I am a novice who has only picked up my first chess book recently. I want to study some common opening positions, and pick a line to go with & practice for the time being.

While investigating the Sicilian Defense, I notices that many line of the Najdorf system are labeled positional or theoretical. O think I am starting to understand what entails positional, but I still don't get what is meant by theoretical.

What would theoretical mean, in this context?


2 Answers 2


In the Najdorf, there are some lines that need absolute precision. If one side does not know the "theoretical" move and plays something else, then they will most likely end up losing. Probably this was meant by "theoretical" lines.

On the other hand, there are some lines that do not need absolute precision. You have more choices on moves. Although they may not be "the best move", they will not make you lose the game immiedately. You will need to have a good plan to make them work. Probably these lines are "positional" ones.

If you are not a very high rated player, I would suggest focus more on positional lines if possible and try to understand the ideas rather than memorizing moves. Because probably you will not get opponents that play very deep theory in your level.


What would theoretical mean, in this context?

It basically means that in this line you will live or die by the sword. It means that there has been a lot of analysis, mostly done by computer engines. This means that in a lot of the positions the correct move is not obvious. If you don't know the "theory", the analysis, and your opponent does then you will lose.


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