Monday, 8 April 2013

Chess Reviews: 214

As promised in the last column, it's now time to take a quick look at 1 d4-based opening books.

The Colle
Move by Move
By Cyrus Lakdawala
416 pages
I'm not sure how Cyrus Lakdawala manages to write so many books in such a relatively short period of time. He is certainly a prolific author and with a 400+ page count it's not as if these books can be written over a weekend.

There's more than one way to play the Colle System. One can follow the Zukertort recipe (an early b3) or head for the classic Koltanowski set up (characterised by the c3/d4/e3 pawn triangle). There's also the Phoenix Attack which David Rudel has covered extensively. All are covered here, but the depth is clearly lacking in some areas (in particular, one should stick with David as a guide to the Phoenix).

I was interested to see the latest developments against a worrying line from Beating 1 d4 Sidelines by Boris Avrukh (Quality Chess, 2012), namely: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 e3 e6 4 Bd3 c5 5 c3 Nc6 6 Nbd2 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 dxc5 Bxc5 9 e4 Qc7 10 Qe2 b6!? when 11 e5 Ng4 12 Bxh7+ Kxh7 13 Ng5+ Kg8 14 Qxg4 Qxe5 seems to end up surprisingly good for Black, but I couldn't find it.

In fact, I have to say as a former Colle player I had trouble warming to the lines given in this book. It just doesn't seem to add much at all to what is already known in the main lines and some of the tries against Black's non-compliant defences merely look odd. For example, 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nd2 (''The Ostrich'')  looks unconvincing to me.

Frankly, Everyman already have a much better book on the Colle, written by Richard Palliser and for the best coverage on the Colle as a whole - including the Phoenix version - then one should head straight for David Rudel's site.

Wojo's Weapons
Winning With White Volume 3
By Jonathan Hilton and Dean Ippolito
402 pages
I know this book has been eagerly anticipated by 1 d4 fans and with good reason. Volumes 1 and 2 have proved to be very popular (they are two of the finest from the Mongoose catalogue) and as the first one came out back in 2009 then presumably there have been numerous players anxiously waiting to complete their repertoire.

As with the other two volumes, White starts with 1 Nf3 and generally speaking heads for an early d4 and c4, heading for main line theory, usually with featuring g3 and Bg2 somewhere in the mix.

This concluding volume answers one of the biggest problems faced by 1 d4 today - what to do against the Grunfeld? Needless to say, the fianchetto comes into it, with 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 g3 Bg7 4 Bg2 0-0 5 d4 d5 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 0-0 Nb6 9 d5 Na5 10 e4 c6 11 Bg5 being the first weapon covered, but 11 Qc2 is the main recommendation. Black's deviations are dealt with too.

There are also important chapters on the English Opening (including coverage of the Maroczy Bind), the Dutch Defense and miscellaneous tries (including the Old Indian).

Has it been worth the wait? Yes - definitely. The Wojo's Weapons trilogy is now complete and a serious study of the lines given in these fine books will give the reader a very strong repertoire which can be used at the highest levels.

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