Feature articles and hundreds of deeply annotated games
"We talk a lot about defence in chess but rarely try to break this major notion down into elements that constitute it and, importantly, that we can systematically learn. This book does exactly that. It is suitable for players of all levels aiming to improve their game. It may be especially appropriate for coaches because of its systematized character." - GM Adrian Mikhalchishin
Emanuel Lasker was world champion for a remarkable 27 years (1894-1921) and is generally regarded as having been way ahead of his time in his understanding of chess. He primarily regarded chess as a fight and considered that the strongest move in a position was the one that created greatest problems for the opponent and not necessarily the one that was objectively “best”.
His strengths included:
his skill at accumulating small advantages with quiet manoeuvring;
his astonishing ability to find tactical resources in defence;
his uncanny knack of provoking errors in balanced positions.
Lasker was, essentially, a complete chessplayer and his games feel thoroughly modern. Indeed many contemporary elite players (the most obvious one being the current world champion Magnus Carlsen) exhibit a very similar style.
The Move by Move series provides an ideal format for the keen chessplayer to improve their game. While reading you are continually challenged to answer probing questions – a method that greatly encourages the learning and practising of vital skills just as much as the traditional assimilation of chess knowledge. Carefully selected questions and answers are designed to keep you actively involved and allow you to monitor your progress as you learn. This is an excellent way to study chess while providing the best possible chance to retain what has been learnt.
The Sicilian Defence is the most popular reply to 1 e4. With 1...c5 Black comes out fighting, immediately challenging any sense of a “natural white advantage”. Sicilian Defence players are often very well prepared theoretically and the tremendous dynamism of the Sicilian can often disturb their opponents. In this book, German FIDE master Jonas Hacker provides a complete repertoire for White when facing the Sicilian. The recommended systems are based on solid strategic considerations. The backbone of the repertoire is the line 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 f3!? This is a perfect line to throw Najdorf and Dragon players off their stride. White will (usually) follow up with c2-c4 and establish a useful space advantage. Many of the other recommended lines are also based around the space-gaining c2-c4 advance providing cohesion across the whole repertoire.
In Opening Repertoire: Beating the Sicilian, Jonas Hacker guides the reader through the complexities of the Sicilian and carves out a repertoire for White. He examines all aspects of this highly complex opening and provides the reader with well-researched, fresh, and innovative analysis. Each annotated game has valuable lessons on how to play the opening and contains instructive commentary on typical middlegame plans.
1...e5 enjoys an excellent reputation as a reliable defence against White’s most popular opening choice, 1.e4. However, anyone who is primed to face the Ruy Lopez must also be prepared to face a number of White alternatives. This collection of variations make up the Open Games and include not only popular choices such as the Italian Game, Scotch Game, Bishop’s Opening, King’s Gambit, Vienna Game and Four Knights, but also many tricky sidelines and some wild and wacky gambits. Many of these might not be theoretically strong but can be both daunting and dangerous for the uninformed player. In this book, FIDE Master Martin Lokander tackles all these lines head on and presents a practical repertoire for Black in the Open Games. This book tells you everything you need to know about facing the Open Games when White avoids the Ruy Lopez.
Many club players think that studying chess is all about cramming as much information in their brain as they can. Most textbooks support that notion by stressing the importance of always trying to find the objectively best move. As a result amateur players are spending way too much time worrying about subtleties that are really only relevant for grandmasters.
Emanuel Lasker, the second and longest reigning World Chess Champion (27 years!), understood that what a club player needs most of all is common sense: understanding a set of timeless principles. Amateurs shouldn’t waste energy on rote learning but just strive for a good grasp of the basic essentials of attack and defence, tactics, positional play and endgame play endgame play.
Chess instruction needs to be efficient because of the limited amount of time that amateur players have available. Superfluous knowledge is often a pitfall. Lasker himself, for that matter, also studied chess considerably less than his contemporary rivals.
Gerard Welling and Steve Giddins have created a complete but compact manual based on Lasker’s general approach to chess. It enables the average amateur player to adopt trustworthy openings, reach a sound middlegame and have a basic grasp of endgame technique. Welling and Giddins explain the principles with very carefully selected examples from players of varying levels, some of them from Lasker’s own games.
The Lasker Method to Improve in Chess is an efficient toolkit as well as an entertaining guide. After working with it, players will dramatically boost their skills – without carrying the excess baggage that many of their opponents will be struggling with.
This second volume on the Ruy Lopez consists of two parts. In the first part I focus on modern systems with ...Bc5, attempting to dissect both the Archangelsk and Moller Variations. These two variations have quite a rich history but in 2020 there have been several developments. If I had to name one person that contributed the most to the developments in those lines it is, without a doubt, Fabiano Caruana. His encounters in the Candidates Tournament in Ekaterinburg, then his theoretical discussion in those lines with Leinier Dominguez, revised my opinion on many of those lines and led to interesting discoveries that I analyze in this book.
In the subsequent part I discuss the Closed Ruy Lopez. It is easily one of the most popular openings throughout the history of chess with many games occuring as early as the 1800s. I suggest going for 9.h3 which usually leads to a positional battle. I present new trends and find new paths and ideas in such evergreen variations as the Zaitsev, Breyer, Chigorin and others. Additionally, I attempt to crack the Marshall Attack by suggesting the Anti-Marshall lines with 8.a4. I must admit that I thought that it would be a pretty easy task to analyze those openings having some prior analysis and experience with both colors. However, time after time I was encountering new challenges and new ideas from both sides that I had to resolve. My conclusions, based on careful analysis with the most powerful engines currently available is presented in this book.
This book completes my series on the Ruy Lopez.
Pattern recognition is perhaps the single most important thing in Chess. This is true in all three phases of the game and it applies to both positional and tactical themes. The book you hold in your hands provides a sufficiently comprehensive overview of the latter. The main goal of this book is aimed at improving pattern recognition and tactical vision, while also treating the reader with nice combinations.
There are two parts to this book. The first 17 chapters elaborate on the most important motifs in practical chess. The remaining 8 chapters showcase the art of attack and defense. Certain motifs feel like they belong together and the order of the chapters in which they are discussed reflects that. All 25 chapters of this book begin with an introduction which is always designed to clearly illustrate the motif or theme at hand. Most but not all of the games here are classics. All the introductions are followed by training puzzles in order to reinforce pattern recognition and learning for what has been discussed beforehand.
It has to be emphasized that motifs in chess are interwoven and it is the rarest occasion in practical games that only one motif is present. Often, even a single move features multiple motifs and the one we are studying depends on which aspect of the move we are looking at. It was not an easy feat to sort the puzzles appropriately. Therefore, the approach I took when assorting the puzzles was to decide which theme or motif best characterizes the tactic. The total number of training puzzles is 365, one for every day of the calendar year. All of them are from real games and most from Grandmaster practice. This should give the book more practical value. In some of the games the player found the solution, while in others the combination was missed.
With the training puzzles I put a lot of emphasis on being original. This means that during my research I mostly collected puzzles from recent games while also incorporating tactics from my own practice. There are a number of combinations from my friends’ games as well that I am immensely grateful they shared with me.
Which opening does better in practice: the wild, “unsound” and “refuted” Latvian Gambit (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f5) or the solid Philidor Defence (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6)?
As James Schuyler points out, referring to the definitive Megabase, the Latvian Gambit scores higher.
How can such a discredited opening (and the same story is repeated with other “unsound” openings) do so well? The point is that playing like this throws the opponent off balance, makes them anxious and induces mistakes.
Even the very best players recognise the value of discomforting the opponent. Historically, Emanuel Lasker was the master of this approach and his modern day equivalent is world champion Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen frequently employs offbeat openings and his opponents invariably fail to counter them correctly.
This is the key theme of this book. Schuyler covers all phases of the game and discusses other vital subjects such as harassment, material imbalance, time management, surprise moves, unusual ideas, provocative play, manoeuvres and recovering from bad positions.