The Chameleon Variation
Paperback, 160 pages, Russell Publishing
In 1982, the late Ken Smith’s publishing house Chess Digest published the first edition of Andy Soltis’ small monograph Beating the Sicilian, The Chameleon Variation. It was well received and a second edition came out in 1990. It proposed a very flexible way for White to handle the Sicilian Defense using the move order 1.e4, 2.Nc3 and 3.Nge2. It kept most of White’s options open and allowed White to lure Black into unfamiliar territory.
The Sicilian jungle is vast. Unless you have a massive amount of time on your hands, it is an exhausting task to keep a sharp opening repertoire together against Black’s numerous possibilities. It does not mean that it is impossible, nor does it mean that you shouldn’t do it. But for the average player with an average amount of time available for chess studies, it is important to pick the right battles. This is where our weapon, the Chameleon Sicilian, comes in handy.
Would you be interested in possibly tricking Black into playing something he would otherwise not be inclined to play? That’s where the Chameleon is useful!
Aside from its flexibility, the greatest strength of this opening is that it is so relatively unexplored. For some of the sub-variations, the author has used most of the master games that he could find; for other lines, only the most relevant games. In any case, there are plenty of opportunities to explore further and find ideas of your own. This is fertile ground and your seeds could well sprout to become new branches of theory.
Danish FIDE Master and FIDE Trainer, Carsten Hansen is a recognized opening specialist who has authored numerous books on all phases of the royal game. His recent books cover the Sicilian Najdorf, the Queen’s Indian Defense and the main line Ruy Lopez.
Understanding the Sicilian by Mikhail Golubev
Paperback, 240 pages, Gambit Publishing
Mikhail Golubev has played the Sicilian as Black and White for the whole of his chess career, specializing in the sharpest and most aggressive systems. Here he presents the whole undiluted truth – as best he sees it – about this most popular and cut-throat of openings.
The quality of the games is striking. Even the list of opponents in junior tournaments features Kramnik and Shirov, while more recent opponents include Ponomariov and Svidler. Ivanchuk’s extraordinary ideas crop up repeatedly. But we also see Golubev facing more ‘normal’ opposition, where as the higher-rated player the top priority was to create winning opportunities.
There is much to learn from Golubev’s honest ‘warts and all’ presentation. We see the process of discovery and experimentation, and develop a feel for the spirit of the Sicilian. There is a wealth of original analysis (all scrupulously computer-checked), novelties and strategic guidance. For Dragon, Sozin/Najdorf and Velimirović players in particular, this book is an absolute must-read, but Anti-Sicilian and Taimanov players are among those who must also watch out. All Sicilian lines are covered, with the exception of those that have never occurred in the more than 440 Sicilian games from Golubev’s professional career.
Mikhail Golubev is a grandmaster from Odessa, Ukraine. He is a noted expert in several opening systems, including the King’s Indian and the Dragon. His previous book for Gambit, Understanding the King’s Indian, has been praised for the quantity and quality of its original analysis, and for Golubev’s objectivity in identifying the critical lines.
Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.
ISBN (13 digits): 978-1-911465-10-2, Gambit Publications
Understanding the Scandinavian by Sergey Kasparov
Paperback, 176 pages
The appeal of the Scandinavian Defence is easy to understand: it is very forcing – Black is virtually guaranteed to get his desired structure. There are no annoying ‘Anti-Scandinavians’ to study!
But for many decades the Scandinavian was regarded with some suspicion, as Black apparently loses time recapturing on d5. Modern players have a different view. The great Danish player Bent Larsen kickstarted the revolution with his provocative assertion that it is an improved Caro-Kann (and, not least, beating Karpov with our opening)! But the 21st-century Scandinavian is a different beast altogether; the new main line of the whole opening (3...Qd6) has proven to have great strategic richness, with more than a few tactical tricks lurking just behind the scenes. The Scandinavian has been transformed into an opening that strong grandmasters are willing to use as their main defence, rather than as an occasional surprise weapon.
This thoroughly modern guide focuses on these new approaches, while also covering the more traditional main lines. Kasparov guides the reader carefully through each system, explaining his recommendations with wit and clarity. With his help, you will have your opponents wishing there really were some ‘Anti-Scandinavian’ lines!
Sergey Kasparov is a grandmaster from Belarus. He plays regularly in international events around the globe and is an experienced writer, with several books and online reports to his credit.
ISBN (13 digits): 978-1-910093-65-8, Gambit Publications
How to Beat the Open Games by Sverre Johnsen
The Open Games (those beginning 1 e4 e5) are now more topical than ever, featuring in a high proportion of elite-level games. This new user-friendly guide offers players of all levels a carefully worked-out repertoire, taking into account this wealth of new material.
Noted opening writer Sverre Johnsen has also taken a critical look at the more traditional Open Games, where theory is often based on old or obscure games. Making extensive use of modern computer engines, he has overturned ancient assessments and found new paths that breathe fresh life into positions long thought to be resolved. It is striking how often in his lines Black is able to seize the initiative.
- A full repertoire for Black with 1 e4 e5 when White avoid the Ruy Lopez
- ...Bc5 and ...Nf6 systems both fully covered after 3 Bc4
- Each chapter starts with a ‘Memorable Game’ to inspire and set the scene
Johnsen has chosen sound lines that are likely to surprise opponents and deny them the type of game they are seeking. He has deeply researched correspondence sources and recent books on the Open Games, and employs similar methods to those that made his earlier opening works so popular among club-level players.
Sverre Johnsen is a chess analyst, researcher, organizer, trainer and writer from Norway. He is co-author of Win with the London System and Win with the Stonewall Dutch, two of the best-selling openings books of recent years.
ISBN (13 digits): 978-1-911465-23-2, 256 pages, Paperback, Gambit Publications
Sabotaging the Sicilian
Paperback, 144 pages, Russell Publishing
With 2.b3, club players will have one more weapon to battle Black. And, like it or not, Black will be compelled to do deal with the queenside fianchetto factor.
Paperback, 261 pages, Quality Chess
Tacticmania is a puzzle book with a difference. Grandmaster Glenn Flear makes sure the puzzles are unfamiliar to the reader by selecting them only from games played by himself or his wife Christine. The puzzles start at a moderate level then get steadily more difficult. The reader will be challenged by the puzzles and entertained by the mange-style illustrations that feature throughout.
Glenn Flear is a respected grandmaster, author and coach. Early in his career, Glenn achieved one of the greatest-ever chess surprises when, as a last minute substitute, he won the London 1986 tournament ahead of a host of famous players. Glenn and Christine married during this event! Christine is a five-time French Women's Champion and their son James, a computer artist, created the illustrations.
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