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.

In the ever-changing Najdorf landscape, it is easy to lose sight of the strategic backbone that underpins the Najdorf. In this book, James Rizzitano, a battle-hardened Sicilian warrior, distils the most important ideas and themes from current practice to provide an ideal guide for those looking to succeed as White or Black in the Najdorf in the modern scientific era.

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.

Gambit books by Rizzitano: Understanding Your Chess, How to Beat 1 d4, Chess Explained: the Taimanov Sicilian, Chess Explained: the Queen's Gambit Declined, Play the Najdorf Sicilian.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"...a well-written introduction to the world of Najdorf. And well worth buying." - Sthig Jonasson, Ålandstidningen

"Recommended and absolutely state-of-the-art." - Uwe Bekemann,

"This is a great effort. Rizzitano presents a very thorough overview of each line in the Najdorf. Many lines have been cut to the bone in order to make it all fit, but I never felt that lines had been unduly ignored or dismissed. If you are considering taking up the Najdorf as black, then this book is the perfect place to start. It will give you a good look at each line, the current theoretical standing, along with pointers to future developments." - Carsten Hansen,

"A repertoire book for Black as well as a reference work for theoreticians, correspondence players and annotators. A must-buy!" - Martin Rieger, Rochade Europa

"A good book for those that want to start playing the Najdorf with black and also recommendable for Najdorf players not the least because it is very much up to date and includes state of the art knowledge about the lines presented. Also quite useful for players that face the Najdorf with white, specially those that play Bg5 or Be3 since so many different lines for black are analyzed here." - Hedinn Steingrimsson,

"The material is presented via 25 full games which are at times quite extensively analysed. Obviously it is impossible to present an encyclopaedic coverage of the Najdorf in a mere 25 games and 140 pages, and this was never the author's intention. The purpose of the book is to present an overview of the current state of Najdorf theory through a series of high-level games, all of which have been played since 2000." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

" excellent overview of a wonderfully rich and diverse system and will interest the general reader as well as opening theory addicts" - John Saunders, British Chess Magazine

"Especially interesting and enlightening are the reasons Rizzitano provides starting right away from his brilliant introduction on how and why chessplayers cannot avoid studying this fascinating opening for the educational benefits that any player, no matter his style or level, will find in every phase of his career." - Martin Eden,

"IM James Rizzitano's new book Play the Najdorf Sicilian is a great guide. The New England master was able to keep the defense up-to-date, highlighting the important points as well as the pitfalls. He chose the illustrative games with great care and his research is remarkable. The book was recently published by Gambit Publications and could be extremely handy for club players." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Huffington Post

"...this is a well written and generally very accessible guide to the chess opening of Kings." - Sean Marsh,