The Najdorf Sicilian is one of Black's most respected and popular responses to 1 e4. It was favoured by those two titans of the game, Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov and in the modern game it features in the repertoire of many elite players. This rich opening creates a wealth of opportunities for vigorous attacks, causing most games to be tense and engaging.
The Najdorf is that very rare thing – an opening for Black that is highly aggressive but is also recognised as being objectively sound. In this book, FIDE Master John Doknjas and National Master Joshua Doknjas navigate through the main lines of the Najdorf and provide the reader with well-researched, fresh, and innovative analysis. Each annotated game has valuable lessons on how to play the opening, and contains instructive commentary on typical middle-game plans. With thorough variations and explanations on pawn structures and piece placement, this book provides insight to both strong masters and less experienced players alike.
The format is ideal for the chessplayer keen to improve their game. While reading you are continually challenged to answer probing questions – a method that greatly encourages the learning and practising of vital skills just as much as the traditional assimilation of chess knowledge. Carefully selected questions and answers are designed to keep you actively involved and allow you to monitor your progress as you learn. This is an excellent way to study chess while providing the best possible chance to retain what has been learnt.
The Najdorf Variation was a mainstay in the opening repertoires of many top grandmasters, including world champions Fischer and Kasparov. Over the years it has ebbed and flowed in popularity but never disappeared from competitive play. In my youth I recall John Nunn writing what was then considered the definitive work on ¥g5 systems against the Najdorf. Today, you could easily devote a whole monograph to just the sub–variations! In today’s world, massive opening compendiums are almost the norm, and even my own books on the Dragon, Closed Sicilian and the English Opening are examples of this. Of course, just glancing at this massive work by the Canadian duo of John and Joshua Doknjas might scare off most players from taking on such a complicated opening as the Najdorf Sicilian. Nevertheless, although not a Najdorf specialist myself, it seems to me that they have succeeded in putting together a repertoire for Black that is both playable and manageable. They present their material on the basis of 42 main games, incorporating in their annotations not only specific lines of play but also explanations of typical ideas and methods of play in the Najdorf, using the Q&A format with which we are familiar from the Move by Move series published by Everyman..
While the authors have taken some short–cuts when selecting material for their suggested repertoire, this is a case of necessity otherwise average players will be simply overwhelmed by the maze of complicated variations. However the authors give persuasive reasons why their chosen lines of play will work in practical play and do their best to prepare the reader also for the middlegame battle that lies ahead. It is clear that they have a fine understanding of the opening and enjoy sharing their knowledge, all of which makes this book a good choice for those who are ready to take up the challenge of playing the Najdorf for the first time or for those existing Najdorf practitioners who want to update their theory in time for the next over–the–board encounter. An excellent debut effort by the brothers from up north.