Victor Bologan: The complex Najdorf

4/18/2016 – Victor Bologan is a strong grandmaster, a successful coach and a renowned author. And he likes classical opening. On his new Najdorf-DVD he offers Black an attacking repertoire based on the classical Najdorf set-up with ...e5. GM Hedinn Steingrimsson had a close look at the DVD, discovered a lot of interesting ideas, and liked what he saw.

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Victor Bologan: The complex Najdorf - A complete repertoire for Black

A Review by GM Hedinn Steingrimsson

GM Viktor Bologan offers a complete repertoire for Black based on the Najdorf variation which arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6.

Apart from 6.5 hours of video, interactive training of key concepts, a database with full analysis and another database with 50 model games is also offered.

Generally I like this DVD. GM Bologan is a top grandmaster. At the last tournament where we both played, the European Team Championship, GM Bologan had a stellar 2845 performance, see: http://en.chessbase.com/post/interview-with-viktor-bologan . I have the impression that GM Bologan is presenting his own Najdorf repertoire on this DVD.

Bologan‘s choice of lines is fairly classical. In most cases black plays the principled, but nowadays in some cases slightly old fashioned ...e5 setup. According to the latest fashion in the Najdorf black tends to be more flexible. As an example after the popular 6.Be3 the currently most common move is 6..:Ng4. There are certain reasons why the classical ...e5 setup has declined somewhat in popularity. GM Bologan takes the bull by the horns and offeres interesting solutions in these variations.

In some cases some critical lines are not covered in the video, but GM Bologan makes up for this by detailed coverage in the full analysis database. Didactically, I feel that GM Bologan does a good job. I like that he uses the time of his audience very efficiently. Goes straight to the point, speaks at a plesant pace, not too slow and not too fast. The level of his explainations is quite high for ELO 2000+. Lower rated players will also benefit from watching the DVD, but might need to watch it a few times to understand all the subtle points.

GM Bologan explains the key concepts and principles of the critical opening theoretical positions very well. He lays out the plans for both sides and tries to predict the next moves. In some cases GM Bologan could have rehearshed the lines in his file a bit better before recording, since it happens now and then in the video that he thinks that Black is going to play something else than he is recommending. This, however, has the benefit to keep the audience awake and makes the presentation livelier, because GM Bologan is really thinking during the presentation, not just blitzing out some lines learned by heart.

GM Bologan is a bit serious during his presentation, there are no jokes. For me this is fine and contributes to making it an efficient use of ones time to watch him. Generally I feel that the variations, both in the presentation and also in the extensive analysis in the database are well organized and thorough.

GM Bologan‘s Najdorf gets 4.5 out of 5 possible stars. The missing half one would be earned if some critical lines which are covered in the extended analysis file would also be covered in the videos.

GM Bologan presents an interesting repertoire where instead of changing to some other interpretation of the Najdorf, black really tries to solve the challenges that he is facing in the traditional lines. I would not be surprised if we are seeing GM Bologan‘s own Najdorf repertoire here. The level of explainations and presentation style is aimed at serious chess players, primarily 2000+.

Lower rated players will also benefit from this DVD, but should expect investing time watching GM Bologan‘s explainations several times. Generally this DVD is well suited to players who want to play for a win with black and strive for interesting double-edged positions where all three results are possible. The Najdorf offers a very rich type of positions, sometimes quite classical, while in other cases the black king remains in the center for quite a while.

The Najdorf has a good reputation and served as the main opening against 1.e4 for players like Garry Kasparov. Being aware of the high level games which were played in the Najdorf can be considered a part of general chess education. 

Sample Video:

Victor Bologan
The complex Najdorf

€29.90
€25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$27.14 (without VAT)

This DVD can be purchased as a hard copy or it can be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

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