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 Modernized Grunfeld Defense will be extremely helpful for any chess player looking for a reliable lifetime repertoire against White’s 1.d4. It will benefit current Grunfeld players as Yaro unveils his analysis and numerous novelties waiting to be played over the board.
From the first moment (about a year ago) when Mr. Daniel Vanheirzeele from Thinkers Publishing contacted me about the possibility of writing an opening book, I was really excited about the prospect. Writing a chess book was a completely new direction for me, and anything new excites me and gives me a high. Then after some discussion we narrowed the topic down to 1.e4 (‘Best by test’) and I found myself with a contract to cover two major variations within the Sicilian: the sharp Najdorf and the trendy Taimanov.
I actually already had a decent reputation as a dangerous theoretician on the white side of 1.e4, and in particular against these two openings. I had shown some interesting ideas in my games over the years which were the result of my real passion for opening knowledge, a trait which has stayed with me throughout my chess career.
Russian International Master Maxim Chetverik has written a strategy textbook containing 75 deeply annotated positional games that show players how to devise plans to handle a number of key strategic themes, such as when to open up the game, how to activate the pawn chain, how to carry out positional sacrifices and many others. Unlike most other textbooks, the strategic plans are viewed as battles where the plans of each player clash, and Maxim analyzes why one plan comes out on top.
Also unlike most other textbooks, all example games are drawn from grandmaster play in the 21st century, some played in 2018, and consider the plans right out of the opening stage. This makes the book of particular value to players wishing to better understand the strategies that the openings they play may lead to, bearing in mind the author is an openings expert with ten openings books published. The majority of games are played by elite grandmasters, including Carlsen, Caruana, Anand, Kramnik, Karjakin, Giri, So, Vachier-Lagrave, Aronian, Mamedyarov, Nakamura, Gelfand, Svidler, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Leko, J. Polgar, Topalov, Kamsky, Morozevich, Korchnoi and Spassky.
Chetverik introduces and illustrates the concepts of macroplan and microplan, which provide a simple structural framework for players seeking to devise plans in their own games. The macroplan is the specific way to achieve the required result (usually, a win), for example, the successful exploitation of a queenside pawn majority. The microplan is a way of solving a local problem that involves several moves, such as transferring a knight from a bad square to a good one. Ideally, a macroplan is a chain of sequential and carefully calculated microplans.
This book is largely aimed at strong club players wishing to improve, or their coaches. The recommended Elo range is approximately 1,800 – 2,200, although it may of course be of interest to players a bit lower and a bit higher than this range.
The Scotch Game is the most “open” of all the Open Games. In fact this is the only really Open Game, in its essence, which matches the traditional terminology.
The move 3.d2-d4 breaks immediately the symmetry. White tries to occupy the centre and gain additional space. Rapid contact between the opposing forces takes place, in fact much quicker than in the other open (and not only open...) games, which increases the value of every move and requires from both sides tremendous accuracy at a very early stage of the game. Positions with opposite castles arise much more often in the Scotch than in all the other Open Games put together.
Study brings wisdom. Practice brings perfection.
Following his highly acclaimed Mastering Chess Strategy and Mastering Opening Strategy, this book completes a trilogy of strategy books by Grandmaster and renowned chess teacher Johan Hellsten. In his new work Hellsten focuses exclusively on endgame play and covers every type of endgame: pawn, minor piece, rook and queen endgames. He examines not only the many fundamental positions that everyone needs to know, but also the key themes and characteristics of successful endgame play, including activity, creating and exploiting weaknesses, active and passive defence, fortresses and technique.
Just like his previous two books, Mastering Endgame Strategy is a product of Hellsten's many years' work as a full-time chess teacher and is specifically designed as part of a structured training programme to improve strategic thinking. In addition to the many examples there's an abundance of carefully selected exercises which allow readers to monitor their progress and put into practice what they have just learned. Following such a course is an ideal way for players of all standards to improve. Although designed mainly for students, this book is also an excellent resource for chess teachers and trainers.
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 French Defence is coming back to fashion again! One of the leaders in the 2020 Candidates tournament, Ian Nepomniachtchi, successfully staked on it. Lately World champion himself also embraced the French several times. A great expert of this opening is the last challenger for the world title Fabiano Caruana. The French became a real arena of the battle of the engines – neural network genius Leela was confidently repelling the attacks of its powerful rivals.
The author’s view on the French allows Black to obtain fresh creative positions without having to compete with deep knowledge in well trodden paths.
The theoretical material is based on the author’s tournament practice, and passed the test at a GM level during the writing of the book.
Nikolaos Ntirlis provides a top-class repertoire for Black after 1.d4 d5 with the Queen’s Gambit Declined. In addition to the classical QGD, Ntirlis offers a complete repertoire against the Catalan, London System, Torre and all other significant alternatives from move 2 onwards.
Chess is a cruel game. We all know that feeling when your position has gone awry and everything seems hopeless. You feel like resigning. But don’t give up! This is precisely the moment to switch to swindle mode.
Master the art of provoking errors and you will be able to turn the tables and escape with a draw – or sometimes even steal the full point!
Swindling is a skill that can be trained. In this book, David Smerdon shows how you can use tricks from psychology to marshal hidden resources and exploit your opponent’s biases.
In a lost position, your best practical chance often lies not in what the computer recommends, but in playing your opponent.
With an abundance of eye-popping examples and training exercises, Smerdon identifies the four best friends of every chess swindler: your opponent’s impatience, their hubris, their fear, and their need to stay in control.
You’ll also learn about such cunning swindling motifs as the Trojan Horse, the Decoy Trap, the Berserk Attack, and ‘Window-Ledging’.
So, come and join the Swindlers’ Club, become a great escape artist and dramatically improve your results. In this instructive and highly entertaining guide, Smerdon shows you how.
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.
Imagine you are a club player who has been given the opportunity to talk at length with a famous grandmaster. How would you make the most of this opportunity?
Club players are unaware of the subtleties in Grandmaster chess. Great players can analyze chess at a depth that is unfathomable to amateurs. However, having reached such a high level can make it difficult to understand what is lacking in the mind of the amateur.
Lessons with a Grandmaster bridges this gap between grandmaster and amateur through a series of conversations between teacher, the renowned Grandmaster Boris Gulko, and student Dr. Joel R. Sneed, a professor of psychology and amateur chess player. The lessons are based on Gulko's own battles against fellow grandmasters, and there is particular focus on strategy, tactics and the role of psychology in chess competition.