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In old mainline of Be2 Najdorf black played 7. ... Be6 instead of, today practically automatic, 7. ... Be7. This is because 7. ... Be6 is today considered dubious due to this idea:

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[Startply "20"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f4 Qc7 9. g4 exf4 10. g5

I tried to find first game with this idea in Caissabase. First game with 9. g4 that I found was played between Julio Kaplan and Walter S. Browne in 1972. Before multiple players played 8. f4 but answered 8. ... Qc7 with less precise 9. O-O, 9. f5 or 9. Nd5. So my question is: did Julio Kaplan discover this 9. g4 plan or was he, at least, the first player to play it in grandmaster chess?

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    i checked with mega database looks like this is the first time
    – cmgchess
    May 21 at 18:03
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    there is another game with 10.Bxf4 by Kaplan vs Saidy in 1972
    – cmgchess
    May 21 at 18:22

1 Answer 1

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Julio Kaplan appears to be the first grandmaster to play it. The game that you mentioned is the earliest recorded that I can find.

Note that this isnt the classical narjorf. That has 6...e6. This is the 6...e5 English Attack. Another thing to note is why this wasn't played before. It might not be all that good. Stockfish 16.1 NNUE Depth=35 16 CPU Core doesn't even have f4 in its top 5 moves. In fact, chess.com believes the game to tilt from wite's to black's favor by playing 8.f4. So, yes, Julio Kaplan is the first to play it, but it isnt a good move.

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    shows 8.f4 has the highest win percentage and highest avg elo according to chessbase live book
    – cmgchess
    May 21 at 17:54
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    btw english attack comes with f3 Be3 setup
    – cmgchess
    May 21 at 18:07
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    In general don't trust engines too much in the opening phase - they aren't so good at it. Especially not Stockfish 16.1, since it doesn't exist yet. Nonetheless For me Stockfish 15.1 has 8. f4 for first choice (from depth 10 to depth 40 it keeps it in first place). May 21 at 18:34
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    What matters is depth, not number of cores - number of cores only means that some depth will be reached faster. Still: 32 core, 128gb ram. May 21 at 19:01
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    I am correspondence chess master, I think I know how to use an engine. Maybe look at this answer to depth question I wrote: chess.stackexchange.com/a/41334/33999 May 21 at 19:04

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