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‘The Na­j­dorf. The very name is enough to fill 1 e4 play­ers with fear, for this is the most un­com­pro­mis­ing, yet sound, vari­a­tions in the whole spec­trum of chess open­ings’. Thus spake grand­mas­ter Daniel King in his book ‘Win­ning with the Na­j­dorf’. The list of devo­tees who play this vari­a­tion is lengthy but would be headed by both Fis­cher and Kas­parov who honed it into a dev­as­tat­ing weapon. Miguel Na­j­dorf pop­u­larised the open­ing that be­gins 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 with the orig­i­nal idea be­ing to an­swer 6 Be2 with 6…e5 and thus avoid the an­noy­ing Bb5+. While play­ing such an un­com­pro­mis­ing sys­tem can yield many wins for Black, such is the na­ture of this dou­bleedged line that the small­est in­ac­cu­racy can lead to a dev­as­tat­ing de­feat. Here are two games that demon­strate the ideal sce­nar­ios for both Black and White. Er­menkov,Ev­genij (2495) - Por­tisch,La­jos (2655) [B86] EU-chT (Men) Skara (3), 1980

(Al­though pop­u­lar in the 1950s and 60s this move is now deemed too slow)…Be7 8.Ba2 0–0 9.f4 b5 10.f5 e5 11.Nde2 Bb7 12.Ng3 Nbd7 13.Bg5 Rc8 14.0–0 Rxc3! (This the­matic ex­change sac­ri­fice is even given the nod from our more ma­te­ri­al­ist sil­i­con friends) (A won­der­ful move. White is get­ting hit with every­thing-D King) (18…Kh7 had to be played to avoid the com­ing on­slaught)

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