Nuking the Najdorf with Negi

Anton Visser – Anthony Waller
Correspondence, 2015-16

We always enjoy hearing success stories from our readers. One such message came in last week from Anton Visser, who tested Parimarjan Negi’s repertoire against the Najdorf in a correspondence game. Anton’s verdict on Negi’s analysis is that it was “better than the computer my opponent used.” Here is the game:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 h6 13.Bh4 Qxa2 14.Rd1 Qd5 15.Qe3 Qxe5 16.Be2 Bc5 17.Bg3 Bxd4 18.Rxd4 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 0–0 20.Bd6 Rd8
We are deep into one of the crazy main lines of the Poisoned Pawn. Parimarjan (or “Pari”, as we call him) analyses it in Chapter 15 of 1.e4 vs the Sicilian I.

Pari describes in the book how he discovered this move in 2006, and was able to introduce it as a novelty four years later. White throws his entire army into the kingside attack.

21…Nc6 22.g5 hxg5 23.Rg1 Nf6
23…f6 is Negi’s main line, but of course he analyses the text move as well.

24.Rxg5 Qa1+ 25.Rd1
Now Black must give up his queen but he gets more than enough material for it, so everything depends on White’s attack.

25…Qxd1+ 26.Kxd1!
26.Bxd1 led to an eventual victory for our hero in the original game, Negi – Huschenbeth, Chotowa 2010, but he gives the text move as the most precise continuation in the book.

26…Nxe4 27.Qxe4 Rxd6+ 28.Kc1
Black has a rook, knight and three pawns for the queen, but he struggles to hold his kingside together. This is one of the countless examples in the 1.e4 books where the engine rates everything as 0.00, but Pari has correctly judged that Black has real problems.

There was one previous game in this line, where Black was crushed: 28…Nd4 29.Bh5 Nf5 30.Qe5 Rd7 31.Bg4 Rd5 32.Qf6 Kf8 33.Qc3 g6 34.Bf3 Rb5 35.h4‚ (Pari cuts off the line at this point) 35…e5 36.Qc7 Be6 37.Bxb7 Re8 38.Bxa6 Rd5 39.h5 Re7 40.Qb8+ 1–0 Ulbig – Fortune, corr. 2013.

Pari notes on page 280 that White has a strong attack here – and indeed, Black’s kingside soon falls apart on the game.

29…Kf8 30.Qh7 Ke7 31.Rxg7 Be6 32.Bg4 Rf8
Black has avoided being mated in the short term, but he is unable to cope with the passed h-pawn. The rest is relatively easy, especially at correspondence level.

33.h5 Bxg4 34.Rxg4 Rf6 35.Qg7 Nd4 36.Re4 Nc6 37.Re1 Rd8 38.Rh1 Nd4 39.Qg5 Rd5 40.h6 Ne2+ 41.Kb2 Rb5+ 42.Ka3 Ra5+ 43.Kb4 Rb5+ 44.Ka4 Nc3+ 45.Ka3 Ra5+ 46.Kb4 Ne4 47.Qh4 Rb5+ 48.Ka3 Nd2 49.h7 Nf3 50.Qa4

25 thoughts on “Nuking the Najdorf with Negi”

  1. “My book was better than my opponent’s book/computer”.
    Please enlighten us what this has to do with chess (or related concepts like talent, imagination, skill, understanding etc.)

  2. Not being a Najdorf player but being a correspondence player it would be interesting to know what Anthony had in mind when following this variation up to move 25 …. a quick database check would suggest that Black needs an earlier improvement and I see that 17…Qd5 rather than 17….Bxd4 was played by Vachier Lagrave earlier this year.

  3. @AA : You are right. I used to play correspondence chess without computers. When the book variant finished you were on your own. Now most answers are results of compute programs. It helps in reseaching the “best” play however It kills creativity.

  4. In hindsight these were prophetic words by Hard Truther – ‘The Donald’ is showing every day that truth is bullshit 🙂

  5. In Negi’s 2nd book, he misses a novelty by GM Jones in his burnett variation where according to Jones, leads to equality. Also in his first book (1.e4 vs French,Caro-kann and Philidor) in some positions he misses the best moves that leads to equality by engines. What shall we do?

  6. @Abel
    Did you check with your engines from three years ago? Also, you do know that if analysed deep enough, chess is a draw, right :-). Top GMs use ideas from this repertoire, so I think they are good enough for everyone else.

  7. In most cases Negi’s analysis is great and also a great guideline. Yesterday I played a game which went along Negi’s recommendation against an 2…e6 sideline in Part III of his vs. The Sicilian series. The recommendation is not bad per se, but my opponent interestingly played a quite obvious move in this varition not mentioned in the book, which, as I found out afterwards, since I had no time checking the line beforehand, was also the top choice of the engine. The game went 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Qb6 6.e5 Bc5 7.Ndb5 a6 8.ef6 Bxf2+ (not a novelty, since it has been played before and as it turned out my opponenet played this twice already in serious games) Now I burned up a lot of time, thinking “this is not easy at all” 9.Ke2 ab5 10.Ne4 Bd4 11.Be3 e5 (Bxe3 12.fxg7 and Nf6+ wins an exchange, unfortunately Qd6 is no good due to gxf6). Now black is ready for moves like d5. 12.Bxd4 ed4 and now I should have seen and played 13.Kd2 as played in a GM-game, with the idea of 13…d5 14.Qh5 de4 (gf6 – best 15. Qxd5N apparantely 15.Bb5+ was played before). Of course there is never a real excuse for being lazy while preparing, and the real work has to be done behind the board, but I tought it might be a valuable addition to Negi vs. The Sicilian, part III. (Nevertheless it is till hard to believe that Black can play this line and survive).

    (12.c3 is also interesting, after 12…d5 13.cd4! Bg4+?! (dxe4 is better though) 14 Kf2 Bxd1 15.fxg7! (during the game I…

  8. AddictivePersonality

    This line (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Qb6 6.e5 Bc5 7.Ndb5 a6 8.ef6 Bxf2+) is also not mentioned in John Shaw’s 1.e4 vs Sicilian and French, published just three months ago. This move is missed in both these new QC texts despite having been recommended in Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian back in 2006!

  9. @AddictivePersonality

    Guilty as charged.

    There is an easy fix: instead of 8.exf6, White can play 8.Qf3 with a big advantage, as Van Delft recommended, or so I was reliably informed by a helpful email from a reader.

  10. Hi all!

    @ QC crew: maybe i’ve missed some posts, but…is Negi gonna finish his 1.e4 saga… Or will his journey end like Khalifman’s ‘1.Nf3 according to Kramnik’?


  11. @Adrian
    A lot of work has been done on the fifth volume, so we are as certain as we can be that this book will materialize. We are hopeful about the sixth/final volume, but we’ll take them one at a time.

  12. Andrew Greet :
    A lot of work has been done on the fifth volume, so we are as certain as we can be that this book will materialize. We are hopeful about the sixth/final volume, but we’ll take them one at a time.

    Great news!

    Thanks for the update, Andrew!

  13. I have, regrettably, not kept up with the notes via the blog here. So excuse me if this has been addressed, but:

    In 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Bb5+ Negi only gave 6…Bd7, when 6…Nbd7 is maybe even the main move, but Negi only mentions 6…Bd7. That’s no way to do that!
    (An echo of leaving the Prins Variation (5.f3) out of the Ftacnik book way back when. Eventually it was addended here in the blog.

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