Robert Ris’ Fast and Furious: Najdorf Poisoned Pawn

by Robert Ris
4/22/2021 – In this week’s show, well-known Dutch trainer Robert Ris takes a look at the Poisoned Pawn Variation in the Najdorf (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6!?), a very sharp and heavily analysed line that often leads to exciting and fantastically complicated positions. | “Fast and Furious” is available on-demand with a ChessBase Premium Account. You can register a Premium account here.

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Najdorf Poisoned Pawn: Caruana vs MVL

After a break of more than one year, the Candidates finally resumed again and the players certainly used this time to prepare new opening ideas. In round 8, the first round after the resumption of the tournament, Fabiano Caruana sacrificed three pawns and a piece in the opening and came up with an amazing novelty (18.Bc4!) in the Poisoned Pawn Variation of the Sicilian Najdorf in his game with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

This thriller of a game is good candidate for the game of the year, and others have called it the most amazing piece of home preparation of all times.

In any case, it certainly produced some fascinating content for us to discuss in the Fast & Furious show! Does this new concept refute the Poisoned Pawn Variation or does it only scare off Najdorf players from entering one of the sharpest possible Sicilians with Black?

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Robert is an International Master who mostly spends his time training and coaching talented youngsters. On the PlayChess server The Fast and the Furious is a popular show where he explains sharp opening lines for a wider audience. He is also a well-known ChessBase author who produced numerous DVDs and regularly contributes to ChessBase Magazine as well. Since 2015 he is the organizer of the Dutch Rapid Championships in his home town Amstelveen.

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