Latest book reviews of 1 September

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
John Elburg

Chess Books

Starting out: Benoni systems by A.Raetsky & M.Chetverik
Everyman chess
239 pages
Price $ 21.95
ISBN 1-85744-379-9

The starting out books are developed for a quick understanding of the most important basics of the openings and in this case the reader is invited to the secrets of the   Benoni opening where black is hiding after a shelter of pawns.
But above all this is a sharp fighting on the edge defence where some players even claim that it is all unsound but it was once the favourite of the legendary Mikhail Tal!
Interesting enough  you can find between these  starting out books very  interesting written openings books as this compressive one  from the Russian duo  Raetsky & Chetverik, both have a reputation of covering a lot of  openings moves on one pages  as we have seen  in there impressive made Petroff and English written openings books.
This time they concentrate on all kind of Benoni lines  as the real Volga gambit, the Murey variation, main line, 7.Nf3 g6 8.Nd2 and  more!
Interesting to mention are the chapters with the so called alternatives as for example the Snake Benoni that runs after the moves:  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 Bd6!? which has been popularised by the Latvian GM Miezis but after Raetsky & Chetverik it is all a little  dubious, specially after the aggressive 6.Bg5 known from the game Chernin – Miezis where played to creative with 6…Bc7?! 7.d6! Ba5+ 8.Nbd2  h6 9.Bh4 g5?!
Both authors give as alternative 6…0-0 7.Nbd2!? Re8 8.e3 Bf8 9.Bc4 h6 10.Bh4 d6 11.0-0 where white only has a slight advantage but I would suggest as alternative the surprising bishop move 6….Be5!? {Unfortnatley not mentioned in this book!}
Covered also are lines with a kind of King’s Indian hybrid and the Schmid Benoni where black has no hurry to close the centre with …e5.
There are around 75 model games in this book and than I did not count all the games between the lines!
Conclusion: A very interesting written openings book on the Benoni!

Catastrophe in the opening by James Plaskett
Everyman chess
239 pages
Price $ 23.95
ISBN 1-85744-390-x

A very enjoyable to learn openings is to study short wins from famous chess players where the golden rules from logical openings play are not taken too seriously.
Catastrophes in the openings happens to every one and this collection of 88 examples is certainly worth working throw.
The material is brought very readable and I enjoyed the objective analyses from the talented Plaskett,
for example nearly all books give the move order :1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 c6 5.Bg5 Qb6 from the well known game Tal - Tringov as a mistake for example Keene & Botterill did in there famous Modern defence book, but many  game collections give this move as a major error but after Plaskett it simple the best!{Black immediately pressures d4!}
The material is divided in Poisoned pawns,Castling into it, Trapping the queen,Theory, Attacks on the uncastled king,Structural superiority and Eye off the ball.
Personal I indicate this work higher as Gary Lane older book Victory in the opening that was published by the Batsford in 1999.
Conclusion: A very instructive learning book!

A complete guide to the Grivas Sicilian by Efstratios Grivas
Gambit Publications Ltd
144 pages
Price $ 23.95
ISBN 1-904600-36-0

The Greece chess professional GM Efstratios Grivas provides the reader in this book with a detailed move to move study on the exotic 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6.
The move 4...Qb6 does not only carry the name from the author but above all a it is a very  personal written work from Grivas with over 128 complete games and 758 game references all clearly divided in 13 easy to work throw chapters.
Interesting to mention are the name from the sections which are all based on the Greece mythology as for example if we take a brief look at the Zeus variation:1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.Bd3 d6 9.f4 a6 10.Qf3.
{Zeus was by the way the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods}
Grivas has played this opening from Lous Paulsen{Who only stepped on it!}for over twenty years and managed to play over 150 official and numerous blitz and rapid games with it so, I guess nobody  can have problems with the name Grivas Sicilian, even that the 1998 Batsford edition from Zoran Ilic on this opening , goes out from  inventers as Gufeld and Akopian, so it is maybe the turn to the chess historian to point it out.
There are many transpositions in this opening and Grivas leads as a terrific guide throw all these tricky lines and the author has no problems to give his secrets away.
For example Grivas spends nearly one page of compressive  text on the critical position: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nb3 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Be3 Qc7 8.Bd3 d6 9.f4 a6 10.Qf3 Be7 11.0-0 0-0 12.g4 b5 13.g5 Nd7 14.Qh5 Bb7 15.Rf3 g6 16.Qh6 f5!
Where black’s main defence/counter attack relies on the extraordinary sacrifice involving ..Ne5.
The bibliography does not mention any correspondence games but I found quite a lot of these cc games between the text lines of this book!
Conclusion: A well written openings book!

The Scotch game explained by Gary Lane
Batsford Ltd London

176 pages
Price $ 21.95
ISBN 0-7134-8940-5

The bright Gary Lane concentrates in this latest Scotch game explained  openings books the latest developments of the Scotch,
this opening was first mentioned by Del Rio in 1750 but it was the great but nearly forgotten John Cochrane 1798-1878 who made this opening so popular.
Gary Lane is a good story teller and enjoys to explain the ups and down of this exciting opening as  for example the Mieses variation with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 good for 16 pages of this book, where I found a lot of latest games as the smashing Radjabov – Karjakin of  Dos Hermanas 2005.
A other top continuation is the line with 8…Ba6 which is good for 13 pages of this book but I found it a great pity that there was not more on the bright move from Anand with 9…g5 {1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 g5}Lane waves it a away with the argument: I also realised it would take the reader a lot longer to learn how to handle black’s numerous replies 9…g5!? So in big lines the reader of this book has to do with the game Rublevsky – Tseshkovsky,Sochi 2005.
Other important chapters in this book are ,Scotch four knights,Kasparov variation,Classical variation which is divided in to two chapters {5.Be3 & 5.Nb3}Steinitz variation with 4…Qh4 {This chapter features some games of the Dutch International master Leon Pliester who is one of the strongest players who has kept faith to 4…Qh4 but he was not very successful with it as we see against Smeets and John  van de Wiel Pliester both played in the  Dutch team championship of  2003.)
and at last a interesting chapter on various  minor lines as the exciting 3..d6 if 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.Nc3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Nxd4 7.Bxd7 Qxd7 8.Qxd4 and it seems that white has all the play of the world!
Included is a conclusion of every chapter, a fine made index of games and a clear index of variations!
Conclusion: A very up to date openings book!

Chess CD's

Mega Corr4
Price €45.00
The standard shop price will be 45 Euro but you can save 5 Euro by ordering the CD direct from Tim Harding!

Tim Harding’s latest MegaCorrr CD is good for a impressive collection of 725723 games where a small 23000 cover excellent annotations!
Just compare  this with the ChessBase correspondence CD 2004 with 503255 games and a price from € 79and than I am not talking about the quality of the games  and  all the extras that you can find on this total over loaded  MegaCorr4 CD!{Good for over 649MB!}
The Mega correspondence has made by the years a reputation as a very important reference database with correspondence games from all kind of sources as ICCF, IECC, IECG, WCCF etc.
The game  material is available in CBH {ChessBase and can be opend with ChessBase 6 or later and Fritz 5 and later }Chess Assistant and zipped PGN files.
Ieresting to mention is that all 725723 games are divided into 46 pgn files so really every chess program can read these games! Unpacked it is around 260 MB!
There are really a lot of latest played correspondence games from the last ten years  but personally I enjoy to collect for years Latvian chess games and surprisingly, Harding has managed to dig up quite some interesting never published Latvian Gambit games as for example a unknown  game from the chess editor Henry C.Mott played in 1852!
All together there around 7897 Latvian games on this CD!
Included on this CD are also all the Chess Mail issues in Adobe Acrobat PDF format from the start of this magazine in 1996 right up to the first four issues of 2005!
But there are more bonus files as Harding’s 1996 book 'Winning at Correspondence Chess
fine packed in a readable PFD file!
My conclusion: A correspondence  database that is overloaded with latest novelties!

Game Service 2005

The second issue from July is good for 2567 games! Build up under the following material:      

2005, Aalst (Belgium), Ch Belgium                                81
2005, Aarhus (Denmark), It (cat.4)                               44
2005, Alushta (Ukraine), It "Summer Open"                  28
2005, Brno (Czech Republic), It (cat.2) (a)                   55
2005, Brno (Czech Republic), It (cat.2) (b)                   52
2005, Brno (Czech Republic), It (cat.8)                         42
2005, Cartak (Czech Republic), It (a)                            20
2005, Cartak (Czech Republic), It (b)                            65
2005, Cartak (Czech Republic), It (c)                            36
2005, Esbjerg (Denmark), Cup North Sea (open)        563
2005, Esbjerg, Tournament                                            24
2005, Karvina (Czech Republic), It (open)                    427
2005, Kreuzberg (Germany), It (open)                          100
2005, La Fere (France), It (open)                                 253
2005, Philadelphia (USA), It "World Open"                  105
2005, San Jose (Costa Rica), Ch Costa Rica (qualification)      159
2005, Sandnes (Norway), Ch Norway                            99
2005, Warsaw (Poland), Ch Europe                              105
2005, Wroclaw (Poland), It (open)                               249
2005, Wroclaw (Poland), It (open) (b)                            60

Conclusion: High quality chess games!

Chess Magazine's

British Chess Magazine No.8
Volume 125
August  2005
Price: £3.50

This BCM issue starts with the incredible match Man versus Machine between Michael Adams and electronic monster Hydra.{John Roycroft went along to watch and cover this match for BCM. Legendary computer pioneer Donald Michie contributes some comments on the ‘Turing Test’ while Lubosh Kavalek and Jonathan Rowson contribute detailed notes to two of the key games.
Other contributions are European Championship, How to become a strong grandmaster by Alexander Vaisman {It is all a matter of talent and a lot of work!}The Kavalex file, Game of  the year 2004 by IM Maxim Notkin, News in Brief, Quotes and Queries, Problem world, Reviews and new books etc.
A very readable issue!

ChessMail issue 6/2005

Chess Mail Limited, 26 Coolamber Park
Dublin 16 Ireland
Basic Subscription 42 Euros.
{For eight issues.}

A major part of this ChessMail issues goes to the queens of chess as Putting Modena back on the chess map where Tim Harding interviews the new Woman’s CC World Champion Mrs Riegler! {Included are also some games from Mrs Riegler in this ChessMail issue}
Women’s CC: an overview is a collecting articles from Tim Harding on aspects of woman playing correspondence chess.{6 pages!}
CC GM Marc Geenen looks at A woman at the top and follows the game Olita Rause – Ove Ekebjaerg,Elite 50JEGMT,2002 and Hagen Tiemann – Olita Rause Wch18 Final 2005.
Other articles are:  The early queens of CC, Woman’s CC in Polen by Witold Bielecki, The Dutch Nol van’t Riet looks at Ladies CC in the Netherlands and Paul Clement does the same with Belgium.
In deadlier than the male we can follow some modern examples of excellent female chess!
Interesting is the article from Tim Harding on the CC  career of Mary Rudge who was winner of the London 1897 tournament!
By the way I found on the MegaCorr4 CD ten games from Miss Mary Rudge!
Team events at a crossroads is overview from the ChessMail teams and at last Nine sections still to play!
Conclusion: A very important issue on woman chess!