Let me share here how I have made my choices for this second volume. Ten years ago, I would sometimes even play the Petroff against people who had games with 3.Nd2 in the database. I actually thought that the Petroff gave me better winning chances! You might have a similar story. 3.Nd2 gives White a very nice pawn structure so it is difficult to get a grip on the position as Black. For many years I have tried moves like 3...Nf6 from the GM Repertoire book or the more drawish 3...c5 and 4...Qxd5 line. It has taken me a lot of time to find the variation against 3.Nd2 which best fits my playing style. After trying virtually every possibility, there is only one satisfactory variation for me – the isolated pawn!
The reason why I had left this option at the bottom of my list initially is because there was a firm belief at the time that Black was worse in these isolated pawn positions. On the flipside, players on the white side have usually studied the lines after 3...Nf6 or 4...Qxd5 in much greater depth. This is one reason why people often mix up their theory as White. Typically they assume they are already better, so why would they need to remember any subtle details? The whole point of 3.Nd2 is to be microscopically better. Fortunately, this can all be easily neutralized with good opening knowledge.
Whilst studying most of the existing literature, I have noticed that there is hardly any recent analysis on the systems with 3...c5 and 4...exd5. Still, many authors who have been covering them from White’s perspective have a lot of respect for the variations and hardly achieve anything against them. When I started to play with the isolated pawn myself, my results against 3.Nd2 became better. My score against 3.Nd2 is actually better than my score against 3.Nc3 now. I have noticed that in correspondence chess, these isolated pawn lines are favored by black quite often. That is when I realized that this small advantage was just a prejudice.
I have to admit, the positions are slightly harder to play for Black. However, that is probably also true for the other lines against 3.Nd2. It just takes some time to become familiar with all the possibilities and ensuing middlegames. But once you finally master the isolated pawn structure, it will serve you well and equip you with a wide selection of tools with which you can outplay your opponent. My original plan for this book was to cover 3.Nd2 as well as all the other options besides 3.Nc3, but I believe it is much more important to focus on showing as many examples as possible of how to play with different versions of the French isolated pawn. All the material in this book is designed for you to be able to pick your favorite line in the 3...c5, 4...exd5 system. Consequently there will be a third volume in this series, covering the rest of White’s options against the French.
This book is about the Marshall Attack and the lines which can be grouped together under the banner of the so-called Anti-Marshall. The theory has developed so much in the last decade that there is more than enough material to be going on with just in those areas, but I also decided to include a detailed look at an important line in the Exchange Variation. Black’s key concept in the Marshall is giving up a central pawn in return for activity, and I have tried to give as many lines as possible which adhere closely to this principle. Why is this so significant? Well, for starters, usually in the Ruy Lopez Black is looking for long, slow games in solid, closed positions. The Marshall flips this on its head and Black tries to accelerate the play and radically change the character of the game at an early stage. Let’s briefly discuss the material of the book itself and the lines that I have decided to give. First of all, I started off with the standard Marshall Attack, after the initial moves: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5. I have given direct analysis wherever possible and I have tried to cover all the essential lines. Of course, with the passing of the years and the continual development of theory we can see how the popularity of some positions has shifted and, in some cases, how certain lines have simply been rendered obsolete. I also discovered, to my surprise, that there are still new, unexplored, and interesting paths for further analysis.
In the Alapin System White's strategic idea is extremely simple. He prepares to advance with d2-d4, to build a solid pawn centre and then dictate the play. He will have to pay for this with the fact that his queen's knight has been deprived of the best square for its development, but it may have other suitable squares (in many variations this will be not the d2-square but a3). Secondly, it very often happens that after d4 cxd4 cxd4, White's queen's knight still gets access to its best square on c3. The modern evaluation of this system is that Black has comfortable enough lines in which he can obtain an acceptable game. The authors try to prove that not all of these lines are equally good.
In the third part of Improving the Endgame Technique series Ukrainian GM Valeriy Aveskulov offers his readers to strengthen their practical skills in the king and pawn endgames. If you are well familiar with basic theoretical positions and have an idea about most popular tricks in pawn endgames this work will provide you with well-annotated examples from both classical and newest tournament games. Their serious studying will definitely make you more masterful in this type of endgames.
Van Delft has created a unique thematic structure for all types of positional sacrifices. He shows the early historical examples, explains which long-term goals are typical for each fundamental theme and presents lots of instructive modern examples. He then concentrates on those sacrifices that have become standard features of positional play. Solving the exercises he has added will further enhance your skills.
Playing a positional sacrifice will always require courage. Merijn van Delft takes you by the hand and not only teaches the essential technical know-how, he also helps you to recognize the opportunities when to take the plunge. Mastering Positional Sacrifices is bound to become a modern-day classic.
This book is based on real amateur games and shows how an average club player can proceed through the ranks and reach master level. It is a hard struggle, with set-backs and disappointments. Just like real life.
Alex Dunne guides the reader in the more than 50 games they will be playing and offers lots of practical, straightforward and effective advice. He explains when and how to activate your pieces and how to recognize and punish the errors that opponents are bound to make.
At the end of the book, experience, technique and confidence will have improved in such a way that the first win against a master will not come as a big surprise. After all, the reader will have reached master level!
This is an improved and extended edition of the 1992 bestselling classic.
The Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5) contains countless variations and sub-variations that have been discussed in detail at all levels of play for many years. Even "small" specialized systems have been covered in exhaustive detail in book after book.
That is why this book is unique, The Carlsen Variation, which arises after 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4, has never previously been covered in detail before.
The variation was uncorked by World Champion Magnus Carlsen in 2018 and has since been played by several other top grandmasters such as Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, and several others.
Yet despite this attention, the theory of the variation is largely unexplored and this book aims to set this discrepancy straight. Main lines are established and carefully analyzed with hundreds of new ideas and improvements suggested along the way.
For the reader, this book is an excellent resource to get the opponent out of their opponent's "book" into our book.
Time to have some fun in the Sicilian - enjoy!
Nowadays, chessplayers spend almost all their free time preparing openings, and rarely spend the time necessary to perfect the vitally important technique of calculating. Regular training in solving and playing out endgame studies is a good recipe for eliminating that shortcoming.
This training is directed at developing resourcefulness, fantasy (in chess, these qualities are called "combinative acuity"), and the readiness to sacrifice material, in pursuit of the goal - winning!
How do we develop good habits of winning endgame play? There are lots of manuals, but this may be the first in which a famous practical player, a trainer with a world-renowned name, and a study composer who has earned the title of International Grandmaster of Composition, share their views in one and the same book.
“I left chess in 2012. I did not touch it for several years. Then I decided to test my strength in Internet blitz. I started from scratch. The board floated before my eyes, and my knee twitched. Less than two months later, I crossed the grandmaster rating mark. My opponents, among them lots of players with a big name, played chess better than me. Surprisingly though, I knew more. On a small island of chess theory, onto which I lured them, I was better equipped. Much better! About 30% of the games ended in wins around the 20th move. A quarter of the games simply ended in mate. In all games, I opened with the moves 1.b3 and 1…b6.”
International Master Ilya Odessky is the world’s leading expert on the 1.b3 and 1…b6 chess opening systems. Despite their apparent calm, these openings can get extremely sharp. Now Odessky presents his findings and achievements of recent years. His baffling traps will help you crush your opponents in the opening, with both White and Black.
Odessky admits that some of his lines may objectively be somewhat dubious. But in blitz and rapid games they will lead to spectacular play and many surprising wins. Ilya Odessky will entertain, amuse and surprise you in this highly unusual chess opening book full of ultra-romantic chess.
The author presents a full opening repertory for the club player, which is analysed in six volumes. In the books you will find many novelties for both sides, with a full move-to-move presentation. Furthermore, the reader will get access to middlegame strategies, endgame techniques and common tactical motifs, which are patterning the proposed variations.
In the second volume the openings of the King's Indian Defence, the Dutch Defence and the Benko-Volga Gambit are presented.
600 Positions to Improve Your Calculation and Judgment.
Chess puzzle books are undoubtedly popular – and with good reason. Solving chess puzzles helps to sharpen a player’s tactical and combinational skills. This ability is absolutely fundamental for chess development. You won’t get better at tennis until you can consistently hit the ball with accuracy and you won’t get better at chess until you improve your ability to calculate. It is that simple and there are no shortcuts.
Many puzzle books take a far too simplistic approach and offer endless positions where the solution is nearly always along the lines of: queen takes something check, king takes queen, check, check and a pretty mate. Aesthetically pleasing perhaps but of minimal use for actual improvement as the patterns are so familiar. Practical Chess Puzzles avoids this pitfall. The positions chosen are far more like those that actually appear on the board during the vast majority of games. Furthermore, at all stages, the puzzles are ranked, enabling the student to gauge progress and identify and correct weaknesses.
Imagine you are a club player who has been given the opportunity to talk at length with a famous Grandmaster. How would you make the most of this opportunity?
This is the third book in the highly acclaimed Lessons with a Grandmaster series. It bridges the gap between great player and amateur through a series of conversations between teacher, the renowned Grandmaster Boris Gulko, and student Dr. Joel R. Sneed, a professor of psychology and amateur chess player. The lessons are based on Gulko's own battles against fellow Grandmasters.
In this third volume, Gulko and Sneed focus on both strategic and tactical ideas, and how to successfully combine the two parts over the board. Among the many subjects examined are attack and defence, exploiting weak squares, fighting for the initiative, Sicilian strategy and the bishop pair.