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Collected Annotations and Articles by Bobby Fischer
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Winning Against Flank Openings (A Repertoire Based on the Games of Bobby Fischer)
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Winning Against 1.d4 (Play the Nimzo/Bogo Indians)
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Winning Against 1.e4 (Play the Sicilian Defense)
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Chess Combinations of the World Champions, Steinitz to Tal
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How Chessmasters Think
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Updates to the Books

Updates to Winning Against 1.d4 (Play the Nimzo/Bogo Indians)

I am adding new games after the book was published.

Monika Socko- Yifan Hou
Baku Olympiad 2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 a5 5.Bxb4

Capturing here is not very common. The b4-pawn is easily defended and Black's Rook gets an open file.

5...axb4 6.g3 b6 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.O-O O-O 9.Nbd2 c5 10.Re1 d6 11.e4 Nc6 12.d5 exd5 13.cxd5 Ne7

In this Benoni structure, Black has equalized because of her mobile queenside pawns.

14.Nc4 Ng6

14...b5 would have been good as after 15.Nxd6 Qxd6 16.e5 Qb6 17.exf6 Qxf6 with at least an equal position for Black due to White's isolated d-pawn.

15.a4 bxa3 16.Rxa3 b5 17.Rxa8 Bxa8 18.Na3 Re8 19.Nxb5 Rxe4 20.Rxe4 Nxe4 21.Qa4?

Giving up the d5-pawn hands Black the advantage. Correct was 21.Nh4 Nxh4 22.Bxe4 Ng6 23.Qa4 with a better position for White.

21...Bxd5 22.Nh4?

With this the game is over. Correct was 22.Nd2 Nxd2 23.Bxd5 is White is only slightly worse.

22...Nxh4 23.Bxe4 Qe8!

The key move that White possibly overlooked. Now 24.Bxd5 is met with 24...Qe1#.

24.gxh4 Bxe4 25.Qa5 Qd7 26.h3 h6 27.Nc3 Bf3 28.Kh2 Qe7 29.Qa6 Qe5+ 30.Kg1 Qe6 31.Kh2 Qg6 32.Qf1 Qf6 33.Kg3 Bc6 34.Qe2 d5 35.Qg4 d4 36.Nb1 Qe5+ 37.Qf4 Qe1 38.Qf5 Qg1+ 39.Kf4 Qxf2+ 40.Ke5 f6+ 0-1

GM Gata Kamsky - GM Wesley So
U.S. Championship 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5

The idea of this move is to control the c4 square.

4.Bg5 c5 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.c3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Be7 8.O-O h6 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.e3

Worth considering was 10.Qd3 a6 11.a4 trying to create weaknesses on the Queenside.

10...O-O 11.Nc3 b4 12.Ne2 Qb6 13.Nf4 Rc8 14.Nh5 Be7 15.Ne5

White's attack has become quite dangerous, but Black seems to have everything under control.

15...Bxg2 16.Qg4 Bg5 17.Kxg2 Qb7+ 18.Kg1

White is threatening h4.

18...d6 19.Nd3?

Correct was 19.h4 f5 (The only move, as bad is 19...dxe5 20.hxg5) 20.Qf3 (Not 20.Qd1? dxe5 21.hxg5 hxg5 22.dxe5 Nd7 is better forBlack.) 20...Qxf3 21.Nxf3 Be7 22.Nf4 Kf7 with roughly equal chances.

19...Nd7 20.h4 Bf6

White's attack is no longer dangerous.

21.Rfc1 a5 22.Ndf4?

This will leave the Knight on h5 stranded. Better was 22.Nxf6+ Nxf6 23.Qe2 and White should be alright.


Black takes over the initiative with this move. White's pieces are very uncoordinated.


Also bad is 23.Nxf6+ Nxf6 24.Qe2 e5.

23...Be7 24.Qb5 Nf8 25.Qd3?

The best chance was 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Qxa5 g6 27.Qa7 Bd8 28.Qa6 Qc6 29.Qxc6 Rxc6 30.Nd3 gxh5 31.Nxb4 with some compensation for the piece.

25...Qb7 26.Ng2 e5

Cutting off the escape square for the Knight.

27.dxe5 dxe5 28.g4

Creating a retreat square for the Knight at g3.


Even stronger was 28...Rd8 29.Qe2 Ng6.


White may have had more chances with 29.Ng3 Bxh4 30.Qe4. Now his position is lost.

29...Bxh4 30.Ne1 Re8

30...Rxc1 31.Rxc1 Rd8 followed by ...Rd2 would have been quicker.

31.Rd1 Rad8 32.Ng2 (Qb5 33.Rxd8 Rxd8 34.Qc2 Qd5 35.Qe2 Qd2 36.Kf1 a4 37.Ne1 Qd5 38.e4 Qe6 39.Nc2 Bg5 40.Ne3 Bxe3 41.fxe3 Nh4 42.Rd1 Rxd1+ 43.Qxd1 Kh7 44.b3 axb3 45.axb3 g6 46.Ng3 h5 47.Qd5 Qf6+ 48.Ke2 hxg4 49.Kd3 Ng2 50.Qb7 Kg7 51.Qb5 Nxe3 52.Ne2 Nf1 53.Kc4 Qd6 54.Qxb4 Nd2+ 55.Kc3 Nb1+ 56.Kc4 Qa6+ 0-1

Fabiano Caruana - Wesley So
Vugar Gashimov Memorial 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 b6 5.e3 Ne4 6.Qc2 Bb7 7.Bd3 f5 8.O-O Bxc3 9.bxc3 O-O 10.c5

10.Nd2 is the most common move here.


Black chooses a very aggressive plan of attacking on the Kingside while leaving his Queenside undeveloped.


Intending to kick the e4-Knight out with f2-f3, as the only square, g5, will be an awkward place for the Knight.


11...Rh6 has been played before, to which White replied 12.g3 to keep the Queen out of h4.

12.Rb1 Qc8 13.f3 Ng5 14.Be2 cxd4 15.cxd4

White has sacrificed a pawn, but Black's pieces are very uncordinated, especially the Bishop on b7 (exposed), Knight on g5 (will have to retreat to f7), and the Rook on f6 (has no targets).

15...Nc6 16.Nd3 Ba6 17.Bb2 Ne7 18.d5 Rh6 19.dxe6 Nxe6 20.Nf4 Nxf4 21.exf4 Bxe2 22.Qxe2

White has better placed pieces, especially the powerful Bishop on b2. Black's connected passed pawns are not dangerous yet.

22...Re6 23.Qd3 Ng6

Not a strong square for the Knight. Better was 23...Rb8.

24.g3 Rb8 25.Qxf5 Reb6 26.Bd4 Rxb1 27.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 28.Qxb1

White is much better, especially due to the strong Bishop on d4.

28...c5 29.Qb3+ c4

If 29...Kh8, then 30.Qc3.


White first blocks the connected pawns, then will target them.

30...Ne7 31.Qg5

Worth considering is 31.Bc5 Nd5 32.Qxc4 Qc6 33.Qd4.

31...Qf8 32.Bc5 Kf7 33.Qe5 Qe8 34.Kf2 Nc6

This loses a pawn pawn, but Black is paralyzed otherwise.

35.Qh5+ g6 36.Qxh7+ Ke6 37.Qg7 Qf7 38.Qxf7+ Kxf7 39.Ke3

White has too many pawns for Black to deal with.

39...Ke6 40.g4 d6 41.Ba3 d5 42.Bb2 Nb4 43.a4 Nc2+ 44.Kd2 Nb4 45.h4 Nd3 46.Bd4 a6

Also hopeless is 46...Nxf4 47.Bxa7.

47.h5 gxh5 48.f5+ Kd6 49.gxh5 Ne5 50.Ke3 Nf7 51.Bg7 1-0

FM Peter John Sowray-GM Maxim Rodshtein
Hastings Chess Congress 2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Ne2 Ba6 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Nxc3 d5 8.b3 O-O 9.Be2 Nc6 10.a4 Na5 11.Nb5

11.Ba3 is also played here.

11...c6 12.Na3 c5 13.Nb5 Bb7 14.O-O a6 15.Na3 Ne4 16.Bb2 Qg5

Black is threatening 17...dxc4 followed by 18...Nc3, threatening mate on g2.


This is not the best way to meet the threat as it weakens the kingside. Better was 17.f4 Qe7 18.Bf3 with equality.

17...Rfd8 18.Qc2 Rac8?!

More exact was 17...cxd4 19.Bxd4 (19.exd4 Qd2) 19...dxc4 with the idea of ...e5 and ...Rd2.

19.Bf3 h5?!

By advancing the h-pawn, Black hopes to loosen White's Kingside even more. However, 19...Nc6 offered better opportunities for an advantage.


20.dxc5 bxc5 21.Rad1 was equal.


20...Qf5 would have given Black the advantage


White was at least equal after 21.dxc5 bxc5 21.cxd5 exd5

21...hxg3 22.hxg3 f5 23.dxc5 bxc5 24.Nb1 Nc6 25.cxd5 Nb4 26.Qe2 exd5 27.Nc3 Re8 28.Nxe4 fxe4 29.Bc3 Nd3 30.Rxd3

It is important to sacrifice the exchange to remove the powerful Knight. White's extra pawn and two Bishops will give him compensation.

30...exd3 31.Qxd3 c4 32.Qb1 Qe7 33.bxc4 Rxc4 34.Qb3 Rec8 35.Bd2?!

d4 would have been a better place for the Bishop.

35...Bc6 36.Rb1 Qf7 37.Qb6 d4 38.Bxc6 dxe3 39.Bxe3 R4xc6 40.Qd4 Rc4 41.Qd1 R4c7 42.Qd3 Rc6 43.a5 Qa2?!

Better was 43...Qf3, tying White down on the backrank.


Missing a nice opportunity: 44.Rb7! Qxa5 45.Qd7 would have given White enough counterplay to draw. Despite this, the endgame won't be easy for Black to win.

44...Qxb3 45.Rxb3 Rd8 46.Rb7 Rd5 47.Bb6 g5 48.Kg2 g4 49.Re7

49.g4 was better to fix the Black pawn on a dark square.

49...Rc4 50.Re2 Kf7 51.f3?!

It might have been better to sit tight with 51.Re1. Now White will have a weakness on g3 as well as a5 and he will have trouble holding both.

51...Rd3 52.fxg4 Rxg4 53.Bf2 Rg5 54.Be1 Ra3 55.Rc2 Re5 56.Bb4 Rb3 57.Rc4 Ke6 58.Kh3 Rh5+

Stronger was 58...Kd5 59.Rh4 Rg5 winning.

59.Kg4 Rh8 60.Bc3 Rg8+ 61.Kf4 Kd5 62.Rc7 Ra3 63.Kf3 Rg6 64.Kf4 Ra4+ 65.Kf3 Rg5 66.Be1 Re5 67.Bd2 Rf5+ 68.Ke2 Re4+ 69.Kd1 Rf1+ 70.Kc2 Rf2 71.Rd7+ Kc6 72.Rd8 Rg2 73.Kd3 Re5 74.Kc4 Rxg3 75.Rc8+ Kb7 76.Rd8 Rg4+ 77.Kb3 Rb5+ 78.Ka3 Rg1 79.Ka2 Rd1 80.Rd7+ Kc8 81.Rd4 Rxa5+ 82.Kb2 Rc5 83.Rd3 Kb7 84.Rd6 Rb5+ 85.Ka2 Kc7 86.Rd3 Kc6 87.Rd8 Rd5 0-1

Updates to Winning Against 1.e4 (Play the Sicilian Defense)

I am adding new games after the book was published.

Christian Bauer-Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
French Team Championship 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.O-O O-O 9.Bb3 d6 10.h3 Bd7 11.f4 Rac8 12.Qd3 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bc6 14.Rae1 Nd7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Nd5?!

It would have been better to play the prophylactic move 16.Kh1 with approximate equality.

16...Qc5+ 17.Rf2 Rfe8 18.Qd2 e6 19.Nc3 b5 20.a3 a5 21.e5 dxe5 22.fxe5 Rf8 23.Qf4 Rcd8 24.Qg3 a4 25.Ba2 b4 26.Ne4 Bxe4 27.Rxe4 b3?!

An interesting idea, but better is 27...bxa3 28.bxa3 Ra8 and Black would have the advantage due to White's weakened queenside.


With this White correctly sacrifices the Bishop. 28.Bb1 f5! would leave Black with a strong attack, as White's pieces are very uncoordinated.

28...Qc1+ 29.Kh2 Qa1

A very creative way to trap a piece, but now Black's Queen is way offside.


Strong was 30.Rh4 threatening an attack against the Black King while the Black Queen is out of play. After 30...Kg8 31.Qe3 f6 32.exf6 Rf7 33.Qxe6 Nf8 34.Qb6 Rdd7 35.Rxa4 Qxa2 36.Ra8 White is better.

30...Qxa2 31.Ra7?

After this White is lost. 31.Rd4 would have resulted in equality after 31...Nb8 32.Rxd8 Rxd8 33.Qg5 Nc6 34.Qf6+ Kg8 35.Rc4 Rc8 36.Rxc6 Rxc6 37.Qd8+ Kg7 38.Qf6+ with perpetual check.


The Black Queen has time to get back into play and Black is winning.

32.Rd2 Nb8 33.Rxd8 Rxd8 34.Qf2 Qf5 35.Qxf5 gxf5 36.b4 Nc6 37.Rc7 Nxe5 38.b5 Rd3 39.b6 Rb3 40.b7 f4 41.a4 Rxb2 42.Kg1 f3 43.gxf3 Nxf3+ 44.Kf1 Nd2+?!

This makes the win more difficult. 44...e5 45.a5 e4 46.Re7 Kf8 47.Rxe4 Rxb7 48.Kg2 Ng5 49.Rg4 f6 50.Ra4 Ra7 was winning.

45.Ke1 Nc4

Black has to give back the piece to stop the passed pawns.

46.Rxc4 Rxb7 47.Kd2?!

Better chances were offered by 47.a5 and getting the Rook behind the passed pawn.

47...Kf6 48.Kc3 Ke5 49.a5 Kd5 50.Rc8 f5 51.Rd8+ Ke4 52.Rd4+ Kf3 53.Rd3+ Kg2 54.a6 Ra7 55.Rd6 f4 56.Kd3 f3 57.Ke3 f2 58.Rd2 Rxa6

58...Rf7 59.a7 Rf3+ 60.Kd4 Ra3 61.Kc5 Rxa7 would have won immediately.

59.Rxf2+ Kxh3 60.Rf6 h5 61.Rg6 h4 62.Kf2 Ra2+ 63.Kf3 Ra3+ 64.Kf2 e5 65.Re6 Ra5 66.Kf3 Kh2 67.Rb6 Ra4 68.Rb2+ Kh3 69.Rb8 Rf4+ 70.Ke2 Kg3 71.Rb3+ Kg2 0-1

GM Xiangzhi Bu - GM Gadir Guseinov
Qatar Masters 2014

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.e4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Nxd4 7.Qxd4 d6 8.Be3 Bg7 9.f3 O-O 10.Qd2 Qa5 11.Rc1 Be6 12.Be2 Rfc8 13.b3 a6 14.Na4 Qxd2+ 15.Kxd2 Nd7 16.g4 f5 17.exf5 gxf5 18.h3 Rf8 19.f4 Rad8 20.g5

20.Nc3 has also been played here, for example 20...d5 21.cxd5 Nf6 22.Rhg1 Nxd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Ke1 e6 25.gxf5 Rxf5 26.Bd4 Rf7 27.Bxg7 Rxg7 28.Rxg7+ Kxg7 29.Rc7+ Kf6 30.Kf2 Draw, Nakamura - Guseinov Bursa 2010


White is slightly better after 20...d5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.Rhd1.

21.Rhd1 e5 22.Ke1 exf4 23.Bxf4 Be5 24.Bxe5 Nxe5 25.Nc3 Be6 26.Kf2 Kg7 27.Rd4 f4 28.Bf1 Nf7 29.Re1 Nxg5 30.h4 Nh3+ 31.Bxh3 Bxh3 32.Ne4

White's active pieces make up for the sacrificed pawn.

32...h5 33.Ng5

33.Nd6 would have left White with a large advantage.

33...Bg4 34.Re7+ Kg6 35.Rxb7 Rde8 36.Ne4 Re6 37.Rb6 Rfe8 38.Nc3 Kf5?

38...Re3 39.Rbxd6+ (39.Rdxd6+ Kf5 $19 40.Rd5+ R8e5) 39...Kg7 40.Rd7+ Kg8 would have equalized.

39.Rd5+ Re5

Also bad is 39...Kg6 40.Rdxd6

40.Rbxd6 Rxd5 41.Rxd5+ Kf6 42.Rd4 Kf5 43.b4 Bf3 44.a4 Re3

Black's best chance was 44...Ke5 although White has a large advantage after 45.Rd2 Rg8 46.Kxf3 Rg3+ 47.Kf2 Rxc3 48.b5 axb5 49.cxb5.

45.Nd5 Bxd5 46.cxd5 1-0

White's passed pawns will be too strong.

GM Boris Spassky-GM Vlastimil Hort
Germany,Bundesliga 1985/86

Annotations by Vlastimil Hort, translated by the author

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e5 6.Nge2

Spassky persistently plays the closed variation, which recently has lost popularity. We must still remember the great duel between Spassky and Geller in the candidates match, where Spassky was very successful with 2.Nc3! In my opinion, White can hardly get an advantage out of this opening, but the resulting positions are complicated and the middlegame is demanding.

6...Nge7 7.O-O d6 8.a3 O-O 9.Rb1

Preparing the advance b2-b4.


Black seeks counter chances on the kingside. 10.b4 is hardly possible due to 10...f4 and Black would get a strong attack on the kingside.

10.Bd2 a5

Stopping 11.b4, but now the b5-square falls to White!

11.a4 Be6 12.Nd5 h6 13.c3 Kh7 14.Be3 Bf7!

Better than the methodical 14...Bg8, because Black wants to reserve the g8-square for the Knight.

15.f4 Nxd5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.Qb3 b6 18.Rbe1

The Rook has nothing more to do on the queenside.


The e-file will be very significant in the next stage of the game.

19.c4 Ng8 20.fxe5

White offered a draw here, but Black wanted to fight on. The position is very unclear, but instructive.


20...dxe5 was also possible.

21.d4 Bg7 22.dxc5 bxc5 23.Nc3 Re7 24.Nb5 Rfe8 25.Bd2 Be5 26.g4

Very sharp. White demolishes all bridges. 26.Bc3 was positionally better.


Black plays very intuitively and brings the last "unemployed" piece into the game. I was not pleased with 26...fxg4 27.Rxe5 dxe5 28.d6!

27.gxf5 gxf5 28.Rxf5!

After the game, White suggested 28.Bh3. The variation 28...Bg6 29.Bxf5 Bxf5 30.Rxf5 Bxh2+ 31.Kxh2 Rxe1 32.Bxe1 Rxe1 33.Qf3 Re3! is, nevertheless, favorable for Black. If one meditates on the position, without analysis, one comes to the conclusion that, although the Knight on b5 stands very well, in many variations it fails to defend the King.


The move Black had put his hopes on.

29.Nxd4 Rxe1+ 30.Bxe1 Rxe1+ 31.Kf2 Qe7

This entire variation is forced.

32.Rxf6 Qxf6+ 33.Kxe1 Qxd4

White to move

A) In your opinion how does White stand? a) equal b) a little bit worse c) a little bit better

B) With White how would you continue

Solution: The step between "equal" and "a little bit worse" is difficult to cut. White does have a pawn more, but also many problems because his pieces are passive. Likely "a little bit worse" holds true. If 34.Qf3 had been played instead of 34.Qg3, White's position is defendable. After 34.Qf3 Bg6 35.Qe2? the game can be saved. After 34.Qg3, it becomes difficut.

34.Qg3? Qxc4 35.Qxd6 Qc1+ 36.Kf2 Qxb2+ 37.Kg3 Qg7+ 38.Kf2 Qd4+ 39.Kg3 Kg7 40.Qf4

White had an important decision to make. After 40.Qe7 c4 41.d6 Qf6!, he would be in trouble.

40...Qxf4+ 41.Kxf4 Kf6 42.Be4 c4 43.d6 Be8 44.Bd5?

Loses the endgame. After 44.Bc2 Bc6! 45.Bd1 Ke6 46.Ke3 Ke5! 47.Bc2 Bd7 48.Bd1 Bf5, White still has 49.Bc2! at his disposal. It is then difficult to demonstrate how Black can win.

44...Bxa4 45.Bxc4 Bc6 46.Ba2 a4 47.Bc4 Bd7 48.Ke3 a3 49.Kd4 Be6 50.d7 Bxd7 51.Kc3 Be6 52.Be2 0-1

There is nothing to be done against the advance of the Black King to capture the h-pawn.

GM Sergey Fedorchuk-GM Yifan Hou
Corsica 2014

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 O-O 8.f4 d6 9.Nb3

9.O-O is the most common move here.


9...Be6 10.g4 d5 11.f5 Bc8 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Bf3 is Fischer-Reshevsky, 1961.


White's attack on the kingside is not as dangerous as it looks.

10...b5 11.g5 Nd7 12.Qd2 Nb6

Black moves her pieces quickly to the queenside to counteract White's kingside attack.

13.O-O-O Na4 14.Nd4 Bb7

Even better is 14...Nxc3 15.Qxc3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 e5 with a large advantage for Black.


It was better to simplify the postion with 15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.Nxa4 bxa4.

15...Nxd4 16.Bxd4 e5 17.fxe5 Bxd5

Removing the powerful Knight on d5. Black will create an attack on the dark squares.

18.exd5 dxe5 19.Be3 Qd6

Even better was 19...e4 20.Bd4 (or 20.c3 b4) 20...Qxd5 winning a pawn.

20.Kb1 Rac8 21.h4?

21.c3 was better. Both sides overlook a nice move for Black now.


21...Rc3! would have won immediately. The Black Queen is coming to b4. If 22.bxc3, then 22...Qa3 wins. If 22.Ka1, then 22...e4 23.Rb1 Ra3 is winning.

22.Bd4 Qxd5 23.Qe3 Bxd4 24.Rxd4 Qc5 25.c3 Rfd8 26.Rhd1

26.Qxe4 was also equal.

26...Rxd4 27.Rxd4 Re8 28.h5

If 28.Bf3 then 28...Qf5 29.Bxe4 Qf1+ 30.Qc1 Qf2. 28.Bd3 was also worth considering.

28...Qe5 29.h6 Nc5 30.Bg4?

Missing 30.c4, threatening 31.Rd5. After 30...Ne6 31.Rxe4 White is better.

30...Kf8 31.a3 Ne6 32.Bxe6 Qxe6 33.a4 Qf5 34.a5?

After Black's next move, White is at a disadvantage. Correct was 34.axb5 axb5 35.Rd1.

34...Qf3 35.Qxf3 exf3 36.Rf4 Re1+ 37.Kc2 Re2+ 38.Kb3?

38.Kd3 Rxb2 39.Rxf3 offered more chances.

38...f2 39.Ka3?

Worth considering was 39.Rf6, although Black still has the advantage.


Preparing to bring the Black King into action.


If 40.gxf6, then 40...g5 and the two connected passed pawns decides the game.

40...Ke7 41.Rf3 Ke6 42.Kb4 Kd5 43.Rf4 Re4+ 0-1

White is lost after 44.c4+ bxc4 45.Rxf2 cxb3+ 46.Kxb3 f4.

GM Fabiano Caruana - GM Magnus Carlsen
Wijk aan Zee 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 b6

More common is 7...e5 followed by ...Nd7-f8-d4.

8.Be3 e5 9.O-O O-O 10.a3 Qe7 11.Qb1

Preparing to break the queenside with b2-b4. With his next move, Black starts a counterattack on the Kingside.

11...Nh5 12.b4 f5 13.bxc5 f4 14.Bd2 bxc5

As his pawn structure is destroyed, Black is banking everything on the Kingside attack.


Worth considering is 15.Na4 in order to meet 15...g5 with 16.Nxc5 Qxc5 17.Bb4 Qb5 18.Qb3+ Rf7 (18...Kh8 19.Bxf8 Bxf8 20.Qf7) 19.Nxg5 Qb7 and Black's attack isn't as strong as in the actual game.

15...Be6 16.Qa4 Rac8 17.Qa5 g5 18.Na4 g4 19.hxg4 Bxg4 20.Qxc5

Black has sacrificed a pawn for a very dangerous Kingside attack.

20...Qf6 21.Nh2?

21.Rfb1 Qg6 22.Kf1 and running the King away from the Kingside was perhaps a better option.

21...f3! 22.Nxg4 Qg6

Winning back the Knight.


If 23.Ne3, then 23...Nf4 24.Rfe1 (24.g3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Qh5#) 24...Nxg2 winning.


Not 23...Qxg4 24.Qg5.

24.Rfb1 Qxg4 25.Qg5 Qe2

Black must keep the Queens on the board. 25...Qxg5 26.Bxg5 Nf4 27.Kh2 h6 28.Bh4 is fine for White.

26.Qe3 Qg4 27.Qg5 Qxg5 28.Bxg5 Nf4 29.Bxf4?

29.Kh2 offered the best survival chances.

29...exf4 30.Kxg2 f3+ 31.Kf1 Rf4!

Threatening ...Bh6 and ...Rh4 mate.

32.c3 Rd8 33.d4

If 33.Ke1, then 33...Rxd3.


Even quicker is 33...Bxd4 34.cxd4 Rh4 35.Kg1 (35.Ke1 Rxd4) 35...Kh8

34.Ke1 Rxe4+ 35.Kd1 c5 36.Kc2 cxd4 37.Kd3 Re2 38.c4 Rxf2 39.Rd1

39.Rb2 Rxb2 40.Nxb2 Rb8 would have held out longer, but is hopeless.

39...Re2 0-1

GM Baadur Jobava-GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave
Wijk aan Zee 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nc6 3.Nbc3 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 O-O 8.O-O d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 Qxd5 11.Bf3 Qc4 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.c3 Be6 14.b3 Qxc3 15.Rc1 Qa5 16.Bxc6 Rac8 17.Qe2 Rfd8 18.h3 Bd4 19.Bh6 Bg7 20.Be3 Bd4 21.Bh6 Bg7 22.Be3 Bd4 1/2-1/2

GM Bobby Fischer-GM Fridrik Olafsson
Bled 1961

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.O-O d6 9.Nb3 Qc7 10.Be2 O-O 11.f4 a5?!

11...b6 is the normal move.

12.a4 Nb4 13.Rf2 e5 14.Bf3 Bd7 15.Rd2 Rfd8 16.Kh1

Not 16.Rxd6? Ne8.

16...Bc6 17.Qg1 Nd7 18.f5 b6 19.Rad1 Nc5 20.Nb5 Qe7 21.Nxd6 Nxc2 22.Nxc5

If 22.Bxc5, then 22...bxc5 23.Qxc5 Bxa4 24.Nxf7 Re8.

22...Nxe3 23.Qxe3 bxc5 24.Be2

White has a slight advantage after 24.b3 Bf8 25.Qxc5 Bxa4 26.bxa4 Ra6 27.h3.

24...Bxa4 25.b3 Be8 26.Bc4 a4 27.Bd5 Rxd6 28.Bxa8 Rd4 29.fxg6 hxg6 30.bxa4 Bxa4 31.Ra1 Qf8?

31...Qd8 32.Bd5 Bc6 offered good drawing chances.

32.Bd5 Bh6 33.Rxd4 Bxe3 34.Rdxa4 Qh6 35.Rf1 Bf4 36.g3 Qh3 37.Raa1 Bxg3 38.Ra8+ 1-0

GM Robert Fischer-GM Samuel Reshevsky
Match 1961

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 O-O 8.f4 d6 9.Nb3 Be6 10.g4 d5 11.f5 Bc8 12.exd5 Nb4 13.Bf3

Alekhine-Botvinnik, Nottingham 1936, continued 13.d6 Qxd6 14.Bc5 Qf4 15.Rf1 Qxh2 16.Bxb4 Nxg4 17.Bxg4 Qg3+ 18.Rf2 Qg1+ 19.Rf1 Qg3+ 20.Rf2 Qg1+ with a draw. Reshevsky also participated in that tournament.

13...gxf5 14.a3 fxg4 15.Bg2 Na6 16.Qd3 e6?

After this White's Kingside attack is very strong. The main line here is 16...Qd6.

17.O-O-O Nxd5 18.h3 g3 19.Rhg1 Qd6?!

Huebner recommends 19...Qh4 20.Bxd5 exd5 21.Bd4 Bxd4, but according to Kasparov, White has strong pressure after 22.Nxd4 Kh8 23.Nxd5 Qg5+ 24.Kb1.

20.Bxd5 exd5 21.Nxd5 Kh8 22.Bf4 Qg6 23.Qd2?

Much stronger was 23.Qe2 Bf5 24.Rxg3 Rae8 25.Qg2 Qc6 26.Na5 Be4 27.Nxc6 Bxg2 28.Rxg2 bxc6 29.Rxg7 Kxg7 30.Rg1+ Kh8 31.Nf6 with a very strong attack.

23...Bxh3 24.Rxg3 Bg4 25.Rh1 Rfe8 26.Ne3 Qe4?

Black had good drawing chances with 26...f5! 27.Qg2 Rad8 28.Nxg4 fxg4 29.Rxg4 Qe4 30.Qxe4 Rxe4 31.Nd2 Re2 32.Rgh4 Kg8.

27.Qh2 Be6 28.Rxg7 Kxg7 29.Qh6+ Kg8 30.Rg1+ Qg6 31.Rxg6+ fxg6 32.Nd4 Rad8 33.Be5 Rd7 34.Nxe6 Rxe6 35.Ng4 Rf7 36.Qg5 Rf1+ 37.Kd2 h5 38.Qd8+ 1-0

GM Mato Damjanovic-GM Bobby Fischer
Buenos Aires 1970

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 g6 6.e4 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 O-O 10.Qd2 Be6 11.f3 Rc8 12.Nd5 Nd7 13.O-O Nc5 14.Rac1 a5 15.b3 Bxd5 16.cxd5 Qb6 17.Rc4 Qa7 18.Rc2 Bh6 19.f4

Not 19.Bxh6?? Nxe4+ 20.Be3 Nxd2 21.Bxa7 Rxc2

19...Rc7 20.g3 b6

Strengthening the Knight on c6, but leaving a hole on c6.

21.Rfc1 Bg7 22.Bb5 Qa8 23.Qe2 e5!?

Complicating the position to avoid a draw.

24.dxe6 fxe6 25.Rd1 Rd8 26.Bd4?!

Giving up the two Bishops and allowing the potential of a good Knight versus bad Bishop position. Better was 26.Bc4 Qxe4 27.Bxc5 Qxe2 28.Rxe2 Rxc5 29.Rxe6 kf8 30.a4 with advantage to White.

26...Bxd4+ 27.Rxd4 e5 28.fxe5 dxe5 29.Rxd8+?

Correct was 29.Rd5

29...Qxd8 30.Bc4+ Kg7 31.Bd5 Nd7 32.Qf2 Rxc2 33.Qxc2 b5

The b-pawn will move to b4 to fix White's queenside pawns. If Black's knight reaches c3, White's a2-pawn will be lost.

34.Kg2 b4 35.Qc6 Nf6 36.Kf3?

36.h3 Qd7 37.Qc5 was equal.

36...Qd7 37.Qxd7+ Nxd7 38.Ke3 Kf6 39.Kd3 Nb6

Preventing White's King from reaching c4.

40.Bc6 Ke7 41.h4 h6

"The position is, with best play, drawn, but if anyone is going to win, it's Black. The reason is that White's king can't penetrate into the queenside and White doesn't have any long-range targets to attack. Black's knight, on the other hand, will be able to attack anything it wants since it has access to both light and dark squares."-Jeremy Silman

42.Ke3 Nc8 43.Kd3 Nd6

"The Knight has improved its position since now it keeps the White king out of c4 (and f5 if Black ever plays ...g6-g5), but it also aims at e4 and, if allowed, can hope to b5 and c3. See what I mean about the flexibility of knights?"-Jeremy Silman

44.Ke3 Kd8 45.Kd3 Kc7 46.Ba4 Kb6 47.Ke3 Kc5 48.Bd7 Kb6 49.Ba4 Kc7

"So Fischer begins a classic cat and mouse (if you can do something in one move, do it in ten instead), which is designed to exhaust the opponent and also, by making a bunch of seemingly useless moves, taking away the other sides sense of danger."-Jeremy Silman

50.Kd3 Kd8 51.Bc6 Ke7 52.Ke3 Ke6 53.Kf3 Kf6 54.g4?!

"A mistake! Damjanovic thought that by closing the kingside and then bringing his King to the queenside, Fischer would be out of tricks and a draw would occur. But in reality this move takes away his own kings sting, which was the ability to move to g4 and penetrate into Black's position. Now that the doors to the kingside are shut, Fischer is able to give maximum attention to the kingside, while also forcing Whites bishop to attend to the loose e4- and g4-pawns."-Jeremy Silman

54...g5 55.h5 Ke7 56.Ke3 Kd8 57.Kd3 Kc7 58.Ba4 Kb6 59.Bd7 Kc5 60.Ba4 Nc8 61.Be8 Ne7 62.Ke3 Ng8 63.Bd7 Nf6 64.Bf5 Kb5 65.Kd3 a4

"A big moment. Note that the knight prevents Bd7+ winning the a4-pawn. Damjanovic sees that Fischer intends ...a4-a3, when Black easily wins IF he can get his Knight to c3, while he would also win if he's able to sacrifice his knight on b3 since a pawn recapture would allow the a-pawn to promote."-Jeremy Silman


Allowing the Black King to infiltrate. White had to sit and wait with 66.Kc2 a3 67.Kd3 Kc5 68.Ke3.

66...Kxa4 67.Kc4 Ka3 68.Kc5

If 68.Bc8, then 68...Nxe4 69.Be6 Nf6 70.Kd3 Nxg4 71.Bxg4 Kxa2 72.Be6+ Kb2 73.Bd5 b3 74.Kd2 e4 wins.

68...Kxa2 69.Kxb4 Kb2 70.Kc5 Kc3 71.Kd6 Kd4 72.Ke6 Nxe4 73.Kf7 Nf2 74.Kg6 e4 75.Kxh6 e3 76.Kg7 e2 77.h6 e1=Q 78.h7 Qe7+ 79.Kg8 Ne4 0-1.

80.h8=Q+ Nf6+ or 80.Bxe4 Kxe4 81.h8=Q Qe8+ 82.Kg7 Qxh8+ 83.Kxh8 Kf4 win for Black

Updates to the Kings Indian Attack book

At this site I intend to add games from the past that I wish I had added to the book, and new games after the book was published

GM Vladimir Kramnik - GM Baskaran Adhiban
Baku Olympiad 2016

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Bf5 4.O-O c6 5.d3 e6 6.Nh4

A rare line. White prepares to start advancing the e- and f- pawns.

6...Bg4 7.h3 Bh5 8.Qe1 Be7 9.f4 Nfd7 10.Nf3 f5 11.e4 Bxf3

11... 0-0 12. Be3 fxe4 13. dxe4 Na6 was played in Stefanova -Tomashevsky, Doha 2015.

12.Bxf3 O-O 13.Nc3 fxe4 14.dxe4 d4 15.Nd1 e5 16.Nf2 c5 17.Qe2 Nc6 18.Bg4 Kh8 19.Be6 exf4 20.gxf4 g5?!

Trying to gain control of the e5 square for his Knights, but dangerously exposes the Black King. More solid would have been 20...Qc7 21.Nd3 Nd8 22.Bg4 c4 with near equality.

21.Ng4 gxf4 22.Bxf4 Qe8 23.e5

More solid was 23.Qb5 Bf6 24.Bd5 Nce5 25.Bxe5 Bxe5 26.Qxb7 with a large advantage for White.


A better try was 23... h5 24.Kh1 (Not 24.Nh2 Qg6+ and White loses a piece.) 24...hxg4 25.Qxg4 with a strong attack for White. For example, 25...Ndxe5 26.Bxe5+ Nxe5 27.Rxf8+ Qxf8 28.Qh5+ Kg7 29.Rg1+.

24.Bc4 Qg6 25.Kh1 Bg5 26.Bh2 Nb6 27.Bd3 Qe6 28.Qe4 Qd5 29.e6 Rae8 30.Rxf8+ Rxf8 31.Ne5 Qxe4+ 32.Bxe4 Nd8 33.a4 Nxe6 34.a5 Nc8 35.Nd7 Re8?

With this the game is lost. Black still could have held on with 35...Rd8 36.Bxb7 Ne7 37.Ne5 Rf8 38.Re1 Be3 with advantage to White.


White's Bishops completely dominate the board.

36...Ng7 37.Rg1 Bh6 38.Bxb7 Ne7 39.Nf6 Rf8 40.Be4 Ng8 41.Nxh7 Re8 42.Ng5 Re7 43.Bd3 Bxg5 44.Rxg5 Nh6 45.Bxg7+ Rxg7 46.Rh5 1-0

The Knight on h6 is lost.

GM Anish Giri - GM Hikaru Nakamura
London Classic 2015

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.O-O Be7 5.d3 O-O 6.Nbd2 c5 7.e4 Nc6 8.Re1 Qc7

8...b5 is the most common move here.


Normal is 9.e5 Nd7 10.Qe2 b5.

9...b5 10.a4 b4 11.exd5 exd5

Not 11...Nxd5 as the White Knight gets a good square with 12.Nc4. After 11...exd5, Black has equalized.

12.Nb3 Re8 13.Bf4 Qb6 14.a5 Qb5 15.Qd2 Be6 16.a6 Bf8 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Nd7 19.Bf4 Qb6 20.c3 Rac8

Not 20...bxc3? 21.bxc3 Qxb3?? 22.Reb1 and the Queen is lost.

21.Qc2 d4 22.Nd2 h6 23.h4 dxc3 24.bxc3 bxc3?

Black would have been fine after 24...b3 25.Qb2 c4 26.Nxc4 Bxc4 27.dxc4 Nc5 28.Be3 Qg6.

25.Qxc3 Nf6 26.Nc4 Qd8

Black hopes to block the diagonal with 27...Nd5, therefore White's next move is strong.

27.Bb7 Nd5 28.Qd2 Nxf4 29.Qxf4 Qxd3

Trying to free his position. 29...Rc7 30.Rab1 is very uncomfortable.

30.Ne5 Qd6 31.Rad1 Qc7 32.Nc6!

Threatening the a7 pawn. Black finds nothing better now than to sacrifice his Queen but doesn't get enough compensation.


Also bad is 32...Qxf4 33.gxf4 Rc7 34.f5 $1 Bd7 35.Rxe8 Bxe8 36.Nxa7 or 33...Rxc6 34.Bxc6 Rb8 35.Bd5.

33.Bxc6 Rxc6 34.Qa4 Rec8 35.Rd8 $1 c4 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Rxe6! fxe6 38.Qd7 Rc5 39.Qxe6+ Kh7 40.Qf7 Bd6 41.h5 Rg5

Or 41...c3 42.Qg6+ Kh8 43.Qxd6.

42.Kg2 c3 43.f4 1-0

43...c2 44.fxg5 c1=Q 45.g6+ Kh8 46.Qe8+ leads to mate.

Svidler chose the King's Indian Attack in a critcial game during the finals of the World Cup.

GM Peter Svidler-GM Sergey Karjakin
World Cup 2015

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 e6 4.O-O Be7 5.d3 O-O 6.Nbd2 c5 7.e4 Nc6 8.Re1 b5 9.exd5

A rare alternative to 9.e5. This will lead to a much different type of the position.


The text is playable, but more common is 9...exd5. Karjakin may not have liked the position he got against Movsesian in 2013 after 9...exd5 10.a4 Rb8 11.axb5 Rxb5 12.b3 with a better pawn structure for White.

10.Ne4 Bb7 11.c3 a6

Black has come out of the opening with a good postion. It is not easy for either side to find a good plan.

12.a4 b4 13.Bg5 f6

This weakens the pawn structure slightly, but allowing the exchange of Bishops would weaken the c5-square. Despite this, it was preferable to play 13...Rb8 14.Rc1 bxc3 15.bxc3 h6 16.Bxe7 Qxe7.

14.Bd2 e5 15.Rc1 Rf7?!

This is an awkward square for the Rook. Better is 15...Qd7 16.d4 cxd4 17.cxd4 exd4 with compensation for the pawn for White.


With better placed pieces, White finds the right moment to strike in the center.


It was not a good idea to open the b-file. 16...exd4 17.cxd4 cxd4 18.Bh3 Bc8 was preferable, although White is better after 19.Bxc8 Rxc8 20.Qe2 a5 21.Qa6.

17.bxc3 cxd4 18.cxd4 Nxd4 19.Nxd4 exd4 20.Qb3

White has very strong pressure for the sacrificed pawn. Black soon gets completely tied down.


20...Qd7 21.Ba5 Rc8 22.Rxc8+ Qxc8 23.Nxf6+ Bxf6 24.Bxd5 Bxd5 25.Qxd5 is also very difficult for Black.


22.Nxf6+ is threatened.

21...Qd7 22.Rec1 Qe6?!

Dropping a piece, but 22...f5 23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Nf6 25.Bf4 Rc8 26.Rxc8+ Bxc8 27.Qc4 threatening Rb8 is also very bad for Black. Also good for White is 22...Nc3 23.Nxc3 dxc3 24.Bxc3 Bxg2 25.Qxb8+ Rf8 26.Qf4 Ba8 27.Bb4 Qb7 28.f3 with a winning position.

23.Nc5 Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Rd8

If 24...Rd7, then 25.Bxd5 wins.

25.Ba5 Rd6 26.Qc4

Threatening Rxb7.

26...Nc3 27.Rxb7 Qe1+ 28.Bf1 Ne2+ 29.Qxe2 29.Qxe2 Qxe2 30.Rb8+ Rf8 31.Rxf8+ Kxf8 32.Bxe2 1-0


I will add videos as companions to the books

Videos for Winning Against 1.e4 (Play the Sicilian Defense)

There are several good videos on the Sicilian Accelerated Dragon.

Videos for Winning Against Flank Openings (A Repertoire Based on the Games of Bobby Fischer)

Videos for How Chessmasters Think

The famous chess teacher Bruce Pandolfini wrote the following about the book: "If you can get your hands on a copy of Paul Schmidts How Chessmasters Think, I suspect you might be doing yourself a service."

There are many free and excellent instructional articles by some of the best chess teachers here

There are several good videos on chess masters thinking.

Book Reviews

By International Master John Donaldson

Each generation has a tendency to think it is the best at everything no matter how ridiculous this might sometimes be, but I must say this is the golden age for chess book publishing. Never before have so many excellent books appeared for players of all levels and interests. One can credit this to many factors including better tools including ChessBase, stronger analytical engines and the Internet. The larger pool of potential authors that have become available as the chess world becomes better connected is also a big plus.

Paradoxically this golden age for chess literature is coinciding with a decrease in printed books as a younger generation prefers to receive their information electronically. Publishers also face the sad fact that soon after a new book appears pirated copies will start appearing on the Internet. Fortunately publishers are a hardy lot and the end of the printed chess book appears to be nowhere in sight.

There are smaller publishers that do an excellent job like Mongoose Press and Russell Enterprises, and others that specialize (think McFarland a giant in the field of chess history for over three decades), but the big three in the English language when it comes to hard chess content are New In Chess, Everyman Chess and Quality Chess. Note that another outstanding publisher, Gambit, is no longer as active as it once was.

The Dutch company New in Chess is most famous for its outstanding magazine which bears the same name and its Yearbook series dating back thirty years. It publishes books on all subject matter with its strongest offerings reminiscences of famous players by Sosonko and anything written by Sokolov and Tukmakov.

Everyman Chess from England is best known as the publisher of Kasparov's My Great Predecessors series, but has also carved out a niche for its self with its electronic offerings. Alone of the big three, it offers many of its books in digital as well as print format. Although Everyman does publish many books for higher rated readers its bread and butter is The Move by Move series, an interactive approach aimed at players rated 1600-2200.

The third member of the group, Quality Chess from Scotland, aims at a different market than the other two. This is the series Grandmasters read and the target audience is primarily players rated 2200 on up and those willing to do the work to get there. Five recent offerings from Quality Chess (www.qualitychess.co.uk) confirm that it is the unquestioned leader when it comes to consistently publishing chess books of the highest quality.

Danish Grandmaster Lars Schandorff has the gift of producing manageable and readable opening books that could have ended up the size of a large phonebook in lesser hands. The author of previously well received works on the Caro-Kann and a 1.d4 repertoire, Schandorff's latest book is a Semi-Slav repertoire book.

Only 260 pages (albeit the pages are good size and two column), one might assume the author is offering one line against 5.Bg5 as the Botvinnik (5...dxc4) and the Moscow/Anti-Moscow (5...h6) are both huge complexes, but they would be wrong. Schandorff manages to not only cover The Botvinnik but two lines in the Moscow (5...h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.e3 Nd7 8.Bd3 dx4 9.Bxc4 and now both 9...Bd6 (after which Schandorff believes Black has no problems) and the more popular and dynamic 9...g6. Also included in this work is coverage of the Meran (8...Bb7) and various Anti-Meran systems. The latter includes an interesting novelty in the line 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd2 0-0 8.0-0-0 b5 9.cxb5 Bb7 10.Kb1 Qb8! Such novelties are sprinkled throughout this book.

The Semi-Slav offers Black one stop shopping against 1.d4 starting with the position reached after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6. Schandorff spends five pages discussing the various pros and cons of various move-orders (2...e6 or 2...c6) with a preference for the latter which offers White the choice of the Exchange Slav, well-covered in another Quality Chess offering on the Classical Slav by Boris Avrukh. Schandorff's book is must reading for anyone who plays the Semi-Slav. This book is attractively produced and reasonably priced at $29.95.

Highly Recommended

Seven years ago Israeli Grandmaster Boris Avrukh (now Chicago based) set a new standard for opening books with his two volume repertoire series devoted to 1.d4. Over 1000 pages in length it raised the bar with its in depth coverage, particularly volume one and its treatment of the Catalan. Now Avrukh is back with a second edition of this classic work.

As one might guess from the title 1.d4 The Catalan the first volume of the second edition of this series is primarily devoted to that opening as it was in its processor. Not only has Avrukh updated his analysis, in many cases he has changed the line he recommends - a case in point being the Open Catalan main line 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 where he now favors 8.a4 (previously his choice was 8.Qxc4).

One big difference between the first and second editions is while the former paired the Catalan with the Slav, Queen's Gambit and Queen's Gambit here its companions are the Bogo-Indian, Old Benoni and Modern Benoni. Avrukh explains in the introduction this reorganization was necessary as theory had changed substantially in some lines and the weighting of certain sections had to change to reflect this. Anyone looking to open 1.d4, with the Catalan the heart of their repertoire, will find this book just the thing they need. Amazingly the price for this new edition ($29.95) is the same as it was seven years ago.

Highly Recommended

The first two books in this review were opening books, by nature limited to an audience that plays those systems. The following books don't have this restriction and can be recommended to all chess lovers. Non-chess players looking for a well-appreciated Christmas gift to give lovers of the Royal Game will find any of these three fit the bill.

The first, Python Strategy, is a collection of the writings of Tigran Petrosian. The ninth world champion (1963-1969) has not had nearly the number of books devoted to him as Fischer or Kasparov but there have been more than a few. They include works in English by Clarke, O'Kelly, Vasiliev, Soltis and Smith and Keene. The famous German Weltgeschichte series included a volume dedicated to Petrosian but the most impressive past work on Petrosian was the massive two-volume series published by Pergamon Chess in the early 1990s. These two oversize hardback books came to close to 1000 pages and were compiled by Eduard Shekhtman and based on Petrosian's work.

Unfortunately while Petrosian was an outstanding writer (something English language readers learned from his stimulating chapter in How to Open a Chess Game) he only started working on a book of his best games in December 1983 and died less than a year later with the project unfinished. Shekhtman did an outstanding job of pulling together material but keep in mind that a good deal of the length of the two volumes was due to the inclusion of many unannotated games by Petrosian - a treat in the early 1990s but no longer so special with today's databases.

Some of the same material to be found in Shekhtman's volumes can also be found in Petrosian's Legacy a 123-page paperback published in Los Angeles in 1990, but it also contains new information.

How does Python Strategy compare? How much overlap is there? This is not easy to say. The editor for the volume, Oleg Stetsko, has clearly built on Shekhtman's work, and some of the material, most notably several key games that Petrosian played against the King's Indian with his pet system (d5 and Bg5,) can be found in several Petrosian related works, but there is almost much that is new not counting the contributions by Jacob Aaagard and Karsten Mueller.

Python Strategy, which contains numerous interviews of Petrosian, has over 100 deeply annotated games which a cursory glance suggests is more than appears in any previous works. This includes the two volume Shekhtman books which have long been out of print. A paperback edition of the two volumes is now available for $29 per volume but the production qualities are not up to the level of the original, in particular the excellent quality black and white photos have not reproduced well.

Those looking for insights into the mind one of the most original World Champions of all time will find Python Strategy a fitting tribute and an excellent value at $29.95 for a near 400 page book.

Highly Recommended

The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal routinely appears on the list of the best chess books ever written and for good reason. This compilation of Tal's writings captures him at his best with lots of fantastic games and insights into the unique personality which make him arguably the best-loved of all the world champions. This makes one wonder about the need for more works on him, particularly when there are more books on Tal than all the greats except Fischer and Kasparov.

Hungarian International Master Tibor Karolyi's Mikhail Tal's Best Games 2: 1960-1971, like the first volume of this trilogy which covered Tal's early years, offers ample reason why this is a most welcome series which takes a fresh look at the games of the "Magician from Riga" and provides many anecdotes from his contemporaries.

The notes to the games in the present volume, which traces Tal's journey from winning the World Championship to 1971 when he was still among the world's elite, are first rate. Readable, yet with plenty of concrete variations when needed, Karolyi's annotations are insightful. A case in point is his seven pages of coverage devoted to Tal's epic encounter with Karen Grigorian in the 1971 Soviet Championship. The latter, not to be confused with the 2015 Armenian champion of the same name, was a great talent (according to Karolyi he had an even score with Tal over nine games and finished at 50 percent in the extremely string 1973 U.S.S.R. Championship) who met a tragic end. The game in question, which won a special prize for the Armenian for the best ending of the tournament, was not mistake free but was a great struggle right up to the end. At move 55 when Tal plays Bg4! Karolyi writes: "Tal goes after the enemy king. For such an attacking player, I was surprised at how rare an occurrence this was in Tal's endgames. By contrast, when I wrote my books about Karpov I was surprised at how often the twelfth world champion checkmated his opponents in endgames." Only someone intimately familiar with the games of these two great could have such an insight.

No chess player can fail to love Mikhail Tal's Best Game 2: 1960-1971, which is attractively produced and affordably priced at $29.95, a good value for a 357 page book.

Highly Recommended

Last but hardly least in this review of recent Quality Chess books is Boris Gelfand's Positional Decision Making in Chess. The Israeli Grandmaster, who narrowly missed becoming World Champion in 2012, has enjoyed a long and successful career which continues to this day. Talent has played a role in his development but so has an incredible work ethic fueled by an insatiable curiosity about the game. Positional Decision Making in Chess focuses on seldom-discussed topics like the squeeze, space advantage, the transformation of pawn structures and the transformation of advantages using Gelfand's games and those of his long-time favorite Akiba Rubinstein. The latter stopped playing in the early 1930s but Gelfand feels his games are still quite relevant for modern players.

There are many original and perceptive observations sprinkled throughout this book. Prefacing his game with Argentine Grandmaster Daniel Campora from Cesme 2004, Gelfand writes:

When you have managed to squeeze your opponent into only two or three ranks, it is often the case that you want to exchange the rooks and queens, but not the minor pieces. Rooks, and especially queens, will be able to do a lot of damage if they manage to sneak behind a far-advanced pawn chain, while minor pieces do not gain extra potential from a big void in the same way. Also, they are far less likely to escape from their prison.

This of course only matters in positions where there is at least one open file; how are the rooks otherwise going to be able to escape? But in most games there is an open file, as for example this one.

At move 26 in his game with Campora after starting a sequence of moves which will clear all the heavy pieces off the board Gelfand writes:

Apparently it is anything but obvious to some other grandmasters that White should exchange all the heavy artillery in this position, but I did not spend a lot of time on this decision at all. The danger of doing this is of course that Black could be able to set up a fortress and the heavy pieces would be needed to break it. Making such a decision at the board depends a lot on what you believe about the position. I was sure that I could break any attempt and therefore went for it without much hesitation. I should add that it is of course too far into the future to consider which type of fortress Black will try to set up. This is a moment to go with your feeling. I believed that White would win this ending and there were a lot of upsides to it. And I always play according to my beliefs. At the end of the day it is not a matter of life and death; nor is it the right moment to try to find ultimate solutions.

Such comments are invaluable and recall some of the annotations Botvinnik made that are worth their weight in gold. Positional Decision Making in Chess is filled with such nuggets of wisdom.

Any player rated 2200 on up will find this book to be full of food for thought. This is must reading for any serious chess player.

My strongest recommendation without reservation

Birds' Opening: Move by Move (Everyman Chess 2015, www.everymanchess.com, 448 pages, figurine algebraic, $29.95) by International Master Cyrus Lakdawala is one-stop shopping for those who like to open 1.f4. It covers all Black responses from From's Gambit (1...e5) to Reversed Dutch setups (1...d5) with the Leningrad, Classical (d3 and e3), Stonewall (e3 and d4) and lines where White fianchettoes his queen fianchetto are all examined. Although the title of this book suggests it is limited to only the Bird this is not the case as against 1...c5 with ...d6 (and not ...d5) Lakdawala favors Closed Sicilian and Big Clamp (e4, f4, d3, c3) setups.

Even the most experienced Bird aficionado will find something new in Lakdawala's book. The line 1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nbd7 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 c6 by ...e5 has long enjoyed a good reputation for Black but Birds' Opening: Move by Move favors dispensing with Be2 and playing h3 right away, capturing with the queen and then playing g4 immediately. This is not the only line of the Bird that the author recommends handling in a modern fashion. In the Classical Dutch reversed (1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 followed by Be2 and d3) he advocates lines with an early Nc3. In the Dutch this approach is usually considered suspicious due to a well-timed d4-d5 but Lakdawala feels the extra tempo makes this approach viable for White. Possibly the biggest revelation in this book is what the author recommends for White after 1.f4 f5. Lakdawala likes 2.e4 but with the twist that after 2...fxe4 the first player go for a From's Gambit reversed with 3.d3. The author believe that the inclusion of f4 makes the gambit not only playable but in fact favors White slightly.

Following the Move by Move format this book is arranged around 53 well annotated games that constantly feature questions designed to engage the reader. Like other books published by Everyman Chess this book is available in a variety of electronic formats.


Many chess players would be hard pressed to name U.S. champions between Paul Morphy and Henry Nelson Pillsbury. Fortunately North Carolina based McFarland & Company has done much to rectify this situation. Four players held the title between these giants of American chess and MacFarland has previously published books on Jackson Showalter and Albert Hodges. A work on the third member of this quartet - Samuel Lipschutz - is now available leaving only George Mackenzie unaccounted for.

McFarland's latest offering is Samuel Lipschutz, A Life in Chess (McFarland & Company 2015, www.mcfarlandpub.com, 399 pages, hardback, $65) by Stephen Davies. This handsomely produced book is the first comprehensive look at the man who defeated Showalter in convincing fashion (+7 -1 =) in 1892 to take the title. All 15 games of this important match, held after the previous title holder Mackenzie's death the previous year, are given. Many appear with annotations by Steinitz from various newspapers of the day.

Davies writes that the present time is a golden age for those interested in the history of the game. The last half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th saw chess columns in almost every important newspaper with many cities having more than one. Until recently accessing these columns involved a lot of effort At a minimum it meant going to a library and slowly going through newspapers on microfilm. This was a tedious process to say the least. Often the work involved was greater as most public libraries have limited holdings necessitating the need to order material on inter-library loan. In extreme cases the only way to gain access to the material was to travel to a distant library.

This is no longer the case. Now it's possible to access hundreds of newspapers and one look at the bibliography for Samuel Lipschutz, A Life in Chess makes it clear that Stephen Davies has made ample use of them. This is important as even information about something as basic as Lipschutz first name (Samuel or Solomon) is unclear. Davies has uncovered much new material in this work which includes 249 games annotated games including ones involving Emanuel Lasker and Jose Capablanca.

Lipschutz, who suffered from tuberculosis (he died at only 42), was in Los Angeles from late 1893 to early 1895 and appears to have been the first US champion to visit the West Coast. This reviewer, who works at the Mechanics Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, was curious in finding out what Davies had uncovered about this relocation which was motivated by health concerns. There are nine pages in Samuel Lipschutz, A Life in Chess on his sojourn in Southern California which reveals previously unknown information about chess in Los Angeles which had only 50,000 people in 1890.

Lipschutz and Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove of San Francisco, the best California player of the time, played several games during the latter's visit to Los Angeles in 1894. This information was previously known but new are the extensive plans for a visit by Lipschutz to San Francisco, the largest city West of the Mississippi in 1890 (population 300,000). Unfortunately it did not happen but Davies is to commended for his digging. This is but one of many examples where he has uncovered new information.

Samuel Lipschutz, A Life in Chess fills an important gap in chess literature and makes for interesting reading for those interested in American chess history pre-1900.

Highly Recommended.

Young players have been traditionally known for their love of opening study and dislike of endgames, habits that have saved many a veteran player who has entered the final phase of the game with a losing position against a whippersnapper. This lack of endgame knowledge by youngsters is due in part to a lack of experience but there is another contributing factor - a lack of proper instructional material.

Endgame books are nowhere near as prevalent as those devoted to the first part of the game but there still are well over a hundred. Among this number are some really excellent ones, but there is no escaping the fact that most of them are a couple hundred pages long. Yury Averbakh's Chess Endgames Essential Knowledge, which was first published in English in 1966 and reprinted in a 112-page edition in 1993, has been as close as it comes to meeting the needs of those with shorter attention spans, but is understandably a little dated. Until this year there really was no work on the ending for younger players that was both practical, affordable and entertaining.

The publication of Karsten Muller's Chess Endgames for Kids (Gambit Publications 2015, www.info@gambitbooks.com, hardback, figurine algebraic, 128 pages, $16.95, also available as an e-book) should fill this gap. This attractively produced hardback covers the endgame in 50 lessons arranged by level of difficulty (basic mates are presented early but B+N is not covered until near the end).

Chess Endgames for Kids presents fundamental endgame knowledge but not in a way that overwhelms the reader, making this book valuable not only for kids, but also chess teachers and adults who are tired of starting (and never finishing) massive tomes on endgame theory.

Recommended - Go to http://www.gambitbooks.com/books/Chess_Endgames_for_Kids.html for an excerpt from this book.

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