|Title: Experts vs. the
||Author: Aagaard & Shaw
|Publisher: Quality Chess
|Price: € 23,99
|Reviewed by: Erik
||Date: 3/1 2005
Experts vs. the Sicilian
Some chess books is based on a fine idea that makes them interesting to read. Some are well made due to hard dedicated work by the author. Many books has neither of these qualities, and only very few chess books are based on both an extraordinary idea as well as dedicated work by the authors. Experts vs. the Sicilian is such a
- The Najdorf by Thomas Luther (33 pages)
- The Dragon by Mikhail Golubev (48 pages)
- The Sveshnikov by Jacob Aagaard (21 pages)
- The Classical Sicilian by Peter Wells (37 pages)
- The Kan and Taimanov by Sune Berg Hansen (40 pages)
- The Accelerated Dragon by Peter Heine Nielsen (11 pages)
- The Scheveningen by Viktor Gavrikov (20 pages)
- The Kalashnikov by Jan Pinski (9 pages)
- The Four Knights by Alexander Raetsky (8 pages)
- The Pin Variation by Jacob Aagaard (12 pages)
- The Nimzowitsch Variation by Jacob Aagaard (16 pages)
- Minor Lines by John Shaw (16 pages)
- 5th move alternatives by Jacob Aagaard (6 pages)
The idea making a book giving a theoretically viable repertoire against the Sicilian is of course borrowed directly from John
Nunn's brilliant "Beating the Sicilian". It is now 10 years since the last (third) edition was made, and therefore the effort by Aagaard and Shaw to take up this idea is most appropriate. And making different expert write a chapter each is simply a
The players writing about the different Black systems are really experts in the sense that they have either long experience playing these (as Black!) or have written books about the subject. This adds considerably to the credibility of the analysis and evaluations.
Obviously not all chapters are of equal value and quality. A few authors seem to have taken their contribution less serious than the rest, but in general the level is very high, with a very up to date coverage (many 2004 games) and novel ideas as well.
The approach by Golubev (9.0-0-0 Dragon), Wells (6.Bg5 Classical), Gavrikov (Keres Attack Scheveningen) and to some extend Aagaard in his chapters are mainly focused on the concrete variations themselves. Very well made, but demanding a lot of work by the reader.
Nielsen and Sune Berg Hansen are on the other hand putting much more emphasis on the relation between positional themes and the theoretical variations. Of course this has to a large extent to do with the nature of the different lines, but in my opinion the Accelerated Dragon and Kan/Taimanov chapters are by far the best from an educational and practical point of view. Both the Maroczy setup, and definitely the Be3, Bd3 setup against the Taimanov is going to see a raise in popularity from now on, if this book gets the attention it deserves.
Print and Binding
The only real point of criticism I will raise against this book, is the print and binding. It is very understandable that a new publisher, as Quality Chess Europe, is trying to minimise the cost of printing, but here the result is counterproductive, I am afraid. The diagrams are too bright, the binding too stiff, making it hard to read comfortably and leave the book open on the table. It simply lacks the
"feel good" experience for hand and eye one is getting used to in (chess) books these days.
Nielsen trusts his own Recommendations!
While writing the final parts of this review I could follow the game Peter Heine Nielsen – Kjetil A. Lie live on the internet from the sixth round of the strong GM-tournament in Drammen, Norway. Nielsen showed to us all that he trusts his own recommendations, and to Lie that he in particular made a very bad decision not to get hold of a copy of this book!
1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 O-O 6.Be2 c5 7.O-O cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.Nc2
This system of avoiding the exchange of Knights is what Nielsen endorses in his chapter on the Maroczy.
9…Nd7 10. Bd2 Nc5 11. b4 Ne6 12. Rc1 Ned4 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 14. Be3 Nxe2+ 15. Qxe2 b6
Here Nielsen writes in the book (p.193): "The Bishop pair is not a major factor here. White can easily exchange the dark squared bishops and Black lacks a way of creating counter play. White has a huge
16. Rfd1 Bb7 17. Bd4
The first new move and more a sign of desperation than preparation! Now Black loses a pawn and slowly the game. Nielsen’s main game Aronian-Vorobiov, 2004 continued 17…Bxd4 (17…f6!? Nielsen) 18.Rxd4 Qc7 19.h4 with a large advantage to White.
18. Bxg7 Kxg7 19. e5! Qe8 20. exd6 exd6 21. Qxe8 Rfxe8 22. Nb5 Re2 23. Nxd6 Rb8 24. Re1 Rxe1+ 25. Rxe1 Kf8 26. Nxb7 Rxb7 27. Kf1 Rd7 28. Ke2 Rd4 29. Rc1 f5 30. Ke3 Re4+ 31. Kd3 Ke7 32. f3 Re6 33. Rc2 Kd7 34. Re2 Rf6 35. Kc3 Rf7 36. a4 Kc7 37. b5 Rd7 38. h4 Kb7 39. Kb4 a5+ 40. Kc3 Rc7 41. Re5 Rf7 42. f4 Kc7 43. Re6 Rd7 44. Rc6+ Kb7 45. Rf6 Re7 46. h5 Re4 47. Rf7+ Kb8 48. h6 Rxf4 49. Rxh7 Rh4 50. g3 Rh3 51. Kd4 1-0
Finally players willing to enter the labyrinths of the Open Sicilians get a book to refer to and get clear trustworthy guidance with both theoretically critical and positional sound lines. Not all chapters are of equal quality, but some are simply superb!
Highly recommended from ELO 1800 and up. One of the best opening books I have seen in the past years.