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.
The Dutch Defense is an old opening. A seriously old opening. So old, in fact, that in large part it currently has the reputation of not really causing a well-prepared White player to fear losing. That is especially the case with the variant of it I am analysing in this book: the Stonewall (in which Black continues with ...e6 and ...d5). I intend to show that that impression is mistaken.
First things first: it’s a very positional opening. In contrast to the King’s Indian (which shares the feature of having few early piece or pawn exchanges) play moves slowly and despite there obviously being some sharp lines, the absolute prerequisite for playing the Stonewall Dutch is that you understand positional chess. The first person to really understand the strategic themes at play here, and develop decent plans for Black was sixth world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik. From which it should be clear that positional doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
There have been many revolutions in how chess players view tactical play or opening strategy. However, for me it is fitting that the resurgence of the Stonewall is coming at the exact time that strategic chess is being redefined by Carlsen. It is an echo of when the opening was first introduced: Botvinnik, the ‘Patriarch’ of the Soviet chess school, with its discipline and its principles, produced a similarly seismic shift in how people viewed positional play at the time.
The positional themes in this opening are incredibly complex. We’ll get into it more later but let me just explain some of the confounding factors. From Black’s perspective, playing with a hole on e5 is very much an ‘acquired taste’, in spite of the ideas that have already been found to counterbalance it, such as a queen (or bishop) transfer to h5, or launching the f-pawn against the enemy king.
The Sveshnikov is undeniably one of the most dynamic and aggressive Sicilians available these days.
Most recently, it was made popular again by World Champion Magnus Carlsen in his match against Fabiano Caruana at the end of 2018.
The main lines lead to complex positions, and a deep knowledge and understanding of the opening is a real necessity for any player who wishes to enter this battlefield.
Our author, Robert Ris, focuses on all the current developments, highlighting the most important and instructive games from recent years, using his own over-the board experiences.
Ris is well known for his theoretical knowledge and overall opening expertise. And we are quite convinced that he provides Sicilian players with an up-to date arsenal for playing the Sveshnikov.
Four years have passed since the first edition of our Richter-Rauzer Reborn book and if we look at the recent past, we can see that this variation of the Sicilian has been gaining more and more popularity and is very often seen in tournament practice. The fact that this opening has become part of a standard repertoire against 1.e4 for many top players such as Rapport, Dubov, Li Chao, Korobov, Gupta, Vovk etc . speaks for itself about the quality and the fascination of the variation and also about the many possibilities it offers. It’s hard to pinpoint the real reasons for this popularity, but it’s likely that the answer lies in the complexity of the positions that arise on the board and the large number of new ideas, which we will talk about in this book.
The Royal Chess Couple is a combined attempt to introduce the various traits of the most significant piece with the most powerful piece on the chessboard. Following a short historic review of the development and metamorphoses of each piece over time, the reader is offered 240 positions (480 in total) from tournament practice as well as from the magic world of chess composition. In each position a royal piece plays either a crucial offensive or defensive role. These positions are subdivided into 60 themes, four positions per theme, arranged by their increasing difficulty. The reader may use the positions as training challenges to improve his understanding and playing skills or just to enjoy playing through them. In either case he will learn to appreciate the characteristic qualities of each piece alone and in collaboration with other pieces.
I am not seeking glory with this book, but I certainly had to have a book in tactics! That’s the main idea of the book; to be a companion for trainers and players who seek improvement — simple but effective! The names of the mates are not important. What’s crucial is understanding and subconsciously memorising these patterns in order to recognise when they’re about to occur in a player’s own games. These mating patterns are not confined to chess problems and puzzles.
As will be shown, they occur in the games of Grandmasters and even World Champions, past and present! They belong to everybody’s games, even beginners’! Each mate’s theoretical pattern is presented as a diagram, with constructed examples and actual games. It is suggested that students set-up and play through these mates from the losers’ viewpoint as well. Most difficult of all is recognising patterns when they occur horizontally (i.e., rotated 90 degrees) from the normal orientation. The key to each pattern is the status of the squares surrounding the king: which ones are obstructed, which are potential flight squares that can be controlled with the available pieces. Players are advised to know these patterns forwards, backwards and upside down!
A complete manual for the Taimanov, one of the most popular and complicated Sicilian variations.
“Together With Mamedyarov” is not a collection of his selected games but it is primarily a study-book. It contains test positions taken from games of the famous Azeri grandmaster with detailed comments on the solutions to the tasks. In this book the solutions have been placed right after a diagram with a test except for the six positions given as a warm-up in the beginning of the chapter one. For those of you who work without the assistance of a coach would recommend that you cover the answer with a sheet of paper to avoid spoiling the benefit of solving the problem.
The tests’ tasks are intended for training:
1. tactical vision,
2. calculation of variations,
3. strategic decision-making,
4. your assessment of a position.
The solutions have been given points ranging from 1 up to 7. After calculating their total amount, you can determine your approximate level by the author’s ranking scale. But do not forget that this ranking scale is subjective. After totaling your result, you should have an idea about what type of tasks are the most challenging for you. This will help you direct your time and efforts on the areas where you need further improvement. The tests given in the first and the second chapters differ by the level of complexity. The tests in chapter one corresponds to an Elo rating of 1400–1900 while chapter two is aimed at players rated 1700–2100. When you solve the tests from Mamedyarov’s games try to reproduce the thought process of one of the most creative and bright grandmasters of today. Imagine yourself in his place during a game, look at the chessboard through his eyes and think about the positions together with Mamedyarov.
This book invites the reader to enter the wonderful elite chess world with one of the most creative GM’s of all time. It tells about his approach to the core of fighting, about his strongest points but also about his weaknesses. It presents real masterpieces and hurtful losses.
The book Together with the Candidates that you are holding is firstly a book of tests with their solutions, given in the format of game fragments with detailed comments. All the tasks in this book have been taken from games of the Candidates competitions. They differ very much in their degree of complexity. I hope this will allow a wide circle of readers to find the tests corresponding to their own chess level here.
A new collection of puzzles carefully selected by two experienced trainers.
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.