Book review: ZUKA

Book review: ZUKA

| 5 | Opening Theory

Fight the King's Indian, Gruenfeld, and Dutch defenses with ZUKA by David Rude.
Thinker's press, Inc. 2012, Davenport, IA.

44e0 pages, ISBN: space 101888710-63-2

$29.95 at Amazon:
This book is the companion volume to David Rudel's ZUKE-em, a book advocating the Rubenstein attack against most Queen pawn defenses. Since that approach is known to be less successful against the King's Indian, Gruenfeld, and Dutch defenses he provides this thorough accompaniment offering suggested approaches to those openings.

Against the King's Indian he offers an approach similar to the classical variation except that white puts the pawn on e3 instead of e4. As usual, his approach is quite well and well organized. Having wrestled with the same question myself, I don't fully agree with his choice but he makes a reasonable case for it. In many lines white will push the pawn to e4 later in the opening though this does amount to a loss of time. The point is that the pawn is less vulnerable on the more modest square and that Black's counterplay is therefore limited.

Against the Gruenfeld defense he offers two approaches, the main offering being "the sneaky Gruenfeld" which involves holding back the development of the Queen's knight and bringing out the King's knight instead so that in the standard exchange variation black will not have the option of capturing the Queen's night. This is an interesting approach and one which deserves serious consideration. He also discusses the option of the closed Gruenfeld which brings out the King's night first and then plays e3. I have less confidence in this though I have played it frequently aiming for a reversed Iraq's defense. My results have been spectacularly poor with this opening.

Similarly, against the Benoni, he gives a formation with the pawn at e3. I have often recommended this to my students. The book covers various other black openings including the Old Indian so that the two volumes taken together provide a complete repertoire.

Perhaps the most questionable part of the repertoire is the "Dangerfield attack" against the Dutch defense. He gives the opening this name because it gets no respect in the literature, but then again it may not deserve much. Stationing the Queens Bishop at f4 early in the game is not a very popular choice.

1.d4 f5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 is a rare bird indeed. In my database of over 5 million games, white and black each have about hundred and 50 victories, a similar number of losses, with about 100 games drawn. That is not a very impressive result.
The book is a model of what an opening book should be. The analysis is presented clearly in two sections. In the first we are introduced to the critical minds and the thinking behind the choices. At the end of the book there is a section of deeper analysis for those who want to get down and dirty with variations. In addition there are many exercises that will help you absorb the key tactical and positional points of the openings covered.

As before, a five-star effort of interesting approaches against the Indian defenses. Highly recommended for all levels of players.

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