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I'm a ~1500 rated player on Chess.com's scale (highest rating is 1420 or so, but rapidly growing so we'll say 1500). A few months ago I participated in an invitational tournament against another school's club, and in the month or so beforehand I got Colovic's Short & Sweet Najdorf course on Chessable. I ended up playing 2 games in the Najdorf, both of which I won against some pretty good intermediate players. I ended up winning with a score of 4.5/5.

Recently though I bought Logozar's Najdorf course (also on Chessable) and it has around 150 lines. I don't know how long it would take to complete a course like that, but I'd probably better spend my study time on tactics and strategy. I really like it though, as it has spectacular winning chances for Black and you can really punish your opponent if they don't know what they're doing. If I was higher rated (1700-2000) I would definitely sink the time into learning it.

My question is: how long does it usually take someone to learn a 150-line Chessable course, and is it worth the time to learn an opening I really feel at home in? If not, are there any other defenses against e4 that offer similar themes but are easier to learn/less sharp (i.e. no English Attack)?

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    I played the Najdorf until about 1500. As I started to play stronger players I realized I didn't know what I was doing. I switched to more solid lines until I could improve my positional skills. Jun 26, 2023 at 12:58
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    @MichaelWest if I may ask, more solid lines of the Sicilian, or a different defense entirely? Jun 26, 2023 at 13:04
  • I went through a journey I do not recommend. I didn't understand that my issues were positional. I wish I had just learned Sicilian pawn structures. My next opening was Caro-kann. I played a lot of things. These days I mostly play pirc/modern... which can transpose to Sicilian. Jun 26, 2023 at 18:02
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    Earlier you start playing Najdorf earlier you will get used to it. At 1500 level though you don't really need 150 lines. You need some concrete knowledge against Bg5 and Bc4 lines, while others you can probably play competently enough just with knowing typical piece placement and careful calculation. So I think best for you is to check ~10 lines and then just play some blitz/rapid, checking where you deviated from theory after every game. This way you will be booked up in few months - anyway your 1500 opponents also won't know 150 lines of theory. Jun 27, 2023 at 6:18
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    If you enjoy playing the Najdorf there is absolutely no reason to stop playing it. It's a good opening (arguably one of the best out there), and if it suits your style it can be a potent weapon that serves you for life. If you enjoy studying the opening there is no harm in doing so, but don't push yourself too hard.
    – Scounged
    Jun 27, 2023 at 8:49

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In regards to to learning the Najdorf. I would say probably approximately month to learn...a lifetime to master

Coming from the direction of a chess coach. No. Don't focus on openings if you are under 2000 elo.

More likely your games and results will significantly improve by focusing on End Game and Middle Game, Tactics and training depth. The amount of players under 2000 that don't know how to effectively mate with a King, Bishop and Knight is just absolutely astounding

By all means play with the Najdorf , learn the overall theme, but you will benefit more learning and locking the other aspects of the game before locking down openings.

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