Black has already been demonstrated to a large extent. Nde2 is new and Black's equalizing moves are not known for sure. In either case, Nde2 is not really any worse than Nf3, for the reasons I mentioned. It's not always about having the absolutely strongest moves, sometimes it's about finding a new but good alternative.
  8. 18 May '07 20:49
    Bump!
  9. 18 May '07 21:52 / 2 edits
    I can't say I have any answers after looking at Topalov's game. Topalov had a really good opening and Nisipeanu played it well too, so much so that I can't find any serious improvements. After both 9. ...h5 and 9. ...Qa5, White's advantage dissipates into nothing. My only suggestion is 9. g3 instead of fxe5 which breaks the tension and the exchanges lead to a perfectly equal game. However, g3 still doesn't strike me as a move that will really trouble Black. After studying the variations for about an hour, I can't find any White advantage after Nbd7 10. Bg2 (h3 and others also equalize) Qc7 11. Qd2 Nb6 (controlling d5 and threatening Nc4 12. b3 0-0-0 13. f5 (Nd5 is = too) gxf5 14. exf5 Bd7 15. a4 (or 0-0 d5!) Bc6 16. a5 Nc4! 17. bxc4 Bxg2 =). I've looked at many other variations and the result is the same. Black is equal or better. And even when Black is equal, he has the better long term prospects due to his structure and extra central pawn.

    Earlier tries by White don't seem to be it either. I've looked at 8. Ng3, but d5 is equal and if 8. Nd5 Bxd5 exd5 and Ng4, it's also equal. 8. f3 can be met by Nbd7 and after Qd2 Nb6 Ng3 d5 or just b5 instead of Nb6. If Ng3 is played instead of Qd2, both Qa5 and Nb6, playing for d5 give no edge.

    I underestimated Be6 because of f4, but Topalov has proven that it is perfectly fine for Black after g6 and White is not even allowed to get a positional plus with a bind setup, as I had shown with Ng4. (where Black was OK, but at a disadvantage) Nde2 still has some promise, but this is a big blow in my quest to refute the Najdorf. (Just kdding! I'm still at a loss to find any lasting White advantage in the Najdorf.) Really though, this might just be the end of Nde2 as a serious try.