Understanding Before Moving 2 : Queen’s Gambit Structures

Understanding Before Moving 2 : Queen's Gambit Structures
Understanding Before Moving 2 : Queen’s Gambit Structures

Herman Grooten is an International master, a professional coach for over thirty-five years and has taught players such as Loek van Wely, Jan Werle and Benjamin Bok.

IM Herman Grooten (photograph : Harry Gielen)
IM Herman Grooten (photograph : Harry Gielen)

The is the author’s second volume in the Understanding Before Moving series previously having written Understanding before Moving 1 : Ruy Lopez – Italian Structures

As with every recent Thinkers Publishing publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. The book can easily be laid flat next to the board and does not require weights to prevent it from “self-closing” (a particular bugbear of ours !). Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text and each diagram has a “to move” indicator.

The main content is divided into eight chapters :

  1. Studying of Openings
  2. Background of Openings
  3. Pawn Structures and Practical Examples
  4. Discussing the Variations
  5. Model Games
  6. Exercises
  7. Solutions
  8. Instructive Games

followed by a collection of 44 unannotated instructive games. There is no index but there is a liberal sprinkling of black & white photographs throughout the instructional text.

The books kicks off by providing the motivation to the reader of the purpose of taking on-board the approach that Grooten adopts. It is clear that he strongly believes studying the typical pawn structures that result from the variations of the Queen’s Gambit the student will gain greater understanding of the correct plans based on those structures. He goes to some trouble to warn students of the modern lazy tendency (younger players take careful note!) to read too much into assessments from modern engines (especially in the opening and transition to the middle game). He, quite correctly, wants the students to use their own eyes and brain to discover ideas and typical themes rather attempting to memorize so-called best moves which change anyway when the engine version is updated.

The advice continues with tips on preparation before and during a tournament which are entirely pragmatic and help the students confidence going into games against both weaker, similar and stronger opponents.

Chapter 3 is where the heavy action starts. We focus on the Carlsbad pawn structure, arising from many variations of the Queen’s Gambit :

and the author details three main plans implied by the above structure followed by twelve high quality instructive examples of these plans from the world’s best players.

For example :

Plan C : Opposite-side castling, 3.10 Pawn Storms on both sides


Position after 12…Rc8

In a position with opposite castling it’s of great importance to get one’s attack off the ground as soon as possible. It helps greatly if there is already some weakness in the enemy’s king position , and if it isn’t there – well, the first priority is to force its creation.

13.Ng5

For 13.g4 see the game Petrosian – Ilivitky, Moscow 1965.

13…b5?

In this case it was best to retreat to d7.

14.Be5!

Thus Timman forces Black to weaken himself.

The Pawn Structures chapter essentially provide the ethos of the book putting the student in the right frame of mind for the specific discussion of the variations of interest. As far as I can tell these variations are :

  1. The Tartakower Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined
  2. The Lasker Variation of the QGD
  3. The Tarrasch Variation (including the Hennig-Schara Gambit)
  4. The Noteboom (or Abrahams) Variation
  5. The Ragozin Variation
  6. The Cambridge Springs Variation
  7. The Exchange (Carlsbad) Variation
  8. The Rubinstein Variation
  9. The Vienna Variation

and all of these are treated via a 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 move order.

Some of the above could (arguably if you enjoy this sort of thing!) be said to arise from a Semi-Slav Defence or even Triangle Variation move order (for example the Noteboom / Abrahams and Cambridge Springs variations) so there is more to this book than first meets the eye. The Vienna section is most welcome since it has not hitherto received much attention in the literature and can, of course, become sharp early on.

There is no coverage of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (the Vienna Variation comes close of course) or of the lines (typically 5. Bf4) where White puts the c1 bishop on f4 rather than g5 : some (including myself) might dub this the Blackburne Variation. There is a brief treatment of the Alartortsev or Cahrousek Variation (3…Be7) included in the Carlsbad section.

For each of the above variations the author highlights the main ideas for white, and to give you some idea here is an example from the Ragozin section :


Position after 10…Kf8

in the Interpolistoernooi in Tilburg in 1981 :

11.dxc5!!

Behind this lies a brilliant concept,

11…Nxc3 12.bxc3 Bxc3+ 13.Ke2 Bxa1 14.Qxa1 f6

It’s time to take stock of the position. White has sacrificed the exchange, but has obtained an abundance of compensation in various forms :

  • Development and activity
  • Bishop pair in an open position
  • Unsafe Black king
  • Better pawn structure
  • Control over d6, which can be used as an outpost by several of White’s pieces
  • A position in which “diagonals are more important than files”

All of this then prepares the reader for Chapter 5 : Model Games. There are 15 model games of which 7 cover the Carlsbad, 4 the Tartakower and then one each for the rest except for the Lasker and Vienna Variations.

The reader is then encouraged to test their understanding with 16 exercises of the “White to play and find the best continuation” type. Each of these exercises is analysed in detail in the Solutions chapter.

In summary, this book will be invaluable to any serious student of the Queen’s Gambit, particularly the Exchange Variation and Carlsbad structures. Any player who plays d4 but does not play a quick c4 follow-up (for example, the currently trendy London System followers) may well be sufficiently enthused to “upgrade” their Queen’s Pawn opening to a Queen’s Gambit. The emphasis on understanding via pawn structure analysis will help any student of chess even if do not play 1.d4. Highly recommended !

John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, 22nd August, 2019

John Upham
John Upham

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 238 pages
  • Publisher: Thinkers Publishing; 1 edition (15 Feb. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9492510421
  • ISBN-13: 978-9492510426
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.5 x 23.4 cm

Official web site of Thinkers Publishing

Understanding Before Moving 2 : Queen's Gambit Structures
Understanding Before Moving 2 : Queen’s Gambit Structures

William Lewis (09-X-1787 – 22-VIII-1870)

William Lewis
William Lewis

We note the passing today (August 22nd) in 1870 of William Lewis of the Lewis Counter Gambit.

The Lewis Counter Gambit
The Lewis Counter Gambit

From Wikipedia :

William Lewis (1787–1870) was an English chess player and author, nowadays best known for the Lewis Countergambit and for being the first player ever to be described as a Grandmaster of the game.[1]

Born in Birmingham, William Lewis moved as a young man to London where he worked for a merchant for a short period. He became a student of chess player Jacob Sarratt, but in later years he showed himself to be rather ungrateful towards his teacher.[1] Although he considered Sarratt’s Treatise on the Game of Chess (1808)[2] a “poorly written book”, in 1822 Lewis published a second edition of it three years after Sarratt’s death in direct competition with Sarratt’s own superior revision published posthumously in 1821 by Sarratt’s poverty-stricken widow. In 1843, many players contributed to a fund to help the old widow, but Lewis’ name is not on the list of subscribers.[1]

Around 1819 Lewis was the hidden player inside the Turk (a famous automaton), meeting all-comers successfully. He suggested to Johann Maelzel that Peter Unger Williams, a fellow ex-student of Sarratt, should be the next person to operate inside the machine. When P. U. Williams played a game against the Turk, Lewis recognised the old friend from his style of play (the operator could not see his opponents) and convinced Maelzel to reveal to Williams the secret of the Turk. Later, P. U. Williams himself took Lewis’ place inside the machine.[3]

Lewis visited Paris along with Scottish player John Cochrane in 1821, where they played with Alexandre Deschapelles, receiving the advantage of pawn and move. He won the short match (+1 =2).[4]

Lewis’ career as an author began at this time, and included translations of the works of Greco and Carrera, published in 1819[5] and 1822[6] respectively.

He was the leading English player in the correspondence match between London and Edinburgh in 1824, won by the Scots (+2 = 2 -1). Later, he published a book on the match with analysis of the games.[7] In the period of 1834–36 he was also part of the Committee of the Westminster Chess Club, who played and lost (−2) the match by correspondence with the Paris Chess Club. The other players were his students McDonnell and Walker, while the French line up included Boncourt, Alexandre, St. Amant and Chamouillet.[8] When De La Bourdonnais visited England in 1825, Lewis played about 70 games with the French master. Seven of these games probably represented a match that Lewis lost (+2 -5).[9]

Lewis enjoyed a considerable reputation as a chess player in his time. A correspondent writing to the weekly magazine Bell’s Life in 1838 called him “our past grandmaster”, the first known use of the term in chess.[1] Starting from 1825 he preserved his reputation by the same means that Deschapelles used in France, by refusing to play anyone on even terms. In the same year Lewis founded a Chess Club where he gave lessons to, amongst others, Walker and McDonnell. He was declared bankrupt in 1827 due to bad investments on a patent for the construction of pianos and his chess club was forced to close. The next three years were quite difficult until in 1830 he got a job that assured him of solid financial security for the rest of his life. Thanks to this job, he could focus on writing his two major works: Series of Progressive Lessons (1831) and Second Series of Progressive Lessons (1832). The first series of the Lessons were more elementary in character, and designed for the use of beginners; the second series, on the other hand, went deeply into all the known openings. Here, for the first time we find the Evans Gambit, which is named after its inventor, Capt. Evans.[10]

The works of Lewis (together with his teacher Sarratt) were oriented towards the rethinking of the strictly Philidorian principles of play in favour of the Modenese school of Del Rio, Lolli and Ponziani.[11] When he realised that he could not give an advantage to the new generation of British players, Lewis withdrew gradually from active play[1] (in the same way that Deschapelles did after his defeat against De La Bourdonnais).

After his retirement he wrote other chess treatises, but his isolation prevented him from assimilating the positional ideas of the new generation of chess-players. For this reason, Hooper and Whyld in their Oxford Chess Companion describe the last voluminous work of Lewis, A Treatise on Chess (1844),[12] as already “out of date when published”.

Chess Board Companion by William Lewis
Chess Board Companion by William Lewis
Chess for Beginners
Chess for Beginners

Ninety today : Leonard Barden

Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)
Leonard Barden (Linda Nylind of the Guardian)

Ninety today is Leonard Barden, born August 20th, 1929.

From Wikipedia :

Leonard William Barden (born 20 August 1929, in Croydon, London) is an English chess master, writer, broadcaster, organizer and promoter. The son of a dustman, he was educated at Whitgift School, South Croydon, and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He learned to play chess at age 13 while in a school shelter during a World War II German air raid. Within a few years he became one of the country’s leading juniors.[1] He represented England in four Chess Olympiads. Barden played a major role in the rise of English chess from the 1970s. As a chess columnist for various newspapers, his column in London’s Evening Standard is the world’s longest-standing chess column.

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

In 1946, Barden won the British Junior Correspondence Chess Championship, and tied for first place in the London Boys’ Championship.[1] The following year he tied for first with Jonathan Penrose in the British Boys’ Championship, but lost the playoff.[1][2]

Leonard Barden & "Assiac" (Heinrich Fraenkel)
Leonard Barden & “Assiac” (Heinrich Fraenkel)

Barden finished fourth at Hastings in 1951–52.[1] In 1952, he won the Paignton tournament ahead of the Canadian future grandmaster Daniel Yanofsky.[2] He captained the Oxfordshire team which won the English Counties championship in 1951 and 1952. In the latter year he captained the University of Oxford team which won the National Club Championship, and he represented the university in the annual team match against the University of Cambridge during his years there.[1] In 1953, he won the individual British Lightning Championship (ten seconds a move). The following year, he tied for first with the Belgian grandmaster Albéric O’Kelly de Galway at Bognor Regis, was joint British champion, with Alan Phillips, and won the Southern Counties Championship.[1][2]

Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960
Leonard Barden vs Victor Korchnoi, Leipzig Olympiad, 1960

He finished fourth at Hastings 1957–58, ranked by chessmetrics as his best statistical performance.,[1][3] In the 1958 British Chess Championship, Barden again tied for first, but lost the playoff match to Penrose 1½–3½.

Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953
Leonard Barden (centre) with Raaphi Persitz, JB Sykes, OI Galvenius and DM Armstrong, Ilford, May, 1953

He represented England in the Chess Olympiads at Helsinki 1952 (playing fourth board, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses), Amsterdam 1954 (playing first reserve, scoring 1 win, 2 draws, and 4 losses), Leipzig 1960 (first reserve; 4 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses) and Varna 1962 (first reserve; 7 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses). The latter was his best performance by far.[1][4][5]

Barden has a Morphy number of 3, having drawn with Jacques Mieses in the Premier Reserves at Hastings 1948–49.[6] Mieses drew with Henry Bird in the last round of Hastings 1895,[7][8] and Bird played a number of games with Paul Morphy in 1858 and 1859.[9][10]

Leonard Barden (far right)
Leonard Barden (far right)

In 1964, Barden gave up most competitive chess to devote his time to chess organisation, broadcasting, and writing about the game.[1][2] He has made invaluable contributions to English chess as a populariser, writer, organiser, fundraiser, and broadcaster.[11]

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

He was controller of the British Chess Federation Grand Prix for many years, having found its first sponsor, Cutty Sark. He was a regular contributor to the BBC’s Network Three weekly radio chess programme from 1958 to 1963. His best-known contribution was a consultation game, recorded in 1960 and broadcast in 1961, where he partnered Bobby Fischer against the English masters Jonathan Penrose and Peter Clarke. This was the only recorded consultation game of Fischer’s career. The game, unfinished after eight hours of play, was adjudicated a draw by former world champion Max Euwe.[12][13] Barden gave BBC television commentaries on all the games in the 1972 world championship. From 1973 to 1978 he was co-presenter of BBC2’s annual Master Game televised programme.

Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)
Leonard Barden (left of Korchnoi)

As of 2010, his weekly columns have been published in The Guardian for 54 years and in The Financial Times for 35 years. A typical Barden column not only contains a readable tournament report, but is geared toward promoting the game.[14] His London Evening Standard column, begun in summer 1956,[15] is now the world’s longest running daily chess column by the same author, breaking the previous record set by George Koltanowski in the San Francisco Chronicle. Koltanowski’s column ran for 51 years, 9 months, and 18 days, including posthumous articles.[16][17]

Leonard Barden
Leonard Barden

Leonard reveals this his best game was

Leonard has authored or co-authored the following books.

A Guide to Chess Openings (1957),

A Guide to Chess Openings
A Guide to Chess Openings

How Good Is Your Chess? (1957),

How Good is Your Chess ?
How Good is Your Chess ?

Chess (1959),
Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained (1959),

An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained
An Introduction to Chess Moves and Tactics Simply Explained

Modern Chess Miniatures (with Wolfgang Heidenfeld, 1960),
Erevan 1962 (1963),
The Ruy Lopez (1963),

The Ruy Lopez
The Ruy Lopez

The Guardian Chess Book (1967),

The Guardian Chess Book
The Guardian Chess Book

An Introduction to Chess (1967),

An Introduction to Chess
An Introduction to Chess

The King’s Indian Defence (1968),

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Chess: Master the Moves (1977),
Guide to the Chess Openings (with Tim Harding, 1977),

Guide to the Chess Openings
Guide to the Chess Openings

Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book (1977) (a collection of his Evening Standard columns),

Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book
Leonard Barden’s Chess Puzzle Book

The Master Game (with Jeremy James, 1979),

The Master Game
The Master Game

How to Play the Endgame in Chess (1979),

How to Play The Endgame in Chess
How to Play The Endgame in Chess

Play Better Chess (1980),

Play Better Chess
Play Better Chess

Batsford Chess Puzzles (2002),

Batsford Chess Puzzles
Batsford Chess Puzzles

One Move and You’re Dead (with Erwin Brecher, 2007).[1][2][18]

First Steps : King’s Indian Defence

First Steps : King's Indian Defence
First Steps : King’s Indian Defence

Andrew Martin is an English IM, a Senior FIDE Trainer, the Head of the ECF Chess Academy, a teacher in numerous schools and a coach to many promising and upcoming players. Andrew has authored in excess of thirty books and DVDs and produced huge numbers of engaging videos on his sadly defunct YouTube Channel.

IM Andrew Martin
IM Andrew Martin

The author first wrote about the King’s Indian Defence (an opening for Black he himself plays) in 1989 (Winning with the King’s Indian) and followed this up with the widely acknowledged King’s Indian Battle Plans in 2004.

King's Indian Battle Plans
King’s Indian Battle Plans

The “First Steps” series from Everyman Chess is (according to Everyman Chess)

an opening series that is ideal for improving players who want simple and straightforward explanations. First Steps emphasizes

  • the basic principles
  • the basic strategies
  • the key tricks and traps

So, bearing the above in mind, does, in true “Ronseal Fashion”, this book do what it says on the tin ?

We have nine chapters :

  1. Inspiration
  2. Pawn Structures
  3. The Classical System
  4. The Fianchetto Variation
  5. Lines with Bg5
  6. The Sämisch Variation
  7. The Four Pawns Attack
  8. Less Common White Systems
  9. King’s Indian Byways

followed by an Index of Variations and Index of Complete Games (featuring a good number of the author’s own games with both colours).

Interestingly the “Byways” chapter introduces readers to the somewhat rare Dizdar-Indian, which may be new to many :

with around 1200 games in Megabase 2019, being played by Caruana, Mamedov and Fressinet to name drop but a few, this is perhaps a developing sideline should White play Nf3 before Nc3.

Anyway, before I digress too far…

The meat and potatoes of this books kicks off with six decisive (dubbed Inspirational) games which leave one with optimism about a decisive result one way or the other, when employing the King’s Indian Defence. In order to avoid accusations of bias, in game six, Black (Richard Britton), is crushed in 19 moves by Andrew himself :

White to play (and we leave the reader to enjoy finding White’s idea.

Moving on to Chapter Two, Pawn Structures, we find an in-depth discussion of typical themes and idea that arise from the variations to be discussed in subsequent chapters. If only all opening books included such an insightful chapter, players new to the opening would pick up the Good, the bad and the Ugly so much quicker !

The author is also to be thanked for including games where Black gets it very wrong and goes down in flames. Gone are the days of biased books such as “Winning with the Damiano” (OK, I picked an extreme example !) in which Black has somehow refuted 1.e4. This book therefore is much more politically chess correct and credible in what it recommends.

Having studied in detail the Pawn Structures chapter the reader should be in good shape to roll-up their sleeves, pour a glass of wine and get stuck in. For each of the remaining chapters we are introduced to the theory of the set-up selected by our opponent. The Classical System chapter (understandably the largest) features 30 games analysed in detail including emphasis on the ideas, criticism of flawed thinking by either player, top tips that milestone themes the student must understand with plenty of diagrams.

The authors style is friendly, engaging and informal, leaving the student with the feeling that they are having a lesson with the author rather than simply reading a book. This I find helps to make learning the KID a pleasure rather than a chore. You get the feeling you are learning about chess and not just another opening for Black.

To give you a feel here is an excerpt from Chapter Three :


I’m very doubtful whether action in the centre or on the kingside is going to get White anywhere, as he is playing right into Black’s hands. Smirin is now able to whip up an attack.

TIP : It is rarely a good idea to play on the side of the board where your opponent is stronger.

17…exf4! 18 Bxf4 Qh4 19 Rael Ng5 20 Kh2 Rae8 21 Qc1

You would think that 21 b64 would be high on the list of White’s priorities, but in this case 21…axb4 Na6 makes it awkward for him to defend his b4-pawn, as the natural 23 Qb3? is met by 23…Be5!

Are there any notable omissions ? A First Steps book is not intended to provide everything but I would have liked to see more detailed coverage of the increasingly popular Bagirov / Krasenkow Variation :

Games 53 & 54 in the section on the Classical Variation do provide coverage to some extent.

And, maybe also a small mention perhaps of the dangerous Barry Attack :

and the KID player (who may not play the Pirc) has to decide if he wishes to allow e4 or play a Grünfeld Defence.

As with every recent Everyman Chess publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. Each diagram is clear as is the instructional text. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text.

A couple of small gripes with the production are : the diagrams do not have a “to move” indicator. secondly, some Everyman books (but curiously not this one) have an extra folding part to the front and rear covers. These I find protect the book from damage and also can be used as an emergency book mark !

Although I do not play the King’s Indian Defence myself I would certainly be keen to use this book to introduce myself to its rich possibilities. I’m not keen on books written by an author who does not play the recommended system his or herself. In this case there can be no doubt that the advice comes from much experience, enthusiasm and passion for the KID. Please give it a go !

John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, 17th August, 2019

John Upham
John Upham

Book Details :

  • Paperback : 336 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess (3 July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781944288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781944288
  • Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 1.9 x 23.8 cm

Official web site of Everyman Chess

First Steps : King's Indian Defence
First Steps : King’s Indian Defence

Happy Birthday to Peter Charles Griffiths

Peter Charles Griffiths
Peter Charles Griffiths

Happy birthday best wishes to Peter Charles Griffiths on this day, August 15th, in 1946.

Peter was a strong player active from the 1960s until 1989. He played in the British Championships more than once and was a professional coach. He wrote the column “Practical Chess Endings” which appeared in the British Chess Magazine. He wrote Exploring the Endgame

Exploring the Endgame
Exploring the Endgame

and co-authored Secrets of Grandmaster Play with John Nunn.

Secrets of Grandmaster Play
Secrets of Grandmaster Play

and wrote Improving Your Chess

Improving Your Chess
Improving Your Chess

and Better Chess for Club Players

Better Chess for Club Players
Better Chess for Club Players

Happy Birthday Peter !

Peter Griffiths (far left)
Peter Griffiths (far left)

Malcolm : Happy Birthday to You !

IM Malcolm Pein
IM Malcolm Pein

We wish IM Malcolm Pein the very best wishes on his birthday.

From Wikipedia :

Pein earned the title of International Master (IM) in 1986.[1] According to IM Lawrence Trent‘s introduction at the start of the round one commentary at the 2013 Chess Candidates Tournament in London, Pein has not only been an influence in British chess for over thirty years, he has engaged in several chess organizing activities. He is CO of Chess in Schools and Communities which is a UK chess charity focusing on chess for youth, Director of the London Chess Classic tournament, and runs the London Chess Centre. Pein also writes a daily chess column in The Daily Telegraphnewspaper and is the executive editor of CHESS magazine, a monthly publication with an international readership. He is also the representative to FIDE for the English Chess Federation and in October 2015 was elected as ECF’s International Director.[2]

IM Malcolm Pein
IM Malcolm Pein

From Wikipedia :

In addition to his newspaper column and magazine editorial, Pein has written a number of chess books and booklets, including:

Grunfeld Defence (Batsford, 1981) – ISBN 978-0713435948
Blumenfeld Defence [with Jan Przewoznik] (Everyman, 1991) – ISBN 978-0080371337
Daily Telegraph Guide to Chess (Batsford, 1995) – ISBN 978-0713478143
The Exchange Grunfeld [with Adrian Mikhalchishin] (Everyman, 1996) – ISBN 978-1857440560

Guide to Chess
Guide to Chess
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson
Malcolm Pein & Dominic Lawson

An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4

An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4 : Viktor Moskalenko

An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4
An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4

“Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half..” – Jan Timman

The value for any practising chess player of a coherent opening repertoire when playing with the white pieces is key to success, enjoyment and efficient use of study time.  Books with “Opening Repertoire” in the title are many and varied and we were intrigued to what the emphasis in this latest book from New in Chess would be.

From the books rear cover :

Viktor Moskalenko (1960) is an International Grandmaster and a FIDE Senior Trainer. The former Ukrainian champion’s recent books include The Even More Flexible French, The Wonderful Winawer, Training with Moska and The Fabulous Budapest Gambit.

GM Viktor Moskalenko
GM Viktor Moskalenko

So, what is An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4 about ?

Up front one factor worth noting is that Moskalenko is advocating a repertoire based around the classical move order approach to playing the “Queen’s Gambit”, viz, 1 . d4, 2.c4 and 3. Nc3 rather than say 1. d4, 2.Nf3, 3.c4 which is, nonetheless, increasing in popularity.  Some lines simply do not transpose of course so please bear that in mind !

The author has identified 14 defences employed by Black and offers  lines for White against all of these.  The variations given attention (and the order in which they are presented ) are :

  1. King’s Indian Defence : Four Pawns Attack
  2. Modern Benoni Defence : Taimanov Attack
  3. Snake Benoni (a fairly rare beast at club level and good to see it discussed therefore)
  4. Indo-Benoni which includes the Schmid Benoni & Czech Benoni
  5. Benko & Volga Gambit
  6. Grünfeld Defence
  7. Nimzo Indian Defence
  8. Slav Defence : Exchange Variation
  9. Queen’s Gambit Accepted
  10. Queen’s Gambit Declined : Triangle Variation
  11. Queen’s Gambit Declined : Exchange Variation
  12. Baltic Defence
  13. Chigorin Defence
  14. Albin Counter Gambit

For each of these chapters there is a theory / instructional section containing the recommended line, analysis and variations followed by a separate section of illustrative games from modern practise. Many of these 106 games are the authors own with insightful, deep notes explaining his thought processes.

For all fourteen chapters the emphasis of the author’s recommendations is on “active play supported by a powerful pawn centre” and this bears out when exploring the various recommendations.

Ideas featuring an early f3 (hence our comment about the Nf3 move order earlier!) appear frequently with the exceptions of the slightly surprising Exchange Slav  and the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. recommendations. However, the latter pair do use active piece play lines (with an early Nf3 in the QGA).

The most interesting  bonus is when one investigates the games section that is associated with each of the chapters. There is generous use of six clear symbols designating something special about various lines as follows :

  • TRICK : hidden tactics and some tricky ideas, e.g. traps you can set and pitfalls you have to avoid.
  • PUZZLE : possible transpositions, move order subtleties, curiosities and rare lines.
  • WEAPON : the best lines to choose; strong or surprising options for both attack and defence, which deserve attention.
  • PLAN : the main ideas for one of the sides in the next phase of the game.
  • STATISTICS : winning percentages for a line for either side / player.
  • KEEP IN MIND : here, fundamental ideas for either side are given.

An example from game 66 in the Exchange Slav chapter :

Black has played 11…Na5

12. Kf2

KEEP IN MIND : The king’s move is included in White’s plan, but it is more accurate to play h2-h4 or Ng3 first :

WEAPON / TRICK : For instance , 12.h4!? Nc4 13. Qc2!? b5 14. b3!? (with initiative)  (14. Qb1 Khairullin-Kapnisis, Budva 2009) 14…b4? 15 Nxd5!+-;

WEAPON : Or 12. Ng3 !?

analysis diagram

12…Bc6 (12…h6 13 h4.!?) 13.g5!? Nd7 14.h4 Be7 15.Kf2! b5 (Moskalenko – Alono Rosell, Catalonia tt 2013) 16.Nce2!

Possibly the only disappointing  recommendation is that of the use of the  Exchange Slav to take on both the Slav and the Semi-Slav family.  Recommending more ambitious lines for White would have increased the size of the book substantially and also the learning workload for the student : sometimes a line in the sand has to be drawn !

Reviewers usually like to point out material that they believe has been omitted and we will not disappoint you ! Chapters (we believe) should have been included are treatments of :

  1. The Queen’s Indian Defence (the most surprising omission of all)
  2. The Old Indian Defence (quite a rare bird of course)
  3. The Dutch Defence (see below*)
  4. Queen’s Gambit : Tarrasch Defence (popular at club level)

*In fairness to Moskalenko he refers readers to his previously (2014) New in Chess published The Diamond Dutch treatment to handle the white side of 1.d4 f5

We can also forgive the absence of any treatment of the Englund Gambit and other such blitz and rapidplay oddities !

As with every recent New in Chess publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. The book can easily be laid flat next to the board and does not require weights to prevent it from “self-closing” (a particular bugbear of ours !). Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is (mostly !) typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text.

At the rear is the customary detailed Index of Variations and following that there is an Index of Players where the numbers refer to pages.

In summary this book provides a pragmatic and fighting repertoire for White against most of the all the commonly encountered responses to 1.d4 and the Queen’s Gambit. There is a host of interesting new and dangerous ideas that help you fight for the whole point with the white pieces : recommended !

John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, August 13th 2019

John Upham
John Upham

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 320 pages
  • Publisher: New In chess (2nd July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9056918303
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056918309
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 23.1 cm

Official web site of New in Chess

An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4
An Attacking Repertoire for White with 1.d4

Happy Birthday Bill !

IM William Hartston
IM William Hartston

On the “glorious twelfth” of August we celebrate the birthday of IM William Hartston.

From Wikipedia :

William Roland Hartston (born 12 August 1947) is an English journalist who writes the Beachcomber column in the Daily Express and a chess player who played competitively from 1962 to 1987 with a highest Elo rating of 2485.[1] He was awarded the title International Master in 1972, but is now best known as a chess author and presenter of the game on television.

Soft Pawn
Soft Pawn

At the 19th Chess Olympiad, held at Siegen 1970, he won the gold medal for best score on board 3 (78.1%).[2] He won the British Chess Championship in 1973 and 1975. In international competition, he had many fine performances, but failed by the closest possible margin to achieve the results required for the formal award of the title of International Grandmaster. During his time as a PhD student at Cambridge, Hartston became the first person to stack the pieces from an entire chess set on top of a single white rook.[3][4] He studied mathematics at Jesus College, Cambridge but did not complete his PhD on number theory as he spent too much time playing chess.[5]

William Hartston
William Hartston

Since the early 1970s, he has made many TV appearances for the BBC,[6][7] usually in the role of expert commentator and analyst on world title matches, including Fischer-Spassky ’72, Karpov-Korchnoi ’78, Kasparov-Short ’93 and Kasparov-Anand ’95. He twice won the BBC Master Game competition before taking over from Leonard Barden as its resident expert. During the 1980s he presented the BBC series Play Chess. In recent years he has diversified into a number of creative areas, running competitions in creative thinking for The Independent newspaper and the Mind Sports Olympiad. He writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express and has authored books on chess, mathematics, humour and trivia. He has also been a regular guest on the BBC Radio 4 and occasional TV programme, Puzzle Panel and appeared in Series 8 of The Museum of Curiosity also on Radio 4.[citation needed]

Aside from his chess and media-related activities, Hartston is a mathematician and industrial psychologist. He was educated at City of London School and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics. During the 1980s, he was recruited by Meredith Belbin, at the Industrial Training Research Unit in Cambridge, to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team researching the dynamics of team roles. While continuing to write the Beachcomber column and other features for the Daily Express, he has also been behind the launching of the wakkipedia.com Internet site of useless information. His latest publication is Even More Things That Nobody Knows (Atlantic Books), a further discussion of 501 unanswered questions ranging from science to history, including a good supply of typically quirky items.[8]

Hartston was the first of three British chess champions to be married to Woman Grandmaster Dr Jana Bellin (née Malypetrova). With his second wife, Elizabeth, he had two sons, James and Nicholas.

On 2 April 2013 it was reported that Hartston had “perfected” a formula for predicting the winner of the Grand National horse race, in a study commissioned by bookmaker William Hill.[9][10][11] The story of the winning formula has since been widely thought to be an April Fools joke that many have fallen for.[12]

In 2013 Hartston and his friend Josef Kollar became regular ‘viewers’ on the Channel 4 programme Gogglebox.[13]

The King's Indian Defence
The King’s Indian Defence

Many Happy Returns Angus !

Everyone at the BCN Office sends IM Angus Dunnington best wishes on his birthday !

IM Angus Dunnington
IM Angus Dunnington

From Wikipedia : “Angus Dunnington (born 9 August 1967) is an English poker and online gambling specialist and former professional chess player with the title of International Master (IM). Dunnington is most known for his extensive work in chess opening theory, as well as the psychological aspects of both chess and poker. He stopped playing competitive chess in 2003 in order to spend more time writing,[1] has been a recipient of a Chess Journalists of America award, penned over 1000 articles and is the author of over 20 books, subjects including chess psychology, unorthodox chess openings and online gambling.[2]”

The Ultimate King's Indian Attack
The Ultimate King’s Indian Attack

From Wikipedia :

“This game was played in Scarborough England in 1999 between Charles Storey and Angus Dunnington. Dunnington played Black in a Caro-Kann Defense:
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Be3 Bf5 6.Nf3 Qb6 7.Qd2 e6 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Bxc5 Qxc5 10.b4 Qb6 11.Na3 Nge7 12.Nb5 0-0 13.Nbd4 Be4 14.b5 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 f6 16.exf6 Rxf6 17.f3 Bg6 18.a4 e5 19.a5 Qd6 20.Nb3 e4 21.Be2 exf3 22.Bxf3 Qe5+ 23.Kf2 Be4 24.Qd4 Qf4 25.Ra4 Qh4+ 26.Ke2 Rf4 27.Kd2 Nf5 28.Qg1 Qh6 29.Ke1 Bxf3 30.Rxf4 Re8+ 31.Kf2 Qxf4 32.gxf3 Qh4+ 0–1

This game, between Nielsen J Fischer and Angus Dunnington, was played at the 1990 Groningen Open. Dunnington played Black in a rarely seen Rat Defense:
1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 3.Nf3 e4 4.Nfd2 f5 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.e3 c6 7.d5 c5 8.b3 g6 9.Bb2 Bg7 10.Ne2 0-0 11.h4 Nxd5 12.Bxg7 Nb4 13.Nf4 Kxg7 14.Qc1 Qf6 15.a3 Nc2+ 16.Qxc2 Qxa1+ 17.Nb1 Nc6 18.Be2 Qe5 19.Nc3 Be6 20.0-0 Bf7 21.Rd1 Nd4 22.exd4 cxd4 23.Ncd5 Bxd5 24.Nxd5 d3 25.Bxd3 exd3 26.Qxd3 Rae8 27.f4 Qe2 28.Qc3+ Kh6 29.Rf1 Re4 30.Qb4 Rf7 31.Qxd6 Rd4 32.Qd8 Rd1 33.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxb3 35.h5 Qxa3 36.hxg6 hxg6 37.Qh8+ Rh7 38.Qe5 Qc5 39.Qc3 Qd6 40.g3 Rf7 41.Qh8+ Rh7 42.Qc3 b5 43.Nf6 Rf7 44.Nd5 bxc4 45.Qxc4 Rh7 46.Kg2 Rd7 47.Ne3 Qd2+ 48.Kf3 Rd3 49.Qc5 Qd1+ 0–1”

IM Angus Dunnington
IM Angus Dunnington

Life Begins at Eighty Six (!) for IM James T Sherwin

IM James T Sherwin
IM James T Sherwin

Veteran IM James T Sherwin (FIDE 2231) brought home possibly the most pleasing result of the 2019 British Championships in Torquay.

Infamously featured in game one of Bobby Fischer’s Sixty Memorable Games, James has been resident in the London area for many years specialising in rapidplay events such as the Richmond and Golders Green series of rp tournaments.

FM Andrew Lewis
FM Andrew Lewis

James and FM Andrew Lewis (somewhat less that 86!) tied first equal in the orange lit Forum area of the Riviera Centre with 7.5/9 with James beating Gerald Moore (FIDE 2132) in the final round whereas Andrew (FIDE 2283) drew with Josiah Haynes (2132).

Well done James and Andrew !