Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sicilian Defence Najdorf 11.h4!?

Grandmasters win with almost any chess opening. Not me. I win frequently with some, but I lose with others. I know the Sicilian Defence as well as anything. I have played it more than 1000 times from each side of the board. Many famous grandmaster games were with the Sicilian. The tactical training I use every day has multiple positions from this opening. Nowadays there are databases and chess engines that provide detailed information on every position. None of that existed when this game was played. I tried to learn from Fischer’s games.

Again I faced Ronald L. Chaney. Later he would become a much stronger player and beat me repeatedly. But not here. In this Sicilian Defence we trotted down the familiar trail of the Najdorf 6.Bg5 main line. Earlier I chose 10.g4. Smyslov, Mednis, and Gligoric all had played it vs Bobby Fischer. I got crushed. The lesson I learned was that I cannot just follow the master games.

I looked further. I found that Boris Spassky had played 10.Bd3. Furthermore Velimirovic and others had played the fascinating sacrifice 11.h4 in response to 10…h6. That looked like fun! This proved to be a creative and ambitious approach. My win against Curt Jones and this against Chaney stand out as my personal favorites when I had White in the Najdorf Sicilian.

Sawyer (2050) - Chaney (1900), corr APCT 1980 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.Bd3 h6 11.h4!? [11.Qh3; 11.Bh4] 11...hxg5?! [11...Nc5 12.Bxf6 Bxf6=] 12.hxg5 Nh7 [12...Rxh1 13.Rxh1+/=] 13.g6 Ndf6 [13...Ndf8 14.gxh7 Rxh7 15.Rhe1+/-] 14.gxh7 Rxh7 15.Rhe1 [15.Kb1+/-] 15...e5 16.Nf5 Bxf5 17.exf5 0-0-0 18.g4 Rh4 19.g5 Rxf4 20.Qe2 Ng4? [20...Ng8 21.f6+/-] 21.Nd5 Bxg5 22.Kb1 Qc5 23.Nxf4 Nf2 24.Rd2 [24.Nh3! Nxh3 25.Qg4+-] 24...Bxf4 25.Qxf2 Bxd2 26.Qxd2 f6 27.Qg2 Rd7 28.c4 Kb8 29.Rc1 Qd4 [29...d5 30.cxd5 Qxd5 31.Qxd5 Rxd5 32.Kc2+-] 30.Qd5 Qxd5 31.cxd5 Re7 32.Rc2 Rd7 33.Kc1 Re7 34.Kd1 Re8 35.Rh2 Kc7 36.Be4 Kd7 37.Rh7 Rg8 38.Ke2 Ke7 39.Bf3 Kf7 40.Bh5+ Kf8 41.Bg6 Ke7 42.Kd3 b6 43.Kd2 Kf8 44.Kc3 Ke7 45.Kb4 Kf8 46.a4 Ke7 47.Bh5 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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