The Sharpest Sicilian


I have often heard that the Najdorf is suitable only for advanced players. It is true that complete beginners should start with 1… e5 and follow in their early months of development the paths of old maestros. Open positions help master basic skills of piece play. They offer ample chances to play endgames which is also good for novices.

However if they want to improve further, they must get acquainted with more complex type of positions. The Najdorf is one of the richest openings is chess. You can play it all your live and never get bored. I cannot think of another system where you could choose between long castling, short castling and even leaving the king in the centre. The need of calculating a lot of variations improves tactical  skills and concentration.

Of all Sicilian systems, the Najdorf features the most active approach towards the centre. As early as from the fifth move, Black tries to establish a perfect pawn duo on e5 and d5. This solid positional foundation accounts for why the Najdorf is the weapon of choice of the elite. Offbeat variations could reap temporary benefits, but in the long run they spoil your understanding of chess and put a break in your development.

This book is not for the lazy. It offers the ultimate repertoire against 1.e4, but it requires some effort to learn at least the “Quick Repertoire” chapters. You will find there the essence to get you started. I made my bets to point out the critical positions and most fashionable lines. In many cases the proposed  repertoire has worthy alternatives. Opinions often differ, but I tried to rely on my long experience with the Nijdorf to avoid  recommending you short-lived variations.

This ambitious book aims to arm you with a complete repertoire against 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3. It is based on the Najdorf system with Black employing the ...e5 approach against most major choices of White. The only exception is the open fianchetto variation 6 g3, where 6...e6 is the main line.

The book follows the structure of another Chess Stars publication, The Safest Sicilian. Every system is examined in a separate part which contains three chapters. First, Quick Repertoire provides you with the vital information that you need to start playing the variation. Step by Step is the reference chapter with all branches covered in depth. The Complete Games chapters include altogether 50 commented games which display typical ideas or pawn structures. You'll find a lot of original analysis on the most critical positions of the Najdorf.

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