A review of Winning with the Najdorf Sicilian An Uncompromising Repertoire for Black by Zaven Andriasyan

Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane

Winning with the Najdorf Sicilian
An Uncompromising Repertoire for Black
By Zaven Andriasyan
New In Chess
2013, ISBN:9789056914294

In this densely analytical monograph, Andriasyan gives the reader all that could possibly be needed to play the Najdorf Sicilian with confidence. His approach is to recommend that Black plays 6…e5 against all moves other than 6.Bg5 and 6.Bc4. This is, after all, the move that 5…a6 has prepared: the immediate 5…e5 allowing White to play 6.Bb5+. Andriasyan’s remedy against 6.Bg5 is the Poisoned Pawn Variation (6…e6 7.f4 Qb6), not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure, but certainly the most critical line; while he meets 6.Bc4 with 6…e6 and rapid queenside mobilization: …b5 and/or …Nbd7 will follow soon.

Each chapter ends with a summary of findings and advice to the second player. His general conclusion is that Black is doing fine, but there is no doubt that certain White lines are promising. The positional 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 scores well;
6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 leads to complex, interesting play and chances for both sides; whilst 6.h3, as Andriasyan himself suggests, contains more than a drop of poison. If you play the Najdorf Sicilian as Black, or meet it as White, this book will give you a good account of the current theoretical state of play.

About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at ludic@europe.com