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In the last five years we have been observing a noticeable trend of the chess elite to evade the warn off central pawns moves 1.e4 and 2.d4 in favour of 1.c4 and 1.Nf3. Naturally, lower ranked players eagerly followed in the leader's footsteps - indeed not only Carlsen and Kramnik tired of struggling against the Berlin wall or exhausting themselves in futile attempts to refute the Gruenfeld.
This book offers to meet the new challenges to Black by building an English Hedgehog formation. The authors not only recommend a contemporary move order after the ditch has been set, but they also explain how to reach this goal since White's first moves. The book is all the more convincing as it is based on the successful practical experience of one of the authors.
This book presents a full repertoire against open Sicilians with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6. It advocates the modern set-up with Bc1-e3 and Qd1-f3 against the Taimanov, an innovative treatment of the Keres Attack, 5.c4 against the Kan. The authors develop many new plans for White, relying on their chess instincts and original analysis.
GM Vassilios Kotronias is ten-time champion of Greece and a famous theoretician. His peak rating so far was 2628 in 2008.
Semko Semkov played for Bulgaria in one Olympiad. He is a chess journalist and theoretician. He has authored The Most Flexible Sicilian, Kill K.I.D., Attacking the English/Reti, and other books.
In this volume we consider the Pirc Defence (Chapters 10-27). It has definite advantages in comparison to other openings. At first, it has not been analysed so thoroughly, since the White fans of 1.e2-e4 devote the lion's share of their time to study the Sicilian Defence and the Open Games. Secondly, Black can play not only to equalise, but he can also count on seizing the initiative. This is particularly important in tournaments played under the Swiss System in which you must strive for a win irrelevant of the colour of your pieces.
Besides the Pirc, we analyse in the first part of the book all possible set-ups in which White refrains from the moves 1.e4 and 1.d4, namely: 1.f4, 1.b3, 1.b4 (Chapter 1), 1.Nf3 (Chapter 2), 1.c4 (Chapters 3, 4). The second part of the book (Chapters 5-9) is devoted to opening schemes in which White does play 1.d4, but then he does not follow up with c2-c4. This is the Trompowsky Attack (d4, Bg5) and the London System (d4, Nf3, Bf4). In response to these set-ups Black, as a rule, remains true to ...Nf6 and ...g6. The arising opening schemes are similar to the King's Indian Defence (see volume 2), or to the Pirc Defence. This should facilitate considerably the players to master their opening repertoire.
In the second volume of the book “A Practical Repertoire for Black with Nf6, g6, d6” the author analyses variations in which White plays 1.d4, 2.c4. As Black’s weapon he suggests the King’s Indian Defence. This is not by chance, though... Most readers participate mainly in tournaments played under the Swiss system. One of the important features of these tournaments is that the draw is essentially a step backward in your tournament situation and you must play for a win irrelevant of the colour of your pieces. The King’s Indian Defence is the right opening choice for that. There is some strategic risk involved indeed (Black complies with a somewhat cramped position...), but all the middlegame positions are very complicated and allow Black to think not only about equality, but also about seizing the initiative.
Kornev includes in his analyses numerous correspondence games which may be unknown to readers.
This book offers an active Black repertoire against The English Opening 1.c4, the Reti 1.Nf3, and their siblings that arise after 1.g3. The authors advocate for seizing space in the centre with ...c6 and d5, followed up by ...e4 or ...d4. They pay special attention on the ideas behind the moves, leaving the detailed coverage for the "Step by Step" sections.
Dreev analyses many different ways for White to fight for the opening advantage in two modern schemes, in the Slav Defence and in the Queen's Gambit Declined.
His choice in the Slav Defence is the exchange variation, which is becoming more and more popular among the average level chess players, as well as at top level. It looked like Black could equalise, but lately White often managed to create problems for Black.
By playing 3.cxd5, after the moves 1 d4 d5 2.c4 c6, White tries to obtain an advantage, but also avoids the main lines of the Slav Defence, which may arise following 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4. He also avoids some other very solid systems for Black like the Meran Variation or the Moscow Variation. The fight in the exchange variation is mostly in a positional key, without much risk, with the idea to obtain a minimal edge.
The other part of the book covers a variation of the Queen's Gambit with the move 5.Bf4. This modern line is a serious rival to the classical Queen's Gambit with the move 5.Bg5, in which White must consider at least the Makogonov – Bondarevsky system, which is quite reliable for Black. Dreev also deals in details with the very fashionable variation 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4, in which, if Black does not try to develop his bishop to the f5-square, White obtains an advantageous version of the Carlsbad variation.
The St. Petersburg grandmaster and coach Solozhenkin reveals the secrets of one of the most complex system of the Ruy Lopez - the Zaitsev Variation. It offers an optimal balance between safety and possibilities of imposing tangled fight. Mastering the Zaitsev Variation will improve the reader's understanding of chess in general since he would need good orientation in double-edged middlegames, but also fair endgame play.
The book offers a complete Black repertoire, starting from 3...a6, and going up to the super-trendy Svidler Variation. On the basis of his vast experience of playing and teaching the Zaitsev system, Solozhenkin draws the conclusion that it is a reliable weapon for Black.
Evgeniy Solozhenkin is an international grandmaster, champion of Leningrad and St. Petersburg, a winner of the team championships of Russia, France, Finland and many international tournaments.He is the director of the Russian North-western district's grandmaster school, and he is a Russian Chess Federation coach.
This book presents a Black repertoire based on the Scandinavian Defence with 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6. This is the safest yet aggressive queen retreat. It allows Black to increase pressure on d4 with ...0-0-0 or ...Rd8 while keeping coordination in the centre. Kotronias offers new plans for Black in the most topical lines. They are backed with deep analysis based on solid chess understanding.
GM Vassilios Kotronias is ten-time champion of Greece and a famous theoretician. His peak rating so far was 2628 in 2008.
This book presents a Black repertoire based on the QGA. The authors consider the Classical System with 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6, but they also offer alternative approaches – building up tension with 4...Bg4, and the destructive 4...a6 aimed at quick equalisation. They pay special attention on the ideas behind the moves, leaving the detailed coverage for the "Step by Step" sections. You'll also find advice against Queen's pawn openings where White refrains from 2.c4.
Alexander Delchev is the European Grand Prix winner in 2004. He has played in many Olympiads for Bulgaria. His best Elo was 2669, current rating – 2604. Delchev is the author of The Most Flexible Sicilian, The Safest Sicilian, The Safest Grünfeld and The Modern Reti. Semko Semkov played for Bulgaria in one Olympiad. He is a chess journalist and theoretician. He has authored Kill K.I.D. and four other books.
The advanced variation of the Caro-Kann Defence is a very good alternative to the classical variation 1.e4 с6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 (or 3.Nc3) dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 (4...Nd7). The theory after 3.e5 has developed extensively nowadays too; nevertheless, the positions of the advanced variation are considerably less studied than those in the classical lines, in which there is much less practical fight and much more a comparison of thorough theoretical erudition.
“My long-term experience in playing the Caro-Kann Defence with Black has shown to me that his problems in this variation are not easy to solve at all. The variation we analyse in this book often leads to non-standard situations on the board, so I would recommend it to players who are inclined to enter complicated and unusual positions and who hope to seize the initiative and to maintain it skilfully.” – writes Dreev.
From the "Preface":
"Every chess player, who begins his games with the move 1.e2-e4, should be perfectly prepared to counter the move 1...c7-c5. Why is this opening so dangerous for White? The point is that in all the basic variations of the Sicilian Defence the fight is double-edged and often White risks at least as much as Black does. White is practically deprived of the possibility to simplify the position by numerous exchanges. In almost all the variations of the Sicilian Defence an enormous amount of theory has been amassed and not all the chess fans can afford to spend so much time and efforts in order to learn the endless variations in all the main lines.
Accordingly, when I began to write this book, I decided to choose systems which did not require phenomenal memory from the White player, but were based on sound positional basis.
The Rossolimo Attack and the Moscow variation are analysed in the first and the second part of this book and they both satisfy perfectly these criteria. As theoretical material they are not so huge as the Najdorf variation, the Chelyabinsk variation, or the Rauzer attack. On the other hand White’s play is very sound from the positional point of view. He wishes to develop his pieces as quickly as possible. He exchanges in numerous variations his light-squared bishop, which later may turn out to be “bad”, because White’s e4-pawn is placed on a square of the same colour.
In the third part of the book, numerous second moves for Black are analysed, besides 2...Nc6 and 2...d6 and no doubt, the most dangerous move for White is 2...e6. I have suggested as an opening weapon for him the quite modern move in the last several years – 3.g3. You should accept as a proof of its strength the fact that the actual World Champion M.Carlsen plays often like this."
The Vienna set-up aims for very aggressive play, which often includes sacrifices, but White prefers to be on the safe side, without burning all the bridges and to try to justify his actions from the point of view of positional play as well. This is how this usually happens. At first, he deploys his minor pieces to active positions, then he advances the thematic move f4, castles (usually on the kingside) and begins an attack only after all this.
It may seem strange, but despite the fact that the move 2.Nc3 has been played for more than a hundred years, there has not been defined a clear-cut scheme for meeting this set-up. We had to make decisions how to play with White practically from the first several moves. Should he thrust immediately f4, or begin at first with d3? Should he advance his pawn to f5, or prefer a quick piece development? For example, after 2...Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5, should White play at first d3, fortifying his e4-pawn? We have come to the conclusion that the move 4.f4!? is more precise. Still, after 4.f4 d6, there arises another question – 5.Nf3, or 5.d3? It often happens that there arise the same positions after these moves, but still, we had to analyse after which move White maintains a more convincing advantage if Black replies with the principled move 5...Ng4...
We should emphasize as a very positive moment that by choosing the Vienna Game, White follows his own line of playing. This does not happen after the move 2.Nf3 when Black can choose then between the numerous variations of the Ruy Lopez (or the rather solid Steinitz Defence Deferred, or the super-solid Berlin Wall, or the sharp Marshall Attack). In addition, Black can go for the seemingly peaceful Petroff Defence.
Dreev offers a new look at the old system 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 Bb5 Nge7 which is one of the most challenging ways to combat the Spanish.
GM Malaniuk has been the main driving force behind the Leningrad Variation for decades. He has found many original plans which turned this branch of the Dutch into an active and dangerous weapon. White cannot enter dull and boring positions even if he insists on this. Therefore, it is often used when Black wishes to play for a win, particularly in decisive games. The book also offers a repertoire against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3.
GM Malaniuk was a regular participant of the Soviet championships between 1983 and 1991 and three-time Ukrainian champion. He has two Olympic medals with Ukraine. IM Marusenko is a professional journalist and editor.
This book is a follow up of The Safest Sicilian. It offers a repertoire based on 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6. This time It covers both the Taimanov and the Kan. The pawn structures are almost identical so many ideas work in both variations. At the same time the different move order offers subtleties which may turn decisive for the outcome of the opening battle. Delchev believes that the Sicilian players should know the full range of set-ups after 2...e6. That would allow to choose the most unpleasant system against any particular opponent. For instance, if the White player is narrowly specialised in the English Attack, you may choose to delay ...Nc6. This approach effectively discourages White's set-up with Be3. It is also very good against the fans of an early f4 or the fianchetto with g3.
The book is divided on several parts: playing against Be2; against f4; g3; the third rank set-up Be3+Bd3; the English Attack; the hedgehog structures. Every part begins with a chapter named "Pros and Cons" which discuses the main ideas of the Taimanov and the Kan approaches and offers advice what to choose. The next chapters "Step by Step" present detailed theory. Finally a chapter "Complete Games" offers deep annotations to important games.
This hefty book offers the results of S.Soloviov's ten-year-long investigation of a nearly virgin territory of chess theory – 1.e4 c5 2.a3. This is a more flexible version of the Sicilian Gambit with 2.b4 as the play often takes original courses. One of the most principled retorts is 2...Nc6 3.b4! cxb4 4.axb4 Nxb4 5.d4 d5 6.c3 Nc6 7.exd5 Qxd5 8.Na3!. The unfamiliar with this position will quickly lose it. The rest – they avoid it! The game is often over in 5 moves. This surprise weapon is used by grandmasters Bezgodov, Dobrov, Sh.Mamedyarov, T.L.Petrosian, K.Chernyshov, Ermenkov.
By playing 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3, White kills three birds with one shot.
First of all, this is a natural way of seizing space.
The second merit of 3.f3 is that it throws the Grünfeld fans out of their main repertoire.
The third point is that it allows White to delay the development of his queen’s knight. While in most systems its natural stand is on c3, against ...c5 plans it may go to d2 or a3, leaving c3 free for the other knight.
Of course, Black can also choose the King’s Indian. Then the Sämisch is probably the most straightforward and natural answer. White’s result in this particular branch (without 3.Nc3) is above 60%! Higher than any other system against the K.I.D.
GM Dmitry Svetushkin is one of the best Moldovan players. His current rating is 2608. He learned chess at 5, at 12 he was already winning national championships for kids. Svetushkin played in 6 Olympiads and at the last one scored "+6" - an all-time record for his team. He works a lot with V.Bologan and coaches young talents.
Excerpts from the intro:
"Sooner or later every chess player faces the problem of building his or her opening repertoire. This is particularly difficult when you play with White, since you need to be well prepared against all of Black’s possible responses. However, most players, including the author, have no inclination to devote all their time to studying opening variations. Therefore, we have decided not to cover 1.e2-e4.
As our main opening weapon for White we have chosen the closed openings arising after 1.d2-d4, in which an understanding of chess and a knowledge of the typical resources in the middle game and the endgame are often much more important than a detailed knowledge of a large number of variations. We have analysed the most straightforward possibilities for White, generally based on the development of the knight to c3 and the fastest possible occupation of the centre with pawns. More...
The Benoni Defence can be divided into two main structures, which are very different in concept: the Modern Benoni, 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 and the Czech (or Old) Benoni 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 which is much less dynamic. This book deals with both systems. Black can reach the main line of the Modern Benoni in either of two ways: 2...c5 3.d5 e6, or 2...e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 еxd5. Dreev shows the best move orders which allow White to reach the same main tabia with e4,Bd3,h3.
Dreev: "In this book I have analysed all Black’s possible responses that deserve attention and in a great many variations I have suggested promising possibilities for White which are new to theory."
Alexey Dreev is one of world's best experts on the Benoni. His previous books, published by Chess Stars, are My One Hundred Best Games, The Moscow & Anti-Moscow Variations and The Meran & Anti-Meran Variations. Dreev was twice World junior champion (under 16) in 1983 and 1984, silver medalist under 20 in 1984, European champion under 20 in 1988. With the Russian team, he was three times Olympic gold medalist and once he got the silver, he also won two times the World team championship – in 1997 and 2005. European champion for 2012 in rapid chess.
Five years after the first edition, the book was completely rewritten and redesigned. While remaining true to the original structure, this new edition underwent major changes.
The most notable one is the section devoted on the variation 6.Be3 e5. It was divided on two separate parts for the retreats 7.Nf3 and 7.Nb3. Both of them are totally new. For instance, Black's repertoire against 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 is now based on the topical 8...h5 where the authors analyse original new plans.
The Poisoned Pawn section has also been considerably changed to reflect the new discoveries in the 7.f4 h6 line.
The Fianchetto system now considers 6...e5, together with 6.g3 e6.
The 6.f4 system has been enriched with 6...Qc7 while retaining 6...e5 as a main repertoire.
6.a4 is now met by 6...e5, instead of 6...Nc6.
The rare systems also underwent a major update due to the increased popularity of lines like 6.h3 and 6.Qf3.
The book now includes games played until 25.09.2012.
Opening for White According to Anand 1.e4, vol. 14
by Alexander Khalifman
This is the last volume of the epic series. It covers the Najdorf with 6...e5 and 6...Ng4.
Igor Lysyj: "In this book I have presented all my analyses and my discoveries during the World Cup 2011. I believe that it will be useful for chess players at all levels to study them, together with the excellent annotations and explanations of Roman Ovetchkin."
Igor Lysyj: "In this book Roman Ovetchkin and I have decided to illustrate the theoretical section with model games and thorough analysis of these will undoubtedly help the reader to gain a better grasp of the finer points of this system and orientate himself among the enormous amount of information available."
This completely updated edition presents a Black repertoire based on the French.
Here are Vitiugov's own words:
"I received, quite unexpectedly, many comments and opinions following the publication of my first book on the French Defence. These were quite varied, both in form and content. There were renowned experts, who pointed out that some of the variations were not analyzed to perfection. Some meticulous readers looked for, and found (!), possibilities for both sides, which I had omitted in several important, and even not so important, lines. There were people who criticized my rather ambitious concept, according to which I tried to present the opening the way I saw it, instead of just following the branches of the database. However, there were also some appreciative comments.
Chess develops so rapidly that writing a book devoted to opening theory which will be valid for a long period of time is "mission impossible" nowadays. What was fashionable a year ago quickly becomes outdated, while some dead and forgotten variations rise from the ashes. Nevertheless, I believe that the foundations which I laid eighteen months ago can be enriched with new variations and ideas, while the essence remains the same."
This book presents a repertoire against 1...d5, based on the Reti: 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 when Delchev considers both 2...c6 and 2...e6. It offers mostly original analysis and examines plans and variations that have never been covered so far. The book follows Chess Stars trademark structure with 3 chapters in every part. Read the "Main Ideas" sample of Part 8 below. You'll also find the Intro, Contents and Index of Variations.
Update! Our reader Reinhold Thiele has refuted a variation from The Modern Reti. Read his letter.
Opening for White According to Kramnik vol.4 Second Edition
by Alexander Khalifman
This is the last volume of this series.