Merry Christmas everyone! The Sicilian Najdorf, poisoned pawn variation stung another victim in 2016. This is a bit surprising since it is analysed to death. There are several lines leading to a draw and 2 years ago I played one of those as Black in correspondence chess, ending in a 25 moves perpetual without breaking a sweat and just following theory.
This one was a team vote game between us (95 players) facing team Ireland (21 players) and the last part of it is very instructive. The opening was pretty straight forward and by move 17 we diverged from the only available game played during the 39th Olympiad. We continued doing a lot of maneuvering in the middle game (moves 17 to 38), without being able to achieve much. This was a clear failure for us and the poisoned pawn looked more and more like a self inflicting wound.
What can we learn out of it? I think everyone should remember Edmar Mednis principles:
1.If a player is down material he should look for drawing chances in an endgame with only the bishops and pawns
2. With major pieces (queen or rook) on the board, having bishops on opposite colors favors the side with an attack
Both are easy to remember and can become useful guides in over the board. Attacking requires first a desire to play like that and then to obtain initiative. Long term initiative comes from a good position, so always look to setup good positions and you will be rewarded. If you have any games and/ or positions you would like me to look at, please do not hesitate to let me know. I will gladly include them in my column for everyone’s benefit. Looking forward to your messages!
Valer Eugen Demian