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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6? (Read 22517 times)
TopNotch
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #17 - 01/14/20 at 02:29:24
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LordChaos21 wrote on 01/10/20 at 16:35:50:
I was just wondering, why don't Najdorf players meet 2.Nc3 with Nc6? As far as I know, 2...Nc6 is supposed to be the best way to meet the Grand Prix Attack (3.f4), and it is also the most flexible against White playing with g3 for the Closed Sicilian. If White plays 3.Nf3 trying to steer the game into an unfavourable Open Sicilian, Black can play e5! which seems to be doing quite well. The biggest problem seemed to be 3.Nge2!?, but even this you can meet if you wish with e5, or play g6 which also seems to do well.

If you instead play 2...d6 you have to deal with much tougher versions of the GPA and the Closed, and also the trendy and strong (imo) 3.d4 cd 4.Qd4 Nc6 5.Qd2. So why not just play 2...Nc6?


Laziness mostly, players don't like carrying around extra luggage in their head unless they absolutely have to. White also needs to be wary that in trying to move-order Najdorf players that he doesn't wind up tricking himself, especially if he is not a well rounded Open Sicilian guy. For example, I once tried to be clever against a Najy guy and went for 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 so far so good right, opening battle won. There followed 3.Nge2 Nf6! and suddenly I was stuck, it occured to me that I didn't really want to go into the Sveshnikov either, so no worries 4.g3 but then came 4...d5 5.exd5 Nd4!? 6.Bg2 Bg4 and somehow we have transposed into what looks like some line from the Scotch Three Knights  or Cozio defence to the Ruy, long story short Black equalised comfortably and put an end to my 3.Nge2 flirtation.

Conclusion, if you want to fight for an edge and go 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nge2 you need to be prepared to enter the Sveshnikov after 3...Nf6, which these days is considered even more reliable than the Najdorf. Curious to know what Tiviakov thinks about all this. 
  

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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #16 - 01/13/20 at 16:32:04
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I'm going to ignore most of your responses, not because I necessarily agree or disagree, but because my question to LordChaos21 has already been answered to my satisfaction. I will let this one response below be representative of my thinking on the other points you made.

MNb wrote on 01/13/20 at 07:44:44:
an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
RE 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6.

I agree 6.Be3 is best, and then 6...d6 is best. What white has given up is minimal.

I wouldn't call giving up 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Nc6 6.f4 minmal. My database contains 2000+ games that support my view. That includes six games of a famous 1968 Candidates match.


Hmmm. White hasn't exactly given up on that. 7.f4 is a move here, and should transpose back to those lines. What white has given up is lines with f2-f4 and not Bc1-e3. So, 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.f4 e6 7.Nf3 Nge7 8.O-O O-O and here 9.Be3 is most popular and what I have played when I have reached this position (I don't always play 6.f4). Now non-Be3 moves are 9.Rb1, 9.Bd2, 9.g4 and maybe some others I can't recall. It's precisely those that white has given up, which is why I wrote "minimal".
  
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MNb
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #15 - 01/13/20 at 07:44:44
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
RE 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Rb8.

Geller gave 6.a4!? a6 7.f4 += in the first edition of ECO.

Practical results suggest otherwise.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
I don't think 6.Be3 is an accurate move. Better are Spassky's 6.Nh3 and Lane's 6.f4.

Might be so, but Black in both cases can answer 6...b5,. which of course is a very common plan. In either case Black will only transpose to 2...d6 lines when it suits him/her. So my conclusion remains correct: 2...Nc6 3.g3 does not necessarily transpose to 2...d6 3.g3 but gives Black an important extra option that does very well in practice.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
If white is keen to play Be3, it's probably better to play Ljubojevic's 4.d3 move order.

4...Rb8 5.Be3 b5 still looks interesting; again, Black doesn't need to play ...d6.
Were I White I would take your argument two steps further and begin with 2.d3. That avoids all the early b7-b5-b4 stuff. Of course Black can force White to play the KID (beginning with d5 3.Nd2), but that's more interesting than the Closed Sicilian after 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 d5 anyway.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
Anyway, in the game Burchardt - Levitina, Manila ol 1992, the continuation was 6.Be3 b5 7.Qd2 (Ravikumar analyzed 7.Bxc5 to advantage for black) 7...b4 8.Nd1 d6, transposing to a position black could have easily reached via 5...d6 and 6...Rb8. Did you have an improvement over Levitina's 8...d6?

I don't need to have any; I only claimed that as far as the Closed Sicilian is concerned 2...Nc6 is more accurate. I onlly need to point out that Black has more options. Black might consider 8...Qa5 iso 8...d6 or 7...Nd4 iso 7...b4. These suggestions are not necessarily better than the transposition. Again, Black will only transpose to 2...d6 3.g3 lines when it suits hm/her and that's always nice, especially because Black can figure this out in his/her study.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/13/20 at 05:06:46:
RE 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6.

I agree 6.Be3 is best, and then 6...d6 is best. What white has given up is minimal.

I wouldn't call giving up 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Nc6 6.f4 minmal. My database contains 2000+ games that support my view. That includes six games of a famous 1968 Candidates match.
  

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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #14 - 01/13/20 at 05:06:46
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I wanted to look in my files to refresh my memory before replying.

MNb wrote on 01/11/20 at 09:54:29:
Fourty yeras ago Dutch IM Pauls Boersma gave 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Rb8 6.Be3 b5. Indeed Black (!) scores almost 60%.
There is also 5.d3 e6 idea 6.f4 Nge7 7.Nf3 d5 (Black does even better), forcing White to play 6.Be3 of 7.Be3. After 2...d6 etc. White might postpone this. so 2...Nc6 definitely is more accurate, given the Closed Sicilian.


RE 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Rb8.

I don't think 6.Be3 is an accurate move. Better are Spassky's 6.Nh3 and Lane's 6.f4. Also Geller gave 6.a4!? a6 7.f4 += in the first edition of ECO. If white is keen to play Be3, it's probably better to play Ljubojevic's 4.d3 move order. Anyway, in the game Burchardt - Levitina, Manila ol 1992, the continuation was 6.Be3 b5 7.Qd2 (Ravikumar analyzed 7.Bxc5 to advantage for black) 7...b4 8.Nd1 d6, transposing to a position black could have easily reached via 5...d6 and 6...Rb8. Did you have an improvement over Levitina's 8...d6?

RE 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6.

I agree 6.Be3 is best, and then 6...d6 is best. What white has given up is minimal. In my view black has given up even more, namely after 5...d6 (instead of 5...e6) 6.Be3, I believe 6...e5, 6...Rb8, and 6...Nf6 are all better moves than 6...e6.

LordChaos21 wrote on 01/11/20 at 14:54:14:
@ordinarychessplayer i think Black can if he wants delay d6 and instead play with a quick Rb8 and b5 which I like for Black. I don't know if it's better or not but it certainly scores pretty well. Generally I just think it is a bit more accurate. I consider Nc3 d6 d4 a much bigger problem.

For ...Rb8 see my reply to MNb. 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 is certainly an option, but I was more interested in the g3-Closed as you specifically referred to in your original post.
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #13 - 01/11/20 at 20:55:33
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By the way, in a recent match between two of Tiviakov's countrymen, GM Friso Nijboer sought to surprise FM Eelke de Boer (a young Najdorf player) with "something strange":  2. Nc3 d6 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. h3. 

(post-mortem with the players at about 3 hr 57 min)
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/527881424
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #12 - 01/11/20 at 20:25:14
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According to Tiviakov, in a very timely fashion, 2.Nc3 is a "Nightmare for the Najdorf".
https://shop.chessbase.com/en/products/tiviakov_nightmare_for_the_najdorf
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #11 - 01/11/20 at 17:46:47
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Incidentally 2...Nc6 3. Nge2 e5 came up here back in '17.
https://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1487015444/8#8
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #10 - 01/11/20 at 17:34:51
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3 Nge2 e5 4 Ng3 also one of the top engine lines for White, without too many games ...
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #9 - 01/11/20 at 17:20:32
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3 Nge2 e5 ... some 2500+ players have played it, you could definitely try it -- it seems like some more research would be needed to say if it is as reliable as 3 Nf3 e5 ... if that is important to you.

The risk is that you might wind up some tempos down ... for instance, the game below 6 of White's first 12 moves are knight moves going Ng1 to f3-d2-f1-e3-d5 and Nb1 to c3

In the Nge2 system maybe he's spending 4 instead of 6 ... Nb1 to c3-d5 and Ng1 to e2-c3

On the other hand, he brings a knight to d5 sooner if something like 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Nge2 e5 4 Nd5 happens, so maybe that gives Black some options -- perhaps Black can skip Nf6-d7-b6 and just trade on d5 right away (winning some moves back), or maybe White even "loses" the extra tempi to play Nd5-e3 to keep the tension and avoid trades. 

[Event "Wch Rapid"]
[White "Zubov, Alexander"]
[Black "Le, Quang Liem"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Round "6"]
[Annotator ""]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[Date "2019.12.27"]
[WhiteElo "2601"]
[BlackElo "2713"]
[PlyCount "71"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Bc4 Be7 5. d3 d6 6. Nd2 Nf6 7. Nf1 Bg4 8. f3 Be6 9. Ne3 0-0 10. a3 Nd7 11. 0-0 Bg5 12. Ned5 Nb6 13. Bxg5 Qxg5 14. Nxb6 axb6 15. Qc1 Qd8 16. f4 Bxc4 17. dxc4 f5 18. fxe5 fxe4 19. Qe3 Re8 20. Qxe4 Rxe5 21. Qg4 Nd4 22. Rf2 h5 23. Qg6 Qe8 24. Qxd6 Nxc2 25. Rc1 Ne3 26. Qxb6 Qd7 27. Nd5 Nxc4 28. Qb3 Rxd5 29. Qxc4 b5 30. Qf4 Re8 31. h3 c4 32. Rcf1 Kh7 33. a4 Rd4 34. Qf3 Re5 35. axb5 Rxb5 36. Kh1 1/2-1/2
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #8 - 01/11/20 at 17:00:13
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Yes, if a Najdorf player is happy with 3.Nf3 e5 as Black, then they can happily play 1.e5 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 without issue.
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #7 - 01/11/20 at 14:54:14
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I am new to this website so still don't know how to use a quote so sorry if this is a bit convoluted.

@RoleyPoley I didn't know Bb5 was such a big deal after Nc3 Nc6. But a quick glance seems to suggest Black is fine after Nd4?

@ordinarychessplayer i think Black can if he wants delay d6 and instead play with a quick Rb8 and b5 which I like for Black. I don't know if it's better or not but it certainly scores pretty well. Generally I just think it is a bit more accurate. I consider Nc3 d6 d4 a much bigger problem.

@ErictheRed But if you are fine with playing the position after Nf3 (Nge2) e5, you can simply avoid this transpositions right?

As for 3 Nf3 e5, I am pretty fine with those positions. Carlsen likes to go for those and Black's results are also good.
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #6 - 01/11/20 at 09:54:29
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 01/10/20 at 20:39:17:
I'm curious in what line of the Closed Sicilian you think white can do better versus 2...d6 as compared to 2...Nc6. I've played 3.g3 a lot as white, and as far as I know in the best lines for black, black plays both moves and they transpose into each other.

Fourty yeras ago Dutch IM Pauls Boersma gave 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Rb8 6.Be3 b5. Indeed Black (!) scores almost 60%.
There is also 5.d3 e6 idea 6.f4 Nge7 7.Nf3 d5 (Black does even better), forcing White to play 6.Be3 of 7.Be3. After 2...d6 etc. White might postpone this. so 2...Nc6 definitely is more accurate, given the Closed Sicilian.
  

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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #5 - 01/11/20 at 05:49:37
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Hi.

Glenn Snow wrote on 01/10/20 at 22:05:50:
Kaufman's new repertoire book claims "a normal White edge", after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 e5.
Glenn Snow wrote on 01/10/20 at 22:05:50:
White's advantage looked fairly small to me.

Both of you can be correct in today's world I think Smiley

Edit: I never found anything serious and thought black could equalise, although not by a big margin.
I will get the book now that I realise this anti is in there. Always interesting to try and bypass stuff.

Have a nice day!
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #4 - 01/11/20 at 02:50:27
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To answer the original question, Najdorf players don't usually play 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 because after 3.Nf3 (or 3.Nge2) there is no way to get a Najdorf if White continues 4.d4.  That's a too-simple way for White to be able to avoid Black's main defense, so Najdorf players usually prefer 2...d6.  The only way around it would be to play  1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 e5, as mentioned before.  Any other third move (3...d6, 3...e6, 3...g6, etc) would lead to a different Open Sicilian after 4.d4.
  
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Re: Why don't Najdorf players play 2.Nc3 Nc6?
Reply #3 - 01/10/20 at 22:05:50
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Kaufman's new repertoire book claims "a normal White edge", after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 e5.  White's advantage looked fairly small to me.  I haven't put his variations on a computer yet.
  
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