Get unlimited access to all our training for $29/mo

Najdorf or Dragon?

I have been concerning this question for a long time. I know to play well this openings, thus not letting my opponents to take the initiative. On the other hand, I have studied many classic games, truly magnificent examples of how to fight them. ( I have to confess that my favourite chess player is Super Nezh).

When it comes to dragon, a significant drawback ia that it has a lot of sidelines and requires huge theoretical knowledge. People who are not helped by their memory would never choose it. In addition, although it is a solid opening with a monster bishop on g7, black's position can get unsafe very wuickly, if the one who's playing black is not able to handle the opponents initiative. Also, black is losing a tempo by playing 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6  3. d4 cxd4  4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 ... because he is playing d7-d6-d5 and not d7-d5 at once as in the accwlerated dragon. Of course, I love ro face the dragon since it leads to a tough battle. 

On the other hand, someone who is playing the Najdorf should be very careful, and set defence as a priority. Furthermore, he should be able to handle potential weaknesses, especially the e6 pawn in Fischer Sauzin attack and english attack. The game is more positional with the closed variations and when black keeps the king on e7 square.

All in all, I have been in this dillema for a long time and I decides to publish it to see what you think. Waiting for your answers guys. ;)


ChessMood 8 months ago

Hey Giorgos.
Overall, if you are ready to learn lots of complicated lines and you don't have problem with Memory - Najdorf is a good choice.
Accelerated dragon is also a solid and agressive variation. + is that there is not so much thing to remember. Another + is that if White doesn't know the theory, Black can get a big advantage. (This happens a lot during the streams, our PRO Members can confirm my words.) 

So, both are fine. Up to you. 
Abhi yadav

Abhi yadav 7 months ago

man I personally prefer Accelerated dragon . Even if you have nice memory I still prefer to use it to learn classics like chessmood recommends and study games and in case of opening as you have AD which is super solid and agressive then there is no need to focus on complicated lines right now . Just enjoy AD.

Ratheesh PK

Ratheesh PK 1 month ago

If you prefer to play Najdorf, you can play it as a lifetime repertoire. but you cannot play dragon beyond 2300 level.  another issue is usually lower-level players will prefer to play closed Sicilian whereas, in master level, players prefer to play open Sicilian. so in the lower level, there is less chance to get the Najdorf even if you wish to play it.
Christoph Serrer

Christoph Serrer 1 month ago

well hikaru played it for years with over 2600 so I disagree

Kourosh A

Kourosh A 1 month ago

Fischer was one of the greatest Najdorf players ever, let us see what he says about Najdorf and Dragon:

1- Fischer said that a turning point in his career came when he realized that he can play for a win with Black too, even against the strongest players.

2- Fischer's Anti-Dragon recipe: "Pry open the h-file, sac, sac... mate!" (commentary on Fischer-Larsen, Portoroz 1958, "My 60 Memorable Games")

If you enjoy tactical games, both Najdorf and Sveshnikov give you excellent chances to win with Black, at the price that you give excellent chances to White to beat you in an unbalanced position. If you are a positional player and you like manouvering and endgames, Caro-kann. 1-e4-e5, and Taimanov Sicilian are better choices for you. 

Kevin D

Kevin D 1 month ago

@Giorgos Kechagias

All major chess openings carry with them lots of theory to master there is just no way around it, that's why I always tell beginners stop jumping around from opening to opening without ever coming to grips with any of them, it just never works. If you like the Najdorf stick to that and try to really absorb the ideas and mindset needed to play it well, same thing goes for the Dragon and so on.

Memory plays a big role but not as much as you might think, a deep understanding of the typical positions and structures arising out of your opening choice is equally if not more important. It surprises me how many times I see the same questions asked over and over: We want low theory but good attacking chances without getting attacked ourselves etc etc, sadly we can't have our cake and eat it too, chess doesn't work that way. If you don't want or have the time to keep up with constantly shifting theoretical trends then choose your openings accordingly. That's it.

Giorgos Kechagias

Giorgos Kechagias 1 month ago

Thank you all but as I have solved the problem and I have finished accelerated dragon course I have great results, winning my opponents with crushing attack. I also use Schevenningen and Najdorf in shorter time controls. It is real that I don't have any memory problems. My pgn files are bigger than my level I think, 5 times more than the 1st screen.