Viktor Bologan: The complex Najdorf

10/4/2017 – The Najdorf Sicilian is one of the most popular openings and top players such as Maxime Vachier-Lagrave or Ian Nepomniachtchi win game after game with it. But you do not have to be a top player to enjoy this opening. On his DVD "The complex Najdorf" Viktor Bologan offers a balanced and comprehensive introduction to the Najdorf. Christoph Menezes had a look.

Najdorf Powerbook 2016 Najdorf Powerbook 2016

The Najdorf Powerbook 2016 is based on a totally incredible number of games: 1.9 million! The lion's share is provided by the engine room on playchess.com, with the addition of 120 000 games from human experts. An essential tool for Najdorf specialists.

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A review

By Christoph Menezes

The Najdorf is an opening with a long history but it is still very modern and a popular guest in today's top level tournaments. World Champions such as Bobby Fischer, Vishy Anand, Veselin Topalov, and Garry Kasparov played the Najdorf with great success. Kasparov in particular introduced a wealth of new ideas and concepts and made a huge contribution to the Najdorf and to the development of attacking chess in the 21st century. No wonder that Bologan thinks to know at least the basics of the Najdorf is part of chess culture.

The DVD has a very clear structure and the lines (6.h3; 6.f4; 6.g3; 6.Bc4; 6.Bg5; 6.Be2; 6.Be3) and possible sidelines are treated in several videoclips with a length of about 10 to 20 minutes — a length that helps to keep an overview of the lines. The videos are well done, and just studying them attentively gives you a relatively good feeling for the variation.

In each video Bologan tries to deal with the critical moves and tries to explain a couple of general plans. He makes a conscious effort to keep the videos clear and short by not dealing with all possibles lines in detail. The detailed variations can be found in the databases which take a closer look at the variations.

Bologan usually recommends not to play the classical Scheveningen set-up with e7-e6 but to go for the more dynamic approach with e7-e5. (Except for the the lines with 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5, because here e7-e5 is dubious). Bologan often follows games by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Anton Korobov or Ian Nepomniatchi, who are all great experts of the Najdorf and know the opening by heart.

Worth mentioning are the ten test positions at the end which complete the videos in which Bologan explains the basic ideas of the Najdorf. The reader is asked to find the best move in ten typical Najdorf positions and Bologan then explains the positions in detail. This offers a good opportunity to test how well you understood and remembered the ideas shown in the explanatory videos.

I do recommed Bologan's "The complex Najdorf" for players who are looking for a new opening which offers great dynamic potential and offers Black good chances to play for a win against 1.e4. For those "experienced" Najdorf players, you also will certainly find inspiration and new ideas.

The DVD appeared in 2015 and therefore one should compare some lines with current grandmaster games. All lines recommended by Bologan are of course safe and well playable but theory still develops rapidly, e.g. in the line with 6.Bg5 where Parimarjan Negi came up with a number of new and dangerous ideas in his book "Grandmaster Repertoire: 1.e4 vs The Sicilian". You should know the current theory when confronted with such a sharp line.

But even though the DVD cannot be up-to-date with the latest theoretical developments it still offers a good insight into one of the most fascinating chess openings there is.

The complex Najdorf

When choosing an opening repertoire, it is common to consider two types of variations. One is usually a solid opening, like 1...e5 against 1.e4, with plenty of strategical ideas and quiet paths of play. However, there are of course days when you want to play for a win with Black, when you want to bear down on your opponent’s position with a potentially crushing attack. The Najdorf is perfect for just such occasions – and it’s no coincidence that Garry Kasparov played it the most out of all the variations in the Sicilian – the opening served him well throughout his brilliant career. I myself have played it with both colours, but even I discover more to its endless depths every day! Strategy, combinations, attack and defence, sacrifices and marvellous manoeuvres – exciting chess is all about the Najdorf!

• Video running time: 6 hours 31 min (English)
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Extra: 50 Model games and full analysis of variations by GM Victor Bologan
• Including CB 12 Reader

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Other titles on the Najdorf

  • Play the Sicilian Najdorf — In 60 minutes you will get a crash course how to play such a complicated opening like the Sicilian Najdorf by the hands of Luke van Wely who knows by experience how the dangers look like!
  • Tactic Toolbox Najdorf — This DVD looks at the most important and most frequent tactical themes and sacrifices in the Sicilian Najdorf. Grandmaster Niclas Huschenbeth shows us the typical tactical ideas for both White and Black along with the criteria that need to be met for a particular sacrifice to work in this opening in several demonstrative games.
  • How to play the Najdorf Vol. 1 — Living legend Garry Kasparov shares his experience with the Najdorf at the very highest levels of chess. For chess amateurs and professionals alike it is a great moment when the world‘s leading expert reveals all the secrets in his favourite opening.
  • Sicilian Najdorf 6.Bg5 — There are few opening systems which have been undergoing such a fast and furious renaissance as the 6.Bg5 Variation of the Najdorf System. Alexei Shirov is your guide.
  • New ideas in the Najdorf — A Power Play 18 Update’ aims to complement Daniel King’s popular DVD from last year ‘The Sicilian Najdorf - a repertoire for Black’.
  • Najdorf Powerbook 2016 — It is a totally incredible number of games on which the Najdorf Powerbook 2016 has been based: 1.9 million! Whoever plays the Najdorf Variation is treading in the footsteps of Fischer, Kasparov, Anand, Gelfand and Topalov. In recent years there has been an enormous amount of development in this opening, driven by young players such as Vachier-Lagrave, Wojtaszek, Giri and Dominguez-Perez. The huge branches in the Powerbook invite you to a tour of discovery. For Najdorf specialists there is no getting past the Sicilian Najdorf Powerbook 2016!

 


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