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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #18 - 04/04/07 at 01:36:07
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I have just received this book and generally agree with Paddy's review. This book is much better than the book on 1...b6 which had gaps in coverage although the subject matter might have something to do with that. The explanations, while not comprehensive, seem at first blush to be adequate, and it is pleasing to see coverage of the 1...d6,...Nf6....e5 move order. The book avoids the temptation of some books on non-mainstream openings to over-sell the merits of the opening and I didn't detect a bias in favour of black. I couldn't find any reference to C Seel's book in this book although I may well have missed that. In any event it is not clear that this book was consulted during the writing process. The lack of biography is disappointing and I think that the introduction could have been a lot better written (as was the case in the Ruy Lopez for Black book -although to be fair the introduction in that book puts most books to shame). I also wondered if Bangiev's Chessbase CD was consulted. Overall I like this book.
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #17 - 03/04/07 at 15:43:34
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Here's my review:

The Philidor Files, by Christian Bauer,  Everyman Chess (http://www.everymanchess.com), 2006, 304 pages, £14.99

The ancient Philidor Defence 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6) has been undergoing a quiet revival in the last couple of decades. The main theoretical objection has always been that (compared to 2…Nc6) strongpointing e5 with 2…d6 hems in the dark-squared bishop. I have always found this reasoning to be less than convincing, since in Black’s main (and ultra-respectable) defence to the Ruy Lopez (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6) the bishop is also confined. I am sure that professional grandmasters, pragmatists as they are, would have ignored the above theoretical objection in their hundreds had there not also been some practical problems with the Philidor, which for most of its history have seemed insurmountable.

The old mainline of the Philidor (reached after e.g. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0-0 0-0) has always seemed playable and strategically sound for Black - there are even theoreticians such as Palatnik (in The Tarrasch Formula) who regard the Black position as strategically more promising, regarding the Nc3 as misplaced - the main problem has always been: how to reach it!

The original Hanham move order of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7 is fraught with dangers and even the most accurate continuation 4.Bc4 c6 5.0-0 Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Ng5! Bxg5 8.Qh5 leaves White with two bishops and Black with dark square weaknesses.

Then  Nimzowitsch proposed the improved move order 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4 Nc3 Nbd7 but eventually it became clear that White can avoid being forced into Hanham channels by 4 dxe5 Nxe4 5 Qd5! which seems to give  an edge for White in all lines.

For many years this seemed the end of the story, but recently some strong grandmasters have been using one of two different Pirc-type move orders to try to reach the desired variation.

a) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 when after 4 Nf3  Black reaches the desired line by 4…Nbd7, whilst he does not fear 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 - this seems quite playable for Black as long as you know what you are doing.

b) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7!? when the most critical line to prevent Black from reaching his goal is 4.f4!? e5 (anyway) when
i) 5 Nf3 can be answered by 5…exd4! 6 Qxd4 (6 Nxd4 g6!?) 6...c6!? and Black intends a sharp gambit with ...d5 and ...Bc5.
so in The Chess Advantage in Black and White Kaufman recommends:
ii) 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.fxe5 Nxe5 (once again inviting a queenless middlegame but one which is a bit more unbalanced than a) above) 7.Qxd8+ Kxd8 8.Nf3 and he claims White is better after 8...Bd6 9.Bg5 c6 10.0-0-0 Kc7 11.Be2 Nfd7 (11...Nfg4? 12 Rxd6! Kxd6 13 Rd1+) 12.Nd4. Even this is not so clear after 12...Bb4 or 12... a6 13.Nf5 Bf8. Also in a correspondence game I could make no impression with the white pieces against the novelty 8...Nfd7.

OK, this is not a great deal of fun for Black, but it is some evidence that the move order 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 is probably viable for Black. Thus Whites have been having to turn their attention to how to prove an edge in the main-line Philidor-Hanham position.

During the dark years when the Hanham seemed either unplayable or unattainable, some inventive grandmasters turned their attention to a completely different approach to the centre. Antoshin played 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Be7 whilst Larsen promoted 4,,,g6. The latter line can lead to sharp and interesting games with opposite-sides castling, but one has the feeling that White should be better - Black is short of space and the g6-pawn makes it easier for White open lines against the enemy king.

Antoshin’s line has proved more resilient. Black allows White a space advantage but develops his kingside very quickly, meaning that he is soon ready for action in the centre (…d5) and failing that he has a flexible and dynamic pawn chain on the queenside.

There are now three good books on the Philidor, as far as I am aware. The first was Tony Kosten’s Winning with the Philidor (1992) which provided a very useful synthesis of developments up to that point and was enriched with many new insights and much original analysis. This book is still worth consulting, as is Kosten’s 1997 supplement Trends in the Philidor. In 2005 the young German IM Christian Seel published Geheimwaffe Philidor devoted entirely to the Antoshin; this is in German but is a typically excellent production from Chessgate and I recommend it to anyone interested in the Antoshin.

Finally we have The Philidor files from the strong French GM Christian Bauer, a hefty tome that ambitiously covers the whole Philidor spectrum (Hanham, Larsen, Antoshin) as well as the various move orders that modern players are employing (for both sides) to try to reach (or avoid) certain lines.

The first thing I always check when evaluating an openings book is: does the author actually play the stuff he is peddling? The reader can be reassured in this case: in my database I found over fifty games featuring Bauer on the black side of Philidor or Philidor-type positions, ample evidence that it will be worth listening to what he has to say.

So let’s see how he has organised his material:
The book starts with a short introduction (pp 5-9) which includes a brief mention of move-order issues and some material on the typical pawn structures that can arise. This section left me feeling slightly unsatisfied – I felt that readers would have benefited from lengthier discussion and explanation of these issues.

Chapter 1 (pp 10-43) is entitled Early Deviations and touches upon 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bc4 (in my view a practical choice – White can head for slow Spanish positions, as in Kasparov-Giorgadze 1979) and a range of rare options for Black after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6, of which the most important is the section (pp 16-22) which explains the problems that Black faces with the original Hanham move-order 3 d4 Nd7. The ancient 3 d4 f5 is also examined here and found wanting, although I suspect that the last word on this has not yet been spoken.

Chapter 2 (pp 44-82) deals with white deviations after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 exd4 (of which 4 Qxd4 is the most important) and then examines Larsen’s 4 Nxd4 g6, which Bauer sums up as follows: “offers Black dynamic counterplay, but is quite difficult to handle and probably fundamentally suspicious”.

Pages 83-131 deal with the Antoshin, which has been receiving some high-level support in recent years from the likes of Nisipeanu, Bacrot and Fridman. Most attention is devoted to the critical plan of 6 Bf4, followed by Qd2 and 0-0-0. Anyone wishing to play this for White might find the theory re-assuring, but preparation has now become a nightmare, since Black has four playable options, all sharp and challenging, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Be7 6 Bf4 0-0 7 Qd2: a) 7…d5, b) 7…a6, c) 7...c6 and d) 7…Nc6.

Pages 132-197 make up a long series of chapters dealing with the move order 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 (looking en passant at 1 e4 d6 2 d4 e5, which also appears playable for Black). Ten pages deal with the interesting 3 f3 (also covered in Beim’s excellent Chess Recipes from the Grandmaster’s Kitchen). Bauer also covers 3 Bd3 e5 4 c3 d5!  Pages 166-174 deal with the critical  semi-ending line 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 e5 4 dxe5 dxe5 5 Qxd8+ Kxd8, which Bauer concludes is OK for Black, as long as he answers 6 Bc4 with 6…Ke8, rather than 6…Be6, which was being touted as best a few years ago. I was fascinated by chapter 9, which covers a possibility that I wasn’t previously aware of: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 g4!?

We have to reach page 207(!) before Bauer begins his treatment of his favoured Philidor-Hanham set-up, reached by his preferred move order 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 Nf3 e5. Chapter 10 looks at alternatives to the most popular move 5 Bc4, including Shirov’s controversial 5 g4!? Chapter 11 examines White’s attempts to blow Black away quickly after 5 Bc4 Be7, namely 6 Bxf7+, 6 dxe5 dxe5 7 Bxf7+ and 6 Ng5 0-0 7 Bxf7+; this last is the most threatening according to Bauer, who considers  it unclear. The remaining three chapters deal with different treatments by Black and White of the mainline 6 0-0 0-0.

Each chapter ends with a useful summary and conclusions. Note that the book uses a ‘tree’ structure, rather than the usual Everyman ‘complete annotated games’ layout. There are some complete games however, and so an index of the players would have been useful. There is an index of variations but the lack of a bibliography is a minus point. It is not clear whether Bauer has looked at other sources such the Opening for White according to Anand series or The Carpathian Warrior, although it seems that he did refer to Winning with the Philidor and The Lion. These days an indication of the cut-off point for the research in the standard sources (NiC Yearbook, Informator, TWIC) should be standard for any opening book. Without that, it is even more than usually necessary for the keen reader to do his own research using databases.

Verdict: **** (out of a possible five stars)  It is not everyday that a 2600-rated GM writes an opening book, so although the topic is a comparatively rare opening, we should pay attention. If you can read German and are just interested in the Antoshin, then Seel’s book would be my top pick, but otherwise I think that Bauer’s book is now the best source of reliable information on the Philidor.

  
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TalJechin
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #16 - 03/02/07 at 11:06:30
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Well, I have had more time to read Bauer's book and I still don't know what to think of it. 


I've only had it a few days but I have the same indecisiveness about it.

+
It's up to date and complete and should thus be quite useful for Philidorites. 


-
However, Bauer seems a bit laid back, as he mostly comments on games and positions while not adding much of his own thoughts and variations.

The thing that bugs me most is the lack of references (there's not even a list of Sources!). So far I've only noticed a couple of mentions of Carpathian Warrior. So atm I'm not sure if he has consulted e.g. the works of Seel or Kosten or not.

Though at times he seems to react or add a little to the latter, e.g. in the line with 5.h4 vs Larsen's and the order of the main variations in the books are more or less the same, (though the sequence 1...d6 2...Nf6 3...e5/Nbd7 was not the official move order in WwtP).

One reference of Bauer's is: 'we have been following the game Gipslis-Antoshin, Moscow 1972'.
While if you check Kosten's book he'll inform you that was a blitz game following an analysis of Estrin.
- Something that could still be worth knowing / telling I think...

And finally, I get a somewhat 'schizo' impression about what Bauer himself seems to think. Inside the chapters he seems to be leaning towards black, while at his conclusions when the chapter ends he seems more optimistic for white. Still, that doesn't bother me much, as one should always make up one's own mind - and a schizo author might be helpful in that respect.
But it might also be interpreted as a sign of the author's indifference to his subject?!  Undecided
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #15 - 03/01/07 at 14:25:53
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Well, I have had more time to read Bauer's book and I still don't know what to think of it.
It looks rather exhaustive, but I would have liked a bit more prose, above all in the Hanham variation.

The thing is, it is true that there are many variations one can try in the Philidor, and even the Larsen might not be that easy to refute, even though Bauer is a bit suspicious of it.

As to the evaluations of the Hanhman, I could sum up his thoughts with one of his phrase: "Positions in the final 3 chapters are charcterized by a White space advantage. The first player has more latitude, but also more chances to go wrong."
I guess we can say that White will always be a bit better objectively speaking, but the positions remain complicated enough, which is the main appeal of the Hanham.
  
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TalJechin
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #14 - 02/22/07 at 16:31:40
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Pantu wrote on 02/22/07 at 12:18:45:
@TalJechin: No thanks, I have enough books already!! (Including the FKG!)  Hence why I need to try and get rid of them.

No need for anything in return - perhaps if I'm ever in Malmo (not too unrealistic - maybe I'll play the politiken cup sometime) you can buy me a beer.


Thanks again Pantu, but it seems I'll be getting it from parisestmagique on similar terms - having too many chess books is perhaps a common problem for the regulars at this forum!?  Shocked

So, maybe I can safely visit Politiken this year without twenty people claiming to be Pantu!  Grin



Btw, maybe it could be an idea for chess clubs all over the world to have an event once or twice a year where people could sell off some of their too many books, and perhaps give the club 10% of the sales in return?

I actually suggested this idea to my local chess federation last year, but for reasons unknown it didn't come off. - Though it still sounds like a good idea to me...  Undecided
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #13 - 02/22/07 at 12:18:45
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@TalJechin: No thanks, I have enough books already!! (Including the FKG!)  Hence why I need to try and get rid of them.

No need for anything in return - perhaps if I'm ever in Malmo (not too unrealistic - maybe I'll play the politiken cup sometime) you can buy me a beer.
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #12 - 02/21/07 at 09:55:28
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Ah, OK, thanks. That makes sense. Robert B's expertise is very much in the Classical, which he's been playing for 30 years, and as far as I know he's never played the Leningrad, so I did wonder.
  
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TalJechin
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #11 - 02/21/07 at 09:29:30
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IMJohnCox wrote on 02/21/07 at 09:07:25:
Did Bellin really write a book on the Leningrad (as opposed to Classical) Dutch?


Apparently this was written back in the good ol' times when a book on the Dutch contained all of the main lines and then some!

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1110227852/0
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #10 - 02/21/07 at 09:07:25
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Did Bellin really write a book on the Leningrad (as opposed to Classical) Dutch?
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #9 - 02/21/07 at 08:23:41
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I have it if you are interested ... TalJechin wrote on 02/20/07 at 18:02:31:
TimS wrote on 02/19/07 at 11:01:37:
TalJechin wrote on 02/19/07 at 10:24:59:
Btw, if Tony and his publisher would consider republishing his Winning with the Philidor as an ebook, I'd instantly get myself a copy! No need to update it! And the same goes e.g. Bellin's Leningrad Dutch - it would just nice to read it without buying an old copy for +100$  Smiley


I can't remember seeing Bellin's book recently but I quite often come across half or reduced-price copies of Kosten's book; can't recall where, unfortunately, but London Chess centre is currently offering a copy for £12.99 (about $24 at current exchange rates).


Thanks for the tip, Tim. I couldn't withstand the temptation so I ordered it. But a couple of hours later they called and told me WwtP wasn't supposed to be there at all!

  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #8 - 02/20/07 at 19:14:21
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Pantu wrote on 02/20/07 at 18:35:43:
I'd happily send you my copy, except it's a couple of hundred miles away.  If you haven't picked one up by around mid-April I should be able to send it off.


Thanks for the offer, it's quite possible I'll take you up on it! April is just around the corner...

Is there any particular book you're looking for in return? Might I tempt you with a copy of the FRG perhaps?  Wink
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #7 - 02/20/07 at 18:35:43
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I'd happily send you my copy, except it's a couple of hundred miles away.  If you haven't picked one up by around mid-April I should be able to send it off.
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #6 - 02/20/07 at 18:02:31
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TimS wrote on 02/19/07 at 11:01:37:
TalJechin wrote on 02/19/07 at 10:24:59:
Btw, if Tony and his publisher would consider republishing his Winning with the Philidor as an ebook, I'd instantly get myself a copy! No need to update it! And the same goes e.g. Bellin's Leningrad Dutch - it would just nice to read it without buying an old copy for +100$  Smiley


I can't remember seeing Bellin's book recently but I quite often come across half or reduced-price copies of Kosten's book; can't recall where, unfortunately, but London Chess centre is currently offering a copy for £12.99 (about $24 at current exchange rates).


Thanks for the tip, Tim. I couldn't withstand the temptation so I ordered it. But a couple of hours later they called and told me WwtP wasn't supposed to be there at all!
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #5 - 02/19/07 at 11:01:37
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TalJechin wrote on 02/19/07 at 10:24:59:
Edward_Dearing wrote on 02/19/07 at 10:12:22:
Hi guys,

I guess the 3...exd4 stuff is always going to yield white a slight edge with sensible play (Black gives up the centre and accepts less space without extracting much in terms of immediate compensation) but that is not to say that the variations lack practical value.

I am quite interested in the Hanham variation (Part 3: Nbd7, rather than taking on d4). I've ordered a copy of this now (if only out of general interest) but it will be a couple of weeks before I am back in the UK to enjoy it. Would you mind telling me what Bauer concludes in respect of this variation?

All the best,

Ed


Have you seen the thread: Philidor - Shirov's Refutation - where you get the impression that Bauer hasn't exactly burned the midnight oil over the Hanham...


Btw, if Tony and his publisher would consider republishing his Winning with the Philidor as an ebook, I'd instantly get myself a copy! No need to update it! And the same goes e.g. Bellin's Leningrad Dutch - it would just nice to read it without buying an old copy for +100$  Smiley


I can't remember seeing Bellin's book recently but I quite often come across half or reduced-price copies of Kosten's book; can't recall where, unfortunately, but London Chess centre is currently offering a copy for £12.99 (about $24 at current exchange rates).
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #4 - 02/19/07 at 10:24:59
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Edward_Dearing wrote on 02/19/07 at 10:12:22:
Hi guys,

I guess the 3...exd4 stuff is always going to yield white a slight edge with sensible play (Black gives up the centre and accepts less space without extracting much in terms of immediate compensation) but that is not to say that the variations lack practical value.

I am quite interested in the Hanham variation (Part 3: Nbd7, rather than taking on d4). I've ordered a copy of this now (if only out of general interest) but it will be a couple of weeks before I am back in the UK to enjoy it. Would you mind telling me what Bauer concludes in respect of this variation?

All the best,

Ed


Have you seen the thread: Philidor - Shirov's Refutation - where you get the impression that Bauer hasn't exactly burned the midnight oil over the Hanham...


Btw, if Tony and his publisher would consider republishing his Winning with the Philidor as an ebook, I'd instantly get myself a copy! No need to update it! And the same goes e.g. Bellin's Leningrad Dutch - it would just nice to read it without buying an old copy for +100$  Smiley
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #3 - 02/19/07 at 10:12:22
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Hi guys,

I guess the 3...exd4 stuff is always going to yield white a slight edge with sensible play (Black gives up the centre and accepts less space without extracting much in terms of immediate compensation) but that is not to say that the variations lack practical value.

I am quite interested in the Hanham variation (Part 3: Nbd7, rather than taking on d4). I've ordered a copy of this now (if only out of general interest) but it will be a couple of weeks before I am back in the UK to enjoy it. Would you mind telling me what Bauer concludes in respect of this variation?

All the best,

Ed
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #2 - 02/17/07 at 17:43:52
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The Philidor Files by GM Christian Bauer, Everyman London 2007, 304 pages

005  Introduction

Part 1: 1 e4 e5  2 Nf3 d6
010  1  Early Deviations
044  2  3 d4 exd4 : Introduction and Larsen´s Variation
083  3  Antoshin´s Variation : Introduction
109  4  Antoshin´s Variation : 6 Bf4

Part 2: 1 e4 d6  2 d4 Nf6
132  5  Early Deviations and 3 f3
147  6  3 Bd3
164  7  3 Nc3 e5
175  8  3 Nc3 Nbd7 : Introduction and 4 f4
197  9  3 Nc3 Nbd7 4 g4

Part 3: Hanham Variation (1e4 d6 2d4 Nf6 3Nc3 Nbd7 4Nf3 e5)
207 10  Introduction and 5 g4
218 11  5 Bc4: Introduction and Bxf7+ lines
232 12  Main Line: 7 Qe2 and 7 a4
247 13  Main Line: 8 Re1 without 8...b6
280 14  Main Line: 8 Re1 b6

299 Final Thoughts

301 Index of Variations
  
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Re: Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
Reply #1 - 02/17/07 at 11:22:52
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Hi edward Smiley

well, I have juste received the book, so I haven't have a lot of time to look deeply into what Bauer recommends. My first impression is that it is thorough, but it does not really tempt you into playing the philidor since he ends most chapter by "White is better". I am exagerating, since most positions remain complicated, but Bauer seems to think that White has many ways to retain an edge in the Antoshin variation for instance (with 6.g3, 6. Bf4 and 6. Be2).

As to the explanations, I am not sure they are as detailed as those in his previous book.
  
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Philidor Defence - Bauer's new book
02/15/07 at 11:54:54
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Hi guys, I'm keen to see what this book has to offer.

My early impressions of Bauer's 1...b6 book was that it was good on explanation, but felt a little rushed in certain places on the theory side. I really enjoy his games in the Philidor though so I am hoping for something good.

Any reviews?
  
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