Video Guide: Shankland Teaches the Najdorf

  • GM Shankland
  • | Sep 19, 2011

This is a quick guide to a video series. For other video series, go here.

In this series we will break learning one of the most complicated and theoretically sound responses to 1.e4, the Najdorf Variation, into digestible parts. The entire series is appropriate for advanced players only.

The Najdorf has been a longtime favorite of many of the greatest players of all time, including but not limited to Kasparov, Fischer, Anand, and Topalov. The first 2 videos are dedicated to one of the old lines, the Fischer-Sozin Variation, which starts with 6. Bc4. The next 2 cover the English attack, which has phased in and out of popularity over the last 30 years and is certainly one of white's critical tests. The following one digresses into a slightly less topical but certainly dangerous move in 6. f4. Numbers 6 and 7 are dedicated to the wild 6. Bg5, which has been all the rage for the last few years, and finally it is wrapped up by videos 8 and 9 which cover some of the more positional approaches of 6. Be2 and 6. h3, the former rapidly gaining popularity and the latter having recently phased out of style. Hopefully with a complete study of all of these videos, the viewer will feel confident in his ability to play the Najdorf and enter the middlegame with a decent position. 

6.Bc4 Part 1: Introduces the Najdorf and starts covering 6. Bc4, an attacking move that always remains dangerous.

6.Bc4 Part 2: Continues and completes the coverage of 6. Bc4.

6.Be3 e6: Introduces the English attack and covers 6. Be3 e6.

6.Be3 e5: Continues covering the English attack, covering 6. Be3 e5.

6. f4: Covers 6. f4, a somewhat less analyzed move that has a lot of potential venom to it.

6.Bg5 Part 1: Introduces 6. Bg5, the current theoretical tabiya.

6.Bg5 Part 2: Continues and completes the analysis of Bg5.

6. Be2: Covers 6. Be2, a slow positional approach that can cause headaches to players who thrive in complicated positions.
6. h3: Covers 6. h3, the most dangerous of white's 6th move sidelines.


  • 5 years ago


    It doesn't matter, I'll raise my ranks as I go. That goes for all of you.

  • 5 years ago

    IM dpruess

    grandmaster Adam, it looks like your rating is 1400, so no, you aren't supposed to be able to follow these videos; they are for advanced players, really 2000 USCF or more.

    jwalexander if you want help with the sicilian and you are not yet on the level of these videos, i recommend that you just work on improving your understanding of opening principles. here are some guides which could help you:

  • 5 years ago


    im rated well above 2000 , am i supposed to be able to follow sam's tactical rambling?, my advice sam, stick to mainlines you wonder wayyyyyyyy off sometimes

  • 5 years ago


    Any thoughts about how to approach this if we're not so advanced? Laughing.  Still play for an againt the Sicilian alot, even at a lower level.

  • 5 years ago


    i recomend the book mastering the najdorf by julen arizmendi and javier moreno

  • 5 years ago


    6. a4?


    Hey Sam, I saw some of your Najdorf videos a while back.  Just wondering if any of the videos cover 6.a4.  I saw GM Alterman's discussion of the 'Kamsky' gambit after Nc6, a4.  So if black hasn't played Nc6 yet, is 6.a4 premature for white? or is it playable?

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