Here we are, together on this page, both interested in the French Defence with 3.Nc3 Bb4. Before telling you what you can learn from this opening, let me tell you a little story about my journey in the French. I started playing the French after reading John Watson’s Play the French, which improved my play a lot. I learned that the French is a positional yet concrete opening, and many of my young opponents couldn’t grasp its subtleties. Moreover, many opponents were far less prepared against 1...e6 than against 1...c5 or 1...e5. Unfortunately those days would end.
During the 2008 Dutch Youth Championships (U20), I understood that everyone would throw 7.Qg4 in the Winawer at me. In that respect, my opening preparation was simple: I’d study the Winawer for Black very intensively and the problem would be solved. In reality, I faced many difficulties. Novelties I’d find in the evenings were promptly refuted by the engine the next morning; I was constantly thinking about the French, but I couldn’t quite make it work. There was this strange, inexplicable feeling in my stomach, some might call “butterflies”. I had fallen in love with a chess line! Despite my two losses in the crucial games, I still believed I had a great repertoire with countless novelties to show for it.
The Najdorf Variation of the Sicilian Defence is so popular that the total number of games played in this line exceeds the number of games played in many complete openings! It has been the favourite line of many world champions and grandmasters. Famous lines such as the Poisoned Pawn, the Polugaevsky Variation, the Sozin, the English Attack, to name just a few, are known to all chess players as belonging to the Najdorf Sicilian.
Learning the Najdorf will help all players to understand Sicilians in a better way. Different aspects of chess such as defence, attack and sacrifice, positional themes and tactical storms, can be found in this book.
The Nimzo-Indian and Queen’s Gambit Declined are among Black’s soundest and most universal answers to 1.d4. In his trademark style, Milos investigates the most positional ways to proceed after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6
(FREE RE-DOWNLOADABLE FOR THOSE WHO PURCHASED THE FIRST EDITION)
Contrary to what the critical pessimists might say, the Reti opening is an ambitious weapon for White. By avoiding the main theoretical debates, White tries to reach an unbalanced position from an early stage of the game, with many different plans being available.
In spite of its long history however, for most of its life the Scotch did not enjoy great popularity. It was a recognized answer to 1...e5, for sure, but it never seriously challenged the Ruy Lopez as the most “objective” way to fight for an opening advantage. The general opinion was that Black had enough resources to achieve equality. The turning point for the fortunes of the Scotch was the world title match between Kasparov and Karpov in 1990, the first time that the opening had been tested at such an elite level. Unsurprisingly, Kasparov’s decision to employ this old opening meant that its appearances in tournaments soared. The popularity of the Scotch generated by this match remains today, and I would say it is perhaps more popular than ever before. That begs the obvious question – why? Well, due to the nature of the positions that tend to arise it is ideal for engine analysis, and so it lends itself perfectly to the tools of the current day. It is a nice paradox that the Romantic foundations of this opening merge so well with the computerized modern era. Credit can mostly be given to Kasparov for reviving this old opening, but there are many others who have contributed to exploring new ideas and forging new paths. A lot of discoveries have been made by some young grandmasters who don’t shy away from analysing deep tactical solutions with the aid of the silicon beast.
The only other book written on the Scotch that I used whilst searching for material is the excellent work by the English GM Peter Wells, The Scotch Game. Wells’ book comes from an older, classical style of opening literature which is helpful in developing the reader’s understanding and certainly still has its merits today. Since its publication in 1998, however, many new lines have been introduced and our general approach to the Scotch has changed dramatically. Nevertheless, it served me well as guidance as I wrote this work. This book is going to be a big one, so my introduction will be a little different to my usual approach. I will try to present the most important features in the book so that readers can immediately see what kind of material they will find.
This book is a follow up of The Safest Sicilian. It offers a repertoire based on 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6. It covers both the Taimanov and the Kann
Despite the Najdorf’s great popularity and reputation as a theoretical labyrinth, Bryan Smith believes it is possible to play it “by the light of nature,” with experience providing a guide. The play is concrete and sharp, but original positions can be obtained fairly early.
The twenty-nine annotated games in this book were carefully selected for their instructional value, their theoretical relevance, and – most of all – their esthetic appeal. Designed both for players of the Najdorf and for those facing it, The Najdorf in Black and White is a collection of creative and unique battles that you can use to learn the ins and outs of this opening.
The study of well-annotated master games is the best way to improve. Acclaimed chess author Steve Giddins has assembled the most didactic examples from New In Chess.
There are masterclasses by dozens of chess legends and no fewer than eight World Champions. Together they provide the high standard of instructional material that today’s club player needs.
The Nimzo-Indian Defence has been one of the most trusted defences against 1.d4 ever since its conception a century ago. It has been used in World Championship matches by Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Carlsen.
A complete black repertoire with 1.e4 e5 against everything except the Ruy Lopez by Igor Lysyj and Roman Ovetchkin
In this book the reader will find an opening repertoire for Black against 1. e4, based on the Petroff Defence and designed to be used up to the highest level.
The Pirc is more of a counterattack than a defence: Black allows his opponent to occupy the centre and provokes a confrontation, trusting in the power of the g7-bishop and the dynamic potential in his position. It is the perfect weapon for players who demand to play for a win with the black pieces.