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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed (Read 67508 times)
alumbrado
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #98 - 03/03/08 at 11:45:37
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OK, fair enough ...
  

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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #97 - 03/02/08 at 19:28:25
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alumbrado wrote on 03/02/08 at 16:28:04:
Stigma - not sure that is the case - there is also the British player Demetrios Agnos (an IM I think) who is perhaps more likely to be playing that tournament.


Well, then you need to explain why this British IM Demetrios Agnos now has no games at all in Chessbase's Mega Databases, while most of Greek GM Dimitrios Anagnostopoulos' early games in Mega 2007 (up to the mid-90s) were played in Britain, including two British Championships.

Besides Donaldson-Agnos/Anagnostopoulos, Isle of Man 1997 there is also the following example:

- Adams-Anagnostopoulos, Lloyds' Bank op (2), 1991 [B07] (source: Mega DB 2007)
- Adams-Agnos, London 1991 [B07] with the same moves up to move 10 where the variaton ends (source: Nunn/NcNab: The Ultimate Pirc)

I rest my case Smiley
  

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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #96 - 03/02/08 at 16:28:04
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Stigma - not sure that is the case - there is also the British player Demetrios Agnos (an IM I think) who is perhaps more likely to be playing that tournament.
  

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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #95 - 03/01/08 at 14:06:24
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Pessoa wrote on 02/26/08 at 14:54:27:
Here I would like to address some points that, as far as I can see, haven’t been mentioned yet:
[...]


Wow, quite a long list. Hansen the reviewer might well have pointed out many of the same problems. I also wonder if there was an editor involved at all?

The only explanation I can think of is the book was rushed to try and get it published before Christmas. But since they failed that, it would have been much better to wait and do some serious editing and blunderchecking.

I want to rectifiy the authors on one small point:

Pessoa wrote on 02/26/08 at 14:54:27:
Page 30, Game 16 (Maksimenko – Moskalenko 1995)
A fragment in the annotation to this game is quoted as "Donaldson – Agnos, Isle of Man 1997".
I assume this should read "Donaldson – Anagnostopoulos, Isle of Man 1997" (Megabase 2008).


Agnos and Anagnostopoulos are the same player, as I learned from the GM himself after he beat me in an open tournament. He used a shortened form of the name for a number of years while playing tournaments in western Europe. Probably both Donaldson's scoresheet and the databases ca. 1998 said 'Agnos'. I think we can forgive the authors for not keeping up with the changing names of European title holders! Smiley
  

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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #94 - 03/01/08 at 12:46:45
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After 1.Nf3 Nc6 the (not so obvious) recommendation is 2. d4 and going for the Chigorin - found at the odds and ends part of the book
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #93 - 03/01/08 at 01:40:16
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I just received my copy. I was flipping through the whole book to see if it deals with 1.Nf3 Nc6 (yeah.. the index would certainly have been useful!)
If 1.Nf3 Nc6 2.c4 e5, it seems that Black can choose not to transpose into the reversed closed Sicilian lines since ...d6 hasn't been played. Now, if 3.Nc3 (3.g3 e4), White has to know a whole lot of 'English: Three Knights' theory, right? Just wondering if 1...Nc6 trips up the Nf3-c4-g3 recommendation.
  

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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #92 - 02/27/08 at 17:15:22
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Pessoa wrote on 02/26/08 at 14:54:27:
Page 128, Game 83 (Andersson – Seirawan 1983)
The book gives the text move "15...Rfc8", which is also given by Megabase 2008. However, according to Palliser (Beating Unusual Chess Openings, p. 19) Black actually played 15...Rfb8.

I have to correct myself: Megabase 2008 does give the move 15...Rfb8. But 15...Rfc8 is given in the book and also in the game collection at
http://wwwu.uni-klu.ac.at/gossimit/c/book.htm (from where I got the games from the first edition).

 
« Last Edit: 02/28/08 at 08:06:27 by Pessoa »  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #91 - 02/27/08 at 09:47:22
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FM Carsten Hansen wrote on 01/24/08 at 03:39:23:
I am open to all criticism, but as mentioned above, please let it be objective and relevant, and if you feel something could be done better, please be specific so that it can be corrected for future editions.

Thanks in advance for your input.  Smiley

(… continued from Reply #90)

Page 193, Game 126 (Romero Holmes – Carrasco Martinez 2004)
Comment to 11.e4:
"An important alternative is 11.Rd1, and now:
a) 11...Bd7 12.e4 Nb6 [...] 13.Nc3 Qc7 14.Bf4 e5 15.Be3 with a plus for White, Chekhov – Sibarevic, Banja Luka 1983, but Black can improve by 14...Qe8, e.g. 15.Qe2 Na5 [...], Kavalek – Gruenfeld, Thessaloniki ol 1984."

This doesn’t make sense, because after 13...Qc7, Black cannot play 14...Qe8. It only becomes clear after looking up the game Kavalek – Gruenfeld in the database: Gruenfeld played 13...Rc8, not 13...Qc7.

Page 193, Game 126 (Romero Holmes – Carrasco Martinez 2004)
In the comment to 13...Qh5, the alternative "13...Bxb4" is analysed, but the equally possible 13...Nxb4 is not. (Only a slight irritation.)

Page 195, Game 127 (Cosma – Olivier 1998)
Comment to 17...Be8:
"This is a perfectly normal move, but Black shouldn’t play it until the position is further under control. A better try is 17...a5 to undermine White’s queenside [...]."
Actually, 17...Be8 was the only move, because White threatened to play 18.e4, winning a piece; it seems that this is what would happen after 17...a5? 18.e4! +– (Fritz).

Page 195, Game 127 (Cosma – Olivier 1998)
Comment to 22.h4:
"White can do even better with 22.Bxg7 Bc6 23.Bxh6 Qg6 24.e4! and Black’s position is a complete mess."
According to Fritz and Rybka, 22.h4 is the best move in the position, because after 22.Bxg7, Black can try 22...Rxc5. It is true that even after this White has a great advantage, but 22...Bc6 loses outright.

Page 197, Game 129 (Spangenberg – Paglilla 1998)
Comment to 37.Rd6:
"37.Rde1! Qc7 38.Qf3 is uninspiring for Black."
Another typo; this should read "37.Rde1! Bc7 [...]".

Page 198, Game 129 (Spangenberg – Paglilla 1998)
Comment to 51.Qe3:
"[...] Faster is 51.Qd7+ Kg8 52.Qe8+ Kg7 53.Bc3+ Kh6 54.Qe6+ Kh5 55.Qe2 and the coming queen exchange makes the win trivial."
True, but in this line, 54.Qh8+ is even faster, forcing mate after 54...Kg6 55.Qg7+ Kh5 56.Qg5#.

Page 200, Game 131 (Vinh Bui – Son Nguyen Ngoc Truong 2003)
Comment to 10...Bd7:
"In Capablanca – Trompowsky, Black tried 10...Bb7, but after 11.Rd1 0-0 12.Na3 Qb6 13.e4 Nf6 [...], he was in serious trouble."
Fine, but the reader (or Fritz, for that matter) wonders why White refrained from playing 11.e4, winning a piece. An interesting variation might have occurred here on the board: after 11.e4 Nb6 12.Rxd8 Nxa4 13.Rd7 Rfd8 14.Rxe7 Rd1+ 15.Bf1 Rxc1 16.Rxb7 Nc5 17.Rb4 Rd8, White is piece up, but how is he to develop his queenside? Perhaps Capablanca had seen something like this and decided to play it safe ...

Page 215, Game 139 (Hansen – Petersen, corr. 1990)
Comment to 13...h6:
"13...c5 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Ng5 fxg5 16.Bxb7±".
This seems to imply that 13...c5 is a mistake, but apparently, it is not. On 14.Bxf6, Black has two alternatives to 14...gxf6: one game was drawn after 14...Qxf6 15.Ne5 cxd4 16.Nxd7, Hoffmann (2440) – Braun (2215), Bad Wiessee 1998 (although White may be slightly better here). Another game, a truly high-class encounter, saw 14...Nxf6 15.Nxc5 Be4 16.Qc3 e5 17.e3 Bxc5 18.dxc5 Qd5, with compensation for the pawn, Kramnik – Carlsen, Moscow, 10 November 2007; but it stands to reason that this game wasn’t known to the authors when the book went to the printer.

Page 231, Game 149 (Andersson – Bergstrom 1996)
"45.f4!
Bringing up the reserves. The end is in sight and Andersson finishes off with precision.
45...Rc7 46.Rd5! a6 47.Nxe5+ Ke6 48.Nc6 axb5 49.Nd4+! Ke7 50.Rxd6! 1-0."

Well, 46.Rd5 was not the most precise, I suppose, because this gave Black the chance to play 46...Ke6!, threatening ...Nxe4, with counterplay. Instead, White should have played the preliminary 46.fxe5 fxe5, and only now 47.Rd5!  
Nor was 47.Nxe5+ the most accurate, because after 47...Ke6 48.Nc6, Black could have played 48...Nxe4, rather than blundering with 48...axb5. Again, better would have been 47.fxe5 fxe5 first, and only then 48.Nxe5+ Ke6 49.Nc6, when White, a clear pawn up, has a substantial advantage.

Page 232, Game 150 (Krogius – Matanovic 1966)
The comment to Black’s 10. move quotes a game fragment "Portisch – Timman, Wijk aan Zee 1975".
However, according to Megabase 2008, the fragment is from the game Portisch – Furman, Wijk aan Zee 1975.

Page 232, Game 150 (Krogius – Matanovic 1966).
Comment to 17...d4:
"[...] The alternative 17...Rac8 18.Nd3 d4 19.Bg5 is clearly better for White."
Fritz and Rybka don’t agree, thinking that Black is at least equal after 19...c4.
Are the engines right? Well, ask the grandmasters! Megabase 2008 contains four games in which the position after 17...Rac8 was reached:
- Dorfman (2545) – Psakhis (2525) 1983, drawn on move 23
- Podgaets (2450) – Balashov (2545) 1983, drawn on move 20
- Berkovich (2445) – Naumkin (2430) 1992, drawn on move 21
- Naumkin (2455) – Zaitsev (2430) 1994, drawn on move 19.
Dorfman and Naumkin played 18.b3 followed by 19.Rfd1, Podgaets and Berkovich played 18.Rfd1 followed by 19.b3. So, these not exactly weak masters had no problems (as Black) playing 17...Rac8, nor did they (as White) play 18.Nd3. Perhaps they had a reason?  

Page 235, Game 152 (Petrosian – Botvinnik 1963)
Comment to 11...c5:
"11...Qd7 is supposed to equalize for Black, but it is not as easy as the books claim: 12.Qxd7 Nxd7 13.cxd5 exd5 14.Bf4 c5 and now [...] White should opt for the untried 15.Ne3!"
Untried? According to Megabase 2008, 15.Ne3 was played in the games
- Trifunovic – Vukovic 1960
- Savon – Zaitsev 1969
- Ivkov – Sosonko 1977
- Gutman – Zilberman 1979,
all ending in a draw.

Page 236, Game 153 (Vladimirov – Harikrishna 2000)
The comment to Black’s 15. move contains a game fragment "Eperjesi – Petran, Budapest 1975".
I cannot find such a game in Megabase 2008; instead, the moves of the fragment correspond to the game Ivkov – Jelen, Bled 1979.

Page 243, Game 156 (Polgar – Xie Jun 1996)
The comment to Black’s 14. move contains a fragment from the game "Donaldson – David, Isle of Man 1997", resulting in the assessment: "22.Nd4± [...], and the bishop is much stronger than the knight."
I have two points to make. First, Fritz and Rybka assess the position after 22.Nd4 as almost equal, with only a very slight edge to White. (But I have to admit that this could be one of those cases when the engines are 'wrong' ...) Second, the game was drawn on move 27 (Megabase 2008).

Page 245, Game 157 (Donaldson – Cartagena 1997)
The comment to Black’s 12. move contains a game fragment "Donaldson – Goldbar (computer), The Hague 1997".
Again, I cannot find this game in Megabase 2008; instead, the fragment is from the game M.Voorn – Goldbar (computer), The Hague 1997.

Page 247, Game 158 (Kasparov – Short 1990)
The annotation contains a fragment (so it seems) from the game "Magerramov – Panchenko, Bad Worishofen 1994". It ends in the assessment "36.Rd4 +=".
I have two points to make. First, this should read "Bad Woerishofen" or, better still, "Bad Wörishofen". (Sorry for that one!) Second, after 36.Rd4 White is totally winning, and therefore Black resigned at this point (Megabase 2008).

Page 253, Game 161 (Tratar – Sveshnikov 1999)
Comment to 17...b4:
"17...Bc5+ 18.Kh1 [...] Qb6 19.fxe5 Nxe5 20.Nxh6 Kf8 21.Nf5±."
Here, 20.d4! (Fritz, Rybka) looks much stronger than 20.Nxh6.

Page 264, Game 168 (Chekhov – Spassky 1990)
Comment to 23...Rd8:
"23...Bb4 is not as good: 24.g4 Be7 25.gxh5 fxe5 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Qe4 and White is winning."
Yes, but after 24...Re7 (instead of 24...Be7), it is Black who is winning, not White. (Fritz, Rybka)

Page 265, Bibliography
The bibliography appears to be incomplete: the first author on the list is Bosch, the last is Matanovic. What about the second half of the alphabet? Surely the books by Watson on the English Opening should have been mentioned? (At least the authors refer to them quite frequently.) And also the books by Raetsky and Chetverik on the English Opening (1.c4 e5) and the Catalan should be on the list, as well as Palliser’s important and very good Beating Unusual Chess Openings, covering a few lines advocated by Donaldson and Hansen in quite some detail.

My list ends here, but it may not be complete: so far I have only looked at about 70% of the book in some detail. It remains to be seen whether the rest contains a similar bunch of ... well, let's say, 'errors'.

That’s many negative points. Any positive ones?

Well, the positive aspects of the book have been described elsewhere, here in the forum and in Stephen Ham’s review. The book does contain much valuable information; if only it had been better organised ...

A last point:

Black_Widow wrote on 02/09/08 at 11:29:07:
The introduction to the second edition really mislead me. [...]  It is also indicated that annotations by John Donaldson are indicated by (JD). I just found  once such an annotation in the book. So why is the remark then made in the introduction? Did he not read the second edition, or are not all his annotations put in the second edition. It only raises question marks.

Actually, at least four such annotations can be found in the book: on pages 81, 96, 126, and 256.

« Last Edit: 02/27/08 at 10:47:59 by Pessoa »  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #90 - 02/26/08 at 14:54:27
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Much has already been said about this book, and I have to agree to most of it, positive or negative. The comprehensive review by Stephen Ham (http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review619.pdf) is excellent, and most of the (reviewing) postings in this forum are useful.

Here I would like to address some points that, as far as I can see, haven’t been mentioned yet:

- Some of the games references in the annotations are not correct.  
- Some of the annotations to the games are incomprehensible without the help of a good database.
- In some of the annotations, moves are missing.
- And last, but not least: the annotations contain quite a few blunders.

(Yes, I know, I am only what – allegedly – Khalifman has called a "patzer with a pentium", and I also know that chess engines are sometimes not very good at assessing chess positions; but clear howlers [for examples see the list below] should have been detected and deleted by the authors. These days I think one can expect a certain level of accuracy in a chess book. So it appears that much of the analysis in the book has been copied from the first edition without checking the lines with a computer. True, in places one does find comments such as "my computer indicates", or "thanks Hiarcs", and obviously there the variations have been checked, but still many have not.)

FM Carsten Hansen wrote on 01/24/08 at 03:39:23:
I am open to all criticism, but as mentioned above, please let it be objective and relevant, and if you feel something could be done better, please be specific so that it can be corrected for future editions.

Thanks in advance for your input.  Smiley

Well, below I have listed some concrete points of criticism. The list has become rather long, and so I have to split it into two postings.

If you think some of my criticism is quibbling, keep in mind what the authors of the book have to say:

Page 92:
"Don’t trust everything you read!"

Page 126:
"In ECO, Taimanov claims that after 13.Bh6 [...] White had a slight advantage in the ending, as in Smyslov – Petrosian, USSR (ch) 1974. I (JD) have two points to make. First, Smyslov and Petrosian played in the USSR Cup in Moscow in 1974, not the Soviet Championship. Second, the game was drawn after [4 more moves]."

Alright then, let this be the benchmark …

(In the following, "Fritz" and "Rybka" refer to Fritz 11 and Rybka 2.3.2.a 32-bit.)

Page 27, Game 13 (Bojczuk – Gurevich 1993)
Comment to White’s 64. move:
"64.Bd1! [...]  Bb8 65.d5 Ke5 66.Bb3 g5, and now White wins Black’s bishop by 67.d6! Bxd6 68.f4+ gxf4 69.gxf4+ Kxf4 70.Nxd6, and White should win the endgame."
I wonder where the white win is after 70...Rc7.

Page 30, Game 16 (Maksimenko – Moskalenko 1995)
A fragment in the annotation to this game is quoted as "Donaldson – Agnos, Isle of Man 1997".
I assume this should read "Donaldson – Anagnostopoulos, Isle of Man 1997" (Megabase 2008).

Page 73, Game 46 (Larsen – Karpov 1975)
In a line given in the comment to Black’s 22. move, "24. Nc4" should read "24. Nc5". (Just a typo.)

Page 76, Game 48 (Alterman – Al Modiahki 1995)
In the comment to 19...Rb8 we read:
"The idea is that 20.Qxa7?! Ra8 [...] is very good for Black."
This is accompanied by some 20 lines of analysis of alternatives to Black’s 19. move. Then the game continues with 20.Rcb2. And now the – surprising – comment follows:
"Also, 20.Qxa7 can be considered."
What is this? 'Children, did you pay attention to what the teacher said a minute ago?'

Page 77, Game 48 (Alterman – Al Modiahki 1995)
Comment to 27...dxc4:
"27...Nd4! [...] 28.Qxd5 Be6 29.Rb7 [...] Qc8 30.Qa5 [...] Nxe2 31.Kh1 Qxc4 32.Qd2 Nxg3+ 33.hxg3 Qxa4, and with two pawns for the exchange in addition to a strong pair of bishops, Black has excellent winning chances."
This may be true, but in this line both Fritz and Rybka prefer the immediate and apparently stronger 30...Qxc4.

Page 83, Game 51 (Hickl – McNab 2002)
Comment to 10.Nd2:
"In his notes to another game, Ribli offers 10.Bg5 h5 11.Bd2 a5 12.cxd5 cxd5 [...]."
I assume this should read "10.Bg5 h6 [why should White play 11.Bd2 after 10...h5?] 11.Bd2 d5" etc, because the black a-pawn was played to a5 already on move 8, while on move 10 there is nothing on the d5-square to be captured by the white c-pawn.

Page 87, Game 53 (Seirawan – Winslow 1977)
Comment to 18.c5:
"18.Rd1!? +=".
Fritz and Rybka think that after 18.Rd1 Ng4! Black has some advantage.

Page 91, Game 57 (Kramnik – Polgar 1993)
Comment to 25...Rb6:
"25...Nf5 26.Bc5 Rc2 (this is better than Kramnik’s 26...Rd2, which is supposed to equalize, but loses to 27.Nd8 Nxd6 28.Nxe6 fxe6 29.Re7.) [...]"
In the line after 26...Rd2, Fritz and Rybka think that the position is equal after 27...Bf8 (instead of 27...Nxd6).

Page 92, Game 58 (Petrosian – Planinec 1973)
Comment to 8...c6:
"In Botvinnik – Boleslavsky, Soviet Team Ch 1967, White obtained the better chances after 8...Nbd7 9.Qc1 Re8 10.Ng5 Nf8 11.b4."
The comment is not very helpful, because at this point of Game 58, the move ...Re8 had already been played (on move 7). Boleslavsky played 6...c6 and 9...Re8, so it is true that a transposition is possible here, but for the comment to make sense it should read "In Botvinnik-Boleslavsky, Soviet Team Ch 1967, White obtained the better chances after 8...Nbd7 9.Qc1 c6 (!) 10.Ng5 Nf8 11.b4."

Page 95, Game 60 (Vaganian – Kasparov 1995)
Comment to White’s 27. move:
"On 27.Qxd7, Kasparov gives [...]"
Another typo. The move 27.Qxd7 is not possible here. The comment should read "On 27.Qxd4, [...]".

Page 99, Game 62 (Lirindzakis – Kotronias 1994)
The move "27.Ne1" gets no comment, but Fritz thinks that White had the stronger, and almost winning, 27.Nb6!

Page 118, Game 75 (Frias – Frois 1996)
"1. Nf3 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.c4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.0-0 d6
Black plays this move here, because he wants to meet 7.d4 by 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bd7. If he castled immediately, he wouldn’t have this option after 7.d4. On the other hand, the text loses some flexibility. Witness Illescas – Anand, Dos Hermanas 1996, which saw 7...0-0 8.Rb1 d5!"

A very confusing comment, if only we are not told what White played on move 7 in that game. In order to solve the puzzle, one has to look up the database to find that Illescas – Anand went 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.0-0 d6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.a3 0-0 8.Rb1 d5.
Then Game 75 continues:
"7.a3 a6 (7...0-0 8.Rb1 d5?! [...] Donaldson – D.Gurevich 1997)"
Note that in both games (Illescas – Anand; Donaldson – Gurevich) the same position was reached after 8.Rb1, but while there 8...d5 gets a "!", here it gets a "?!". Confused?

Page 120, Game 76 (Bagirov – Suetin 1962)
Comment to 38.Ra7:
"A necessary finesse, as the immediate capture on e7 fails to 38.Bxe7 Bxe7 39.Rxe7+ Kf6, winning a piece."
Well, no, after 40.Rd7 White does not lose a piece; instead, he wins a pawn. (But it is true that 38.Ra7 is better than 38.Bxe7.)

Page 127, Game 82 (Schmidt – Stempin 1988)
Comment to 20...Rd6:
"20...Bf5 21. Bxf7 Rxf7 22.Rxf7+ Kxf7 23.Rc7+ [sic] 24.Qh6 is carnage."
Apparently this implies that White is winning in this line. I have two points to make. First, what is Black’s 23. move? (It really is not given!) Second, assuming that Black plays 23...Kg8, Fritz thinks that, after 24.Qh6 Rxb2 25.Qxh7+ Kf8, it is Black who is close to winning, not White.

Page 127, Game 82 (Schmidt – Stempin 1988)
Comment to 25...Qf3:
"25...Rxb2 26.Qe3+ Kg7 (26...g5 27.h4) 27.Qd4+ Qf6 28.Rc7+."
Here, after 26...g5, admittedly 27.h4 wins, but 27.Rc5! (Fritz) is much, much stronger ...

Page 128, Game 83 (Andersson – Seirawan 1983)
The book gives the text move "15...Rfc8", which is also given by Megabase 2008. However, according to Palliser (Beating Unusual Chess Openings, p. 19) Black actually played 15...Rfb8. This makes much more sense, because if Black had played 15...Rfc8, White could have won an exchange with 22.Bb7 (instead of sacrificing one with 22.Rxb4.)

Page 130, Game 84 (Kaidanov – Ilinsky 1991)
The annotation to this game somehow creates the impression that after White’s 28. move ("this break brings all of White’s pieces into the game") Black’s position was beyond repair. But if you believe Fritz and Rybka, Black could have played much better than he did: after 33...Nf5 (instead of 33...Nd5), Black would even have had some advantage; and after 35...Bf7 (instead of 35...Nc3), the position would have been equal.

Page 133, Game 87 (Petursson – Emms 1996)
Comment on 14.Bxf4:
"As Petursson points out in ChessBase Magazine, this position was reached with colors reversed in Korchnoi – Matulovic, Sarajevo 1969. White can also consider 14.gxf4!? to eliminate this possibility."
What possibility, please? – The answer is (almost!) given in the comment to the next move ...

Page 133, Game 87 (Petursson – Emms 1996)
Comment on 14...Rc8:
"Another possibility is 15.Qd2!? Ne6 16.Bxg5 Qxg5 ..."
Sorry? What was Black’s 14. move here? You have to guess it: 14...Bg5. (This, by the way, corresponds to the move played by Korchnoi in his game with Matulovic [i.e., he played 14.Bg4], hence 14...Bg5 was the "possibility" mentioned in the comment to 14.Bxf4.)

Page 135, Game 88 (Donaldson – Samsa 1995)
Comment to 10...Qd6:
In this comment, a subvariation surprisingly ends with the assessment "with compensation" – when material is equal (!) and Black is better (Fritz, Rybka).
In the same comment, in another line, the move "12...Bd7" gets a question mark, when 'objectively' (Fritz, Rybka) it is the best move on the board.

(to be continued ...)

« Last Edit: 02/27/08 at 10:11:18 by Pessoa »  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #89 - 02/24/08 at 21:30:32
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Being originally a e4 player, I used other sources, to find a path through the variation-jungle. And I am especially interested in the mixture reportoire from english with d4 openings. So it would have been a great help. Apart from finding where in the book some variations were discussed.

JonHecht wrote on 02/23/08 at 19:52:02:
To be honest, I think that an index of variations goes against the spirit of the book, which is understanding, rather than memorization.


Personally I think it is even worse. Because of a lack of index, major continuations are not discussed, and other games would not have been part of the book.

Besides, if Carsten would do one of his excellent reviews on this book, I think it would be one of his main comments on the book.
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #88 - 02/24/08 at 21:22:24
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This book was worth the price for me (for one thing it works pretty well as a lightly annotated collection of games played in a certain style) but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for a single source for a completel opening repertoire.

One major problem, as noted by a previous poster, is the strange apportionment of space to various lines.  On the one hand, you have almost 100 pages on what is essentially a not particularly promising line against Black ...e5 and kingside fianchetto defenses, and approximately 6 pages on ...d5 and ...c6 setups.  In my games with 1.Nf3, the latter actually occur at least several times as often as the former.  Moreover, the absence of any really good alternatives to transposing to Slav postions is one of the major defects in a Reti-style repertoire, and any book epousing a Reti approach against 1...d5 systems should take it seriously.

Another problem is that move-order issues are not given much attention.  A lot of the sample games use different move orders to get to the same position, but the advantages/disadvantages of various move orders are rarely discussed, and it is often unclear which move order Donaldson/Hansen are advocating.  This is troublesome in an area of opening theory teeming with move order finessess and unfavorable transpositions.

There are also a lot of omissions of viable (and sometimes even the best) moves for Black.  I realize the authors do not intend to provide ECO-type coverage of variations.  But in my opinion there are simply too many holes here, too many lines in which Black's best moves are either ingored or barely mentioned in passing without any serious analysis.

I don't want to overstate the problems.  In fact, all of the major lines in this book are probably playable, and this book does a good job of providing examples of how to succeed against inferior play.  There are a number of lines in which the theory is presented quite well, and there are some new recommendations in various places. If you are like me and already have a partal 1.Nf3 repertoire worked out and are mainly looking for some options or new ideas, then the book might be quite useful.   It's also not a bad little manual on positional play in a rather dry and technical style.  And I am all for avoiding heavy opening theory when possible.  

But when you are engaging in theory-avoidance, it is necessary to make pragamatic decisions about what lines you will avoid and why.  (E.g., "I'm not gonna play the Bayonet attack because it's too much work.  I'll play the Petrosian variation a la Palliser, which is reasonably promising and has much less theory, instead.") For those looking for a complete repertoire book, it should be understood that not quite half of this book contains detailed coverage of lines you probably won't see that often and in which Black has a number of ways to equalize.   (I really think that if you are going to spend so much space on a single opening structure such as KI set-ups and closely related set-ups for Black , you should be covering a more promising system.)  At the same time, the coverage of of the lines you may encounter more frequently is sometimes thin, incomplete, and not particularly persuasive from the aspect of modern opening theory.  If you are just looking for some options or new ideas this might be okay.  But if you are looking for a complete repertoire from one book, I wouldn't recommend it.  IMO, Nigel Davies does a better job of presenting a cogent, complete, move-order cognizant repertoire in his book.  And IMO you simply can't compare the coverage presented here with something like Richard Palliser's 1.d4 repertoire book, which iis several orders of magnitude better.

Just my opinion.
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #87 - 02/23/08 at 20:53:47
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Yes, I gave that point serious consideration before echoing the criticism of others, but how much easier the book would be to navigate if only this index was present.  Understanding is indeed the main aim of such a repertoire, but lets remember that it is an opening repertoire rather than a middlegame manual.  Even the oft-criticised Everyman books have an index of sorts at each chapter end, a basic courtesy not offered by this book.  I learnt chess (as White) for the first time using Tony Kosten's The Dynamic English, but I think I'd have been put off if it had no index.....when I tried the Nimzo Larsen attack, or Dunnington's Reti book, I would have struggled without the indices each of the books on those openings contained; are flank openings somehow not as deserving of thorough navigation just because they aren't as sharp as Sicilians?

Once again I should say that I think it looks like a very good book, and with my existing experience of the English Opening it isn't too foreign to me in terms of concepts, but I still feel an index should be present in all opening books, however rudimentary the index or indeed content of the book is.  I think my view on this is only compounded by the fact that the author reviews chess books so well, and so often, as to make one expect such a basic inclusion; I imagine John Watson might also feel that way, knowing his own pet hate of this omission with regard to the much-maligned Everyman system of indexing mentioned earlier.

I would imagine a trawl through the archives at Chess Cafe might even reveal Carsten Hansen making the same point about the work of another, and were that the case then I would have to assume he does indeed feel (as you do, Jon) that learning an opening by understanding it thoroughly negates the need for an index and memorisation, but even if I accepted this point (which I don't) I would still like to be able to refer to the book quickly by line and move when checking it against, say, a recent loss I'd suffered in one of my own games.

Oh well, this rant may well have outweighed the good intent I had when originally posting here, that being that I think the book is definitely a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in flank openings.  I'm certainly glad I own it despite my one criticism.

As a casual 'online' player without an ELO rating I very rarely comment on omissions of coverage in a book as they rarely trouble me due to my being either unaware of them (!) or unconcerned by them (my opponents are more or less as ignorant as me).  For this reason it could perhaps be said that such a book is intended for a more sophisticated audience than me anyway (it even says as much in the introduction, i.e. that it is aimed at players from 2000 to 2400 USCF), but that won't stop me from using it if I like the lines.  Perhaps the point Jon makes is more relevant to players at that level?  
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #86 - 02/23/08 at 19:52:02
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To be honest, I think that an index of variations goes against the spirit of the book, which is understanding, rather than memorization.
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #85 - 02/23/08 at 16:15:03
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Seems a very interesting book - looks good apart from the shocking lack of an index.  I cannot understand this - Carsten writes good reviews of chess books and has doubtless critiqued hundreds in his time - I don't know why he was unable to add an index of variations to this book, something that is essential in every modern chess opening book, surely?!
  
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Re: A Strategic Opening Repertoire For White, 2nd ed
Reply #84 - 02/23/08 at 04:10:25
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Alright.. I'll check out the game when my copy arrives (order status: pending... sigh). Thx.



  

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