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Reviewed this Month How to Beat the Sicilian Defence by Gawain Jones Killer Grand Prix by Gawain Jones The Rossolimo Sicilian by Victor Bologan

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Experts on the Anti-Sicilian by Jacob Aagaard & John Shaw (ed.)

Anti-Sicilians & Anti-Anti-Sicilians

The main focus this month is on the Anti-Sicilians. Two openings that receive extra attention are the Grand Prix Attack and the Bb5 lines, whereas the Closed Sicilian barely gets any attention this time around. How to Beat the Sicilian Defence by Gawain Jones, Everyman Chess 2011, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Paperback, 350pp., $29.95 (ChessCafe Price $24.95) Grandmaster Gawain Jones is currently rated above 2600 and at the time of this writing shares the lead in this year's British Championship with Adams and Short after six rounds. I think I'm on reasonably safe ground when I say that England, more than any other country in the world, has produced grandmasters with a curious attachment to Anti-Sicilians. In this volume, the focus is principally on the Moscow Variation (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+) and the Rossolimo (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5). It also offers a repertoire choice for White against 2...e6 by recommending 3 d3, taking the play into the King's Indian Attack. The title of this book is quite similar to Nunn's classic books Beating the Sicilian where the lines were sharp choices for White against all Black main lines. Here, however, it is the sub-title "an anti-Sicilian repertoire for White" that has more relevance. The material is divided as follows:

The New Old Indian by Alexander Cherniaev & Eduard Prokuronov

Know the Terrain Vol. 2: The Capablanca Structure by Sam Collins

Rating Chart

Awful ­ Poor ­ Uneven ­ Good ­ Great ­ Excellent ­

Beating the Sicilian: A Grandmaster Repertoire Vol. 1 by Victor Bologan

Bibliography (1 page) Introduction (2 pages) Moscow Variation: 3...Nd7 (34 pages) Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 (22 pages) Moscow Variation: 3...Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Nxd7 (27 pages) The Hybrid Variation (32 pages) Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4 Bxc6 bxc6 (23 pages) Rossolimo Variation: 3...g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 (34 pages) Rossolimo Variation: 3...e6 (24 pages) Rossolimo Variation: Other Third Moves for Black (34 pages) King's Indian Attack with ...d5 (49 pages)

King's Indian Attack without ...d5 (38 pages) Other Second Moves for Black (22 pages) Index of Variations (3 pages) Index of Complete Games (2 pages)

Jones does not attempt to cover all aspects of each line and usually offers just one main continuation along with some minor alternatives. For instance, like Bologan in the book reviewed below, he only covers 4 Bxc6 against 3...g6, 3...e6, and 3...d6, which makes matters wonderfully uncomplicated and occasionally pleasantly simple, because you don't have to think too much through the opening phase, as you are already familiar with the standard plans. Jones offers a great deal of verbal explanations to support what is happening on the board, and this helps lower-rated readers reap the full benefits of this book. As the material is presented around main games with the theory weaved into the annotations, it makes for good and assimilable reading. He does a very good job of documenting why these lines can lead to problems for Black and why the moves are being played. He has also added a great deal of original analysis and some improvements over existing theory, which makes the book interesting for players of all levels. While I have played both of the Bb5 Sicilians as white with varying degrees of success, I felt that I learned a lot from reading this book and walked away from it with greater confidence in the opening, even despite Hillarp Persson's taunt in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian (see the review below). It is interesting to compare these two books, as in some cases Hillarp Persson makes the better point and in others it is Jones. Nevertheless, in many cases it simply means that the players fight from an even position and everything is still to be gained from better play and understanding. I enjoyed reading this book and I know others will as well. The lines are well chosen and the presentation excellent. For anyone looking for a weapon against the Sicilian, this book makes an excellent case for playing 3 Bb5 and the King's Indian Attack. My assessment of this book: Order How to Beat the Sicilian Defence by Gawain Jones

Killer Grand Prix (DVD) by Gawain Jones, Ginger GM 2011, Figurine Algebraic Notation, running time: 5 hours 30 minutes, $32.95 (ChessCafe Price $28.95) In 2008, Gawain Jones authored Starting Out: Sicilian Grand Prix Attack, which I favorably reviewed in my August 2008 column. This DVD targets the same audience and largely follows the same repertoire recommendations for White, with well-annotated complete games in this Anti-Sicilian. While Jones does not have the convincing screen presence as Simon Williams in his Killer DVDs, Jones does a very good job in the presentation of the various lines and alternatives. On a couple of occasions there are some technical hiccups, with Jones rattling off a variation and the screen not keeping pace, but it does not detract from the presentation. The material is divided as follows:

Part 1: Play From Beginning (4 segments) Part 2: 2...Nc6 3 f4 g6 (4 segments) Part 3: 2...d6 3 f4 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bb5+ (2 segments) Part 4: 2...e6 3 f4 d5 4 Nf3 (3 segments)

Part 5: 2...a6(3 segments) Part 6: 2...Nc6 3 Bb5 (4 segments) Part 7: Move Order Tricks and Important Side Lines (2 segments) Part 8: The McShane Big Clamp (2 segments) Part 9: A Quick Look at What White Should Do in All Situations & Conclusion (2 segments)

Overall, the presentation is pleasant, easy to understand and follow, and you get a genuinely good feeling about this opening. The games are all by Jones himself as white, which vouches for the presenter's faith in the system; one he has continued to play even after becoming a strong grandmaster. As an introductory volume, this DVD will serve you excellently and it will alert you to White's possibilities in this opening. Not everything is covered; for example, the line offered by Avrukh in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian, but the complications in that line do not favor one side or the other. The fact that countless opponents have prepared for this opening when facing Jones and still lost, in some cases spectacularly, bears witness to the many pitfalls that await Black. However, the presentation is rather one-sided; a clear prejudice for White is obvious. So viewers may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that this is the panacea to the Sicilian. It isn't, even if it is rather dangerous. One thing that struck me as slightly odd was the footage between segments. It shows grandmaster Williams and others playing blitz games while enjoying beer at the pub. While that is rather common in the British Isles, it is quite uncommon in the U.S. and I would imagine in many other countries. The fact that the person behind the camera occasionally zooms in on the pints and their contents seems even more curious. I enjoyed watching this DVD. It is instructive and informative, and I'm sure it will find a decent-sized audience. It is designed to run on all platforms: PC, MAC, Game Consoles, and set top boxes, etc. My assessment of this DVD: Order Killer Grand Prix by Gawain Jones

The Rossolimo Sicilian by Victor Bologan, New In Chess 2011, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Paperback, 238pp., $24.95 (ChessCafe Price $19.95) Grandmaster Victor Bologan hails from Moldova where he was coached by the now legendary Viacheslav Chebanenko. In one of his previous works, Bologan wrote about the Chebanenko Slav, which has been tremendously popular. Chebanenko also did some pioneering work in the Rossolimo Sicilian, and developed strategies around an early exchange on c6, even if unprovoked by Black. In this book, Bologan tells us about the varying opinions on this approach, and even admits that, after initially having very good practical results with it, he himself started to lose faith in the line. However, because of his work on the present book he once again became convinced that Black faces problems. Bologan even goes so far as to state that "Black faces very difficult problems, and it is hard for him to achieve equality." And this statement comes after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 Bxc6 +, which is probably the least dangerous version of the exchange for Black. That should bode well for prospective white players in this line. The material is divided as follows:

Introduction (4 pages) Secondary Moves (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5) (20 pages)

Black Plays 3...Nf6 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6) (10 pages) White Exchanges after 3...d6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 Bxc6) (24 pages) White Castles after 3...d6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 0-0) (18 pages) Spanish-Type Play: 7...b5 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 0-0 Bd7 5 Re1 Nf6 6 c3 a6 7 Ba4 b5) (16 pages) White Castles after 3...e6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0) (12 pages) Black Develops First: 7...Bb7 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 Nge7 5 c3 a6 6 Ba4 b5 7 Bc2 Bb7) (16 pages) The Direct Exchange 4 Bxc6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 Bxc6) (8 pages) Posing Problems: 6 Qe2 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 Bxc6 bxc6 5 d3 Ne7 6 Qe2) (14 pages) Other Sixth Moves for White (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 Bxc6 bxc6 5 d3 Ne7) (10 pages) The Fianchetto with 4...bxc6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 bxc6) (12 pages) The Fianchetto with 4...dxc6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6) (10 pages) Black Plays 4...dxc6 and 6...Nf6 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 h3 Bg7 6 d3 Nf6) (18 pages) The Immediate 7 0-0 (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 h3 Bg7 6 d3 Nf6 7 0-0) (10 pages) What Would You Play? Index of Players (12 pages) New In Chess Code System (2 pages) Index of Variations (8 pages)

The production comes off as very pleasant; the pages are not cluttered with analysis and there is a good ratio of prose to analysis and game references to diagrams. In comparison to the material in Experts on the Anti-Sicilian (reviewed below), Bologan's work compares well; not only did he go into more details, he also proved advantages for White in lines where Tiger Hillarp Persson claimed decent play for Black. This shows that not everything is as simple as we would like it. Bologan has quite carefully selected some key examples of play to use as his main lines, and then offers alternatives when needed, such as when there is an opportunity to sharpen or slow down the pace of the game. He also covers some of the lines that on the surface look attractive, but ultimately lead nowhere or into troubled waters. Similarly, Bologan adds a fair amount of his own analysis and ideas, though unlike the books from Quality Chess, where the novelties are clearly marked, here they are just offered as a natural part of the process, so you are not entirely sure how much is vintage Bologan and which lines are just established facts. In addition to the theoretical presentation, there is a short biography on Nicholas Rossolimo and a number of quality photographs of the players, which is unusual for chess opening books. Interestingly, back when his home country was part of the Soviet Union, Bologan was unaware that the variation carried Rossolimo's name. Overall, I found this book to be excellent. It is easy to read and provides good coverage with plenty of original input. Furthermore, it is inspiring to go through. This, in my opinion, is the trademark of a really good book, because it lets the reader take the helm of the opening in question and steer it until the presentation ends. On the slightly negative side, Bologan is a very strong player and sometimes forgets that many of his potential buyers are below master level, so they will not necessarily understand all of his conclusions and lines that are unsupported by prose. Thus, the Bologan book may appeal to stronger players, while I would recommend Jones's book to lower-rated players, because it covers a whole repertoire against the Sicilian, not just 2...Nc6.

My assessment of this book: Order The Rossolimo Sicilian by Victor Bologan

Experts on the Anti-Sicilian by Jacob Aagaard & John Shaw (ed.), Quality Chess 2011, Figurine Algebraic Notation, Paperback, 440pp., $29.95 (ChessCafe Price $25.95) Back in 2004, Quality Chess jumped into the chess publishing scene with a bang when they published Mihail Marin's classic Learn from the Legends and Experts vs. the Sicilian. The latter featured multiple authors, each an authority on the subject, covering different lines of an opening, with IMs Aagard and Shaw as editors. This time around, Aagaard and Shaw, now both grandmasters, have assembled an even stronger line-up than last time. Let's take a look:

Key to Symbols used (1 page) Introduction (2 pages) Boris Avrukh ­ 3...e6 versus the Grand Prix Attack (14 pages) Jacob Aagard ­ A Classical Repertoire against 2 c3 (49 pages) Tiger Hillarp-Persson ­ Beating 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 with 3...d6 (32 pages) Tiger Hillarp-Persson ­ Beating 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ with 3...Nd7! (18 pages) Andrew Greet ­ Moscow Variation with 5 c4 (32 pages) Christian Bauer ­ 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bc4 (42 pages) Christian Bauer ­ 2 Nf3 d6 3 c3 Nf6 4 h3 - ...g6-lines (19 pages) Christian Bauer ­ 2 Nf3 d6 3 c3 Nf6 4 h3 Nc6 (13 pages) Christian Bauer ­ 2 Nf3 d6 3 c3 Nf6 4 h3 ­ Rare Lines (20 pages) Christian Bauer ­ King's Indian Attack (30 pages) Christian Bauer ­ 2 Nf3 e6 3 c3 d5 4 e5 d4 (33 pages) Milos Pavlovic ­ A 10-minute repertoire against the Closed Sicilian (8 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ Tiviakov Grand Prix (8 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 3...Nd4 ­ Early Deviations (11 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 g6 (15 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nf3 ­ Minor Lines (9 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nf3 ­ 5...Nf6 6 0-0 (13 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nge2 ­ 5...Qc7 (2 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nge2 ­ 5...Nf6 6 0-0 a6 7 a4 (10 pages) Matthieu Cornette ­ 4 Bc4 e6 5 Nge2 ­ 5...Nf6 6 0-0 a6 7 d3 (13 pages) Colin McNab ­ Beating 2 a3 with 2...g6 (4 pages) Colin McNab ­ Beating 2 f4 with 2...d5 (11 pages) Colin McNab ­ Beating 5 f3 with 5...e5 (8 pages) John Shaw ­ 2 d3 ­ A Black Repertoire (7 pages) Peter Heine Nielsen ­ Beating 2 b3 with 2...g6 (9 pages)

There are many positive observations I can make about the above, but let's start with a few minor quibbles:

The strange fact that there is a chapter on 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 (by definition an Open Sicilian) 4...Nf6 5 f3. That 4 Qxd4 is covered under the move order 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 d6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Qxd4, which isn't so obvious unless you know it is there. That Neilsen's chapter on 2 b3 should have had some coverage of lines such as 2 Nf3 e6 3 b3, particularly because the line recommended by Nielsen would not work after 2 Nf3 e6 3 b3.

That so many chapters are devoted to the line that they call the Tiviakov Grand Prix: 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5. That fifty-two pages are devoted to the coverage of the rather innocuous 2 Nf3 d6 3 c3 Nf6 4 h3, with no specific mention of the Kopec Variation, or 4 Be2, or even GM Davies' sneaky recommendation of 4 d3 to enter the King's Indian Attack without allowing the majority of Black's most critical replies.

That said, this book is a genuinely fine catalog of ideas on how to handle the various Anti-Sicilians. Some of the recommendations are solid, effective equalizers; whereas others are dynamic and challenging. One such of the latter is Avrukh's new idea: 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 f4 e6 4 Nf3 d5 5 Bb5 Nge7 6 exd5 exd5 7 Qe2 f6!?.

[FEN "r1bqkb1r/pp2n1pp/2n2p2/1Bpp4/5P2/ 2N2N2/PPPPQ1PP/R1B1K2R w KQkq - 0 8"]

This amazing and surprising move isn't mentioned by Jones in either his book or DVD. I will award a handful of bonus points to anyone who understands the logic behind it without having read the chapter first. Black intends to play 8...Kf7! to get out of both pins; e.g., 8 d4 Kf7! 9 dxc5 Nf5 (at this juncture an incorrect diagram is shown) 10 Nxd5 Be6 11 Bxc6 bxc6 12 Nc3 Bxc5 13 Bd2 Rb8 14 0-0-0 Qa5, and it soon became apparent that Black has more than enough for the pawn. Also playful and provocative is Peter Heine Nielsen's 2 b3 g6!?

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pp1ppp1p/6p1/2p5/4P3/1P6/ P1PP1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 3"]

With continuations like 3 Bb2 Nf6 4 Qf3Bg7 5 e5 Ng8 6 e6 Nf6, or 4...Nc6 5 e5 Nh5!?, or 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 e5 Nh5!. Not all the recommendations are so startling, however. There are many more mundane lines, such as the ones given against 2 c3 and the Rossolimo Variations. These lines may be more "mainstream" but a massive amount of work has still gone into these chapters. With regard to Hillarp-Persson's coverage of 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ he writes as follows: "The are three main types of players that launch the bishop to b5 in this position: "1. Those who are more afraid of losing a game than they are to win one and;

"2. Those who are more afraid of losing a game than they are to win one; "And you can guess the third type yourself. "Once ­ in a weak moment ­ against Tiviakov, I played this very move myself and was completely outplayed. It is in my opinion that with White you should try to win and I was already psychologically lost after my third move. I knew that deep down I did not want to win!" His response is to play somewhat provocatively as black, luring White out of his shell to battle for the initiative rather than modestly maneuvering behind drawn battle lines. Interestingly, the approach he recommends is the one chosen by Tiviakov in the aforementioned game. However, Tiviakov is in good company, as it has been played by Topalov, Volokitin, and others as well. In IM Greet's chapter on the Moscow Variation with 5 c4, it is a little strange that he dismisses 5 0-0 with the following comment: "5 0-0 is a different subject and will not be covered here. I consider the latter to be less challenging, and a review of recent games in that line has not provided me with any reason to change my opinion." This is quite possibly an accurate assessment, but it is hardly fair to leave the reader entirely on their own without any kind of guidance from the contributor on this subject. He could at least have offered one indication of where he would want Black to go: should he play a line with ...g6, or with ... e6, or perhaps something entirely different. The Closed Sicilian, 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3, usually followed by 4 Bg2, 5 d3, and 6 Be3 is still quite popular on a club level and should have been given greater coverage. While decent and to the point, Pavlovic's "10-Minute Repertoire against the Closed Sicilian" seems a little arrogant and the coverage quite brief. In comparison with the other chapters, it is clearly the most breezy and least in-depth of all the lines. Overall, I am impressed with the amount of work that has gone into this book, as well as with the ideas presented by the individual contributors. Though the material is quite demanding of prospective black players, particularly in the more provocative lines. The emphasis is on lines that challenge White to go outside his comfort zone. However, to do that requires a lot of memorization of lines by Black; whereas the amount of explanatory prose about key ideas and strategical themes is limited. The immense diversity in types of positions and style of play for Black, requires a deep level of understanding. So, with that in mind, I would say that the reader should at least be rated 2000-2200 in order to get the most out of it. This book is also available as a hardcover edition.

My assessment of this book: Order Experts on the Anti-Sicilian by Jacob Aagaard & John Shaw (ed.)

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