Judit Polgar – how to play the anti-Najdorf

by ChessBase
7/22/2009 – Judit Polgar burst on the scene in the late 80s and early 90s as a great attacking player and tactician. But the strongest female in the history of the game can, when necessary, maneuver and utilize the strategic advantages in a position. She proves it a game against Vishy Anand that is the subject of this week's Playchess lecture by Dennis Monokroussos. Be there to watch at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Judit Polgar burst on the scene in the late 80s and early 90s as a great attacking player and tactician, and she is still best known for those attributes today. That sort of game does appear to be her milieu, but no one can became a super-GM, as she has been for many years, without reaching a very high level at all aspects of the game. When necessary, she can maneuver and utilize the strategic advantages in a position against even the very best players, and our game for this week is a beautiful illustration.

Playing current world champion Viswanathan Anand in Wijk aan Zee 1998, Polgar used a somewhat underappreciated anti-Najdorf variation with success. Its aim (6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3) is to slowly but surely conquer the d5 square, and Polgar successfully worked her way to a great knight vs. mediocre-to-poor dark squared bishop ending with queens and rooks. How she achieved that is itself worthy of note, but the sequel is at least as important. It's very easy to coast from such a position, thinking it will win itself, but against a good defender it won't. What makes the game especially worthwhile is the way Polgar managed to widen the board while keeping control. It took 56 moves for her to reel in the point (and with a nice little combination, too), but although it took quite a while Anand never escaped her grip. By creating threats all over the board, Polgar stretched her illustrious opponent's defenses too thin, and eventually broke through.

It's a great game and real model of how to play the variation and how to utilize this kind of knight vs. bishop middlegame, and I highly recommend that you tune in tonight. The show begins at 9 p.m. Wednesday night ET/3 a.m. Thursday morning CET, and it's free. All you have to do is log on to the Playchess server at the appropriate time, go to the Broadcast room and find Polgar-Anand under the games tab.

See you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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