Book review: Zuke 'Em
The Colle-Zukertort RFevolutionized
by David Rudel
foreword by Aaron Summerscale
August 2011 (Second Edition)
$25.99 at Amazon.com
It is rare that one finds a book recommended by a grandmaster who has written on the same subject but Aaron Summerscale was so impressed by it that he contributed a foreword to this excellent treatise. It is even rarer that I find myself recommending a book on opening over one that I have written myself on the subject, but this book is a magnificent introduction to the opening that I refer to as the Rubenstein attack, though he calls it the Colle-Zukertort and uses the playful moniker Zuke ‘Em (bringing to mind Nuke ‘Em as White tries to blow up the kingside). It is true that Zukertort introduced this opening, but it has very little in common with the standard Colle attack because in that opening a pawn on C3 is far less effective than bishop on b2 used in the Rubenstein.
This book is not a massive collection of theory, but rather an explanatory volume that starts out with an in-depth discussion of the basic ideas of the opening and then discusses how to play against most of the available defensive formations. The author devotes the first chapters to the main variations where black plays d5 and develops as if it were a Queen's gambit. Then he moves on to popular systems where black develops the light squared bishop early in the game, followed by a treatment of the Slav formation. Then he moves on to the variations where black plays Nf6 on the first move and aims for a Queen's Indian, Benoni, or Gruenfeld defense. He does not treat a standard King's Indian formation as the Rubenstein is not a particularly effective weapon in that case. The author promises a forthcoming volume on that subject. He wraps things up by looking at reverse Queen's gambit formations and miscellaneous formations.
He doesn't stop there, but includes bonus chapters of extra analysis, training positions, and a rather useful index of new ideas. The only slight flaw I noticed in the book is in the indexing, as the page numbers in the table of contents are not accurate and the index of games is unfortunately missing entirely. This made it slightly difficult for me to review the book, as I was naturally interested on how he treated the games that I used as examples in my book on the Rubenstein attack.
The most useful aspect of this book is the meticulous care put into discussing move orders, which are critical for this opening. The basic strategy of the opening is quite simple, which is one of the appeals of the Rubenstein attack. However, one must be quite careful in that any inaccurate move order may allow black to the limit eliminate the powerful bishop on d3 and reduce White's attacking chances. The Stonewall formation employed by white cannot just be set up automatically. One must take into account blacks specific defensive formation and choose an appropriate strategy for White. For example, when Black. puts the Queen at c7 it is often a good idea for white to play Rc1 and c4. If the Queen goes elsewhere then this is not as effective.
The illustrated games are well-chosen and, the explanations are clear with lots of words favored over deeply analytical variations except in critical positions. The format employed by the author makes it extremely easy to learn this opening quite quickly and he has done a fantastic job of organizing the material so that it is easy to absorb. I present a few games to illustrate the appeal of the opening.
I give this book a full five stars despite the missing index and recommend it highly to anyone who is looking for a simple opening strategy for white. As usual, thinkers press has done a wonderful job in terms of layout and timeout remaining and the book is very easy on the eyes. Of course, if you are really interested in the opening. It wouldn't hurt to pick up my book alongside this volume but if you had to choose between the two. I would go with Mr. Rudel's book.