Far from a dusty relic once played by great masters such as Rubinstein, Pillsbury and Bogolyubov, the Zukertort System now enjoys new life.
This book is about the practical approach to the game of chess. It shaped me as a player and now I would like to share my philosophy with you. My objective is to combat several generally accepted misconceptions, such as a) only studying opening theory will make you a better player, b) one should always follow the first or second line shown by Komodo or Stockfish, and finally, c) that “in theory” is equivalent to “over the board”. The last fallacy is especially dangerous because it implies that players will keep on making the best moves over the board, and therefore sidelines should never be played as the opponent will always find a way to retain and convert the advantage. That is in theory. In practice, however, many players will feel like fish out of water once they end up in a position that is objectively better for them but one that they have never analyzed. Overall, based on my experience as a chess professional, I strongly believe that the above-mentioned fallacies do not hold true empirically,
The book is divided into four parts. Part I covers sidelines in the mainstream openings where I take a major opening and analyze one or several sidelines. This is the most theoretical part of the book, where I share a significant amount of original thoughts and analyses that constitute my opening repertoire. Part II discusses the concept that I refer to as systems. It still involves theory, but less so in comparison to Part I. What I am trying to convey in this part is the “schematic thinking” – where you think in terms of plans and typical ideas. Part III takes one step further in abstraction – it analyzes notable modern games where one player showed ambition early on in the game and it worked out well for him. Part IV covers the so-called “early surprises” where early on in the game a player implemented a move that shocked his opponent.
This work is a follow-up to my first book “Unconventional Approaches to Modern Chess – Rare Ideas for Black” which was published in February 2019. This time, I am flipping the board and exploring offbeat opening ideas from White’s perspective. The structure of the book has remained basically the same as before, except that I merged Part III (Showing Ambitions) and Part IV (Early Surprises) into one combined chapter Ambitions & Surprises.
Part I explores sidelines in several mainstream openings. This is the most in-depth chapter of the book in terms of opening analysis. Part II presents two systems that are quite universal in nature and can be used against more than one opening. Part III gives a broad overview of a variety of aggressive lines taken from GM-level games.
As I stated in the previous book, I’m a big believer in the practical approach to chess. In order to win, you don’t need to find the best move in every position. It is neither possible nor necessary. To win a game, it is enough to be just a little bit better than your opponent. To make this happen, especially when facing a strong player, you must force your opponent to solve practical problems. You must get them into a position where the cost of a potential mistake is much higher than usual.
If there is no room for your opponent to make a mistake, then they are unlikely to make it. It is your job to give them plenty of opportunity to go wrong. As Mikhail Tal famously put it, “You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.”
This book aims to expose you to a variety of opening ideas that can help you to achieve this goal. I hope you find reading it beneficial in your future endeavors at the chess board.
This book series is about that central question: what matters in the opening? What plans are on hand? Which (hidden) concepts are concealed in the current position that has arisen just after the opening? Volume 1 in a new series by Herman Grooten covers Ruy Lopez and Italian Structures.
This book series is about that central question: what matters in the opening? What plans are on hand? Which (hidden) concepts are concealed in the current position that has arisen just after the opening? Volume 2 in a new series by Herman Grooten covers Queen’s Gambit Structures.
After the first two volumes of the series had been produced (the first about Ruy Lopez and Italian structures after 1.e4 e5, the second about Queen’s Gambit structures after 1.d4 d5), it was time for me to consider the third volume. Since the Sicilian is such a popular opening among club players, the choice was virtually automatic and resulted in the book you now hold. It was, however, clear from early on that such a nuanced and wide-ranging opening could never fit in a single volume. That is why the series will continue with more Sicilian books after this one. As my former teacher, the late Huub van Dongen, once said: “There is more literature about the Najdorf variation alone than about the Middle Ages!” And, you know, maybe he’s right. The complexities of the Sicilian are such that it is quite the job to explain them in the style I established with the first two volumes on more classical openings. Each Sicilian variation has quite specific characteristics and deserves separate treatment. But in placing the systems in books I tried to group together those that are most similar to each other. Hence, the Dragon does not go with the Sveshnikov; in the present book you will find the Najdorf and Scheveningen variations, which are altogether more similar to each other and even have some overlap.
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.
While the theory is far from being exhausted and still developing, Grandmaster Milos Pavlovic made a strong case and found new alternatives to battle White’s setups.
“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.
Chess Evolution presents a complete repertoire for White based on the London System.
The second volume contains some improvements on the first book, but the main focus is on the …g6 and …e6 setups
The set-up is based on sound principles and is easy to learn and understand. The Slow Italian may look innocent, but is actually full of venom. Ideal for the average club player but is also regularly adopted by many strong Grandmasters including the very best, such as world champion Magnus Carlsen and Anish Giri.