Home > Publishing Schedule > Playing The Najdorf – Repertoire Overview

Playing The Najdorf – Repertoire Overview

We recently announced David Vigorito as the author of the hotly anticipated Playing the Najdorf. Since there have been lots of questions and speculation about which lines will be recommended for Black, we decided to provide blog readers with a quick summary of what you can expect from the book.

First, a brief quote from the Introduction to give an idea of how the author regards the Sicilian Najdorf:

“I have been playing the Najdorf for about twenty-five years and teaching it for about a decade. Despite the fact that it has a reputation for being fantastically complicated and theoretical, I believe that at its heart it is a strategic opening, and that players of different styles can enjoy playing it and improve their chess while doing do. I have found that positional players adopting the Najdorf improve their tactical ability and feel for the initiative. Conversely, tactical players can develop their strategic play because there are so many recurring themes that arise from the typical pawn structures that one must master in order to successfully play the Najdorf.”

Repertoire Choices

I guess this is the part that some of you have really been waiting for. Without further ado, here is a brief summary of the recommendations against White’s main options:

6.Be2 will be met by 6…e5. Sorry to the Scheveningen lovers but the author prefers the characteristic Najdorf way of playing, and he makes a convincing case for Black.

6.Be3 will also be met by 6…e5, maintaining the theme of playing …e5 whenever possible. Against the English Attack with 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3, the modern 8…h5 is our choice.

6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 is the traditional main line and Negi’s recommendation. Vigorito opines that the Poisoned Pawn with 7…Qb6 may be ‘best’, but it is not the most practical choice for most players. Therefore he prefers 7…Be7 when there is still some theory to learn of course, but it’s more digestible and generally easier to understand than the Poisoned Pawn. Naturally he has paid close attention to Negi’s ideas and found suitable answers for Black.

6.Bc4 is met by 6…e6 7.Bb3 Nc6!? which is a little unusual, but the author argues convincingly for it.

Finally, the book deals with all kinds of miscellaneous tries from White. 6.h3, 6.g3, 6.f4 and 6.a4 are all met by 6…e5, which is consistent with the author’s ethos of playing this traditional Najdorf move whenever possible. Other quirky moves such as 6.Nb3!?, 6.Rg1!? and others will all be given their due attention as well.

Categories: Publishing Schedule Tags:
  1. KevHun
    September 3rd, 2019 at 17:55 | #1

    If this book is as good as his book “Challenging the Nimzo-Indian”, it should be well worth buying. Whilst theory moves on rapidly, his ability to clearly explain the strategic themes and concepts is marked.

  2. Seth
    September 3rd, 2019 at 19:03 | #2

    Alright, David! Super nice guy.

    Other quirky moves, by the way, include 6.h4?!?!! which, until last year, I had never heard of before. Even more surprising was being told that it is a close cousin of 6.Nb3. White waits for …e5 in order to play Bg5 in one go.

  3. The Doctor
    September 3rd, 2019 at 19:47 | #3

    The million $ question is then do you reckon you will publish Scheveningen book at some point?

  4. The Doctor
    September 3rd, 2019 at 19:53 | #4

    I’m really looking forward to the chapters on 6 Bg5 & 6 Bc4 as they have not been recommended much in previous literature. I’m a bit less excited by 6 f4, 6 Be3 & 6 Be2 as I usually prefer 6…e6. I’ll still buy it and maybe will persuade me to play 6…e5 more often! 🙂. Still think a Scheveningen book would be a great to compliment this book. 😉

  5. September 4th, 2019 at 00:56 | #5

    Looks like an excellent book so far.

    The million € question is, is it really due to publish in November ¿

  6. Ray
    September 4th, 2019 at 05:56 | #6

    The Sveshnikov is better 🙂

  7. Thomas
    September 4th, 2019 at 06:23 | #7

    @Ray
    Not to speak of Kozul’s Rauzer

  8. RYV
    September 4th, 2019 at 07:27 | #8

    @The Doctor

    The Taimanov is OK , but as it is mentionned in the book, there are many possibilities to transpose into the Scheveningen lines, so i do also

    “..Still think a Scheveningen book would be a great to compliment this book.”

  9. Michael
    September 4th, 2019 at 07:33 | #9

    @Ray

    Trouble with the Sveshnikov is that you seldom get to play it due to the Rossolimo.

  10. September 4th, 2019 at 07:54 | #10

    There was once a quite that I heard, “Trouble with the Sicilian is that you barely get to play it.” In other words, you end up playing against a lot of anti-Sicilians.

  11. JB
    September 4th, 2019 at 08:28 | #11

    Looks great from both White and black perspectives as Najdorf is such a major opening. Opening simulator to go with the …e5 theme or does David include some strategic tips rather than pure variations?
    Also presume he plays …e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Be3 after 6. f3 for an easy life or does he exploit the early f3 with a different set up?

  12. Ray
    September 4th, 2019 at 09:53 | #12

    @Michael
    On the internet I actually get the Sveshnikov on the board quite often. I don’t have much expericnce yet with this opening in OTB-play. I’m starting this season with playing it. By the way, I don’t mind playing against the Rossolimo. Black has plenty of possibilities for an interesting game, as shown by Carlsen himself.

  13. RYV
    September 4th, 2019 at 10:13 | #13

    wanting to play your favorite sicilian ? good… but first you got to work hard on Rossolimo, Alapin, Bb5+ ( Moscow ?) , closed system and some various gambit ( Morra, wing-G,..)
    You will play almost one of each before getting into your preferred lines. !

  14. Tom Tidom
    September 4th, 2019 at 13:52 | #14

    @RYV
    But that´s also true for other openings. My main defence against 1.e4 is 1…e5 and I very rarely face the Ruy Lopez. Not to speak of all the Queen´s Pawn Openings that avoid my Nimzo-Indian. 🙁

  15. Ray
    September 4th, 2019 at 14:05 | #15

    @Tom Tidom
    Very true, try to play the Marshall gambit or the Meran, for example… If you want to get ‘your’ opening on the board every time, you should play openings such as the Alekhine or the Scandinavian. But these are rare for a reason :-).

  16. Andrew Greet
    September 4th, 2019 at 15:48 | #16

    @The Doctor
    There is no Scheveningen book in the works at present, though I guess we may consider it in the future if we find a suitable author.

    @Leon Trotsky
    There are no guarantees, but that’s the timetable we are working towards.

    @JB
    Yes, he does a good job of explaining plans/motifs to accompany the variations.
    I haven’t actually got to the 6.f3 part yet but I’m fairly certain the recommendation will be 6…e5 leading to normal positions, rather than trying anything fancy.

  17. Chucky
    September 4th, 2019 at 16:34 | #17

    Highly appreciated book, very nice, cheers QC 🙂

  18. The Doctor
    September 4th, 2019 at 19:02 | #18

    @Tom Tidom
    I completely agree,you could say that for any opening, another example is QC did two books on the French Winawer…..you don’t tend to get that to much either!

  19. Topnotch
    September 4th, 2019 at 20:55 | #19

    @ Michael et al

    Play the KID it’s virtually anti proof, sound and scares the bejeebers out of most White’s.

  20. September 5th, 2019 at 05:36 | #20

    Playing the Pirc or Modern, you are almost guaranteed to play your favourite setup no matter what White does.

  21. Seth
    September 5th, 2019 at 18:18 | #21

    Leon Trotsky :
    Playing the Pirc or Modern, you are almost guaranteed to play your favourite setup no matter what White does.

    On the flip side, you are almost guaranteed to end up in a Pirc or Modern.

  22. September 5th, 2019 at 18:47 | #22

    @Seth
    Sounds like a good deal to me. After all, there is a Pirc book by Marin and a Modern book by Hillarp-Persson.

  23. Cowe
    September 6th, 2019 at 06:50 | #23

    Leon Trotsky :
    Playing the Pirc or Modern, you are almost guaranteed to play your favourite setup no matter what White does.

    yes, that’s the problem.

  24. September 6th, 2019 at 09:08 | #24

    Cowe :

    Leon Trotsky :
    Playing the Pirc or Modern, you are almost guaranteed to play your favourite setup no matter what White does.

    yes, that’s the problem.

    Of course. For White.

  25. September 6th, 2019 at 09:08 | #25

    Just to confirm, this Najdorf book starts coverage starting at move 6 ¿

  26. RYV
    September 6th, 2019 at 15:03 | #26

    Move 6 main ligne is..
    6.Rg1 !?

  27. Patrick
    September 9th, 2019 at 15:22 | #27

    Leon Trotsky :@Seth Sounds like a good deal to me. After all, there is a Pirc book by Marin and a Modern book by Hillarp-Persson.

    Sounds good to me too! I’ll take White! 16 of Black’s 20 legal responses to 1.e4 are inferior. Only moves Black should play are 1…e5, 1…e6, 1…c5, and 1…c6. I primarily play 1…e6 with 1…e5 as my backup, but I will never argue against someone that plays 1…c5 or 1…c6.

  28. The Doctor
    September 10th, 2019 at 06:15 | #28

    @Patrick
    I agree. I play a lot of chess both correspondence and OTB. I think the Pirc is difficult and Black struggles to equalise (this using Marin’s Pirc book too). I nearly always play the Sicilian which holds up well (whether it be I play the Najdorf, Taimanov or Dragon).

  29. Thomas
    September 10th, 2019 at 08:33 | #29

    Another question – does this book by Vigorito mean that GM Rep 6B will be on never-ever day?

  30. Ray
    September 10th, 2019 at 10:56 | #30

    @The Doctor
    Ojectively speaking that may be right, but I doubt whether other considerations aren’t important in an OTB game. For instance, Hillarp-Persson has a good score with ‘his’ Modern, even against well-prepared opponents. In the end chess is a game and not a science.

  31. Bebbe
    September 10th, 2019 at 12:50 | #31

    @Ray

    I agree that other considerations are important OTB. To know yourself is important .

    I dislike symmetrical postions and that is why I dont play french, slav or 1.e4,e5. There is nothing objectively wrong with these openings, but for me they are not right.
    Exchange french or exchange slav are boring.

    I play assymmetrical pawn structures: sicilian (Classical, Najdorf), Caro-Kann, KID, Grunfeld, Leningrad Dutch.

  32. Franck Steenbekkers
    September 11th, 2019 at 07:28 | #32

    Is this book instead of the new edition of the Ftacnik book?

  33. James2
    September 11th, 2019 at 09:05 | #33

    @Franck Steenbekkers

    If you go to the Ftacnik book in the shop section on this site it says that that book will be replaced by Kotronias’s book on the anti sicilians plus this new book by Vigorito.

    (Wesley) So (sorry, I couldn’t help it!), that means that the answer to your question is yes, but not quite. This book will only cover the positions after 5..a6 (I believe).

  34. September 11th, 2019 at 18:44 | #34

    I know that the Ftaçnik book was discussed about certain lines for Black not being to others’ tastes. But why exactly it it not available anymore ¿ This is one of the few books on the book list that says “sold out”. Are all copies discontinued or something ¿

  35. Adian
    September 12th, 2019 at 12:09 | #35

    Probably they had dispute with Ftacnik.

    Why on earth they would not launch second edition?

    Ftacnik book was selling like mad…

  36. The Doctor
    September 12th, 2019 at 12:55 | #36

    @Leon Trotsky
    I think the problem with the Ftacnik book is that his repertoire was a mixture of Najdorf and Scheveningen lines. Really what you need is a book on the pure Najdorf AND a book on the pure (Classical) Scheveningen. With the Ftacknik book it was always going to be tough to please everyone IMHO. Also many lines were not analysed in enough detail or were missed out completely. This is was I think no more were printed after the original batch was sold.

    Shame because I think potentially it could have been really good (and fit my repertoire really well), as it was it was not one of the best in the GM Rep series!

  37. September 12th, 2019 at 18:52 | #37

    @The Doctor
    The Scheveningen with …e6 via Najdorf was used to avoid the Keres Attack. But nowadays I think that the Keres Attack is not as dangerous as it once was. It probably is less dangerous than 6. Ag5 in the Najdorf. If a Scheveningen book is published, it should use the pure Scheveningen move order with 5…e6, keeping Najdorf books only with the …e5 plan.

    One very good point about the Ftaçnik book was that 6. Ag5 Cbd7, which was unknown in 2010, is now one of the big main lines in the entire Najdorf. The book probably single-handedly made this move popular.

  38. The Doctor
    September 12th, 2019 at 19:12 | #38

    Leon Trotsky :
    @The Doctor
    The Scheveningen with …e6 via Najdorf was used to avoid the Keres Attack. But nowadays I think that the Keres Attack is not as dangerous as it once was. It probably is less dangerous than 6. Ag5 in the Najdorf. If a Scheveningen book is published, it should use the pure Scheveningen move order with 5…e6, keeping Najdorf books only with the …e5 plan.

    100% agree
    I really hope a Scheveningen book will be published to compliment the Najdorf & Taimanov books

  39. John Shaw
    September 13th, 2019 at 09:11 | #39

    Adian :
    Probably they had dispute with Ftacnik.
    Why on earth they would not launch second edition?
    Ftacnik book was selling like mad…

    No, that’s a bad guess – no dispute. We were and are on very friendly terms with Lubo Ftacnik. Another edition of the book didn’t happen because Lubo was too busy with other work commitments.

  40. Jérôme
    September 14th, 2019 at 04:54 | #40

    I agree with the fact that a book about the Scheveningen Sicilian is long overdue. There are many good lines to be analysed specially after after 6 g4 or 6 Be3 Nc6 7 f3 Be7 8 Qd2 0-0 with d5 to follow after 9 g4 or 9 0-0-0

  41. Thomas
    September 14th, 2019 at 08:40 | #41

    Jérôme :
    I agree with the fact that a book about the Scheveningen Sicilian is long overdue.

    Right after the Classical (Rauzer/Sozin), which is much more interesting.

  42. September 14th, 2019 at 08:59 | #42

    Maybe I can write a Scheveningen book. The only doubt is if people would buy it 😀

  43. JB
    September 14th, 2019 at 10:09 | #43

    Leon Trotsky :
    Maybe I can write a Scheveningen book. The only doubt is if people would buy it 😀

    Hmm …..Chessable great for amateurs to publish their own books. I’m up for adding my own book to the QC stable too. After the ‘GM repertoire’ and ‘Playing …’ sets I think you should start a new line titled ‘Best Quality I can manage with my limited ability’ . Could do a decent job on the Scotch Gambit or Triangle System to complement Trotsky’s Scheveningen tome 😜

  44. kylemeister
    September 14th, 2019 at 16:49 | #44

    I’m a little surprised to see 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bb3 Nc6 given as “!?” etc. …I mean, it just reaches a major position in the Sozin.

  45. The Doctor
    September 15th, 2019 at 09:08 | #45

    @Thomas
    Thinkers Chess are publishing a 2 Volume series on the Richter-Rauzer next month I believe 😉!

  46. Thomas
    September 15th, 2019 at 13:01 | #46

    @The Doctor
    Where did you get that information?

  47. The Doctor
    September 15th, 2019 at 13:40 | #47

    @Thomas
    I have my sources. I’d say it’s a reliable one too! 😉

  48. The Doctor
    September 15th, 2019 at 14:21 | #48

    @Thomas
    I emailed Thinkers Chess directly and asked them!

  49. Jacob Aagaard
    September 15th, 2019 at 17:37 | #49

    @Adian
    No conflict at all. After some time I talked to Lubomir and expressed that we thought the lack of progress was a sign the book was not to be and he thanked us for cancelling it. It was not meant to be. We are on very good terms with Lubo.

  50. Michael
    September 15th, 2019 at 23:18 | #50

    @The Doctor

    I think I’ll stick with the Taimanov and Najdorf …..looking through my database there seem to be an awful lot of 1-0 when black has played the Rauzer!

  51. Andrew Greet
    September 16th, 2019 at 09:15 | #51

    @kylemeister
    The “!?” is because 7…Nc6 is an atypical – some might say controversial – choice for a Najdorf player.

  52. Frank
    September 16th, 2019 at 16:35 | #52

    although Daniel King also recommended this approach to 7.Bb3 on his dvd. I don‘t mean to be a wiseguy here, but it seems to me some people appear to be a bit pushy for this or that book as if there is no option of creating files of your own. That said, a qualitychess book is always a worthwhile and very inzeresting exposition of a thene or opening @Andrew Greet

  1. No trackbacks yet.

 Limit your comments to