Spring Break 2018 New in Chess Reviews
This Spring Break 2018 we have a great selection of chess books to read, learn and enjoy. The first book is The Art of the Tarrasch Defense by Alexey Bezgodov, followed by The Complete French, Advance by Evgeny and Vladimir Sveshnikov and the last book is dismantling the Sicilian by Jesus De La Villa and Max Illingworth. I asked New in Chess (NIC) for the three books in this review because I was familiar either with the author’s work or the subject topic
The Art of the Tarrasch Defense
The Art of the Tarrach Defense by Alexey Bezgodov, a much needed book on this classic opening. The author really conveys the essence of this opening using a format that is both, instructive to players and coaches alike. Previous efforts on the Tarrash by Collins and Aagaard and Ntislis (both books reviewed by me) peak my interest in this defense as well as a comment by Jonathan Hilton on his book Wojo Weapons Vol 1 (Hilton states that amateurs do poorly on the black side of the Tarrasch due to their lack of knowledge in the early middle game). I jumped at the opportunity to review this book and determine its value to the improving amateur hungry to learn how to play the Tarrash Defense after 1.d4
Bezgodov command of the subject allows him to present the material in the more practical/ tournament player fashion at the same time that the historical contribution of the world best chess players is preserved. The first part of the book helps the reader to use the Tarrash Defense against 1. d4 with confidence. In other words, after mastering the first fifty two pages of this book the reader can “hit the ground running” and start using this opening in tournament games. I will recommend to the reader to do the ninety six puzzles at the end of the book before playing rated chess games. The authors wrote the book in a way that the role of past leading players in the Tarrasch Defense such as Kasparoy and Spassky among others is both, acknowledge and understood.
The Art of the Tarrasch Defense reminds me of my training with V. Akobian on this opening because both, Bezgodov and Akobian can translate their extensive experience on the Tarrash in easy to follow and ready to use lessons. Great Read!
The Complete French Advance
Writing chess books are getting more and more difficult because authors needed to add value to the already large amount of existing books on opening theory and create an engaging piece of work. The Complete French Advance Evgeny and Vladimir Sveshnikov is the right tool to understand how to play against the French as white and the audience can enjoy a book with a good blend of historical background and computer checked analysis.
Chess players that open with 1. e4 will eventually face the challenge of finding a suitable method to tackle the French Defense. This choice is not easy, but in the Complete French, Advance the authors lay out in easy terms the value of the main choices available to White at move three against the French, named 3. Nd2, 3. Nc3 and 3.e5. The authors explain why 3. e5 is the best practical choice despite 3. Nc3 being the more principle choice. Importantly, the first chapter is a mix of key historic games in the French Advance and a fine framework of key ideas and plans. In other words, the readers become familiar with both, the historical evolution of the advance variation against the French and the main ideas to understand the variation. To this effect the first model games are grouped by themes instead of variations.
The main values of this book are that E. Sveshnikov is a rare breed of trainer and practical player. For example, E. Sveshnikov works regularly with top raising starts as a trainer and he is also a long time practitioner of the French advance, who keep playing “his variation” against experts on the French defense such as Gurevich (see model game 118) with good results. Second, The Complete French Advance is a book that distills the best of both authors E. Sveshnikov as expert in the field and Vladimir Sveshnikov expertise in computer analysis and literature survey. This book is aimed at players below master candidate level and is recommended without reservations.
Dismantling the Sicilian: A Complete Modern Repertoire for White
Dismantling the Sicilian: A Complete Modern Repertoire for White by Jesus De La Villa and Max Illingworth is a revised, updated and new version of Jesus Dela Villa classic book repertoire based on the English Attack (2009). The main premise in this book is that White will fight for the advantage and will hit hard black if the second player relies on natural developing moves. The authors tackle a very difficult task building a repertoire against the Sicilian Defense, but they know their craft and make great efforts to make the material accessible to amateurs that want to take the challenge and meet the Sicilian in the main lines.
The Sicilan long with 1…e5 are the most direct approaches to stop white to achieve a e4-d4 pawn duo in the center. Over the years the Sicilian becomes more popular that 1… e5 at both, professional and amateur levels, mainly because the unbalance pawn structure and the fact that white has to take risks if he wants to win. To fight for the advantage in the open Sicilian is not an easy goal, but can White can be rewarded with victories against superior opposition at amateur and professional level alike if he spend the time on this repertoire book.
For example, The Grivas Variation 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 is an interesting variation and the authors explain the idea behind it (to achieve a Scheveningen set after the white dominant knight on d4 is forced to move to b3). I compared the Analysis of E. Grivas (The Complete Guide to the Grivas Sicilian, 2005) with the author’s analysis and founded that despite Grivas sound analysis the authors were able to find a dent in black’s armor. De la Villa and Illingworth suggest three different ways to fight for the advantage, named 12 Qd2, h4 and Qe2. The game Bogner (2599) – Naiditsch (2702) is a good example of the practical punch this repertoire book has a high level. Importantly, in the Grivas Sicilian one of the main claims for black was that after 7. a3 White cannot castle long, but in Dismantling the Sicilian: A Complete Modern Repertoire for White the authors (and the game above) show you that black needs to reevaluate his options because after all 0-0-0 is possible. This book injects new life to the open Sicilian as white and the ideas and methods of play are at the reach of amateur players. Recommended!