For the purpose of writing this book I decided to look at all the games Veselin has played from 1995 until the present, as there were many I didn’t know! I must say that, although seeing great moves from a 2800 player sounds normal, it was impossible not to be astonished by some of his games. Topalov is one of the kings of practical decisions in chess. He regards chess as more a sport than a science. If he thinks an idea will work over the board, the notion of risk is irrelevant to him. He wants to be on the attack and believes an objectively inferior position isn’t necessarily bad if his opponent needs to find several difficult defensive moves. “If that’s the only move for my opponent, let’s enter the line and see if he sees it!” is his philosophy. He never liked peace over the board or routine play. The moments where he has refused to repeat moves or has sacrificed something strictly out of intuition are countless. In short, Topalov’s aim has always been to hit hard and bring his own touch to the game, and I think he has succeeded!
Grandmaster Milos Pavlovic investigates one of the most popular openings: the King's Indian, with a focus on little explored dynamic ways to counter the basic White system
The Benoni had been under a serious cloud. Milos rehabilitated the whole opening using many new and unexplored ideas. He and the publisher are convinced that this book will inspire to use his reloaded weapons for their own benefit!
Chess has very strict, but also fairly simple, rules: rapid development, control of the center with pawns or pieces, timely castling and defense of the king, the creation of various weaknesses in the opponent’s position, attacking those weaknesses, and control of open lines. At the same time a player shouldn’t get his queen stuck in the enemy camp, or ruin his own pawn structure. Those who know these rules will succeed. It is necessary for a chess player to know opening and endgame theory, standard combinations and motifs, as well as pawn structures and many other things.
A lot of the topics listed demand a very straightforward type of thinking or approach. However it also happens that chess players often discover significant resources which formally exist outside the typical rules of chess. Those who know how to break all the rules and work around those specific guidelines reach the very top. Currently, when thousands of chess books dissect the same standard ideas in great detail, let us remember that first there were those who originally discovered them, implemented them, and made them standard, as well as those who broke the rules and created completely new ones.
The book before you is a product of what happens when two chess players start a relationship (which started over six years ago) and enter a dialogue about how to get ready for the next tournament. The content of this book is a training program for players who plan to play an over-the-board tournament a few weeks from the time they start training with this book. This book, unlike other similar books in the field of improvement, does not have a central theme. In other words, we are not focused solely on openings, middlegames or endgames. Moreover, the book does not only concentrate on specific themes (calculation, positional decisions, or other strategic aspects), though many of these concepts are addressed throughout the book. Instead, this book offers a holistic view on how to approach every single position in it, regardless of the phase of the game or the nature of the position. We try to teach players how to identify types of decisions in various positions, while pointing at the trade-off between a hardcore calculation and a heuristics judgment.
The Caro-Kann Defense has always been one of my favorite openings to play and was the very first opening I learned when I started playing chess. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov espoused this opening throughout his career and, with his solid and positional style, inspired me to play the Caro-Kann as well. Many games have been played, and theory has evolved since the days of Karpov’s Caro-Kann. As you will see in this book, this opening offers Black many opportunities for dynamic play, despite its solid framework.
My hope is that readers of all levels will find something of value to them in this book. The material contains many new ideas and the analysis often stretch quite far from the opening stages. Nevertheless, I have done my best to help the reader make sense of the complicated variations and of the positional nuances inextricably woven between them. The idea is not only to show you the moves, but also to help you develop both your understanding of the underlying plans and your familiarity with broader strategic concepts, to guide your decision-making even beyond the opening.
The strategic part of the book consists of thirty-two fully-annotated games divided into five chapters, with the fifth chapter divided into four subchapters. In this strategic part I have given an insight into the historical development of the variation and have tried to help the reader understand the most common plans and concepts for both sides. My own practical experiences in this variation date back to 1994, and over the years I have tried it with Black versus greats like Kramnik, Shirov and Grischuk. Some of these experiences are included in the book. The Chigorin Variation is rich in ideas which can be used in a range of middlegame positions arising from different variations.
Understanding the strategic ideas of this complex variation is also a middlegame improvement ‘tool’ and a must for anyone wanting to take his or her chess to the next level. The current trend, developed in recent years, is for Black to capture on d4 with his e-pawn, aiming for Benoni-type pawn structure positions which lead to rather double-edged positions.
These modern developments and the current theoretical state of affairs in general are dealt with in the theoretical part of the book by my friend, Ivan Salgado. This ‘Chigorin bible’ aims to be the ultimate improvement ‘tool’ for club and tournament players in the variation. The first part provides the reader with a good understanding of general plans and strategic concepts and the second part provides direct theoretical knowledge.
Going through the instructive examples and numerous exercises you will see all the important aspects of the piece exchange in the endgame, and enrich your knowledge and understanding of the final stage of the chess game. Trying to solve the positions, you will certainly improve your decision-making ability and analyzing skills.
Many gambit lines, where one or more pawns are sacrificed for the initiative, have to be taken seriously, but Ivan has succeeded in finding many new ideas and theoretical improvements. The result is the neutralisation or refutation of most of these common and well known 'Gambits'.
By going through the chapters, you will get acquainted with my way of grandmaster type thinking. I can assure you of one thing: there are better and weaker grandmasters, but you won’t find a GM who is playing without ideas or, let’s say, without his way of thinking! As you will find out, I am basically trying to detect the problem or goal of the position and then I am starting to scan factors which can lead to the solution. That process you will find in many examples in the book.
(Free re-downloadable for those who purchased the first edition!)
One of the remarkable things about the Accelerated Dragon is its appeal to players with vastly different styles. In this book International Master Raja Panjwani presents a repertoire for Black demonstrating a dynamic way to fight 1.e4 from the second move.
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.