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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) C00-C19: COWE French - Holes and Opinions (Read 11757 times)
dom
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Re: COWE French - Holes and Opinions
Reply #3 - 09/30/09 at 09:16:44
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I don't own COWE but the "reverse color book"  COBE (Chess Opening for Black Explained).

I bought it for only ONE reason: because it's broad coverage of opening systems for Black and I expect fill some holes in my Black variations.

After reading it a little, I understand now what are pro and cons of such a book.

Pro: you can fill some holes and variations given can be good start for a work about specific lines

Cons: book is tailored only for specific lines you need to keep in memory...myself, I cannot use it, because I prefer general knowledge and other books are best for my way of learning. Compare with "GM experience books" like Watson,Moskalenko,Sveshnikov books about French and you feel a difference. With Dzin,Alburt,Pereshltein works I have bad feeling of learning separate tricky lines with no common general knowledge.

  

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Keano
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Re: COWE French - Holes and Opinions
Reply #2 - 09/30/09 at 08:58:22
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I have to congratulate you for posting your thoughts in the pgn file, good work - I will get around to answering dont worry. With regards to the chess some points I agree with and others not, and others I need to look at!

Regarding what you wrote in the post here, I disagree with most of it.
Watson starts off his review saying he bought the book because of good reviews, so I dont think you can say a large number of people all condemn the book. There were good reviews so Watson is the one trying to condemn it, and while he obviously put in a lot of effort finding holes the tone is not appropiate I believe
- "Before delving into its depressing contents..."
- "My prediction is that in his next book (hopefully not co-authored), the unassuming and deservedly popular Perelshteyn will free himself from others' bad habits and do a great job."
- so Watson thinks Perelshteyn is OK but that Dzindzi and Alburt are not up to writing good books!? Its here I became suspicious that there was more to this than met the eye, I suspect some kind of history between Watson and one of these guys - add to this that Watson went out of his way to buy a copy of the book himself and put so much effort into finding holes in the review and it all adds up. He has not a good thing to say about it, when in fact it is quite an inspiring book - I found some ideas which have been helpful to me in tournaments, so why not others? If I found the book beneficial then maybe there are others out there - of course there are omissions but any decent player can see this and plug the gaps, the point for me is to use it more as an ideas book - for example Watsons ....Nh6 idea personally doesnt bother me, what was wrong with Leko´s way with Bd3, Nf3? That seemed safe and solid. If you´re looking for a book like the Anand series or Marins works or Avrukh this is not it - its just a different kettle of fish entirely! Like I said before, a good book is one you get something out of.

By the way where is the Flear review?

I´ve not posted much in this forum for a while but as usual it seems I am the one disagreeing with everyone! Ah well...
  
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TN
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Re: COWE French - Holes and Opinions
Reply #1 - 09/30/09 at 05:42:01
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I have decided to place this post in reply to Keano here rather than in the 'Beating the Scotch Gambit?' thread as it is related to the French and not the Open Games.

Keano wrote on 09/28/09 at 12:40:46:
there are some gaps but to argue "dishonesty" is a big leap - more likely "lazy". On the bright side to make up for the gaps it has some interesting new ideas and a novelty in the Winawer that busts Black completely in the Bd2 line. Swings and roundabouts, a book with holes but very interesting ideas and some good analysis - trick is to pick and choose. Bottom line is it is an interesting book I´d recommend to any junior or improving player, promotes enthusiasm for the game and not the usual database dump stuff.


These gaps are usually in the main lines of the openings recommended in the book, and intentionally ignoring the best and most commonly played options for Black in the book deceives the reader by not considering the variations they are most likely to face in their own games. One of the main problems is that in nearly every chapter, the authors ignore some of the key options for Black, preferring to provide detailed analysis of variations which are not as relevant to the opening.

Whilst a few of the novelties in the book are good, the vast majority do not improve on the existing theory as analysis has shown. Given that the gaps are huge in DPA's coverage of the French Winawer, the Giuoco Piano, the Two Knights, The Grand Prix Attack, the Phillidor and the Pirc (amongst others), a very occasional decent novelty does not compensate for the incomplete nature of the repertoire and the second-rate lines recommend. Worse still, the authors claim that all of these second-rate lines offer White an advantage, which is dishonest in itself. If these lines did give White an advantage, they would be the main lines of the opening, not sidelines. About the novelty in the Winawer - the problem with that novelty is that nearly all Black players will avoid this line, and in the other lines of the 5.Bd2 Winawer, the authors' coverage is overall very weak, as my analysis in the pgn file shows.

Bottom line is that I don't recommend this book to any player. (I changed my mind since posting in the aforementioned thread.) I cannot see how a book which continually deceives the reader, offers second-rate variations in the repertoire (some even leading to =+!), fails to prove an advantage for White in any of the major openings and incorrectly claims that the book will give the reader 'a comprehensive, coherent and completely modern, competitive repertoire for White, without gaps in his understanding' can encourage a player and enthuse them, especially when the player finds themselves back to square one without a strong opening repertoire. The book may not be a database dump, but although an author cannot rely solely on databases, he/she cannot afford to not use a database either.

Keano wrote on 09/28/09 at 13:03:05:
Its not the Anand series, its an ideas book with some very good analysis thrown in. The Watson review is a complete hatchet job.

Versus the Philidor this line with dxe5 is the same one given by Khalifman and usually the main recommendation against this order, so I cant really see your point there. You made some other "bold statements" about the French which I´ll be happy to destroy or agree with depending on your analysis.


The Anand series is 13-14 books long, whilst this book is 548 pages long, with much larger font and far more diagrams than the Anand series. However, the book claims that 'Players of all strengths, from beginners to super-GMs, will profit from this book', so there is no excuse whatsoever for such basic omissions. I opine that there is not enough good analysis for the book to be of significant value.

I do not believe the Watson review to be a hatchet job at all:
  • Watson states that he believes Perelshteyn to be a good author overall, as shown by the following quote: 'My prediction is that in his next book (hopefully not co-authored), the unassuming and deservedly popular Perelshteyn will free himself from others' bad habits and do a great job.' That is the exact opposite of a hatchet job.
  • 'CIRC did something similar with the excellent book on the Pirc by Alburt and Chernin.' - again Watson is complimenting Alburt's previous works, so he is not trying to denigrate Alburt as a person.
  • I have read the first chapter of the book, and it is quite obvious, when comparing this chapter to the repertoire coverage, that the chapter is primarily a 'marketing spiel' as Watson claims.
  • Watson's criticism and analysis is accurate and is not nit-picking as the variations he finds the holes in are some of the key cornerstones of the advocated repertoire.

    You are right that the Phillidor with de5 is slightly better for White, I relied on my ECO C too blindly. However, the authors did not make any mention of 1...d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5/Nbd7, which is a major opening system for Black. This is extremely dishonest as it means that the repertoire is incomplete and fails to even mention one of Black's major opening systems on move 3. Shocked

    For the French, I have presented my analysis of COWE's variations in the pgn file. I will be interested to hear your comments on these lines.

    Keano wrote on 09/29/09 at 08:15:23:
    SWJediknight wrote on 09/28/09 at 20:26:31:
    Having seen the various opinions on that controversial book I get the impression that it's quite a good book for ideas at the club level, but dishonest in its evaluations and analysis and thus not a book that should be taken as gospel. 


    No book should be taken as gospel , all books have errors. I think this book is most helpful for 2300+ or candidate master players who recognize the gaps and appreciate the ideas, but I hate putting a level on books because it all depends on the person. Like all books if it gets you to think and look at things critically its a good book, if not it ends up on the shelf or is just duplicating the job of a database.


    The first part of your comment is correct - even the Grandmaster Repertoire is not flawless - but I disagree with the rest of the above post.

    I strongly believe that this book is counterproductive for 2200+ players because it teacher the player bad habits in studying the opening and will leave the player unprepared for the most common variations. Being a 2200+ player myself, I know that most of these ideas are second-rate and would only offer an equal position in the majority of encounters between 2200+ players (provided that the rating difference of the two players is less than 100 points), and these ideas can all be found in ECO or any basic book on the opening. I do not see what this book can offer a strong player as databases and chess periodicals are far superior sources for offering opening ideas to strong players and as I already stated, most of the novelties are not really improvements for White. Once a person realises how counterproductive the bookis, it is likely to just end up on the shelf. I hadn't looked at my copy of COWE for a year, until yesterday.

    Keano wrote on 09/29/09 at 11:57:53:
    The lines are not mainstream but there is a fair amount of theory, the weakness of the book is the gaps which means you have to plug in the missing bits. Also I dont like the recomendation against the Caro-Kann (although its solid) or the Sicilian (but here its personal - a well prepared player will do very well with this Grand Prix stuff, look at Gawaine Jones). Like I said before its an interesting book that goes against the mainstream, unduly hatcheted by Watson.

    Bottom line is if you dont like the book dont buy it, but dont go by the Watson review - have a look at the book yourself! From what I´ve seen here most people are going "based on what I saw in Watsons review" and have not read the book.


    In my eyes, the gaps are just one of several weaknesses of this book, as I showed above. Plugging in the missing bits takes a huge amount of work and still doesn't offer White any advantage with best play, so the reader would be much better off if he/she learned the best chess openings and fought for the advantage from move 1 instead of copping out with second-rate openings. I'm not saying that it is bad for a book to suggest second-rate openings, but in doing this, a good book on the system has to cover Black's best defences and be honest in its coverage (ie saying that the position is equal with best play). 'Win with the London System' and 'Play the Ruy Lopez' are two excellent examples of this honesty, which is partly what makes these such great books. And the book is not hatcheted by Watson, for the reasons I already stated.

    Since I have owned the book for 3 years now and studied it quite closely over these 3 years, I am not one of that majority. Wink I agree that one should not judge whether to buy a book on just one review, but when a large number of people all condemn a book, it is a very good sign not to buy the book. Having said that, Although he admits that the book contains holes, Flear praises the book, although I disagree with his review.

    Conclusion: The book 'Chess Openings for White Explained' by Alburt, Dzindzichashvili and Perelshteyn is a low-quality book which contains a large number of holes and gaps in its coverage, and the novelties given do not compensate for their dishonesty and lack of professionalism in their coverage and analysis. I cannot recommend this book to any chess player as the ideas are suboptimal and the repertoire cannot be relied on by any serious chess player.

    Rating: 1/10.
  

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TN
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C00-C19: COWE French - Holes and Opinions
09/30/09 at 04:36:06
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Unfortunately I just deleted my detailed post in answer to Keano; I will post the PGN file here and rewrite the post later.
« Last Edit: 07/24/11 at 08:40:49 by dom »  

Holes_in_COWE.pgn ( 20 KB | Downloads )

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