The Najdorf Sicilian has a unique place amongst chess openings: for several decades it has been regarded by the top grandmasters as the best way for Black to play soundly for a win against 1 e4. It was a particular favourite of World Champions Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov, and plays a vital role in the repertoires of current top players such as Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Topalov.
Black's stance is totally uncompromising. He accepts no organic weaknesses and stays flexible, ready to counterpunch in any part of the board. White has no safe or easy option. On the other hand, he does have a vast array of extremely dangerous attacking options, such as the old 6 Bg5 main line, which can lead to the Poisoned Pawn, a variation that has undergone much development in the 21st century. The current main line is 6 Be3, intending the English Attack. But given the Najdorf's importance, White has tried almost everything imaginable in the search for an advantage, with considerable bodies of theory evolving for lines that contain merely a drop of poison.
Author James Rizzitano is a strong international master who dominated chess in the New England region during a 14-year period from 1976 to 1989 - he won 157 out of 336 events in which he competed. His career highlights include victories over Alburt, Benjamin, Benko, Christiansen, Dlugy, I.Gurevich, and Wolff. In recent years Rizzitano has made a return to competitive chess.