Chess24 Jan Nimzo

John Watson Book Review (44)

One-book Repertoires, Online Bargain

ChessPublishing & ChessPub; website; http://www.chesspublishing.com


Attacking with 1 e4;
John Emms
;
160 pages; Everyman 2001


Meeting 1 e4;
Alexander Raetsky
;
176 pages; Everyman 2001


The Ultimate Closed Sicilian
Gary Lane
;
176 pages; Batsford 2001


Meeting 1 d4
Jacob Aagaard & Esben Lund
;
176 pages; Everyman 2001


Attacking with 1 d4
Angus Dunnington
;
160 pages; Everyman 2001


An Explosive Chess Repertoire For Black
Jouni Yrjola & Jussi Tella
;
272 pages; Gambit 2001


The Petroff
Lasha Janjgava
;
240 pages; Gambit 2001


The Sicilian Sozin
Mikhail Golubev
;
272 pages; Gambit 2001

Chess books are pouring in as usual, at a faster rate than ever, and I will attempt to cover at least a limited fraction of these in the next few columns. In this very lengthy review, I intend to discuss some opening books, all worthy of at least qualified recommendation, and update my report on ChessPublishing. In a later column, I want to direct your attention to some excellent recent efforts from other publishers, including German ones.

Before I forget, reader Russ Palmeri pointed out that the link I gave to the Massachusetts state chess magazine, 'Chess Horizons', was in error. The correct link is this: Chess Horizons

I had intended to say something about the website ChessPublishing.com at the end of this review. However, when I went there and noticed the nature of its new features, I felt that it was a priority to inform readers about what was going on. It seems to me that the site has improved in some very important ways, and I think that chess professionals and anyone who plays regularly in leagues and open tournaments should strongly consider subscribing. I know that I just love this site and find it indispensable.

As described in Review #18 and lightly supplemented later, ChessPublishing is a subscription site that features monthly updates of openings by GMs and IMs (mostly the former). One can subscribes to a single opening site (e.g., 1.e4 e5, the Nimzo-Indian&Benoni, the French, and so forth), three sites for the cost of two, or get all of the sites. See the site above for a preview, details, and subscription information.

The original idea of the site is that one needn't wait for Informant or chess magazines, either of which can take many months after the game to arrive, to see key games and notes in any opening. This is attractive enough if you're preparing for a tournament in the near future; now, however, it has become easy to get a detailed review of all the previous monthly columns, while the ease of downloading annotated games in PGN (allowing conversion to the most popular formats) has improved dramatically. Downloading options include the most recent month's update (see below) and any games from a particular ECO code from the last 3 months, a year, or any recent time frame that you're interested in.

I talked very briefly in an earlier column about a major component of this improvement, the supplemental program 'ChessPub'. Both this and the original ChessPublishing program can be downloaded for free, and ChessPublishing subscribers get both (related) services. ChessPub makes it possible to use most of the download options mentioned above. It is convenient to use, much more so than ChessPublishing for quickly locating the games you want without having to open games that you're not interested in. But in the ChessPublishing home site itself, one can now quickly download the most recent month's update by itself, which is very useful to have a copy of and examine what's just been added. What's more, beginning with February updates, the home site now allows you to see or download an Adobe Acrobat file that is an e-book of variations for that opening. This consists of a systematic overview of the entire opening that contains comments by the titled player and references to games that have previously appeared. These references can then be checked in ChessPub (simultaneously, with the Acrobat and ChessPub windows open) to see the complete game and notes.

There are still a couple of columns that are lagging in their updates and thus don't yet have the e-book feature or the ability to download just the last month's update with one click. Any such lag threatens the usefulness of the product, but I only saw two such cases out of 12 sites, and they will presumably be brought up to speed. On the theme of the rest of this review, one bonus site contains suggested repertoires for various needs (people with minimal study time, those who love gambits, etc.). I don't have time to look at individual sites right now, but they do vary in level of coverage. For some feeling about the sites and authors, one can refer to my column #18 , but a lot has changed since then. In any case, this site is a unique and valuable resource for all of us, one that I would not do without.

This column's general theme is opening repertoire books. The interesting thing about the first four books above from Everyman is that they purport to supply the reader with a complete way to play with or against 1.e4 or 1.d4. That's a broader task than an author usually undertakes, and in the Gambit book that follows these four, the reader is given a repertoire for Black against everything that White can play! So we have some ambitious efforts to talk about. I should say that due to the severe page restrictions (considering the scope), the four Everyman books are probably best up to about the 2200 player, and they are rather sophisticated for those below, say 1600, due to both the detail and paucity of explanation. But within that range, a serious student who truly wants to develop an understanding of openings will get more than his money's worth.

I'll concentrate first upon the 1.e4 books, including Gary Lanes Closed Sicilian effort. Let's begin with 'Attacking with 1 e4' by John Emms, an author who has appeared often in this column. How do you get a king's pawn repertoire into 160 pages? Clearly the variations chosen have to be relatively easy to present and not in the theoretical mainstream. Right away, we know what the big problem is: what to do versus the Sicilian Defence. The Open Sicilians with 2.Nf3 and 3.d4 have thousands of pages of crucial theory, but then again, nothing else really gives White much to shout about (hence the popularity of 1...c5 !). The usual solution would be to present the 2.c3 variation, the Bb5+ systems, the Grand Prix lines, or, as Emms recommends, the traditional Closed Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 and 3.g3). We will examine that shortly. The other major suggested lines are: the Bishop's Opening versus 1...e5 (an efficient solution, but still using up 31 pages); 2.c4 versus the Caro-Kann, the King's Indian Attack versus the French, the '150 Attack' versus both the Modern and Pirc Defences; the Exchange Variation versus the Alekhine, 3.Bb5+ versus the 2...Nf6 Scandinavian and standard lines versus the 2...Qxd5 Scandinavian.

There are two things I should point out here. Apart from the 150 Attack, this is not an 'attacking' repertoire at all. The lines are solid and even a little passive on average. Frankly, some of them I consider boring. But the great advantage of this, remembering that Emms has so few pages to work with, is that he has found sound and established lines that can be learned easily and will not be refuted. They are not irregular or speculative by any means. The other thing to note is that Emms cares about providing fair and detailed analysis, more so than the typical author, so you'll get a straight story, albeit without much instructional verbiage.

'Meeting 1 e4' by Alexander Raetsky is more specialized, of course, as Black need only choose one defence. What better one than the Sicilian, and this choice is particularly praiseworthy since it would be a lot easier to provide a repertoire in this space by using, say, the Caro-Kann, the Scandinavian, the Alekhine, or in fact any other defence except perhaps 1...e5. Interestingly, Raetsky chooses the Sicilian Four Knights Variation, 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6; and 6...Bb4 versus 6.Ndb5, so that at least we are spared still more published material on the Sveshnikov! The Four Knights line is very solid and probably underrated, and can fit within the space provided without cheating on the coverage of the other variations like 2.c3, the Rossolimo (3 Bb5), the Grand Prix Attack, and yes, the Closed Sicilian. I am very positive about this book, which if nothing else should be quite a help for the Sicilian player who wants some very up-to-date theory on these ancillary lines.

I am going to pull the time-tested reviewer's dirty trick of comparing what each book has to say about the other's recommendations, i.e., at the point that they overlap. In order to get still another viewpoint, I have compared their analysis to Gary Lane's very useful work 'The Ultimate Closed Sicilian'. That book (from Batsford) is a broader version of his earlier 'Winning With the Closed Sicilian', and gives a lot of options for Black rather than concentrating only upon White's attempts to get an advantage. Nevertheless, browsing through the book, I notice that the illustrative games seem to be one win for White after another, with the occasional draw. In fact, I only saw one 0-1 (although there must be a couple others?), in the very last game of the book with Kasparov playing Black. This is not so important, but one has to do some digging in the notes and sometimes question the analysis if you need to find something you like for Black. For those willing to do so, this should be a very useful book for players of the Sicilian or those opposing it.

Anyway, what does Raetsky recommend versus Emms' Closed Sicilian? After 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3, he somewhat surprisingly suggests the old 2...e6 line, intending ...d5 next. Before we get to 3.g3 d5, I wondered whether White might now play 3.Nf3, perhaps intending to return to an Open Sicilian by 4.d4. For Raetsky, this poses no problem, since 3...Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 is his main line. But for a Najdorf or Dragon player, this could be a problem with 2...e6. Maybe Black could play 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.d4 (5.Bb5+!?), which is an old Marshall line usually arising from 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 d5 4.exd5 exd5, and now although 5.Nc3 is played, 5.Bb5+! is considered extremely strong. Therefore, in the Closed Sicilian order with Nc3, Black could perhaps prevent Bb5+ by 5...c4, intending ...Bb4 and ...Nf6 or ...Ne7 ? I don't know where there might be any mention or discussion of this, but I find it interesting.

Back to the comparison. After 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 d5 4.exd5 exd5, we have two moves dealt with by each book (Emms offers a double repertoire):

I 5.d4 (a Lane specialty), when 5...cxd4 is the main move. Raetsky mentions 5...Nc6 6.dxc5 6.d4 7.Ne4 Bxc5 as an alternative, and Emms continues 8.Nxc5 Qa5+ 9.Bd2 Qxc5 10.Bg2 (formerly assessed as good for White) 10...Bf5'!', which he analyses as being quite okay for Black (probably =+, in my opinion). This is typical of Emms, who isn't afraid to bolster the case of the side that he opposes. He prefers 8.Bg2 Bf5 (maybe just 8...Bb4+ ?) 9.Ne2 (Lane gives 9.Nxc5 Qa5+ 10.c3 Qxc5 as being roughly equal) 9...Qe7 10.Nxc5 Qxc5 11.c3 dxc3 (11...d3 is very interesting and unclear, as Emms sees it) 12.Nxc3 Rd8 13.Qe2+ Nge7 14.Be3 Qa5 15.Rd1 with advantage, but instead 14...Qd6! ensures that ...Bd3 will happen and seems to equalize.

So already we see that even a sideline may frustrate White's ambitions. But returning to 5...cxd4, Emms main line goes 6.Qxd4 Nf6 (only Lane analyses 6...Be6, without finding an advantage for White) 7. Bg5 Be7 8.Bb5+ (Both Lane and Raetsky feel that 8.0-0-0 is equal) 8...Nc6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Qc5 ('!' Lane - a Goering Gambit Reversed with White having the unhelpful extra move g3) 10...Bxc3+ 11.bxc3 Qe7+ 12.Qxe7+ Kxe7 (Raetsky stops: 'with a probable draw') 13.0-0-0 Be6 14.Ne2 Kd6 ('!' Emms, and '?!' Lane, but only because it gave Lane as White the chance to get to a drawn game against Nunn! Hardly an advertisement for 5.d4) 15.Rhe1 Kc5 16.c4 dxc4 17.Bxc6 and now 17...Kxc6 is apparently easiest, when Lane says 'I can quickly head for a draw after 18.Nd4+ ...' etc. As Emms shows, 17...bxc6 is also fine.

Thus 5.d4 isn't challenging for a great number of reasons, or even very pleasant for White. So let's look at II 5.Bg2 Nf6 and now:

A 6.Nge2 d4 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nd7 9.d3 (Emms prefers 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Bg2 Bd6 -- 9...Be7 looks even safer -- 11.c3!? , but apart from 11...d3 12.Nf4 0-0 13.Nxd3 Bxg3, which is a Spassky-Kasparov game that everyone quotes and agrees is balanced, Emms again very honestly supplies 11...0-0 12.cxd4 cxd4 13.d3 Re8 as Black's 'safest route to equality', with which Lane agrees) 9...Nf6 10.Bg2 Bd6 11.0-0 0-0 , and Black has had the better of the play here after 12.Bf4 Bg4! or 12.h3 Be6! or 12.c3 Re8. Raetsky naturally likes this line as well.

So Emms keeps at it and suggests that B 6.d3 is better, continuing 6...d4 (Unfortunately for the prosecution, Lane already shows that Black can do well enough with 6...Be7 7.Nge2 d4 here, and after 8.Ne4, he gives 2 games where 8...Nd5 equalizes. Other examples show that 8...0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Nxf6+ Bxf6 is also quite reasonable, provided that Black answer 11.Nf4 with 11...Re8 or 11...Bf5, but not 11...Be5? 12.Nd5 Bd6 13.Qh5!) 7.Ne4 Nxe4 8.dxe4. This is a better formation for White to try to get some play from, although it's nothing special: 8...Nc6 9.Ne2 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nf4 Bd6 (Topalov played 11...Bg5! here, to exchange the bad bishop, and this looks fully equal. Emms wants to play 12 Re1 Re8 13.Nd5 or 12.Nd5, but I don't believe this yields anything because of Black's space and good bishop. He can play just ...Be6, and has ideas like ...Rb8 and ...b5 available) 12.Re1 Re8 13.Nd5 Be6 14.c4 Rb8 15.h3 b5 'with perfectly good play' according to Raetsky.

All in all, 2...e6 looks very comfortable for Black. So Raetsky wins the mini-debate, but only because Emms is handicapped: we all know that the Closed Sicilian isn't about to give White the advantage! One might fairly argue, however, that White gets at least as interesting play as he does by means of 2.c3 or the Grand Prix.

No more lengthy comparisons, but I want to discuss the two 1.d4 books. Angus Dunnington's 'Attacking with 1.d4' has one extreme contrast with Emms' book: most of his variations, with the particular options that he suggests, are indeed attacking lines. For example, he recommends (a) the Marshall Gambit (3.Nc3 e6 4.e4!?) versus the Semi-Slav, and versus 3.Nc3 Nf6, he suggests 4.Bg5!?. Note that the latter line is enterprising and fun, but has the risk that one can easily stand worse; (b) the Four Pawns Attack versus both the King's Indian and Benoni; (c) 4.f3 versus the Nimzo-Indian; (d) the Queen's Gambit Accepted with 3.e4 (with 33 pages of theory??); and (e) 2.c4 and 3.Nc3 versus the Dutch, followed by 4.h4 versus the Leningrad. Two exceptions to this aggressiveness are the Queen's Gambit Declined, very conventionally dealt with, and the 4.Bf4 versus the Grunfeld. Not surprisingly, I take issue with quite a bit more of Dunnington's rather optimistic analysis than I do with Emms' or Raetsky's. In every opening that I had previously studied for one reason or another, I found what I think are mistakes. But that's the nature of such an ambitious, attacking approach, and many of these lines aren't as well worked out. In my opinion, the 1.d4 player can get useful weapons and have great fun by picking and choosing among these systems. But don't expect a complete repertoire. Although the lack of an Index of Variations or any clue as to the contents makes it difficult to see (at least Everyman used to have end-of-chapter charts; see below), Dunnington just skips a number of fairly early and legitimate moves for Black. The best attitude is to enjoy the ideas and do your own investigation.

'Meeting 1 d4' by Danish players Jacob Aagaard and Esben Lund (also referred to as 'A+L' below) is a complete repertoire based upon the Tarrasch Defence to the Queen’s Gambit. The authors also cover the irritating 1.d4 d5 2 Bg5 very nicely, and deal with all reasonable orders stemming from 2 Nf3, for example, London Systems and Colles. One slip is that the Catalan is given as transposing to a Tarrasch, but unfortunately several of White's legitimate chances to deviate are not considered. Remarkably, and I think that this is a great touch, A+L also give Black systems against many moves other than 1.d4 ! The chapter on Reti systems (1.Nf3) is particularly well done. Nearly every top player seems to use early ...Bg4 systems against it, and yet I've never seen a published overview of the lines and ideas. In addition, we get the authors' solutions to 1.c4 (they try to get back to the Tarrasch, naturally), as well as 1 g4, 1 b4, 1 b3, etc.! What I like about this is that the authors were by no means obliged to provide such material, but it is certainly useful for the average player to have all in one book. I should also mention the authors' special effort to appeal to less experienced players with informative discussions of typical positions. I suspect that of the four books, this one does the best job for the average player, whereas the Emms and Raetsky books could well be used by 2200 players, and even stronger ones. Dunnington's work is sometimes superficial and sometimes dense and technical, so it isn't easily categorized.

There are a few negatives about 'Meeting 1.d4'that I should mention. Every once in a while the authors slip into sarcastic and dogmatic commentary for no good reason, using words like 'stupid' and 'inferior' when neither fits the situation (this example below). Discussing the Veresov (1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5), they say of 2.Nc3, 'We could hardly imagine a better day than when an opponent finally decides to play like this. The move is utterly stupid and does not fit with 1.d4. The c-pawn should be in front of the knight, not behind it'. Poor GM Gufeld, who has written a whole book about this system! And after all, players like Spassky, Smyslov, and Bronstein all played 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 more than once (Bronstein repeatedly), whereas in more recent times we have seen Vaganian, Lputjan, Khalifman play it, as well as several probably intelligent players who have made it a major part of their repertoire, such as Miles, Alburt, Bellin, Hort, Hodgson, etc. And as so often happens when one is cocky, A&L's analysis doesn't stand up to scrutiny, neglecting what theory gives in the two lines that that they offer, e.g., 3...Nbd7 4.f3 c5 5.e4 cxd4 6.Bxf6 dxc3 ('risky' – Gufeld) 7.Bxc3 dxe4 8.fxe4 e6 9.Nf3 (obviously better than 9.Qf3 Qh4+, as in A&L), which not only looks better for White, but has been played twice with White gaining an edge. They don't even mention 4.Qd3, or 4.e3 (which I feel is best, a tempo up on an established Black system), and they say that 4.Nf3 is 'inferior', giving an unnecessary pawn sacrifice for White that fails. Why not simply present a proposed solution to a legitimate system and leave it at that?

The author's use of English can also be a problem (I'm assuming that there was no translator). In some parts such as the introductions, they do okay - there are some missing prepositions, redundancies, mismatches between noun and verb and the like, but the meaning is generally clear. But elsewhere even I, who care about content much more than style, felt that enough was enough, e.g., 'Our first game is by the absolute idol for administrating the black pieces in this system.' I don't think that this is entirely the authors' fault: Where is the editor? Or is there an editor (only a 'commissioning editor' is mentioned)?

Faults aside, the Tarrasch Defence is an excellent choice for a repertoire book aimed at mid-range players. At worst, it tends to leave Black with technical disadvantages requiring White to play very accurately to actually win the game. I discussed in my strategy book, for example, how Black's record with a ...c6/..d5 pawn structure versus White's d4 and open c-file really isn't so bad. Black is almost never blown off the board, and gets quite a few attacking chances in return for the structural problems that he can saddled with. In addition, the theory is very well developed, as is shown by the fact that almost all of the main games (around which the book is organized) are older ones. This at least means that one doesn't have to keep up with a great deal of (or any?) new theory.

However, in any complex system with so many side variations, it's essential for the reader to know where he is. I know the Tarrasch fairly well, and even I had a difficult time finding the variations I wanted to look at. There is no Index of Variations, the Contents are as broad as possible, and neither at the beginning nor the end of the chapters is there a chart, variation summary, or any description of the organization at all! Another odd decision was to include no Bibliography, which is not as important as an index but still very useful information.

Looking at the other Everyman books, John Emms has done what one would expect of a responsible author, giving both a full Index of Variations and a good bibliography. Raetsky also has no Index of Variations or chart of them, but he does carefully mention the important lines and his preferences in his chapter conclusions, so that one has some idea of where to look and what he thinks. He has no Bibliography. Dunnington has no Index or charts regarding variations, and includes a very short Bibliography. I guess one obvious question is not just why this material has been skipped or skimped upon, but why there doesn't seem to be a standard policy about its inclusion. The Batsford book by Lane, by the way, has no Bibliography but a detailed Index of Variations. In general, the lack of a Bibliography leads one to think that important sources have been neglected. Of the booksd without extenxive Bibliographies, neither the 3 Everyman books nor the 2 Gambit books below cite many sources (sometimes none?), and my impression is that they are almost exclusively mostly cobbled together from databases. As explained before, this is an easy but lazy way to write an opening book, one that can only hurt the end product.

While on that subject, Jouni Yrjölä and Jussi Tella's 'An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black' has a substantial Index of Variations, as all Gambit opening books do. Nevertheless, although most Gambit books have bibliographies as well, this one doesn't and neither does 'The Petroff' by Lasha Janjgava. One would think that Yusupov's Petroff book would be an essential source in the latter case. Golubev's recent 'Sozin Sicilian', mentioned below, has both, with a particularly good variation index.

In any case, I'm having trouble as a reviewer with the subjects of recent Gambit opening books: I don't know enough about the openings! This is particularly odd with respect to Mikhail Golubev's 'The Sicilian Sozin', because I used to play 6.Bc4 versus both the Najdorf and Classical (...Nf6/....d6/...Nc6) Sicilians. A slight change has taken place over the years, however: that novelty I had prepared in 1973 on move 10 now covers 2 dense pages with key games diverging at move 24! I had stopped at move 12, planning of course to play the wrong idea. So I'm going to just mention that book's existence. Golubev has an excellent and growing reputation stemming in part from his Dragon work, and I have already heard that this is an excellent book.

Similarly, I haven't kept up with Petroff theory. This is still a very hot opening among the world's elite, as a look at any top tournament will show. Janjgava has obviously put a lot of effort into this book, with over 200 pages of densely packed material, with quite a bit of original analysis to fill theoretical gaps. Sometimes he strings together too many noteless games for my taste. Authors in general seem to think that game continuations are theoretically best, which of course is very seldom true. In fact, none of the books reviewed in this column are skeptical enough for my liking. The other issue is that Janjgava, as in his excellent 'The Queen's Gambit and Catalan for Black', has almost no prose in this book at all. Even more importantly from my perspective, he doesn't assess the relative strengths of various lines, even at the end of chapters. We could really use more of his opinions to guide us, as very few people will have time to read entire chapters, and it would also be nice to know what he recommends for both colours and how the main overall variations of the book stand.

Those issues aside, I checked two recent GM Petroff games and found the relevant analysis to be absolutely accurate and thorough. I also looked at two irregular sidelines that I've examined with my student: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Bd3!? and 5.c4!?. Both of these, by the way, have been well-commented upon in more than one of Paul Motwani's 1.e4 e5 Chesspublishing updates. The 5.c4 lines got 5 pages of coverage! Amazing. I disagreed with some assessments and found some of my own ideas missing; but for one thing, these are new lines that have had considerable post-publication play, and one can never anticipate all the ideas in a specialized area like this. All in all, I'm impressed with this book, keeping in mind that I know little about its subject matter.

Grandmaster Jouni Yrjölä wrote 'Easy Guide to the Classical Sicilian', but I don't know much more about him. With Jussi Tella, he has produced a fascinating volume of ideas for Black after 1...d6. This move is played after 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.c4, 1.Nf3, 1.b3, etc.

At least Yrjölä and Tella's ('Y & T') book partially concerns some openings that I've had experience with, e.g., the Pirc Defense, as well as English Opening lines such as (by transposition) 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.Nf3 e4 4.Ng5 and 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.Nc3 exd4 4.Qxd4. The main anti-d4 line is based upon an early ...e5, as in the two examples I just gave. But against 2.Nf3, Y&T suggest the increasingly popular 2...Bg4. They give some very close analysis of this system, including the most obscure moves. I had recently seen a New In Chess Magazine article that surveyed the odd-looking 3.Qd3 in this position (threatening Qb5+!). Since it casually mentioned Y&T's book, I went to see what they felt. To my surprise, I found that the NIC author had done very little else but use the games and analysis from their book! Indeed, I suspect that the authors have extended the presentation of some of these irregular lines about as far as they can be stretched until further examples fill the gap. The density of their coverage is impressive. There is much more prose than with Janjgava, with some general positional explanation, although the emphasis is on games and analysis. Fortunately, we get a good idea of what the authors think about each line the numerous conclusions which follow both sections and chapters.

I didn't look at the Pirc section much, but it has another indication that no one ever looks at analysis from my reviews (I wonder if Carsten Hansen has noticed the same thing?). For the third time, I have to point out the same gap in analysis (previously mentioned in my reviews of 'The Ultimate Pirc' and 'Pirc Alert!') in the very main, critical Classical Variation. White is better, I believe in the note to 13.Nd3 on page 179 following 8.Qd2 e5 9.d5 Ne7 10.Rad1 Bd7 11.Ne1 b5 12.a3 a5, and now 13.b4. Anyway, this is important to solve. You may reference those reviews.

As before in this column, we have an example of a book that has many hidden riches but it requires serious study and work to extract the full benefit from. As the reader may know by now, I believe in this kind of book. I think that it is better for preparation, for checking ones games after they've been played, for research and for the unearthing of new ideas. But there are many who prefer the handholding that is offered by books with more explanation and a more superficial examination of variations. It's an ongoing argument, and applies to both this and the Petroff book, which are both examples of the moves-and-analysis school, the Petroff book taking this to the extreme. If nothing else, books like this will retain their practical value well into the future.

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