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In Gufeld's book, after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5!,

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5!

he writes: "In this way White solves three problems: he prevents ...e5, " but he shows nothing to support the statement. Why is ...e5 so bad for black? Gerard

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3 Answers 3

Let's look at the position after

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e5

The downside of e7-e5 is that black loses control over the d5 square (e7-e6 is no longer possible). The upside is that black gets a strong control over the e5 and d4-squares. There are lines where black plays e7-e5 and follows up with h7-h6 to stop the white bishop from going to g5. The reason is because the Bg5 pins the Nf6 to the Qd8 and therefore weakens blacks control over the d5-square (the Nf6 is a vital piece for black in order to control the d5-square).

From the position above, whites plan is to build up a strong control over the d5-square, most probably play Nc3-d5, perhaps followed by c2-c4 and build up the rooks on the c-file. For example

[FEN ""]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Nd5 Nbd7 9.f3 h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bf2 Nxd5 12.exd5 Bf5 13.c4

Where white should get a nice control over the light squares after exchanging off blacks light squared bishop with Bf1-d3. Also, white has the thematic pawn break h2-h4xg5 to open the h-file. As well as the Nb3-d2-e4 maneuver.

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Being an 1.e4 player, I believe you know theory better than I do for this line so I ask you this: Why is Black in a bad position after 8...Bxd5!? in your second diagram? I believe it is playable for Black, meaning he has equal chances. What am I not seeing? What is wrong with my assessment? Thank you. Best regards. –  AlwaysLearningNewStuff Feb 4 at 6:05
@AlwaysLearningNewStuff After 8...Bxd5 9.exd5, white will get a nice control over the light squares (d5, c6, e6 and g4). Black will surely have no problem to complete the development with e.g. Be7, O-O and Nbd7. Yet, black has to show a more dynamic plan in order to disturb whites strong control in the center. Perhaps black should try an early h6 and kick the bishop on g5, followed by Ne4 and f7-f5. Yet, this does not seem to work right away, and delaying it risks that white has enough time to control the center even better. So I suspect that white will have a slight advantage. –  Rauan Sagit Feb 4 at 14:44

The lines presented below are from the Chess Informant ECO 1984, but I doubt the assessments have changed since:

[fen ""]
[White "Sicilian defense"]
[Black "Najdorf variation"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e5?! 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 ( 7...gxf6 8.Nb3 f5 9.Qh5+/- ) 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nf5 Bxf5 ( 9...Be6 10.Bc4 Nd7 11.O-O Rc8 12.Bb3 Nc5 13.Qf3 Nxb3 14.Qxb3 Rc5 15.Rad1 Rb5 16.Qg3!+/- ) 10.exf5 Be7 11.c4+/- 

Although my edition of the ECO is old, I doubt anything has changed here.

In the main line Black has no counter-play-his only plan of attack-b5 is useless as White will take with the bishop thus eliminating every Black's counter-play.

White has strong grip on the light squares, and presence of the bishops of the opposite color increases his advantage-remember this rule:

Presence of the opposite colored bishops favors the side with the initiative. Although they may end up as a draw in the endgame, in the middle-game side that has an attack usually wins.

In the first sideline, Black tried to generate some counter-play with f5 but White's Qh5 keeps advantage. If Black continues with passive play then White keeps advantage due to the initiative and presence of the opposite colored bishops.

Black's last sideline features Be6 trying to ignore Whites plan, but we see that White develops strong pressure again.

I am not an 1.e4 player, so I was unable to find more concrete lines but these illustrate well enough why e5 is dubious move for Black. If you need better coverage then try to find some repertoire books-at this point I can not recommend any.

Best regards.

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After Bg5 in the najdorf variation playing e5 would leave black with huge problems in the d5 square, white is ready to take on f6 with his bishop and ocuppy the d5 outpost with a knight or even take advantage of f7 weak spot by playing Bc4

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