B90 Najdorf Sicilian 6 Nb3

IM Matyas Marek 2372 (CZE)


vs IM Harshit Raja 2494 (IND)

U.S. Masters 2021 round 06
B90 Sicilian, Najdorf

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 g6 7. Be2 Bg7 8. g4 h5 9. g5 Nfd7 10. Be3 Nc6 11. Qd2 O-O 12. O-O-O b5 13. f4 Bb7 14. e5 Re8 15. Bf3 Rc8 16. Rhe1 Na5 17. Bxb7 Nxb7 18. Qd5 b4 19. e6 fxe6 20. Qxe6+ Kh8 21. Nd5 Nf8 22. Qf7 Qd7 23. Nb6 Qc6 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Re2 e6 26. Nd4 Qd5 27. f5 gxf5 28. Qxh5+ Kg8 29. Qf3 Qxa2 30. Qxb7 Rc4 31. Rd3 Qa1+ 32. Kd2 Qxb2 33. Qxa6 d5 34. Rb3 Rxc2+ 35. Ke1 Rxe2+ 36. Qxe2 Qa1+ 37. Qd1 Qa2 38. Qc2 Qa1+ 39. Rb1 Qa5 40. Qd2 Ng6 41. Qxb4 Qa2 42. Qb2 Qa6 43. Qe2 Qd6 44. Nf3 Qc7 45. Rc1 Qb8 46. h4 Qg3+ 47. Bf2 Qd6 48. Rc8+ Kh7 49. h5 Qb4+ 50. Kf1 Nf4 51. g6+ Kh6 52. Be3 Kxh5 53. Qh2+ Kg4 54. Qxf4+ Qxf4 55. Bxf4 Kxf4 56. Rg8 Bc3 57. Ke2 d4 58. Rd8 1-0

IM Marek finished with five wins, three losses, and a draw, for a performance rating of 2372. His FIDE rating is 2372. His opponent, IM Harshit Raja, also finished with 5 1/2 points, for a performance rating of 2393, 101 points lower than his FIDE rating.

  1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nb3 g6 (6…e6 has been the most often played move and in 147 games against an average opponent rated 2422 has scored 57%. Stockfish 14.1 @depth 69 and SF 14 @depth 50 play 6…e6, but Komodo @depth 33 plays the move played in the game) 7. Be2 (Although SF 12 @depth 33 plays this move the same program left running a little longer, to depth 42, decides upon 7 f3, the same move SF 14.1 @depth 40 plays) 7…Bg7 8. g4 (SF 200221 @depth 42 plays 8 Be3. In 34 games it has scored only 47%) In 39 games 8 g4 has scored only 45%. 8…h5 (This is the choice of Stockfish and Houdini, and this is the first time this move has been played, according to the ChessBaseDataBase, so it is a Theoretical Novelty, or is it? The following game was found at 365Chess.com)

Maxence Godard (2377) vs Nicolas Basilevitch
Event: Naujac op
Site: Naujac Date: ??/??/2001
Round: 4
ECO: B70 Sicilian, dragon variation
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be2 Bg7 7.Nb3 a6 8.g4 h5 9.gxh5 Nxh5 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Qd2 Be6 12.O-O-O Bxb3 13.cxb3 Qa5 14.Kb1 Nf6 15.a3 Qb6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nd5 Qd4 18.Qc2 Qa7 19.Nxf6+ exf6 20.Rxd6 Ke7 21.Rd2 Rac8 22.Qd1 Rhd8 23.Bc4 Ne5 24.Bd5 Qb6 25.f4 Nc6 26.h4 Qe3 27.h5 gxh5 28.Rxh5 Qxf4 29.Rf5 Qh6 30.Rdf2 Rd6 31.Rf1 Rf8 32.Qc2 Rfd8 33.Qc5 Rd7 34.Bxc6 bxc6 35.Rxf6 1-0

Frank Sawatzki, (2393) vs Rolf Luckow (2220)
Event: 2nd Bundesliga Nord 19-20
Site: Germany GER Date: 11/23/2019
Round: 3.5
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bd3 e6 7.a4 Nc6 8.Nb3 d5 9.O-O Bb4 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Qg4 g6 13.Be4 f5 14.Bxd5 fxg4 15.Be4 Bd7 16.Be3 O-O-O 17.Rfd1 Be7 18.Nc5 e5 19.Nxd7 Rxd7 20.Rxd7 Kxd7 21.c3 Kc8 22.Rd1 Rd8 23.Rxd8+ Nxd8 24.Bd5 g5 25.Be4 h6 26.Bf5+ Kc7 27.Bxg4 a5 28.Kf1 b6 29.Ke2 Nb7 30.Bf5 Nd6 31.Bc2 Nc4 32.Bc1 Bc5 33.b3 Nd6 34.h4 gxh4 35.Bxh6 Kd7 36.Bg5 b5 37.Bxh4 Ke6 38.g4 bxa4 39.bxa4 Kd7 40.f3 1-0

Aleksander Kaczmarek (2389) vs Ignacy Leskiewicz (2146)
Event: 3rd Irena Warakomska Mem
Site: Suwalki POL Date: 08/05/2019
Round: 1.31
ECO: B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Nb3 g6 7.Be2 Bg7 8.g4 Nc6 9.g5 Nh5 10.Be3 a5 11.Nd5 O-O 12.c3 Bh3 13.Nd2 e6 14.Nb6 Nf4 15.Bxf4 Qxb6 16.Nc4 Qd8 17.Nxd6 Qc7 18.Qd3 e5 19.Nb5 Qc8 20.Bd2 Rd8 21.Qf3 a4 22.Be3 a3 23.bxa3 Nd4 24.cxd4 exd4 25.Rc1 Qe6 26.Nc7 Qxa2 27.Nxa8 dxe3 28.fxe3 Qxa3 29.Kf2 Bd7 30.Nb6 Bc6 31.Nd5 Qd6 32.Rcd1 1-0

During research for this post this was found:

  1. Be3 0-1, Kamsky (2725) vs. Topalov (2796)
  2. Kh1 0-1, Milligan Scott (1835) vs. Bellin (2240) (https://www.365chess.com/opening.php?m=19&n=282498&ms=e4.c5.Nf3.e6.d4.cxd4.Nxd4.a6.Bd3.Nf6.O-O.d6.a4.Be7.Nc3.Nc6.Nb3.b6&ns=

I thought nothing of “Scott Milligan” but did wonder if the “Bellin” was GM Juan Manuel Bellin, the husband of Pia Cramling, until finding his name is spelled, “Bellon.” Clicking showed it was Jana Bellin and her opponent was none other than Helen Milligan, who currently resides in New Zealand.

Gata Kamsky (2725) vs Veselin Topalov (2796)
Event: 18th Amber Blindfold
Site: Nice FRA Date: 03/25/2009
Round: 10
ECO: B43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.O-O Be7 8.a4 Nc6 9.Nb3 b6 10.Be3 O-O 11.f3 Bb7 12.Rf2 Qc7 13.Bf1 Rac8 14.Qe1 Ne5 15.Rd2 Nfd7 16.Rad1 Rfe8 17.Kh1 Bf8 18.Qg3 Nc5 19.Nd4 Qb8 20.Rf2 Ncd7 21.Bc1 Nf6 22.Re2 Ng6 23.Ree1 Be7 24.Qf2 Bd8 25.Nde2 Bc7 26.Qg1 d5 27.exd5 Nxd5 28.Nxd5 Bxd5 29.Nc3 Bb7 30.Be3 Ne5 31.Be2 Bc6 32.Bxa6 Nxf3 33.gxf3 Bxf3+ 0-1

Helen Milligan Scott (1835)

vs Jana Bellin (2240)

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin

Event: Luzern ol (Women)
Site: Luzern Date: ??/??/1982
Round: 10
ECO: B42 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Bd3
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.O-O d6 7.a4 Be7 8.Nc3 Nc6 9.Nb3 b6 10.Kh1
(Stockfish 040621 @depth 35 plays 10 f4. Komodo 9.02 @depth 24 would play the TN 10 Qf3. Deep Rybka, in the shallow water at only depth 17, advocates 10 Be3) 10…Bb7 11.f4 O-O 12.f5 Ne5 13.Nd4 Nxd3 14.cxd3 e5 15.Nf3 d5 16.Nxe5 dxe4 17.dxe4 Qc7 18.Nf3 Nxe4 19.Be3 Rad8 20.Qc1 Nc5 21.Nd4 Bf6 22.Qd1 Qe5 23.Re1 Rxd4 24.Bxd4 Qxd4 25.Qxd4 Bxd4 26.Rad1 Bxc3 27.bxc3 Nxa4 28.c4 Bc8 29.g4 h5 30.h3 hxg4 31.hxg4 Bb7+ 32.Kh2 Rc8 33.Rd4 Nc5 34.Rd6 Bc6 35.Rb1 Nd7 36.Rbd1 f6 37.Rb1 a5 38.Kh3 Ba4 39.Rc1 Rc5 40.Kg3 Bc6 0-1

The Keres Variation Versus the Caro Kann

After 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 there is an alternative for white, 5 Ng3, as NM Michael Lucas, from Alabama, played against me in a game ultimately drawn in a time scramble. “Wasn’t that exciting?” Mike asked immediately after I agreed to his draw offer. “No” I replied. “It was HARROWING!” He laughed uproariously as we signed score sheets. IM Boris Kogan said Mike was one of the most inventive players he had known. Lucas did not like to study Chess; only play. I still recall going over one of his Closed Sicilian games in which he played g3-g4, and then on the following move, g4-g5. I said something like, “Wow.” He looked up and grinned. “It thwarts everything,” he said. “Thwarts” has stuck in my memory. As I recall my response, after Mike retreated his knight, was 5…g6. Then it was that or 5…h5, but I had experimented with moves like 5…Qc7, and 5…Na6, among others, but never thought to play 5…c5, which is the move Komodo gives as best at the CBDB.

The variation 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Qe2 has become popular. Anyone who has read my blogs know of my predilection for the move Qe2 in the opening, especially against the French. I have yet to play 5 Qe2 versus the Caro Kann because I do not play 2 Nc3. I favor 3 f3, the Caro Kann Krusher, after the usual 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5. Maybe the white player hopes for 1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Nf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Qe2 Nbd7:

White to move

There is a reason one should ALWAYS EXAMINE ALL CHECKS!!!

This was actually played in a game between Paul Keres and Edward Arlamowski at the Przepiorka Memorial in Poland two months and three days before I was born in 1950. Since the first game played with Qe2 iin this variation was played by Paule Keres, I declare it to be the “Keres variation.”

Here are a couple of recent games with the Keres variation from Gibralta:

Harshit Raja vs

Chanda Sandipan

Rd 4

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qa5 7. Qf4 Qf5 8. Qe3 Qxc2 9. Bd3 Qa4 10. b3 (10. O-O f6 11. b3 Qa5 12. Bb2 Na6 13. Rfe1 Nc7 14. b4 Qh5 15. b5 Nxb5 16. Nd4 Nxd4 17. Bxd4 1/2-1/2 Giri v Riazantsev, Palma De Mallorca GP 2017) Qa5 11. Bb2 Na6 12. O-O f6 13. Bc4 Bd7 14. Rac1 Nc7 15. Bc3 Qh5 16. Nd4 e5 17. f4 O-O-O 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. Qxe5 fxe5 20. Nf3 Be6 21. Bxe5 Bxc4 22. Rxc4 Ne6 23. Re1 Bc5+ 24. d4 Bb6 25. Re4 Rhe8 26. Rg4 Rd5 27. Kf1 g5 28. Rg3 h5 29. h3 Rf8 30. Ke2 Rf5 31. Kd3 Rfxe5 32. Nxe5 Bxd4 33. Rxd4 Rxd4+ 34. Kc3 Rd5 35. Re3 Nf4 36. g4 Ra5 37. Rf3 Rxe5 38. Kd4 0-1

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave

vs Richard Rapport

Rd 10

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Na6 6. d4 Qd5 (6…Bf5 7. Ng3 Bg6 8. c3 e6 9. h4 h6 10. Ne5 Bh7 11. Nxc6 Qb6 12. Ne5 Nc7 13. a4 a6 14. a5 Qd6 15. Qd1 Nd7 16. Qa4 Nd5 17. Be2 f6 18. Bh5+ g6 19. Nxg6 Bxg6 20. Bxg6+ Ke7 21. O-O f5 22. Bxf5 1-0 Khruschiov v Karacsony, Miercurea Ciuc op 1998) 7. Nc3 Qa5 8. Qe5 Qxe5+ 9. dxe5 Nb4 10. Bd3 Nxd3+ 11. cxd3 Nd7 12. Be3 Nb6 13. Ke2 Be6 14. Nd4 Bd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. e6 g6 17. exf7+ Kxf7 18. Nf3 Bg7 19. Ng5+ Ke8 20. Rab1 a5 21. Ne4 b6 22. Rhc1 Kd7 23. Nc3 a4 24. Nxd5 cxd5 25. d4 Rhc8 26. Kd3 e6 27. Rxc8 Rxc8 28. Rc1 Rxc1 29. Bxc1 Kc6 30. b3 axb3 1/2-1/2

The next game found in the Big database is from 1968:

Istvan Csom

vs German L Khodos

HUN-URS 1968

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Nf6
8. Ne5 e6 9. Qe2 Be7 10. c3 c5 11. Bb5+ Bd7 12. Nxd7 Nxd7 13. O-O a6 14. Bxd7+
Qxd7 15. Rd1 Qb5 16. Qxb5+ axb5 17. d4 c4 18. Be3 Kd7 19. a3 Kc6 20. Kf1 Kd5
21. Bf4 g5 22. Be5 f6 23. Bg3 h5 24. h3 Rag8 25. Re1 h4 26. Bh2 g4 27. Re3 g3
28. Bg1 Bd6 29. Rae1 Re8 30. Rf3 f5 31. fxg3 hxg3 32. Be3 Rh4 33. Bg5 Re4 34.
Rxe4 Kxe4 35. Re3+ Kd5 36. Rf3 Rg8 37. Bf4 Bxf4 38. Rxf4 b4 39. axb4 Ra8 40.
Ke2 Ra2 41. Kf3 Rxb2 42. Kxg3 Rc2 43. Rf3 e5 44. dxe5 Kxe5 45. Re3+ Kf6 46. Kf3
Kg5 47. g4 fxg4+ 48. hxg4 Kf6 49. Kf4 Rf2+ 50. Rf3 Re2 51. Rh3 Kg6 52. Re3 Rf2+
53. Ke5 Rd2 54. Re4 b5 55. Kf4 Rc2 56. Re6+ Kf7 57. Re5 Rxc3 58. Rxb5 Rc1 59.
Ke3 Ke6 60. Rc5 Rc3+ 61. Kd4 Rg3 62. Kxc4 Rxg4+ 63. Kb5 Kd6 64. Rc1 Rg8 65. Ka6

Oleg M Romanishin,

v Ratmir D Kholmov,

Vilnius zonal 1975

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Qd5 7. Qe3 Bf5
8. c4 Qe4 9. d3 Qxe3+ 10. fxe3 Nd7 11. Be2 e5 12. e4 Bb4+ 13. Kf2 Be6 14. Be3
f6 15. d4 exd4 16. Nxd4 Bf7 17. Rhd1 g6 18. Nf3 Bc5 19. Bxc5 Nxc5 20. e5 O-O
21. exf6 Ne4+ 22. Kg1 Nxf6 23. Ng5 Rae8 24. Re1 Re5 25. Nxf7 Kxf7 26. Bf3 Rxe1+
27. Rxe1 Rd8 28. Re3 g5 29. h3 h5 30. Rb3 Rd7 31. g4 hxg4 32. hxg4 c5 33. Bxb7
Rd4 34. Bf3 Rxc4 35. Kf1 Ke6 36. Ra3 Rf4 37. Ke2 Nxg4 38. Bxg4+ Rxg4 39. b3
Re4+ 40. Kf3 Rf4+ 41. Kg3 Rf7 42. Ra6+ Kd5 43. Rg6 Rf1 44. Ra6 Rf7 1/2-1/2

Melanie Ohme

v Judith Fuchs

GER-ch U16 Girls 2005

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Qe2 Nxe4 6. Qxe4 Nd7 7. Bc4 Nf6
8. Qe2 Bf5 9. O-O e6 10. d4 Bd6 11. Bg5 O-O 12. c3 Be7 13. Ne5 Qc7 14. f4 h6
15. Bxf6 gxf6 16. Ng4 Kh7 17. Bd3 Bg6 18. f5 exf5 19. Bxf5 Kg7 20. Rf3 Rae8 21.
Qd2 Rh8 22. Raf1 Qd6 23. Rg3 h5 24. Ne3 Kh7 25. Qc2 Reg8 26. Qb3 Rg7 27. Qxb7
Rb8 28. Qxa7 Rxb2 29. Nc4 1-0