SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW AN SOS CAN SHOCK AND CONFUSE!
Every month, the editor of the SOS Secrets of Opening Surprises book series, IM Jeroen Bosch, annotates a game which was recently played with an SOS-variation.
SOS Game of the Month: October 2012
See also SOS–5, Chapter 13, page 107
At the Istanbul Olympiad the strongest woman in the world played in the open section. The Hungarian team could boast Judit Polgar on Board 3. She demonstrated her originality and attacking power in a Sicilian Najdorf versus Poland's former World Junior Champion Dariusz Swiercz. Polgar adopted the SOS-move 6.Qf3 and won an attractive game. I hope you will agree that this game is a deserving winner of the SOS Prize. Enjoy!
Here's the complete text of this game analysis:
Sicilian Najdorf - B90
Istanbul Olympiad 2012
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3
Yes, this is intended to avoid tons of theory! However, the move has a few chess technical merits as well, as I explained in SOS-5. White is one move closer to castling queenside, making this an aggressive system to take on the Najdorf. The typical Najdorf move 6...e5 is met by 7.Nf5, with a pleasant edge, while 6...Nc6 and 6...b5 are also bad. Other moves do deserve attention, such as 6...Nbd7, 6...e6, 6...Qb6 and Swiercz' preference in this game 6...g6.
See SOS-5 for some 'theory' on 6.Qf3, but to whet your appetite a few samples from 2012:
- 6...Nbd7 7.h3 Qb6 (SOS-5 cites both 7...g6 8.g4 and 7...e6 8.g4) 8.Qe3!? (8.Nb3) 8...e5 9.Nb3 Qc7 (9...Qxe3+ 10.Bxe3 and Black misses the queen to complete his development on the queenside in a satisfactory way) 10.a4 b6 11.g4 (11.Bd3 Bb7 12.0–0 Be7 13.Qg3!?) 11...h6 12.Bg2 Bb7 13.0–0 g5!? (13...Be7) 14.Qe2 Rc8 15.Be3 Be7
16.Rfc1! (preparing Nd5) 16...Kf8 17.Nd2 Nc5 18.Nd5! Nxd5 19.exd5 a5, apparently blocking the position, but 20.Bxc5! Qxc5 21.c4 Re8 22.Ne4 Qc7 was better for White in Short-Istratescu, Bunratty 2012. Best now would have been the immediate 23.Ng3.
- 6...e6 7.g4 Nc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.g5 Nd7 10.Bf4!? Be7
11.0–0–0 (an interesting pawn sacrifice) 11...Bxg5 12.Rg1 Ne5 13.Qe3 Bxf4 14.Qxf4 0–0 15.Be2 (White has enough compensation for the pawn) 15...f5 16.Qg3 Qf6 17.f4 Ng6 18.Rxd6 fxe4 19.Bc4 Rb8 20.f5 Qxf5 21.Rxc6 Bd7 22.Rxa6 and with original play White has gained an advantage in Bauer-Sandipan, Nancy 2012.
- I would consider 6...e5 a mistake in view of 7.Nf5 Be6 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.0–0–0 Qc7 10.g4!? (10.Kb1) 10...h6 11.Bd2 (White is also better after 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.h4) 11...Rc8 12.Bd3 b5 13.Kb1 b4? 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 g6 16.Ng3 Qb7 17.h4 Qxd5 18.Qxd5 Nxd5 19.Bxa6 (White has a pair of bishops and superior development) 19...Rb8 20.h5 Nc3+ 21.Bxc3 bxc3 22.b3 Nf6 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.g5, White is better, Romero Holmes-Kvisvik, Dublin 2012.
7.h3 Bg7 8.Be3
The logical move, worthy of note is 8.Bg5!? Qa5 9.Be3!? 0–0 10.0–0–0 Nc6 11.Kb1 Bd7 12.Nb3 Qc7 13.g4 Ne5 14.Qg2 Be6 15.f4 Nc4 16.Bd4 Rac8? (16...Nd7) 17.f5!, with a clear advantage for White in Vallejo Pons-Topalov, Leon 2012.
8...Nc6 9.0–0–0 (9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.e5 Nd5 11.Nxd5 cxd5 12.Qxd5 Be6 is fine for Black) 9...Bd7 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 transposes to the next note.
A highly original way to approach this position. Usually White castles queenside. Polgar's move is more positional.
First a note of warning. Always watch out for the typical Sicilian exchange on c3: 9.g4 Nc6 10.0–0–0 0–0 11.Qg2 Rc8 12.Be2? Nxd4 13.Bxd4 e5 14.Be3
14...Rxc3!? 15.bxc3 Qa5 16.g5 Nh5 17.Bxh5 gxh5 18.Qf1 Rc8, with a winning advantage for Black in Abergel-Negi, Cappelle la Grande 2010.
After 9.0–0–0 Nc6 10.Nxc6 Black should take with the bishop:
10...Bxc6 (for 10...bxc6 11.e5! dxe5 12.Bc4 gives White excellent positional compensation: 12...0–0 13.Bc5 Rb8 14.Bb3 a5 15.g4 e4 16.Qg3 Re8 17.Na4 Qc8 18.Rhe1 Rb5 19.c4 Rb8 20.Nb6 Rxb6 21.Bxb6, Howell-Womacka, Rijeka 2010) 11.Nd5 Bxd5 (interesting is 11...Nd7!?, as 12.Bd4 Bxd4 13.Rxd4 e6 14.Nc3 Qg5+ 15.Kb1 Qc5 was equal in Ashwin-Nitin, Delhi 2010) 12.exd5 0–0 13.Kb1 Qc7 14.g4 Rfc8 15.c3 b5 16.h4 and White is better, Kogan-Ortega, Lido Estensi 2003.
A previous game, by Najdorf expert Ftacnik, had seen 9...Nxd5 10.exd5 Qa5+ 11.c3 0–0, but now White adopted an inferior plan with 12.Nb3?! (instead, 12.Be2 followed by castling kingside preserves an edge for White. Here we see the flexible point of Polgar's 9.Nd5 - White can still castle to both sides!) 12...Qa4 13.Bd4 e5! 14.dxe6 Bxe6 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Nd4 Nc6 17.Qd1 Qxd1+ 18.Kxd1 Nxd4 19.cxd4 Bd5, and Black is slightly better, Jurcik-Ftacnik, Banska Stiavnica 2012.
10...Nc6 11.Kb1 Ne5
11...Nxd4 12.Bxd4 Nxd5 13.exd5 is nearly equal, but White still has a nagging space advantage.
12.Nxf6+ Bxf6 13.Qg3 Qa5
The alternative is 13...Rc8, but there is nothing wrong with the text.
14.Nb3 Qc7 15.f4
After this mistake (Black plays too passively) White will be in the driving seat.
Black had to play either the intermediate 15...Rac8 16.Qf2 followed by 16...Nc4 17.Bxc4 Qxc4, or go for Susan Polgar's suggestion of 15...Nc4 16.Bxc4 Qxc4, for, as she pointed out, White gains nothing by the seemingly active 17.e5, because of 17...Bg7 18.exd6 Bf5 19.Qf2 Rac8 20.Rd2 exd6.
Now Polgar sees her chance to attack on the kingside.
This prophylactic move is necessary. After 17.h5? Black has 17...Nb4! 18.c3 Qc6!.
Developing a piece and threatening to take on h5.
A positional move, preparing both Bb6 and g4. White is also better after more direct moves like 19.f5 or 19.Rhf1, but Polgar's move has much going for it.
A better chance was 19...b5, although White should be faster on the kingside after 20.g4!.
20.Bb6! Qb8 21.a3
And here is another strong prophylactic move. Polgar prevents ...a5-a4-a3 and preserves all the plusses of her position. Masterful play!
Similarly, 21.Nc5!? Be8 22.Nd3 a4 23.a3 was also strong.
Or 22.Nc5, as in the previous note.
A mistake in a bad position. 23...Bc6 was stronger.
24.fxe5 dxe5 25.Bb6!
Look at that poor black queen. That is no way to treat a lady. We are close to the final assault.
25...Be6 26.g4! hxg4
26...Bxg4 27.Bxg4 hxg4 28.h5 is even worse.
27.h5 gxh5 28.Rxh5
This loses immediately. After 28...Rc6 29.Rg5 f6 (the toughest defence was 29...Qe8 30.Bxg4 Bxg4 31.Rxg4 Rg6) White has the winning exchange sacrifice 30.Rxg4! Bxg4 31.Bxg4.
29.Bxa6 bxa6 30.Rg5
And now the major threat of 31.Qf6 cannot be prevented, as 30...Rc6 fails to 31.Rd8+.
30...Qb7 31.Qf6 Qxe4+ 32.Ka1
Black resigned. The game will end in mate: 32...Qh7 33.Rd8+ Rxd8 34.Qxd8.