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  1. 21 Apr '06 20:51
    For a long time, I considered the Najdorf to be the very BEST Sicilian, closely followed by the Sveshnikov. However, now that I actually have Starting Out: Sicilian Najdorf, this opening has lost its cloak of power.

    Just in the first chapter, there is a line where Black's best scoring moves only give him 28% out of >18 games! Here it is:

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6
    3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6
    5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5
    7.Nb3 Be7 8.Bg5 Be6
    9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Qd3 Nc6
    11.O-O-O Nd4

    Skipping around a few more chapters, I find another troubling line(but not mainline) scoring 30% for Black out of 48 games:

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6
    3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6
    5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4
    7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5
    9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3 Ne5
    11.Nf5

    These are only a few examples. However, there are more than 10 lines which give White over 65% in this book. This seems quite embarassing for what I thought was the best and most solid of all Black defenses. I considered adopting the Najdorf to escape the Maroczy bind or the 9.O-O lines in the Accelerated Dragon and I'm found facing lines no less difficult I the Najdorf. Is there even one opening that doesn't suffer from such problems? For example, is the Sveshnikov any better than the Najdorf or does it have lines which are even worse?
  2. 21 Apr '06 20:53
    i don't understand, if the opening is so bad why did fischer and kasparov play it so frequently?
  3. 21 Apr '06 21:02
    It isn't bad. It's a great opening. However, it suffers from the same problems as any other opening.
  4. 22 Apr '06 11:01
    Which is?

    If you were to ask me its been over-analysed to death. When you can play 30 book moves you've lost something along the line.
  5. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Apr '06 11:14
    Statistics can be misleading. All it takes is for some new bit of theory to be discovered and the assessment of a line changes, but the results of previous game don't.
  6. Subscriber sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    22 Apr '06 11:15
    Originally posted by Tengu
    Which is?

    If you were to ask me its been over-analysed to death. When you can play 30 book moves you've lost something along the line.
    What thirty? His lines shown gets black in trouble by move 11.
  7. 22 Apr '06 11:59
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    For a long time, I considered the Najdorf to be the very BEST Sicilian, closely followed by the Sveshnikov. However, now that I actually have Starting Out: Sicilian Najdorf, this opening has lost its cloak of power.

    Just in the first chapter, there is a line where Black's best scoring moves only give him 28% out of >18 games! Here it is:

    1.e4 c5 2. ...[text shortened]... le, is the Sveshnikov any better than the Najdorf or does it have lines which are even worse?
    If you study any opening, there are going to be lines that cause problems. That's the nature of chess.

    If you want a solid opening, I would recommend either the Petroff Defence (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6) or the Caro Kann (1.e4 c6). Most Sicilian players like their opening because it gives interesting positions, counter-attacking possibilities and realistic chances to play for a win as Black. But at the same time, they recognise that there are risks involved, especially if White knows all the theory.

    Which Sicilian you should choose is largely a matter of taste. I've always liked the Najdorf, but have experimented with just about every other Sicilian, including the Dragon, Accelerated Dragon, Sveshinkov, Kalishnikov, Scheveningen, Classical, Kan, Tamainov... I woudn't say that one Sicilian was particularly better than any other.

    Don't let the statistics from a database put you off. If you find an opening that suits your style, that you enjoy playing and get reasonable results from, keep playing it. Don't give it up because a few grandmasters have beaten a few other grandmasters in a few lines, that can probably be by-passed anyway.

    The Najdorf is a very good opening. If you persevere with it, you'll have plenty of entertaining games and should win your fair share of them.
  8. Standard member cludi
    Blogger
    22 Apr '06 18:47
    Originally posted by David Tebb
    If you study any opening, there are going to be lines that cause problems. That's the nature of chess.

    If you want a solid opening, I would recommend either the Petroff Defence (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6) or the Caro Kann (1.e4 c6). Most Sicilian players like their opening because it gives interesting positions, counter-attacking possibilities and realistic ...[text shortened]... with it, you'll have plenty of entertaining games and should win your fair share of them.
    I agree with every word that David Tebb wrote, but would like to add
    that yet another reason for not "relying" on databases is that they only tell you who won, not how they won a game in a particular opening. In other words, you don't know if the games were won because of the opening or because one of the sides made a blunder. You have to use databases critically.
  9. 23 Apr '06 00:37 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by cludi
    I agree with every word that David Tebb wrote, but would like to add
    that yet another reason for not "relying" on databases is that they only tell you [b]who
    won, not how they won a game in a particular opening. In other words, you don't know if the games were won because of the opening or because one of the sides made a blunder. You have to use databases critically.[/b]
    Good point on the databases. I would also add that you need to take into account the ratings of the players involved. For example, I was looking at the stats for the c3 sicilian on Chessgames.com, and it didn't score particularly well for white (just below 50 percent). Then, I looked at a few of the games more closely, and I noticed that when black won he/she tended to be much higher rated. I examined the latest 80+ games and found 21 black wins and 20 white wins. In the black victories, the player averaged 223 rating points higher than the white player! Black only won one game in which he was lower rated (and even then only 22 points lower). In the white wins, the victor averaged 8 points LESS than his opponent. White won several games in which he was rated 200-350 points lower than black. So, although the stats seem to show the line isn't great for white, it seems the Sicilian is often chosen by higher-rated black players to play for a win, and the c3 Sicilian gives white very good chances for the victory.

    Scott
  10. 23 Apr '06 08:03
    Originally posted by smrex13
    ...it seems the Sicilian is often chosen by higher-rated black players to play for a win...

    Scott
    I choose the Sicilian when I'm Black and higher rated so I can win. I choose otherwise if we're even or I'm lower rated.
  11. 25 Apr '06 07:17
    Do you find this approach helpful based on your results?
  12. 07 Jun '06 02:51
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    For a long time, I considered the Najdorf to be the very BEST Sicilian, closely followed by the Sveshnikov. However, now that I actually have Starting Out: Sicilian Najdorf, this opening has lost its cloak of power.

    Just in the first chapter, there is a line where Black's best scoring moves only give him 28% out of >18 games! Here it is:

    1.e4 c5 2. ...[text shortened]... le, is the Sveshnikov any better than the Najdorf or does it have lines which are even worse?
    Theory update!

    Example 1: Instead of 8... Be6 8...O-O neutralizes White.

    Example 2: e5 seems to not suffer from this problem (but has others)
  13. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    07 Jun '06 03:14
    Originally posted by David Tebb
    If you study any opening, there are going to be lines that cause problems. That's the nature of chess.

    If you want a solid opening, I would recommend either the Petroff Defence (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6) or the Caro Kann (1.e4 c6). Most Sicilian players like their opening because it gives interesting positions, counter-attacking possibilities and realistic ...[text shortened]... with it, you'll have plenty of entertaining games and should win your fair share of them.
    Here, here!
  14. Standard member Red Night
    RHP Prophet
    07 Jun '06 03:23
    Originally posted by exigentsky
    For a long time, I considered the Najdorf to be the very BEST Sicilian, closely followed by the Sveshnikov. However, now that I actually have Starting Out: Sicilian Najdorf, this opening has lost its cloak of power.

    Just in the first chapter, there is a line where Black's best scoring moves only give him 28% out of >18 games! Here it is:

    1.e4 c5 2. ...[text shortened]... le, is the Sveshnikov any better than the Najdorf or does it have lines which are even worse?
    There really isn't a whole lot of experience in that first line. Only 8 games at chessgames.com.

    Also, instead of Be6, black could play N(b)-d7 on move 8 and instead of Nc6, black could play O-O on move 10.

    Also, it appears that on move 10 no one has tried b5, N-d7, or Qc7. All of which look like they might be worth a try.

    I DIDN'T LOOK AT ANY OF THOSE MOVES VERY CLOSELY.
  15. 07 Jun '06 06:52 / 1 edit
    Yes, certainly the Najdorf is a solid choice. It may even be the best choice. However, I was scared off by a few lines and stuck with the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon. As Tebb points out, if it works, stick with it.

    In the HAD, White can make the game into an almost certain draw by playing the Maroczy bind. In this line, White has a very small positional edge and tries to grind black into submission. This is one of the reasons I considered the Najdorf. Another reason, is that after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 O-O 8.Bb3 a5 9.f3 d5 10.Bxd5 White was once more assured a draw. A forced series of trades lead to insufficient material for good winning chances. Finally, 9.O-O led to some unclear but quite difficult positions for Black.

    However, after switching to 8... d6, (transposes into a safe version of the Yugoslav) I have eliminated all of my problems except the Maroczy bind. Considering that my only complaint about the HAD is the unexciting and drawish bind, I will certainly continue playing it. After all, I only get the bind in 1/15 games at the most and a draw isn't so bad for black. (this is at the 1800 level online)

    All in all, I'm sticking with the HAD, but I will mix in the Najdorf on occassion. I will try to master both. This way, I have one more weapon in my repertoire and if one becomes unsound, there is always the other. Plus, this would make me a more difficult opponent to prepare for. Eventually, I may make a choice, but now I am content with the HAD as my primary opening and the Najdorf as a secondary weapon.