The 6. Bg5 Main Line of the Sicilian Najdorf is one of the most thoroughly researched and investigated lines in opening theory, as the naturally forcing nature of white’s aggressive set-up leads to extremely complicated positions very early in the opening and middlegame. The 6. Bg5 set-up also frequently occurs through transpositions from the Richter-Rauzer and other related openings for white against the Sicilian Defense, however leading grandmasters have been unable to arrive at a conclusive evaluation about the line. The 6. Bg5 line in the Sicilian Najdorf is based around white establishing consistent pressure in the center with constant threats of exploding the position with a timely e5 break. In the 21st century, the popularity of the 6. Bg5 line has declined at the highest levels as many top grandmaster refuse to play e4 and allow black to achieve such dangerous counterplay with the Sicilian. The 6. Bg5 variation of the Sicilian Najdorf has been employed by notable players such as Mikhail Tal, Vasily Smyslov, Paul Keres, Jan Timman, and Milan Matulovic.
Mastering the Sicilian Najdorf – Bobby Fischer vs Garry Kasparov
- 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. Bc4 – The Fischer-Sozin Attack (part 4)
- Sicilian Najdorf: English Attack – 6. Be3 with 8. f3 (part 5)
- The Sicilian Najdorf: Premium Digital Download – 4 HOURS long
Game 1: IM Troianescu vs GM Fischer, Nathania 1968
In this game, Fischer employs a set-up with which he enjoyed considerable success involving a quick completion of development in the center (7. …Be7 8. …Qc7 and 9. …Nbd7) before lashing out to obtain activity on the queenside with 10. …b5 and 11. …b4!?. After 14. Bxf6 Bxf6, Fischer’s control of the e5 square is iron-tight and the long-term advantage of the two bishops makes black’s game very easy to play. Fischer continues to increase his dark-square dominance with 15. …Qc5 and 16. …g5. After trading queens, Fischer uses a very instructive maneuver to improve his dark-squared bishop by changing it to the a7-g1 diagonal with 18. …Bd8! and 22. …Bb6. Black’s pressure on the center is already considerable, and after 23. …Rhg8 white decides to close the g-file with 24. f5 – permanently granting black the excellent e5 square for his knight. Fischer’s technique is impeccable, first forcing white to trade rooks and isolate white’s e4 pawn and then fixing white’s kingside pawns with 36. …g4! Finally black breaks through 38. …Bg1 – leading to white’s resignation as he is completely unable to defend his kingside.
Game 2: IM Eolian vs Kasparov, Soviet Union 1976
Kasparov responds to the 6. Bg5 variation of the Sicilian Najdorf with 6. …e6 and 7. …b5 – the Polugayevsky Variation, allowing black to achieve excellent counterplay against white’s center. White plays an offbeat plan with 8. a3 and 9. Qe2, however black must still play as actively as possible to prevent white from breaking the center with a well-timed e5 or f5 thrust. Kasparov delays castling in favor of instant pressure on white’s center with 11. …Qb6 and with 12. …Nc5 makes room for his Nf6 to retreat to d7 in the case of a future g5 by white. With 13. …Na4 black forces open the b-file and obtains attractive long-term attacking prospects against white’s king. In classic Kasparov fashion, black sacrifices an exchange to destroy white’s king cover and proceeds to blow up the game with extremely energetic play. White is unable to find his way through the complications, forced to resign in a hopeless position after 33. …Qf4.