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badgraphics 28 ( +1 | -1 )
Najdorf How soon in the Sicilian can black play the a6 ...b5...Bb7 routine?
I tried to do it early once and white sack a minor piece and trap my king in the
center. Or is this normal? LOL! Can this routine be done better (sooner) from
another variation of the Sicilian besides the Najdorf?
far1ey 16 ( +1 | -1 )
a6 can be played on the second move and if white doesnt know what to do black can get an equal game. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 3.d4?! cxd 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nf3 is equallish in my opinion but see what you think...

As for a6 and b5 I'm not too sure...
sough 22 ( +1 | -1 )
It depends on how white responds to your najdorf. Often it's a very tactical defense so you have to consult a book or computer on a variation instead of following a strict rule. Sacrifices also tend to gravitate to e6.
ionadowman 45 ( +1 | -1 )
O'Kelly's move ... ... 2...a6 as mentioned by far1ey is a playable line. Sometimes called the Tartakover-O'Kelly Variation.
If you weren't thinking of playing the move quite so early, you might consider the Kan System (a.k.a. the Paulsen Variation):
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 ...
White can respond with 5.Nd2, 5.c4, 5.Bd3, 5.Nc3
Black's idea is to stake out territory on the Q-side (and prevent Bd5) before beginning normal development, reasoning that White can't subsequently stop your normal development anyhow.
Cheers,
Ion
_nw_ 32 ( +1 | -1 )
I think it all depends on how white plays. In the najdorf with ..e5 played by black, it makes sense to place the bishop on e6 if White castles queenside whilst still playing the a6-b5 routine. Whereas the bishop is better on b7 if White goes Kingside, in that case, its better to have a pawn on e6 rather than e5.