Saturday, 3 October 2020

WELCOME


INTRODUCTION
 


Welcome to my Chess Book Reviews blog. 

I hope you enjoy it and that it proves useful if you are deciding to by chess books.

It has been said that books are the most loyal and trusted friends that you can ever have and in this world of iPads, kindles and other electronic formats I still want to be one of the people giving a 'shout-out' for hard copy chess books. In this technological age it has never been easier to access chess online, at the click of a mouse, and this has affected book consumption.  

Chess books are an important aspect of a chess players lives. They serve as an educational and developmental tool, as well as illustrating history and culture. Some people own one or several books, whereas others have large collections assembled over a lifetime. 

Truly then, I believe in the value of hard copy chess books. Unlike electronic books, they don't lose their charge, they can be read in the sunshine, they don't hurt your eyes from watching screens and even better - they can be autographed to add to their value as a treasured keepsake. 

I want to be clear about my objective for this blog site.

I am blogging simply as an amateur chess player. I am a club and county player, former County Chess Champion (Shropshire) and I have proudly represented and indeed been Captain of my country (UK) in the NATO Chess Championships, but I remain like many of us, just an ordinary player with a lifelong passion for the game.

My reviews are written for the people who are most likely to purchase chess books. That is to say beginners, intermediate and strong players up to county level, but I am sure that even stronger players might enjoy or in some way benefit from digesting my reviews. This is a not for profit blog but reviewing chess books is something that I enjoy.

Reviewing a chess book isn't as easy as one may think. It requires a certain skill-set and I am learning all the time. One has to be impartial and objective but also not be afraid to have a personal opinion and I will not shirk from criticizing if I feel it is warranted. There should be a standard process for the task of reviewing and it can take me a while - but that is because I will actually read the book. Too many people merely flick through and I have seen some truly woeful reviews consisting literally of a couple of lines. I want to try to get into the head of the author. I want to do the best I can to explain to the reader of this blog what each book is really about and the impact it had on me personally, so that they can make up their own mind about owning a copy. 

It is as subjective as art or music, but I hope my reviews are a good starting point for people. Naturally, individuals will have their own views and opinions about the same books. I am sanguine about that...but these views are mine and mine alone. Sometimes I may use humour to make a point (how dare I?) which is not everyone's style but there we are, that's life. It is not in the scope of this blog site to enter into debates. Feel free to make your own mind up. 

For the record I have several of my own favourite chess books from the past including 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' by David Bronstein and Tom Fürstenberg. If you can still find it, then snap it up immediately. My most prized book is a signed copy of Anatoly Karpov's memoirs which he autographed when I played him in Chartres, France in a simul in 2019. 

As I say, you cannot autograph an iPad!

Without further ado then, let's put one foot forward and see where the journey takes us. Thanks for stopping by.

Carl

Carl Portman (Author: Chess Behind Bars)


 

 

 

 

 

 


Friday, 2 October 2020

The Chess Endgame Exercise Book

 

BOOK REVIEW by CARL PORTMAN

THE CHESS ENDGAME EXERCISE BOOK

by JOHN NUNN



John Nunn

The Chess Endgame Exercise Book

1st edition (softcover, 192 Pages)

Also available as an e-book ($9.95) and an app-book ($12.99)

2020

GAMBIT PUBLICATIONS

http://www.gambitbooks.com/index.html

 

What is this book about?

That would be…chess endgames! Okay let’s peel back the skin and look deeper into the belly of the book.

 

Contents

There are ten chapters, after an illuminating introduction from the author.

 

1.   Pawn Endings

2.   Knight Endings

3.   Bishop Endings

4.   Bishop vs Knight Endings

5.   Rook Endings

6.   Rook and Minor Piece Endings

7.   Queen Endings

8.   Endings with Queens and Other Pieces

9.   Endgame Tactics

10.Test Papers

 

Score table

Index of Players and Composers

 

What does (some of) the official Blurb say?

Everyone knows they should work on their endgame play. So many hard-earned advantages are squandered in ‘simple’ endings... But it’s tough finding a way to study endings that doesn’t send you to sleep and that helps you actually remember and apply what you have learnt.

“While endgame theory books are helpful, active participation by the reader is a great aid to learning. I have spent several months selecting the 444 exercises in this book from what was initially a much larger collection.” – John Nunn

All major types of endgame are covered, together with a wide-ranging chapter on endgame tactics. Examples are drawn from recent practice or from little-known studies. The emphasis is on understanding and applying endgame principles and rules of thumb.

Does the book achieve its aim?

Dr. Nunn says that he wants to encourage the reader to put their brains in high gear, both to test themselves and to learn more about the endgame. The fact that he has included exercises covering the range of chess players from beginner to master means that everyone can do this. Yes, they can learn an awful lot.

Let me just give you an example of the fun that one can have studying any position of the 444 at random.

 




Have a look at this position. What do you think you would play if you were Black?

Remember that these days we are all playing faster time controls so you might not have long at all to think about it in a game. If you can remember principles it can help you to make good moves. Well the move that draws for Black according to Nunn is 1…Kh1!

 

Now then. It is not enough just to know the move. One has to get to grips with the why. That’s how we learn. Nunn goes on to say “It is important to be aware of the general principles. Black to play would draw here by 1…Kh1! since in the case of a knight’s pawn, the best square for the defender’s king is in the corner diagonally opposite the pawn”.

 

Who knew that? It’s a fascinating principle and leads the reader (hopefully) into investigating this concept further with or without the chess engine.

 

There are many pearls of wisdom in the book and I particularly like the thorough and clear explanations to the puzzles in the solutions. These solutions incidentally appear immediately after the puzzles as opposed to being shown at the end of the book. I much prefer this method and long may it continue.

 

Concluding notes

Do we chess fans need another book on endgames? Well I can speak as a chess coach. I have used and re-used many positions from the most recent (at that particular time) to the very old – the works of Reti and Kubbel for example to show aspects of endgames, but the fact that this book contains recent games certainly up to 2019 means that I had not seen the vast majority (well, almost all) and it is so useful to have new material. Each time I flipped a page I found myself absorbed in the positions, some of which were from players that I know (and count amongst my friends) such as Trevor Brotherton and Nathaniel Paul from Shropshire who have a position from one of their games in Telford shown. There was therefore a real sense of the personal in this book.

I wonder, are YOU in it? Did the good Doctor Nunn select one of your games? Who knows? You’ll have to get the book and find out.

What this book did for me was to reinforce – as if I needed that – the fact that endgames are not boring. They are fun. They are fantastically rich in possibilities. You cannot tell me that any kind of magic in chess occurs in the opening. There’s more in the middlegame but in my humble view the witchcraft and alchemy are to be found in the endgame. John Nunn is one of our own. He is one of England’s evergreen and great chess inspirations, and we are very lucky to have him still writing, still sharing his ridiculously incisive wisdom with us. When I read his work - it inspires me to want to learn more. I want to get the chess set out and study. I want to lose myself in the depths of the possible and seemingly impossible. That's the mark of a notable and experienced chess author.

I particularly liked the idea of the test papers in chapter 10. I could visualize sitting at an old wooden school desk, fountain pen in hand, ink in the bottle and the chess test papers in front of me. Sitting at the head of the class in the finger of sunlight streaming through the window was the teacher, Dr. Nunn, peering over his round spectacles like a wise old owl – getting ready to say ‘turn over your paper and begin’. I would not have been his best pupil, that’s for sure but he would hopefully have given me a good mark for endeavour. It took him a long time to put all of these puzzles together so the least I – and other readers - can do is switch off the infernal chess engine and apply ourselves. Just try. Have a go. Teacher Nunn is on our side! He wants us to do well.

I really enjoyed and will continue to enjoy this book. The layout is excellent. The style is very supportive of easy learning and of course it has the GAMBIT stamp of approval.

You can watch a YouTube video in which author GM John Nunn presents a sample from this book. He will tell you why this book is a little different to other endgame books he has written.  

Cut and paste this address.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ5GAikuslg&feature=youtu.be

Who is the author?

As if you needed to ask! (Shame on you).

Dr. John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world’s leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years and won four gold medals at chess Olympiads. In 2004, 2007 and 2010, Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions. In 2011, his two-volume work Nunn’s Chess Endings won the English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award, and was highly praised by Levon Aronian (who read both books cover to cover!) when making the award presentation.

 

600 Modern Chess Puzzles

 

BOOK REVIEW by CARL PORTMAN

600 MODERN CHESS PUZZLES

by MARTYN KRAVTSIV

 


Martyn Kravtsiv

600 Modern Chess Puzzles

1st edition (softcover, 192 Pages)

Also available as an e-book ($9.95) and an app-book ($11.99)

2020

GAMBIT PUBLICATIONS

http://www.gambitbooks.com/index.html

 

What is this book about?

Chess puzzles. 600 of them, many or all of which the author claims have never been seen before, because they are from recent (fairly recent) play. They range from very easy to very difficult so if you work through the book in sequence and keep solving, you will be improving.

 

Contents

There are two parts to the book.

 

Part 1: With hints, Questions and tasks

1.   Warming Up

2.   Checkmate

3.   Your Choice

4.   Getting Tricky

5.   Endgame Exercises

6.   Tough Nuts

7.   Tough Choices

 

Part 2: No Clues!

1.   Not Too Hard

2.   Tricky Tasks

3.   Endgame Challenges

4.   Nightmare!

 

Index of Themes

Naturally, there is an introduction to the book, followed by short pieces on basic tactical ideas, symbols and the difficulty ranges for each chapter.

 

I very much like the explanation of tactical ideas (such as Zugzwang, square vacation, interference, line opening, deflection and destroying the guard, among others) in the introduction. That’s very useful for the reader to prepare them for what is to come. Further I applaud the author for including the Index of themes at the end of the book. Here, you can see which positions relate to certain themes such as perpetual check, endgame technique, positional play, candidate moves and attacks on the king. This is very useful, especially for chess coaches.

 

What does (some of) the official Blurb say?

The easiest, quickest and most effective way to improve your overall game is to increase your tactical vision. Many good positions are lost because a key moment is passed by and a player misses the opportunity to win by a beautiful combination. This book is designed simply to help you improve your play by seeing tactics better.” – Martyn Kravtsiv

 

Written along similar lines to Gambit’s earlier Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book, this new work presents 600 puzzles, mostly from the last two years, that are chosen for instructive value and maximum training benefit. To ensure that few will be familiar to readers, Kravtsiv has deliberately chosen positions from obscure games or from analysis. If you find the right answers, it will be because you worked them out yourself!

 

Does the book achieve its aim?

What is the aim of any chess puzzle book? Presumably to entertain (surely?) and educate. It should also be a good reference resource as far as I am concerned. In fairness, it is a chess puzzle book so yes it does, especially with fresh material.

 

By way of an example from the book I offer the following:

 

The position below is taken from the game Seo Jung - Dhulipalla, Stockholm 2018/19. It is Black to play and the instruction given by the author is to choose between 36…Rxc8 and 36…Rxa2. My own view is that I don’t see the value in just trying to find the correct move, it is going to be really important to learn the reason why it is best and what the move is in context with any theme. That’s the way to progress.

 

Have a look at the position below and I will provide the answer at the foot of this review. So – are you playing 36…Rxc8 or 36…Rxa2

 

 



Concluding notes 

I was interested to note that so many of the games are taken from India, particularly Mumbai, with plenty from Stockholm, Chennai and Hastings as well as elsewhere. That’s just an observation, not a criticism. I am simply curious as to why a Ukrainian author should choose so many games from India.

 

The fact that these are recent positions makes it more interesting and the fact that the reader won’t have seen most (any?) of the positions brings new life into the puzzle studies. Books such as this are perfect for taking with you on a trip to read in a car, on a railway platform, in an aircraft or in my case waiting to see a doctor!

 

The layout is up to the usual GAMBIT standards with clear and precise diagrams on good quality paper. There are some very memorable moments from the positions in the book. With the dark evenings just about upon us I would certainly recommend this to keep you company, and with a lockdown Christmas on the horizon, you might want to get it sooner rather than later.

 

Thanks to the miracle of technology you can visit YouTube and watch a short video in which GM John Nunn presents a sample from this book. He comments that the positions are a good selection for training purposes. They are not artificially created, they are practical. Don’t argue with the Doctor.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffv964-Wl6M&feature=youtu.be

 

Who is the author?

Martyn Kravtsiv is an experienced grandmaster from Lviv, Ukraine. His tournament results include tied first places at Cappelle in 2012 and the 2015 Ukrainian Championship, as well as being blitz champion of the 2008 World Mind Sports Games (at age 17). He represented his country at the 2017 World Team Championship and was a coach for the team that won silver medals at the 2016 Olympiad.

Note: The book has been translated by Graham Burgess who is an excellent author in his own right. That should instill confidence in the reader that a thorough job has been made of it.

 

Answer to the puzzle

 

1...Re8xc8! (1...Rd2xa2? 2.Rc8xe8+ Qe7xe8 3.Qc4xa2 Qe8–e1 (3...Bb4–d6 4.Qa2xf2 Qe8xa4 is not enough for Black to win.) 4.Qa2–e2 Bb4–d6 5.g2–g4! and White holds the position.) 2.Qc4xc8+ Rd2–d8.

 

Opposite-coloured bishops have a stronger drawing tendency the fewer pieces are on the board. Thus, to retain winning chances, Black should only allow the exchange of one pair of rooks. It’s a very good point and these fairly simple themes once inculcated could help to gain lots of game points for the hard-working chess student. Good hunting.

 

 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Louis Paulsen - A chess Biography with 719 Games

 

BOOK REVIEW by Carl Portman

LOUIS PAULSEN – A chess biography with 719 games

by Hans Renette



Hans Renette

Foreword by Michael Negele

Pages: 448

Bibliographic Info: 108 photos, 719 games, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes

McFarland & Company, Inc, Publishers

2018 - 1st edition (Hardcover, 448 pages)

 

What is this book about?

The official promotional material states:

 

Louis Paulsen (1833–1891) was one of the 19th century’s strongest chess players and a world record holder in blindfold chess. He maintained an unbeaten record in matches, created several opening systems and was an originator of the positional approach to the game. This extensive biography—the first in English—explores Paulsen’s life and career and includes 719 of his games, presented here with both contemporary and modern comments.

 

Contents

·         Foreword

·         37 Chapters

·         Appendices

·         Bibliography

·         Opponents Index

·         Annotators Index

·         Index of Openings (ECO Codes)

·         Index of Openings (Traditional names)

·         General Index

 

My thoughts and comments

The look and feel of the book is precisely what I would expect from a McFarland chess publication. It has substantial case binding and the chess material is well set out in terms of text to diagrams. All this on durable quality paper which won’t deteriorate in the way it does with lesser products.

 

The reader will learn a great deal about Louis Paulsen. To begin with I am not alone in thinking at one point that he was actually American. This view was no doubt influenced by his games against Morphy, and the fact that he did actually live in America. Yet he was German, born and bred. Son of Carl Paulsen, his family grew potatoes, some of the best in Germany, but the world should be pleased that Paulsen chose chess. So few chess players really know about the man, but this definitive work will answer all the questions. It’s been painstakingly researched and I can only doff my cap to Hans Renette for producing not just a chess book but a hugely important historical work.

 

I wanted to get to know Louis Paulsen as the man and through his games. In addition, I wanted to learn more about his opponents, the tournaments he played in and all the other characters around him at the time.

 

Paulsen was one of the world’s best players in the 1860’s and the 1870’s, and if Morphy had not been around at the time, perhaps he would even have occupied top spot, at least for a while. The book provides many of his blindfold games, for which he was famous. Indeed, he was the first player to take on 10 people simultaneously without sight of the boards, and he did so over many hours with only a glass of water or lemonade for sustenance. Later there are more over the board (OTB) games to enjoy. His legacy regarding openings continues to this day – I am thinking of the Paulsen-Kan variation of the Sicilian for one.

 

He had matches with Anderssen and Kolisch (to name but two) and of course his encounters with Paul Morphy (see below). Later he tried to arrange another match with Morphy but to no avail. He came to England and won the Bristol tournament of 1861 and had many more excellent results in Germany particularly.

 

I also love the annotations of various players from the day. There is no computer analysis here – just thoughts from the masters. That is truly educational even if (or maybe because) their thinking was not always ‘accurate’ in terms of ‘correct’ moves. Then there are the anecdotes and character profiles about players. For example, who on earth knew that Amos Burn once walked 100 miles (yes folks, that is one hundred miles) from Cologne to Frankfurt to play in the Frankfurt am Main tournament of 1887. I wonder if that was with a suitcase? Can the top players of today please stop moaning about playing conditions now?

 

Then of course, there are the games. It is true that these were the heady times of ‘romantic openings’ and a sort of winner takes all attitude. The King’s Gambit and the Evans Gambit were the order of the day. It was swashbuckling chess that must have made the ladies swoon!

 

Paulsen was primarily a 1.e4 player and he studied openings intensively at one point, to keep up with the Morphy’s of this world. He would often move pieces backwards not necessarily to defend but to attack from another perspective, and he saw defending as an art form. Those King’s Gambits used to throw up some splendid opportunities for attacking chess though, and the reader will enjoy playing through them in the many games in the book.

 

I particularly enjoyed this offhand game, where Paulsen was Black against G.H. Mackenzie, played in London in 1861. It had been a King’s Gambit (of course) and White just played 14.Kh3. Apparently, Löwenthal said the next move was ‘ingeniously conceived’ but I reckon the attack minded player even at club level might find the move.

 



Black played 14…Rxh4+ of course. Now it is one thing to see this move but another to try to calculate through to see if it actually ‘works’. Paulsen could do this, especially being such a magician at blindfold chess.

14...Rh8xh4+! 15.Kh3xh4 Nf6–e4+ No other square will produce checkmate in five moves. 16.Kh4–g4 16.Kh4–h3? Ne4–f2+ 17.Kh3–h2 Qe7–h4+ 18.Kh2–g1 Qh4xh1# 16...Ne4–f2+ 17.Kg4–h5 17.Kg4xf4 Qe7–f6+ 18.Kf4–g3 Bd4–e5# Beautiful. 17...Qe7–e5+ 18.Kh5–h4 18.Kh5–h6 Nf2–e4 and queen mates on h8.

18...Qe5–f6+ 19.Kh4–h5 Qf6–g6+ 20.Kh5–h4 Bd4–f6# 0–1

 

This is but one game amongst over 700 so there is plenty to enjoy. Of course, Paulsen played Paul Morphy several times at the first American Chess Congress in New York 1857, but lost the final (of 8 games) by 6-2. They did play twice before this – at Blindfold chess. The first at the same American congress on 19th October 1857 where Morphy won and the second on 20th October when again Morphy won. It is said that the two played lots of offhand games, of which there are sadly no records. 

 

Paulsen’s brother was of Master strength and one of his sisters Amalie played too.

He suffered with illness occasionally - including life threatening jaundice and was a very quiet man who declined social events. He was not though disliked by anyone and he is fondly remembered. It is understood that diabetes caused his death. Sadly. He never wrote any books. Morphy didn’t either for that matter.

 

Does the book achieve its aim?

Yes! It really is a superb biography of a man who so many chess players of heard of, yet so few can speak about. It is a truly remarkable work. One just has to browse through the bibliography to see the breadth of sources that the author has drawn his information from. It must have taken many years.

 

Concluding notes

I want to make a separate and special mention about the images in the book. The line drawings are magnificent and truly take the reader back in time to places such as Dubuque main street in Iowa. I studied these images at length and felt as if I could walk right in to them. Then there are the photographs of various players. These must have been tremendously difficult to obtain. There is an astonishing picture of Joseph Henry Blackburne, (known as The Black Death) on page 346. It’s the best I have ever seen of him. The Cleveland Public Library was one of the main sources of the images in the book and I feel privileged that these have been shared. They should be – chess is a history that belongs to us all and Hans Renette has produced something quite magical in that regard.

 

I can but echo the words of Michael Negele in the foreword where he states that ‘It is exceptionally meritorious of Hans Renette to have finally ensured an ample recognition of Paulsen’s eminent importance for the theoretical development of chess’. Of course, such work does not come cheap and chess players can be notoriously ‘frugal’ with their pennies. That said, for the price of a meal which will be quickly forgotten one can procure this work and keep it forever, dipping in and out of it for sheer enjoyment, especially on those cold winter evenings.  

 

Who is the author?

Historian Hans Renette is FIDE master in chess (with 2 IM norms). He lives in Bierbeek, Belgium.

 

 

Sunday, 2 August 2020

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire.

BOOK REVIEW by Carl Portman

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Graham Burgess



GRAHAM BURGESS

An idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

1st edition (softcover, 191 Pages)

2020

GAMBIT PUBLICATIONS

http://www.gambitbooks.com/index.html

 

 

What is this book about? 

The author knows of course that the reader is not an idiot – after all they purchased his book didn’t they? He states that he can help the reader to learn a chess opening repertoire for both White and Black in a week. That is some claim! He proposes to do this offering a simplified repertoire but not a boring one, whereby if you commit the basic ideas to memory it will stand you in good stead going into the middlegame. The openings steer clear of boring exchanges and symmetry and they will not require long variation memorisation, so if you forget a move somewhere you should still be in the game without tragic consequences. All of this in a week? That’s the sort of claim that a very naïve author makes, but Graham Burgess is a very accomplished and trusted one, so he won’t have made it lightly. Can he do it? I switched on my ‘idiot mode’ which is not difficult to do, and began the journey.       

 

 

Contents

There are nine chapters in the book. The first half is the Black repertoire and the second half is White. This is an unusual example of ‘Black moving first’ in chess as it is more usual to begin with White. I would take this opportunity to remark that I would like to see chess diagrams (in books in general) being printed from either Black or White’s perspective. For example, if you read András Adjorán’s books from Black’s point of view the diagrams have the black pieces at the bottom – as you would see them over the board. This helps to get your head in the zone. Of course, in Gambit’s online Chess Studio App you can simply flip the board and do this but how hard would it be for any publisher to invert diagrams according to colour perspective in hard copy books? It might be very difficult, I simply don’t know.

 

The repertoire for Black incorporates the Scandinavian as the only response to 1.e4. It also covers the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (which I don’t see played very often at amateur level so it is interesting to learn some lines), The Slav, Queen’s Pawn (often seen in club games) and Flank Openings such as 1.Nf3 which is always challenging to meet.

 

For White, who will always open with 1.c4 there is the Closed English, Other Reversed Sicilians, Symmetrical English and English – Other 1st moves. Don’t worry, the symmetrical is not symmetrical for too long and I already picked up a great tip in this line – which I am not going to share here!

 

After this there is an index of variations. As there are no actual games there is no requirement for an index of players.

 

Let me also say this. Just before the book arrived, I had been looking at an article in New in Chess Yearbook 135 regarding the Scandinavian Defence. In that article, Peter Lukacs and Laszlo Hazai looked at the line 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Ne5 Nb-d7 7.f4!? saying that it is a powerful weapon against the 3…Qd6 Scandinavian. Therefore, before I opened the Gambit book, I wondered if this would be covered in the pages. It was! So, Burgess is well up to speed with current events. He does discuss 7.f4 and indeed states that it has ‘some good press recently’ so well done on being on top of the game.

 

What does (some of) the official Blurb say?

‘Ever wanted a complete chess opening repertoire – for White and Black – whose basics can be learned in a week? A strategic low maintenance repertoire that does not require memorizing of long variations, and yet can frustrate both stronger and weaker opponents’.

 

‘These will become your special lines, where you will know and understand more than most players, even much stronger ones’.

 

Does the book achieve its aim?

It certainly does provide a repertoire with both colours. It is presented in a way that a hard-working chess player can learn the basic concepts in a week – but there are a lot of sub-variations which will take considerably longer to memorise. It all depends on where you are in your chess strength when you pick up the book. For some it will be easy to memorise the material but not for others. This is rather obvious. I think the author assumes a decent knowledge of chess to begin with to accomplish the task in a week.

 

Therefore, if the reader wants a repertoire consisting of 1.c4 as White, only answering 1.e4 with the Scandinavian as Black, and then sticking to QGA and Slav, hybrids then this is a great book for you.

 

Concluding notes

The author states that some of the lines that appear most threatening have not actually appeared over the board. I can believe that. I have not gone through the book cross referring with any database. Some of the lines appear but there are just a few games such as one If you want to see a very interesting line indeed involving 3…g5!? As Black against a flank opening pop to you tube and let GM John Nunn take you through the idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39Nl0w59ZY&feature=youtu.be

This is the basic position after 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.b4 g5!?



David Howell played David Navara in a Blitz tournament on Chess24.com earlier this year and this line appeared.  Black (Navara) won! It is a fascinating line, proving indeed that some of the opening lines in Burgess’s book are (as he says) definitely not meant to be ‘safe’. It does mix it up at the board and will certainly catch many people by surprise.

 

Incidentally, my point about the board being inverted when looking at an opening from the Black perspective can be supported here. It just helps.

 

 


 

My final point is this. Will the amateur chess player who does learn and employ these lines actually improve their game as a result? There is only one way to find out. Purchase the work and try it, perhaps for a season. After reading it I also believe that you can get some exciting positions taking you into a playable middlegame. The middlegame to the endgame is your affair but Graham Burgess will set you on your way with the opening. Have a go at this repertoire and don’t feel like an idiot if it is not to your liking.

 

Who is the author?

Graham Burgess is an award-winning author, having written some 28 chess books including the ‘Chess for Kids’ series, so he is very well known and his work is of a very high standard.    



WELCOME

INTRODUCTION   Welcome to my  Chess Book Reviews  blog.  I hope you enjoy it and that it proves useful if you are deciding to by chess...