I review "Fighting the Anti-King's Indians"

Oct 6, 2008, 2:07 PM |

Hello chess friends, ever get tired of those annoying non-mainline d4 openings? They're lame, they suck all the enjoyment out of chess, but damnit they're popular!

To all those who don't have the slightest clue what to do against these systems, I have the book for you! I've gone through a few of these sorts of manuals, and I can heartily say that this is the best of the lot. You will never have to worry about non-mainline d4 openings again! The only catch is you have to play fiancetto systems against d4...

I myself am a benko gambit fan, so this book fits my needs perfectly. Anyone who plays the king's indian, grunfeld, benoni, or benko against d4 should pickĀ  up this book right now. The book is 206 pages long and seperated into chapters based on opening. The openings covered are as follows:

Chapter 1: The Trompowsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5)

-Yelena comes right out and says this is the best of the non-mainline d4 openings. If white wants to have an advantage and not play 2.c4 this is the way to go. She suggest 2...c5! (the exclamation is hers) and gives oodles of analysis. This is the longest section in the book and the evaluation is that black is equal in all the most critical lines. Good for us!

Chapter 2: The Veresov (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5)

-I've encountered this opening many many times in blitz but I didnt know what it was. My opponent would play 2.Nc3 and I would say "well thats stupid!" and roll my eyes. For fans of the classical french defence (like me!) we can play 3...e6 and get one of our french systems, but for the rest of you Yelena gives some nice suggestions and black is AT LEAST equal in all critical lines.

Chapter 3: The Barry Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4)

-This one's like the Veresov only white is less flexible and doesnt try to get e4 in. At the end of it all the evaluation runs about equal, so black has nothing to worry about in this system either.

Chapter 4: The London System (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4)

-Everybody hates the london system because so many people play it and it's the pinnacle of passive! White can just play the same thing each and every game, turning his or her brain on autopilot until it wakes up, realizes its slightly worse and promptly offers a draw. There's some exciting chess folks! Black has nothing to worry about here, but if he wants more than a draw he has to find play against white's solid setup. Luckily Yelena shows us how to do just that!

Chapter 5: The Torre Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5)

-The torre is another respectable try for an advantage (like the trompowsky). White develops more actively than in other systems and play can get very complex. Luckily black can get good play, but certainly not without some risk and some complications. Very interesting chess in this chapter.

Chapter 6: The Colle System (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3)

-The colle is much better against 2...e6 than 2...g6 so black has no problems. This systems is almost strictly worse than the london system because black's dark squared bishop is hemmed in. Black can apply excellent pressure and white is basically passive...hoping for a draw!

Chapter 7: Kingside Fiancetto vs. King's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6)

-This chapter covers systems wherein white forgoes c4. This chapter is mainly for players of the king's indian, as she recommends a quick e5. Benko/benoni players will be more inclined to play a quick c5, and grunfeld players will be more inclined to play a quick d5. The play in this chapter is generally very slow and positional, but not at all dangeous for black if he knows his stuff.

Chapter 8: Kingside Fiancetto vs. Grunfeld (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d5)

-This is similar to the last chapter, only from the point of view of a grunfeld player.

Chapter 9: The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4)

-Strictly speaking this opening is crap and Yelena shows us why. Black gets a nice plus in all lines. She recommends taking on d4 with the knight (transposing to the Hubsch Gambit) as it simplifies the position, killing more of white's fun.

Chapter 10: Various Second Moves

-Here she deals with some off beat lines like 2.f3, 2.f4 and 2.g3.

Chapter 11: Fianchettoing against the English (1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3) and (1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3)

-Here she gives some nice lines for Grunfeld players against the English opening. Now that's going above and beyond the call of duty! The coverage here is sparse and she ends with a statement that the english is a very decent opening in its own right and you should spend a lot of time learning it. As an english player myself I can definitely agree with that!

Chapter 12: The English King's Indian (1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0)

-This is a large section giving a nice repertore for King's Indian players against the english. As an english player myself I can say that the lines she gives are very solid and her evaluations reasonable. All lines turn out to be around equal and I think thats just about right. As an english player I've had a lot of trouble proving an advantage against the king's indian defence, and these lines illustrate why.

One thing I really loved about this book is the chapter summaries at the beginning and end highlighting the important themes. Also, Yelena doesn't give a "beginner's repertoire" full of questionable analysis and crummy lines that are easy to memorize but don't really hold up. These are tested and true lines which require a lot of memory work but will pay off in your results. This book is perfect for anyone playing a fiancetto system against d4, tired of not knowing what to do against sidelines. I give it my highest praise.

Good stuff Yelena!