The Sicilian Najdorf is one of the sharpest openings in chess, demanding incredible energy and resourcefulness from both sides to maintain the balance in strongly double-edged positions. The Fischer-Sozin Attack with 6. Bc4 is well known as one of the most complicated lines in the Najdorf, as white immediately declares his aggressive intentions of controlling the critical d5 square and increasing the pressure on the a2-g8 diagonal. The line was originally patented in the early 20th century by the Russian player Veniamin Innokentevich Sozin, however Bobby Fischer’s immense contributions to the development of theory in the 6. Bc4 variation earned him widespread recognition in the 1950s and 1960s. The Fischer-Sozin Attack is an extremely dangerous weapon for white against the Sicilian Najdorf and should definitely be taken seriously by Najdorf players of any level. The Fischer-Sozin Attack has been employed by many top grandmasters through the years, most notably by Bobby Fischer, Dragoljub Velimirovic, Liviu Nisipeanu, Andrei Volokitin, Nigel Short, and Sergei Rublevsky.
Mastering the Sicilian Najdorf – Bobby Fischer vs Garry Kasparov
RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE: ¨Sicilian Defense Mastery for Club Players¨ includes over 500 lectures and games from the Sicilian Defense, extensively covering all main variations and sidelines. This chess training software also includes over 600 tactics exercises from common positions in the Sicilian Defense.
- Sicilian Najdorf: 6. Bc4 – The Fischer-Sozin Attack (part 1)
- Sicilian Najdorf: 6. Bg5 (part 2)
- Sicilian Najdorf: The Opocensky Variation with 6. Be2 (part 3)
- Sicilian Najdorf: 6. f4 – The Amsterdam Variation (part 4)
- Sicilian Najdorf: English Attack – 6. Be3 with 8. f3 (part 5)
- The Sicilian Najdorf: Premium Digital Download – 4 HOURS long
World Champions Fischer and Kasparov are the Najdorf’s most famous adherents – both made it their main defence, and scored a high proportion of wins with it, while very rarely losing” – World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand
Game 1: GM Byrne vs GM Fischer, Sousse Interzonal 1967
Fischer responds to the Fischer-Sozin Attack with his classic plan of development involving an immediate 6. …e6 and 7. …b5 – granting black instant counterplay on the queenside in response to white’s growing pressure in the center. Byrne employs the Flank Variation of the Fischer-Sozin Attack with 8. f4!? and 9. f5!? – forcing black to permanently relinquish pawn control of the critical d5 square, however black is left with sufficient activity against white’s extended center that the position remains dynamically balanced. Fischer really casts doubt on the viability of white’s hyper-aggressive set-up with 12. …Rc8 and 13. …h5! – exposing white’s e4 pawn as a serious liability. With 14. …b4! Fischer creates complications that result in an open h-file for black to use in a devastating attack. Fischer finishes the game with an extremely precise attack, forcing Byrne’s resignation 28. …Qf4!
Game 2: GM Bauer vs GM Kasparov, World Cup of Rapid Chess 2001
Garry Kasparov frequently employed the same set-up used by Fischer that was examined in game 1, involving the rapid 7. b5 and queenside activity with delayed kingside development. However Kasparov also developed his own system against the Fischer-Sozin Attack, involving a quick knight maneuver to immediately challenege white’s control of the light squares in the center with 7. …Nbd7 and 8. …Nc5. This maneuver is somewhat risky, as black takes precious time in a fast-paced opening to complete this maneuver, however Kasparov’s results in this line were still good due to ability to play extremely actively and resourcefully. In this game, white plays extremely aggressively with 8. f4 and 9. f5 – and Kasparov reacts by leaving his pawn on e6 to retain pawn control over the d5 square. This plan requires extremely dynamic counterplay by black, as his floating pawns on d6 and e6 can become very loose targets in the center. This plan is very different from Fischer’s plan in game 1, as Fischer preferred to respond with the pawn push e5 to early Flank Attacks with a rapid f5 by white. While Fischer’s plan was more focused on immediately repulsing white’s attack and initiating a fast counter-attack against white’s extended center, Kasparov’s plan with 7. …Nbd7 and 8. …Nc5 is much more patient. After 17. …Rae8, Kasparov has achieved near-perfect coordination and there is no doubt that black’s counter-attack in the center and kingside will begin soon. Kasparov slowly increases the pressure on white, forcing a very favorable endgame after 23. …Qxe2 and 24. …Rc8. Kasparov’s technique to win this game is very instructive for many types of endings that result from the Sicilian Najdorf in the opening, as black transformed his advantage of activity and pressure against white’s center in the middlegame to an endgame where black’s solid pawn structure and continued activity guarantees him better chances against white’s loose pawn structure and disrupted coordination.