Originally posted by Dance Master MC
Is the Najdorf varation the most commonly used variation of the sicilian? Anything else to play, I'm not particulularly good at the Najdorf....I don't want to get better at it...
There are a lot of different Sicilians that have excellent pedigree. If you would still like to play the Sicilian, but the Najdorf just doesn't seem to fit your eye, you still have a lot of other choices to check out.
SCHEVENINGEN: plays for the little center of ...e6 and ...d6 instead of ...e5. Used by Kasparov to battle Karpov in 80's. Cons-- White can play the very dangerous Keres attack (an early g2-g4 thrust). If playing these positions instills a sense of razor-sharp awareness instead of fear, then the other variations will be fine for you.
TAIMANOV/PAULSEN/KAN: plays for an early ...e6 without necessarily moving the d-pawn at all. This eliminates White's anti-sicilian possibility of the Moscow/Rossolimo variations that have and early Bb5. It also makes innocuous White's attempts to play an early sozin-esque Bc4 because the e-pawn supported by BOTH the f7-pawn and the d7-pawn make the Bc4 bite on granite. Play may sometimes transpose into the Scheveningen variation. Cons-- White can play for an early c4 advance and enter the Maroczy Bind. If you don't mind playing hedghehog variations against the Maroczy, and you have a patient nature in a slow game where you wait for an inaccuracy by your opponent so you can make a pawn break, then this Sicilian system may be for you.
DRAGON: This Sicilian fan-base has supporters as rabid as Najdorfmaniacs! The Dragon sees Black fianchetto his king's bishop. This opening has been around a long time and at the moment is seeing Black under some pressure which is why it isn't used as often in top-level tournaments, though avid Dragoneers will insist that all is fine. Cons-- A lot of theory and a lot of transpositional battles into and out of the Main Line and the Yugoslav attack at the highest levels of this game. If you like playing with the fianchettoed king's bishop raking across the center, then this variation may be for you.
ACCELERATED DRAGON: Arguably the coolest named opening in chess. Similar to the standard Dragon, but Black holds back his d-pawn with the hopes of playing the pawn break ..d5 in one move. Black usually has a safely castled king in these variation. Cons-- once again we can see White go for the Maroczy Bind, but if you don't mind the hedgehog positions as mentioned above, then this may be the variation for you.
CLASSICAL SICILIAN: A rich and reliable opening system where Black develops slightly faster by playing an early ...Nc6. Cons-- you will meet some white responses (Sozin Attack, Richter-Rauzer Attack, Velimirovic Attack) which are very sharp and deep. However, if you are the one that knows and plays these positions better than your opponent, you will be the one who comes out on top!
SVESHNIKOV and KALASHNIKOV: These see an early ...e5 by Black, hitting the white knight on d4 whereupon White plays Ndb5 trying to pressure the d6-square. The Sveshnikov is very interesting chess! Black's pawn structures may be broken, but active counterplay is assured. The Kalashnikov actually feels more positional/slower at times. Cons--very original positions. Pros--very original positions! lol. If you like mixing things up on the board with counterplay, and dare your opponent to try to make something of a knight on d5 in the Sicilian, then this opening is for you!
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Maybe they will be further food for thought.
EDIT: scheveningen.....instead of fear, then the other variations within this system will feel fine for you.