The Breyer and Zaitsev Variations of the Ruy Lopez are two of the most dynamic lines played today. Examining them from both White and Black’s point of view, Greek grandmaster Vassilios Kotronias discusses their strengths, weaknesses and presents suggested improvements where necessary.
The Breyer Variation of the Ruy Lopez is the brainchild of Hungarian hypermodern Gyula Breyer. He suggested the paradoxical knight retreat 9...Nb8 early in the 20th century. Although its soundness has been confirmed in many grandmaster games for over a century, there is surprisingly little which has been written about it. This book has just changed all that.
The Zaitsev Variation was one of Anatoly Karpov’s workhorses in his title matches against Garry Kasparov. Formulated by the brilliant theoretician Igor Zaitsev, it can be found in the repertoires of some of the leading grandmasters of our era. As the author notes in his introduction, this is an objective presentation of two excellent opening variations for Black, from which players sitting on either side of the board may profit. The play is strategically complex, tactically rich and will improve you as both a player and connoisseur of the game.
Kotronias’ clear writing style, coupled with in depth analysis, makes for a splendid opening manual on two of the most topical – and solid – variations of the Ruy Lopez.
The Modern Tiger offers an enterprising repertoire for Black using the Modern Defence.
This book presents the Triangle set-up, which arises after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3/Nf3 c6.
This move order avoids many unpleasant systems for White, notably the Catalan, the Exchange Slav and the Botvinnik Variation. It leads to sharp strategically unbalanced play and brings Black excellent practical results.
Semko Semkov is a chess journalist and theoretician. He has co-authored the famous books The Modern English, The Most Flexible Sicilian, Attacking the English/Reti, Attacking the Flexible Sicilian and Understanding the Queen’s Gambit Accepted.
The Vienna set-up aims for very aggressive play, which often includes sacrifices, but White prefers to be on the safe side, without burning all the bridges and to try to justify his actions from the point of view of positional play as well. This is how this usually happens. At first, he deploys his minor pieces to active positions, then he advances the thematic move f4, castles (usually on the kingside) and begins an attack only after all this.
Building on his ever creative ideas, Christian Bauer found a way to take a fresh look at the current status of the Alekhine Defense. It's clear that Christian has a definite weak spot for Knights. Surely you will appreciate his best efforts to bamboozle your opponents into self-destruction by using the Alekhine.
The ‘Anti-Sicilians’ have invariably been a popular choice at all levels of the game. Analysis of this opening in previous literature has rarely been extensive due to the misconception that Anti-Sicilians are simplistic and thus, easy to play ‘by hand’. While maintaining the ideals of straightforward plans and digestible variations, this series of volumes will attempt to integrate ‘Anti-Sicilians’ into mainstream theory – with a particular focus on negating Black’s attempts to achieve any significant activity.
This first volume provides significant coverage of the Rossolimo variation – perhaps the most pertinent example of how an ‘Anti-Sicilian’ has emerged to become arguably even more popular than its counterpart, 3.d4 after 2...Nc6. With a particular emphasis on analysing multiple alternatives within each critical variation, this book should appeal to anyone wishing to update and expand their knowledge and understanding of the fashionable Rossolimo.
A complete manual on how to play the Benko
When I set out to write this book, I was clear on certain aspects, like keeping the moves simple and giving as much explanation as possible at the critical moments, as I wanted to ensure that someone interested in learning the intricacies of the Berlin doesn’t get swamped by long theoretical lines, but acquires a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the positions. If you manage to grasp the dynamics of these lines, then you can play not just the systems recommended in the book, but also other popular Berlin variations that have not been covered in this book for the Black side.
This book is written for the Black side, though new ideas for White are suggested and old ones occasionally improved. It contains not only the author’s personal take on how to deal with all major White tries after 1.e4 c6, but also a range of alternatives for Black to cater for different types of Caro-Kann player.
The Colle-Zukertort is a deep independent opening in its own right, but is also very flexible. Transpositions to the Queen’s Indian or Slav are often possible. The simplicity of placing the bishop on d3, a knight on e5 and following up with f4 and Rf3 with checkmating prospects is very tempting. Underneath it all though, it is way more than that simplified idea. It is filled with rich positional possibilities and nuances that one should be aware of. I have tried to show as many aspects as possible, pointing out exactly the relevant details and knowledge that are normally only accessible to strong positional players, such as Kramnik.
This opening is for fans of classical chess. I wanted to present chess in the “old” style, before players had access to engines to help them with their play and understanding. Before engines, players such as Colle and Zukertort created and innovated to such an extent that we still use their ideas today. I wanted to use this approach, to remind readers that this style of chess still exists.
My aim in this book is to show that the Delayed Benoni is equally as attractive as its cousin, the Modern Benoni. For some reason – perhaps because “Modern” sounds more exciting than “Delayed”? – my favorite Benoni has been neglected for years, receiving scant coverage in chess publications.
The advantage of “our” Benoni is based on a waiting approach. Black would like to choose a perfect moment to play ...e6xd5, waiting for White to adopt some piece setup that turns out to be inconvenient for him after this exchange. At the same time, we would like to avoid some dangerous or deeply explored variations like the Flick-Knife (a.k.a Taimanov) or systems where White can place his bishop on the optimal f4-square.
A lot of variations in this book can also be useful for King’s Indian players, as a main or alternative way to play. My own journey in the world of the Delayed Benoni started when I was a King’s Indian kind of guy!
Throughout the book I have tried not only to look for variations where there is always life and winning chances for Black, but also to offer decent continuations, not just say that ‘Black has counterplay’, when he might clearly be worse, which is the case in some books. The work presented here is designed for every player willing to improve his or her general understanding of the Dutch Defense, especially of the Leningrad Variation, with both colors. It provides a full repertoire for Black not only against 1.d4, but also against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3. I believe that the material offered here can help players from club level to GM level, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much I did writing it!