Latest book reviews of 1 August 2007

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
John Elburg

                                     Chess Books

222 Eröffnungsfallen nach 1.e4" von Karsten Müller & Rainer Knaak
Edition Olms

163 pages
Price € 16,80
ISBN 978-3-283-00514-6

In chess there is nothing more exciting for a chess player  to go throw a game where one of the players has fallen to one or other mean openings trap.
Graham Burgess once wrote in his famous book The quickest chess victories of all time,Cadogan 1998 ‘Experts agree that a major factor in successful chess playing is the ability to recognize patterns. This not only helps the analytical process, but prompts ideas  to be considered that might not otherwise enter a player’s mind.On the other side of the coin, many blunders, rather than being random ‘hallucinations’ or ‘blind spots’ can be explained by the relevant pattern not being recognized.
Interesting enough John Nunn wrote in his work; 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures that there is no general accepted definition of a miniature game.
So different authors have different limits, but GM Karsten Müller one of the best endgame experts of all time and his companion the openings expert and ChessBase specialist GM Rainer Knaak provide the reader in this latest Olms book with a fascinating collection of 222 opening traps.
All divided in to the e4 openings lines and running  from the Nimzowitsch defence till the Spanish opening.
Every possible line is covered with a smashing game where for example the correspondence game  between Ruggeri Laderchi and Rosso, corr, 1999.
This game with the Latvian Gambit  did impress when the white player once showed it to me so I am pleased that this twelve move  made it into this lovely printed Olms book.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 fxe4 4.Nxe5 Qg5 5.d4 Qxg2 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Bf7+ Kd8 8.Bxg6 Qxh1+ 9.Ke2 c6 10.Nc3 Kc7 11.Bf4 Qxa1 12.Nxd7+ 1-0
Keres was the first Grandmaster in chess who has filled pages about the exciting move 4…Qg5 the so called poisoned g2 pawn variation in his famous openings book, but  the best try for black is certainly  9…. Qxc1 10.Nf7+ Ke8 11.Nxh8+ hxg6 12.Qxg6+ Kd8 13.Nf7+ Ke7 14.Nc3 Qxc2+ 15.Ke1 d6 16.Nd5+ Kd7 17.Qxg8 e3 18.fxe3 Qxh2 19.Qg4+ Ke8 20.Qxc8+ Kxf7 21.Qf5+ Ke8 22.Nxc7+ Kd8 23.Nxa8 Be7 24.Qa5+ Ke8 25.Nc7+ Kd7 26.Nd5 Nc6 27.Qc7+ Ke6 28.Nf4+ Kf7 29.Rd1 Qxb2 30.Qd7 Qxa2 31.Qxb7 Nb4 32.Qxb4 Cirulis – Elburg corr.2007,but unfortunately for black even with all the computer help in the world  white keeps the advantage.
Throw the book you shall find more correspondence games eve that the games are played over a longer duration the typical mistakes stay, even that the player can consult books and fast computers.
The reader is in good hands of the authors Müller & Knaak because they explain with great pleasure the openings mistakes from others.
For example the game Anand – Bilawer,Frankfurt simultaneous display 1994 with the moes 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 dxe5 5.Nxe5 Nd7?! 6.Nxf7! Kxf7 7.Qh5 Ke6 is good for over two pages of text.
And did you know that the Tarrasch trap is related to the game Tarrasch,Siegbert - Marco,Georg DSB-07.Kongress Dresden , 22.07.1892 
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.0-0 Be7 7.Re1 0-0 8.Bxc6 Bxc6 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qxd8 Raxd8 11.Nxe5 Bxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Nd3 f5 14.f3 Bc5+ 15.Nxc5 Nxc5 16.Bg5 Rd5 17.Be7 Re8 18.c4 1-0
Funny enough white players keep falling in to the line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4? 4.Nxe5? Müller and Knaak write that this move 4.Nxe5 is found 137 times in he Mega 2005!
For the fun I checked it out in the Mega 2007 and you shall not believe it but it stands now on a record of 166 times!So the move 4…Nd4?! is certainly worth a try.
Included in this book is a excellent index of names from the players,opening index and a two page bibliography.
Conclusion: A unbelievable collection well presented  short cut games! 

Transpo Tricks in Chess by Andrew Soltis
Batsford Ltd, London
219 pages
Price $21.95
ISBN 978-0-7134-9051-0

The master of explanation GM Andrew Soltis digs in this latest Transpo tricks in chess book in all kind of tricky move transpositions in the opening as for example after the moves {1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4  4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.h3 e6} 7.g4,were we reach a conservative version of the famous Keres Attack.
In which white relies on a slow build-up with his bishop on g2, than a run with the king's knight pawn to g5,
however the game Andreikin – Kosteniuk,Tomsk 2006 went with the moves:7..a6 8.g5 Nd7 9.h4 where we reach a other book position from the Keres Attack,but white has lost a move because he spent two tempi to get his h-pawn to h4.
And a  lost tempo  should make a Hugh difference as Soltis explains us so instructively with readable words in this book.
Unfortunately the bright Alexandra was unfamiliarity with the complicated  Keres positions and went astray after the moves 9…Nde5? 10.Be3 b5?!
And after the moves 11.Nxc6 Nxc6 12.Qd2 Bb7 13.f4 Qc7 14.Qf2 Nb8 15.a3 Nd7 16.f5 Ne5? 17.fxe6  fxe6  18.Bh3 and the beauty queen of chess was lost.
As I said the book is overloaded with readable notes and a very interesting note is the one from Soltis on  Kramnik; Kramnik  made 1.Nf3 famous as a  purely transpositional device. After  1..d5 he reaches normal Queen’s Gambits with 2.d4 and 3.c4.But after 1…Nf6 he almost always replies 2.c4.In this way he avoids  the Nimzo-Indian by meeting 2…e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2!? rather than 4.d4.He also dodges normal Gruenfeld positions, meeting 2..g6 with 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Qa4+ or 3…Bg7 4.e4!.This saves gallons of midnight oil.
Included between all the transpositions are useful tips for beginners but it would not surprise me that this book is even interesting for the more experienced player seen the large amount of practical  transpositions.
All major lines get a important touch in this book which is all covered with important  key opening variations all well explained in understandable words by  Soltis.
The wealth of material  is divided in to seven readable chapters,starting with Double KP Openings,Ruy Lopez,Sicilian Defence,Semi-Open Games,Double QP Openings, Indians and at last the Dutch Defence & Flank Openings.
Openings transpositions can be very tricky and this book from GM Andrew Soltis is the first ever written book on this subject.
All together we have here a very inviting openings book that is very suitable for local chess players and up who like to improve there openings skills.
Conclusion:A very enjoyable and useful read on transpositions!

Improve your chess in 7 days by Gary Lane
Batsford Ltd, London
Price $17.95
ISBN 978-0-7134-9050-3

The bright Garry Lane offers the reader in this latest Batsford chess book a  seven days chess course to improve in a rapid way your chess skills,all based on seven wise chapters of this book.
Starting with “So you want to improve your chess” followed by Understanding the Openings,Strategy versus tactics,Creating the attack, Avoiding blunders,Mastering the ending,The art of Swindling and at last a practical read on internet chess links
The aim of this book lays by the local chess player who wants to stand-up against the other  better players  of the club but  also the more experienced player can learn from the instructive advises and fine analysed games from the great Lane.
As for example please see his wins against great players as Nunn and Short,Short went by the way in this game for the interesting game pawn move 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 h6!?
Lane writes: I was slightly shocked but at the same time amused by this move.Eager to avoid a draw,Short has a nagging feeling that he might run into opening preparation if he follows the main lines.Hence the reason for playing something unusual. In fact 3…h6 has also been adopted on occasion by a few other adventurous world class players.
Besides the great drawings the book is overloaded is useful advises as for example in losing positions continue to put on maximum resistance.
Do not resort to reckless tactics which leave you in a hopeless state if they fail,and of course never give up!After Lane you could score quite a few more points by pulling off a swindle every now and then.
Highly recommended for every club layer is chapter 6,related  for day six with mastering the endgame,here I found  some of the finest endgames ever played  as the beautiful endgame between Alekhine and Capablanca,game 34 of the World Championship match,Buenos Aires of 1927 which was the last game of this famous match.
The game was adjourned and Capablanca resignd a day later by letter but he nevertheless went to the chess club to congratulate Alekhine personally.
Lines writes: A celebrated endgame has provided me with inspiration and I often use it as a coaching tool because the theme can occur in so  many rook and pawn games.
Conclusion: One of those few chess books where you can improve your chess skills in no time!

Play the Grünfeld by Yelena Dembo
Everyman Chess
192 pages
Price $24,95
ISBN 978-1-85744-521-3

Play the Grünfeld is a impressive written move to move repertoire book for all who wish to take up  the Grünfeld defence which is written by the young  chess genius IM Yelena Dembo from Greece.
Dear readers she is for many years  a regular contributor from the famous chess Informator and that says something of her highly rewarded chess skills.
This book Play the Grünfeld is not based at the hand a of a collection model games but covers an excellent over view of latest devolpments where the aim of this work lays by intermediate till grandmaster level play.
Grandmaster level sounds all very ambitious but the bright Yelena Dembo digs in this book awful deep, as for example in the most populiar line the  Exchange variation that runs with the exciting moves:
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.0-0 Bd7 {she also gives  the possibility of 10..Na5!? and that move only  is good for around five and a half pages of text!}
On 10…Bd7 she writes: This quiet move represents a very solid and positional way of playing.Black simply prepares to play on the queenside and has a very clear  plan of obtaining control of the key c4-square,with  moves as ..Qc7,Rc8,…b5 {or …Bb5}of course,Na5-c4.Achieving that plan usually quarantines him god play.White,in turn,must try to disturb Black’s aforementioned plan.This all  is well covered with eight pages of text and it is for most black players much more useful  than for example the jungle work from Sakaev,How to get the edge against the Gruenfeld from Chess Stars,because I am afraid that most black players only get lost in the mass of lines of that over loaded work.
Nearly the same with the book from Dearing,Challenging the Grünfeld from Quality ChessBooks,where Yelena Dembo suggests on 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.Bxc3 c5 8.Rb1 0-0 9.Be2 b6 so there is no need for a repertoire player  to go throw  the first 164 pages from Dearing his work.
On 10.0-0 Bb7 is the main move in this position but as Yelena Dembo writes in her book 10…Qc7 is an worthwhile alternative and strangely enough this move is  not even mentioned in the above mentioned book from Quality Chess!
The book is based on three important chapters: Part one with the Exchange Variation,Part Two without the exchange and Part Three where white postpones the knight on c3.
Interesting is the opinion from Yelena Dembo about the line 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Qb3 e6 6.Qa3 With this very unnatural move, white intends to disrupt black’s smooth devolvement by preventing castling, and this system is covered in great detail by Timothy Taylor in his recent Beating the King’s and Grünfeld.In my opinion,white cannot possible trea a chess opening like this, especially one as dynamic as the Grünfeld!
Lines as 4.Bf4 where white's bishop aims at the pawn at c7, are usually adopted by positional players but as Yelena Dembo explains in her conclusion {every important line in this move to move book covers useful conclusions} we’ve covered several highly dynamic lines in this chapter. Black must be prepared to sacrifice the c7-pawn,although its capture always gives him good compensation. However, should white lay less incisively, black can counter quickly with ..c5,avating his pieces and often gaining a useful initiative.Line C {with 4...Bg7 5.Nf3}is perhaps the most critical,but by switching his approach to capturing on c4,followed by playing actively on the kingside and in the centre,black still gains a good game,Overall in these Bf4 lines a certain accuracy is required from black in the opening phase,but if he knows his theory,he can count on a fairly promising position.
Conclusion: Certainly a very important reference work on the Grünfeld defence!

Chess DVD's

How to play the Najdorf Vol.3 by Garry Kasparov
Price € 39,99
System requirements: Pentium-Processor at 233 Mhz or higher, 64 MB RAM,Windows XP or Windows Vista, Windows Media Player 9.0, DVD drive

The greatest player of all time Garry Kasparov digs in his latest Najdorf DVD on the dangerous move 6.Be3 {
1. E4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. D4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6}The so called English attack which is characterized by white's set-up with f3,Qd2 and 0-0-0 followed by advancing the g-pawn.
Since Kasparov is retired from chess he has no problems throwing  his openings secrets away on these ChessBase DVD’s,all together there are 31 video files which are good for around 1.54 GB and that is over 5 hour highly interesting chess education!
Kasparov handles a lot of his own games on these files as for example the game Hjartsrson - Kasparov,Thessaliniki 1988 where it is interesting to mention that we have first hand analyses from Garry  Kasaprov!
Annotators often try to guess what was in a player’s mind but in case of Garry Kasparov,I can guarantee you  it is only speculation of the authors!
A nice example of understanding of a position or what a player has in mind  is the above mention game where Kasparov gives the interesting  line {1. E4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. D4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. Qd2 b5 8. F3 Nbd7 9. G4 h6 10. O-O-O Bb7 11. Bd3 Ne5 12. Rhe1} b4 ?! a question mark so you can consider this as a dubious one  but Tapani Sammalvuo describes this move  in his by the  excellent written  book The English attack Gambit 2004; This is the most forcing and also the most popular option and even the editorial team  of the Encyclopaedia of chess openings section B80 sees nothing wrong in the move 12..b4?!
But Sammalvuo and ofcourse  Kasparov agree that 12…Qa5 is one of black’s best options in this position.
But there is more than only Kasparov games for example some latest games as Shirov - Van Wely, Wijk aan Zee 2007, Svidler - Karjakin, Wijk aan Zee 2007 and Bologan - Smeets, Wijk aan Zee 2007 are pleasantly analysed by Kasparov in his 5 hour video files!
Included on this DVD is an extra Najdorf file with 19252 entries that is included  all the annotated games from Kasparov plus every annotated game that ChessBase could lay hands on and that are exactly counted 748 annotated games!
A impressive file that belongs in hand of every Najdorf specialist. This package includes also the latest Chess Base 9.0 Reader
Conclusion: There is no better way to take up the Najdorf than with Garry Kasparov!

The secret weapons of the champions by Adrian Mikhalchishin
Price € 26,99
System requirements: Pentium-Processor at 233 Mhz or higher, 64 MB RAM,Windows XP or Windows Vista, Windows Media Player 9.0, DVD drive

GM Adrian Mikhalchishin belongs for a very long time to one of the best chess trainers in the world and in his first Chess DVD from ChessBase this great man explains how to improve your chess skills, all at the hand of important strategies from some of the greatest chess  players of all time as Botvinnink,Tal and Petrosian.
There is a lot to learn from  Mikhalichishin on this DVD not only he has the unique talent to explain strategies in a understandable  to the reader of this DVD, as for example,Petrosian’s white square strategy with the control of squares which was the basis of  Petrosian’s deeply understanding of his so famous understanding of  prophylactic play.
But as Mikhalchishin explains from  Botvinnik  we can learn a lot too, because he was a major  figure in the development of chess in the Soviet Union, there for Mikhalchishin discusses on this DVD some of Botvinnik’s finest games as Lundin – Botvinnik,Groningen 1946,Botvinnik – Smyslov, Worldchampionship,Moscow 1954 and Botvinnink – Ragozin,1947.
Some of these games are also covered in the book Botvinnik's Best Games,Volume 2:1942-1956 but to be honest I prefer the understandable analyses from Mikhalchishin!
Other games that are covered here on the DVD are Tal {The most remarkable chess player of all time!}– Johannessen,Riga 1959,Gulko – Tal,Sochi 1970,Kasparov – Seirawan, Thessaloniki 1988, Petrosian – Schweber, Stockholm 1962, Petrosian – Simagin,Moscow 1956,Petrosian – Larsen,Zagreb 1956 etc.
Included is a heavy database from 40 annotated games!
The running time of these video files are over 4 hours and that are all together 15 Windows Media files and that is  good for 959 MB of this DVD {English Spoken}.Included is of course the latest ChessBase reader.
Personal I would like to recommended this  fritztrainer middlegame DVD for the more experienced chess player.
Conclusion: Unique teaching material!

My best games in the Caro-Kann defence by Alexei Shirov
Fritztrainer opening
Price € 34,90
System requirements: Pentium-Processor at 233 Mhz or higher, 64 MB RAM,Windows XP or Windows Vista, Windows Media Player 9.0, DVD drive

The popular GM Alexei Shirov handles in his latest Fritztrainer opening’s DVD the Caro-Kann defence,a invention of the two German players Horatio Caro and Marcus Kann,who introduced this defence during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Nice to mention is that Shirov does not fear actions and goes in this DVD for a open fight in the Caro-Kann with the exciting advanced variation, a line where white goes for space and makes use of preventing the immediate development of the black king’s knight on f6.
In the first game Shirov goes against Peter Heine Nielsen,Bundesliga 2001 for the aggressive move order with 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nc3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.Nge2 c5 7.h4 h5 8.Nf4 Nc6 {By the way Shirov prefers in this position the move 8..Bh7!?} 9.Nxg6 fxg6 10.Ne2 cxd4 Shirov spends a lot of time of analysing interesting alternatives and that is more than Anatoly Karpov & Mikhail Podgaets did in there book Caro –Kann Defence,Advance variation & Gambit System, Batsford 2006.
It is impressive to see Alexei Shirov analysing and playing throw his games he has the great talent to whip up complications and does not fear complicated combinations as his great landsman Mikhail Tal.
Pleasant to mention is that Shirov handles a few times the black pieces of the board and well  against Grischuk – Shirov,Moscow rapid 2002, 6.Nge2 c5 7.Be3 Nc6 8.dxc5 Rc8?! {and the question mark comes of course from the great Shirov!} plus his remarkable win against Vlassov,played at  Reykjavik 2003.
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nc3 e6 5.g4 Bg6 6.Nge2 c5 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bb4 9.Bg2 h5 10.g5 Ne7 11.0-0 Bxc3 12.bxc3 Nbc6 13.Rb1 Qd7 14.f4 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 Rc8 16.Rb3 b6 17.Rf2 Nf5 18.Bf1 0-0 19.Be2 Qa4 20.Bxh5 Bxh5 21.Qxh5 g6 22.Qd1 Kg7 23.a3 Rh8 24.Qd3 Rh4 25.Qb5 Rc4 26.Qxa4 Rxa4 27.Kg2 Rg4+ 28.Kf3 Rg1 29.Ke2 Rc4 30.Kd3 Rd1+ 31.Rd2 Rf1 32.Rb4 Rc8 33.Bf2 Rh8 34.Bg3 Rf3+ 35.Ke2 Rxc3 36.Rb3 Rc4 37.Rb4 Rc5 38.Kd3 Rhc8 39.Rb3 Rc4 40.c3 Kf8 41.Rf2 Ke7 42.Rf3 Ra4 43.Rf1 Kd7 44.Ra1 Re4 45.Rc1 Rh8 46.Rb4 Re3+ 47.Kd2 Rc8 48.c4 d4 49.a4 Ra3 50.c5 bxc5 51.Rb7+ Kc6 52.Rxa7 Nxg3 53.hxg3 Rh8 54.Ra6+ Kb7 55.Ra5 Rh2+ 56.Kd1 Rxg3 57.Rb5+ Ka6 0-1
The running time is nearly 5 hours {4hours and 50 minutes}and I only can say run to ChessBase and throw this great made DVD in to your DVD drive and turn your PC in to fire!
Conclusion: Great openings DVD!