Saturday, 28 July 2007

Chess Book Reviews 27

Chess Book Reviews 27

Play 1...Nc6!
By IM Christopher Wisnewski
Everyman Chess

‘Are you constantly struggling with the black pieces?
Can’t make up your mind which openings to play?
Are you for something new: an all-in-one to your problems?
Look no further!’

It’s so tempting to try and find a book to cover every eventuality for a single colour! How much easier one’s chess preparation would be. Can it be that the unlikely looking 1...Nc6 could fit the bill?

Let’s take a look at the suggested repertoire…

IM Wisnewski suggests that against:

a) 1 e4 Nc6 the unusual Nimzowitsch Defence is worth a try; e.g. 2 d4 d5 and now 3 exd5 Qxd5; 3 e5 f6; 3 Nc3 e6 are the recommendations. The latter is an interesting choice; it was recommended in Watson’s recent Secret Weapons volume on the French Defence, although the present work gives a slightly different variation.

b) 1 d4 d5 2 c4 Nc6 and eagle-eyed readers (or even Helen Keller) will be able to spot that it is actually 2...Nc6 that is recommended here. The point is to cut out the messier 1 d4 Nc6 2 d5 lines and therefore limit the amount of material to be studied. Yes, it’s a full-blown Chigorin Defence Black is going for. There has been a lot of interest in this formerly neglected defence and I think it’s only a matter of time before it enjoys a spell of real popularity.

c) 1 c4 Nc6 2 Nc3 e5 leads straight into the main lines of the English Opening, with the English Four Knights being the destination of choice.

d) 1 Nf3 Nc6 is a pushy response, ‘threatening’ 2...e5 followed by a reversed Pirc set-up, in which IM Wisnewski recommends that Black should try a sequence featuring …d5, …f6, …Be6, …Qd7,…0-0-0 and …Bh3 with an attack quick enough to scare any KIA addicts witless.

All very interesting stuff, and written up with great enthusiasm.

There’s a very helpful index at the end of the book, which adopts the unusual method of listing all of the games alphabetically by ‘Black player’ and then repeats the process by ‘White player’. This is informative when one is trying to see which top players take up which side of the argument.

It’s easy to see at a glance that IM Wisnewski has included 15 of his own games, upholding the honour of 1...Nc6. I always like to see that the author has experience, and trust, in the lines he is writing about. For if he doesn’t, then why is he recommending them?

With lots of original analysis and some extremely unusual positions (particularly in the Nimzowitsch Defence section), this could indeed be a an excellent way to put together ‘a complete chess opening repertoire for Black’ and one that would, when mastered, provide you with some fascinating, fresh games.

The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess
By GM John Emms
Everyman Chess

‘Are you making the most of your chess talent?
Do you always perform to the best of your ability?
Do your results match up with your understanding of the game?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then read on!’

This interesting new book, from one of Everyman’s top authors, takes a novel way of trying to improve the reader’s game. GM Emms really bares his soul by using mistakes - often very costly ones - from his own games. A lot of chess players dread the idea of their mistakes being found out and displayed, but here the author bravely tells all, based on the idea that he can remember his thoughts from his own games and this information can be used to explain the mistakes made.

There are four chapters: ‘In the Heat of the Battle’. ‘Winning, Drawing and Losing’, ‘Clock Control’ and ‘Opening Play’. The titles will give you a clue as to the general content of each chapter.

More specifically, good advice is given on such topics as ‘Check Every Move!’, ‘Avoiding High Risk/Low Reward Tactics’, ‘The Poker Face’, ‘Grinding Out Endgame Wins’, ‘Draw By Reputation’, ‘The Perils of Time-Trouble’, ‘Guarding Against Complacency’ and many others.
Here’s a few random examples of his thought-provoking advice…

To deal with bad positions, GM Emms recommends pretending to yourself that it was someone else who got you into trouble and that you can fight harder - and forget your past mistakes easier - if you imagine you are trying to retrieve the position from someone else’s bad play.

‘Keep it simple, stupid! (KISS)’ is excellent advice to follow when in time-trouble. Remembering this could enable to keep a cool head when the temptation is to lash out to force an adrenalin-fuelled quick decision.

Don’t be afraid of going into endgames, especially dull-looking ones when trying to beat weaker players. If they really are weaker then mistakes will surely happen and it doesn’t matter whether it’s on move 20 or 50.

This is a good book; easy to read, instructive and very informative. The unique method of a strong Grandmaster showing a lot of his worst moments rather than his best is an inspiration to us all. Recommended reading!

For further details about Everyman chess books, please visit:

Happy Reading!


marcel said...

bonjour Hello
i search email of GM as Kasparov
can you help me?
you can put your info on chess of
a bientot

Sean Marsh said...

Sorry prof, GM Kasparov's email contact is a noticeable absentee from my address book.

Very nice site you have there, though!