Reviews | January 16, 2007 3:49

[lang_nl]Recensie: 'The Chigorin Defence'[/lang_nl][lang_en]Book review: 'The Chigorin Defence'[/lang_en]

Cover[lang_nl]Wat is het eerste wat je doet als je een nieuw openingsboek ziet? De variant opzoeken waar je het meeste vanaf weet en dan?Ǭ†kijken wat daarover gezegd wordt. Dat is verrassend vaak een teleurstelling, en meestal koop je vanwege die eerste indruk zo'n openingsboek maar helemaal niet. "Dat kan nooit wat zijn." Maar dat is een verkeerde gedachte. [/lang_nl][lang_en]What's the first thing you do when you see a new opening book? Look up the variation you know most about and?Ǭ†check what is said?Ǭ†about it.?Ǭ†Surprisingly enough, this?Ǭ†is often a disappointment, and usually you don't even buy it because?Ǭ†of this first impression. "This will never work." But it's wrong to think like that.[/lang_en]

[lang_nl]De verwachtingen waren hooggespannen, toen bekend werd dat niemand minder dan Alexander Morozevich, ?ɬ©?ɬ©n van de sterkste schakers van dit moment, een boek geschreven had?Ǭ†over de Chigorin-verdediging, die ontstaat na 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Pc6!?

ChigorinSowieso is het zeer zeldzaam als een absolute wereldtopper zijn openingsgeheimen prijsgeeft. Toegegeven, het komt wel eens voor. Euwe is een beroemd voorbeeld, Polugaevsky schreef een boek over?Ǭ†de variant die naar hem genoemd is?Ǭ†in de Najdorf, Shirov schreef over de Botwinnik-variant, en meer recentelijk heeft Khalifman een uitstekende reeks openingsboeken geschreven over het openingsrepertoire van Kramnik en Anand.

En nu hebben we dus het boek The Chigorin Defence according tot Alexander Morozevich,?Ǭ†als altijd fraai?Ǭ†uitgegeven?Ǭ†door New in Chess. Net als Kasparov?Ǭ†in zijn 'My Great Predecessors'-reeks, heeft ook Morozevich er een co-auteur bij gehaald: de IM Vladimir Barsky.?Ǭ†Wat is dat toch met?Ǭ†die co-auteurs? Als ze al nodig zijn, waarom er dan (zeker als de ene auteur zoveel sterker is als de andere!) niet even bijgezegd wat van Morozevich is en wat van Barsky? Maar zo werkt het natuurlijk niet. Men zou de stukken van Barsky links laten liggen en direct doorbladeren?Ǭ†naar wat de nummer vijf van de wereld te zeggen heeft.?Ǭ†De verwarring wordt nog vergroot doordat soms expliciet boven een tekst staat dat hij door Morozevich geschreven is ('Alexander Morozevich: ...'). Het lijkt me wat slordig van New in Chess om hier?Ǭ†niet meer?Ǭ†helderheid in te vragen bij de auteurs.

Alexander Morozevich is, zoals bekend, een merkwaardige vent. Eigenzinnige idee?ɬ´n over het schaakspel, eigenzinnige humor, eigenzinnig -?Ǭ†om niet?Ǭ†te zeggen eigenwijs -?Ǭ†karakter. Hij kan verschrikkelijk knoeien (zoals ik ooit heb meegemaakt tijdens een Donner Memorial toernooi, waar hij een volstrekt kansloos toreneindspel met drie vrijpionnen minder doormodderde totdat het echt genant werd). Maar hij kan ook werkelijk geniale dingen doen, die niemand hem nadoet, en dat is de reden dat Morozevich, ondanks zijn grillen, terecht zeer geliefd is als topschaker.?Ǭ†Neem nou de volgende stelling:

Harikrishna-Morozevich
Hyderabad 2002

Deze stelling is ontstaan uit de variant 3.Pf3 Lg4 4.Pc3 e6 5.cxd5, waarover later meer. Hoe zou u terugslaan op d6?

16...cxd6!? Morozevich: "A radical solution to the problem of the c7-pawn, typical of the Chigorin Defence. Black takes control of the c5- and e5-squares (giving the f-pawn the possibility of advancing), and it is not easy to exploit the weakness of the d5-pawn - it is securely defended." Het boek staat vol met zulke?Ǭ†mooie?Ǭ†fragmenten.

Hoe brengt Morozevich het er als schrijver vanaf? Zijn stijl van schrijven (laten we er voor het gemak?Ǭ†maar vanuit gaan dat de schrijfgedeeltes van Moro?Ǭ†zijn, en het betere variantenwerk van Barsky) is?Ǭ†vaak droog en?Ǭ†humoristisch en dat wekt sympathie. In de inleiding schrijft hij over de WGM?Ǭ†Maria Manakova: "who at that time was not yet a grandmaster and our chess sex symbol"). En als hij beschrijft hoe Granda Zuniga drie kwartier nadenkt over zijn derde zet, schrijft Morozevich: "If Julio had warned me beforehand about his thoughtfulness, at that time I would possibly have arranged to meet some charming lady." Dit is geen saai openingsboek, maar een persoonlijk verslag.

Ook is Morozevich eerlijk en open over de scepsis en soms zelfs hoon?Ǭ†van zijn collega's als ze weer eens met die rare Chigorin geconfronteerd worden - zonder deze hoon af te doen als dogmatisch of gewoon dom. Na het beschrijven van de strenge kritiek van zijn toenmalige trainer Vladimir Yurkov schrijft hij: "In some way Yurkov was right, because at a young age it is not good to become obsessed by one opening." En er zijn meer voorbeelden van zulke eerlijkheid. Op de kaft van het boek staat bijvoorbeeld de volgende?Ǭ†teaser: "With more than 50 previously unpublished games!" Dat is inderdaad zo, maar dat het hier voornamelijk snelschaakpartijen betreft, staat er even niet bij. Nu kun je je bekocht voelen, maar al gauw blijkt dat Morozevich het zelf ook niet zo serieus neemt met die snelschaakpotjes (waarvan sommige op internet gespeeld zijn, sommige in trainingsmatches), en dat het hem bovendien spijt dat hij niet al zijn?Ǭ†partijen met de Chigorin heeft kunnen reconstrueren. Dergelijke merkwaardige maar leuke?Ǭ†openheid kenmerkt Morozevichs stijl.

Terug naar de variant die je het eerst gaat opzoeken. Ik heb de?Ǭ†Chigorin in het verleden zelf regelmatig met?Ǭ†zwart gespeeld, maar ook met wit bestreden. In 1994 speelde ik een rapidmatch?Ǭ†tegen een clubgenoot, en in ?ɬ©?ɬ©n van die?Ǭ†partijen bedacht ik een interessant idee:

Moll-Janse
Amsterdam (rapid) 1994

Qd43.Pc3 dxc4 4.Pf3 Pf6 5.e4 Lg4 6.d5 Pe5 7.Dd4!?N

Wit offert een pion in de hoop snel tot ontwikkeling te komen. Na 7...Pxf3+ 8.gxf3 Lxf3 9.Tg1 e6 10.Lxc4 ontstond een interessante stelling, waarin wit vermoedelijk de beste kansen heeft.?Ǭ†

In mijn volgende witpartij speelde ik het zelfs nog sterkere 10.Tg3!?Ǭ†en opnieuw kreeg wit goed spel.?Ǭ†Ik liet?Ǭ†het?Ǭ†pionoffer 7.Dd4 ook zien enkele sterke spelers, waaronder Zsusza Polgar, toen ik haar een keer in Nederland zag.?Ǭ†Ze vond het een zeer interessant idee, en ze vermoedde dat zwart het?Ǭ†zwaar?Ǭ†had na Dd4. Maar, zei ze,?Ǭ†zwart?Ǭ†heeft het sowieso zwaar in de Chigorin...?Ǭ†

In latere rapidpartijen ontdekte Janse echter een zeer sterke mogelijkheid voor zwart, namelijk:

7...Pxf3+ 8.gxf3 Lxf3 9.Tg1
Rg19...e5!?Ǭ†Een prachtige zet. Als wit slaat op e5, ruilt zwart dames?Ǭ†waarna pion e4 erg zwak wordt. Ik kreeg dit een paar jaar later in een toernooipartij tegen mij.?Ǭ†(Tegen Dennis Helvesteijn). Na 10.Dxe5+ (10.Dxc4 a6!) 10...De7 11.Dxe7+ Lxe7 12.Lg2! Lxg2 13.Txg2?Ǭ†ontstond een?Ǭ†onduidelijke stelling, die volgens mij echter niet beter voor wit is. De conclusie was dat 9...e5 het idee Dd4 min of meer weerlegde, en ik speelde de variant daarna niet meer.

De lezer zal begrijpen dat ik natuurlijk meteen wilde weten?Ǭ†of Morozevich dit idee ook noemde. Ik vond de stelling na zet 5 van zwart op pagina 187. Morozevich schrijft: "One of the most critical positions of the Chigorin Defence." Kijk, daar hebben we wat aan. En een pagina later geeft hij inderdaad 7.Dd4, als alternatief voor het meer gebruikelijke 7.Lf4. "7.Qd4 looks promosing for White," schrijft hij, en vervolgens geeft hij na 7...Pxf3+ 8.gxf3 Lxf3 9.Tg1 e6?Ǭ†varianten met 10.Lxc4 en 10.Tg3, die eindigen met voordeel voor wit. Volgens Morozevich was 7.Dd4!? dus een serieuze aanslag op de hele Chigorin verdediging, zoals ik dertien jaar geleden al dacht.

Maar het idee 9...e5! noemt hij dus niet, en dit was toch een teleurstelling. Een top-5 speler had gekeken naar hetzelfde idee, en niet gevonden wat twee clubspelers gevonden hadden. Hoe zou het zijn met een andere kritieke stelling waarmee ik ervaring had, dit keer met zwart, en helaas niet zulke goede:

B?ɬ?dicker-Moll
Amsterdam 2002

7a33.Pf3 Lg4 4.cxd5 Lxf3 5.dxc6 Lxc6 6.Pc3 e6 7.a3!? Ik had deze zet destijds nog nooit gezien. Het leek me tijdens de partij al erg vervelend voor zwart dat hij niet meer zijn vertrouwde Lf8-b4 kon spelen. Wat schrijft Morozevich? "A rather cunning move". Inderdaad! En vervolgens: "Generally speaking, it is not so simple for Black to find a place for his dark-squared bishop." Inderdaad!

7...f5?! Volgens Morozevich is dit "a way to create counterplay." Zo dacht ik er ook over. Hij geeft nu een partij Dumitrache-Bukal, Zagreb 1997 waarin wit 8.e3 speelde, en zwart snel?Ǭ†tegenspel kreeg. Mijn tegenstander deed het veel beter:

8.e4!N?Ǭ†Dit noemt Moro?Ǭ†niet. Ik dacht nu dat zwart in grote problemen was en speelde het slechte 8...fxe4? Misschien was dit te pessimistisch, want?Ǭ†later vond ik een partij waarin zwart het betere 8...Pf6! speelde, waarna wit slechts klein voordeel heeft. (Overigens geeft Morozevich wel een andere manier voor zwart aan op tegenkansen te verkrijgen, namelijk met 7...Pf6 8.f3 Ph5! met onduidelijk spel.)

Goed. Twee keer stelde het boek mij dus teleur, en dat?Ǭ†beschouw ik als?Ǭ†een minpunt, want een groot kenner van de Chigorin ben ik absoluut niet. Hoe vaak zullen w?ɬ®l doorgewinterende Chigorin-fans teleurgesteld worden? Ik weet het niet.?Ǭ†Morozevich and Barsky lijken?Ǭ†al het analysewerk zelf gedaan te hebben, aangezien ze geen andere openingboeken over deze variant noemen. Het valt me sowieso vaak op hoe weinig top spelers weten van bestaande openingsboeken. Ze lijken hun eigen gedachten te willen koesteren in plaats van be?ɬØnvloed te worden door wat anderen erover te zeggen hebben. Ik kan me voorstellen dat dit wat verwarrend kan zijn voor lezers die het wel prettig vinden als er verwezen wordt naar andere theorieboeken, zodat ze hun kennis effici?ɬ´nter kunnen updaten.

Maar laat ik vooral zeggen dat ik desondanks?Ǭ†enthousiast over dit boek,?Ǭ†en dat het verkeerd is om zulke eerste indrukken te laten bepalen of je het boek koopt of niet.?Ǭ†Als een topspeler een schaakboek schrijft, is dat altijd interessant. Ten eerste zijn er?Ǭ†zeker veel?Ǭ†varianten waarvan ik denk dat Morozevich en Barsky een bijdrage leveren aan de bestaande theorie van de opening. Het voert in deze bespreking te ver om in te gaan op de lastige complicaties die ze analyseren - de openingsliefhebber kan er nog lang mee stoeien.?Ǭ†Belangrijker vind ik dat vooral de positionele varianten goed besproken worden, al zou ik ook daar?Ǭ†soms nog wel wat meer uitleg willen. Bijvoorbeeld in de varianten die ontstaan na:

3.Pf3 Lg4 4.Pc3 e6
5.e3Een wat ouderwetse, rustige variant. Wit kan nu kiezen voor direct 5.e3 of eerst zijn loper buiten de keten brengen. Het is mij niet duidelijk wat nu precies de voor- en nadelen van beide speelwijzen zijn voor wit, behalve dat de?Ǭ†eerste er op het eerste gezicht passief uitziet en de?Ǭ†tweede niet.?Ǭ†(Maar ik heb dat probleem ook altijd in het Meraner en het Damegambiet met Lg5 of Lf4, dus misschien ligt het wel aan mij, of misschien is het gewoon een kwestie van smaak.) Gelukkig valt uit de diverse commentaren wel het een en ander op te maken. Na

5.Lf4 Pf6! 6.e3?Ǭ†Lb4 7.Tc1 0-0 onstaat wat Morozevich noemt "a typical position and one that is very important for an understanding of the entire system." Het volgende citaat is leerzaam en ook toepasbaar op andere stellingen:

"Initially?Ǭ†in this scheme I endeavoured as quickly as possible to develop my?Ǭ†bishop to b4 and play ...Ng8-e7, but in time I came to the conclusion that the plan with the development of the knight to f6 is more promising. When Black chooses the Chigorin Defence, he aims above all for active piece play, and at e7 the knight is more passively placed. It makes sense to place the knight on e7 only?Ǭ†if White has already exchanged in the centre (cxd5 exd5). Then Black disposes of the plan with ...f7-f6 and ...g7-g5 and a pawn offensive on the kingside."
Groot pluspunt is dat?Ǭ†er wook?Ǭ†uitgebreid aandacht wordt besteed aan klassieke partijen van Chigorin en zijn tijdgenoten, alsmede aan de opvattingen die in die tijd heersten. Dat is erg prettig, want?Ǭ†historisch besef?Ǭ†in een openingsboek moet je koesteren.?Ǭ†Ik vond het erg leuk om te lezen dat Morozevich Steinitz goed vond spelen, maar toch het idee kreeg dat hij niet helemaal begreep waar de stelling om draaide. Ergens anders schrijft hij dat Chigorin weliswaar een hekel had aan het Damegambiet, maar dat hij toch inzag dat dit een erg goede opening was voor wit. Of dat Karpov hardnekkig?Ǭ†bleef geloven?Ǭ†dat wits centrum uiteindelijk?Ǭ†toch openingsvoordeel voor wit zou moeten opleveren, maar dat dit helaas voor hem telkens maar niet bleek in de snelschaakpartijen die ze speelden.?Ǭ†Dat zijn van die inside-pareltjes die we van topspelers veel te weinig te horen krijgen. Waarom moet het toch altijd over politiek?Ǭ†of directe collega's?Ǭ†gaan? Laat topschakers iets vertellen over schakers?Ǭ†door wie?Ǭ†ze ge?ɬØnspireerd worden, niet?Ǭ†aan wie?Ǭ†ze of een of andere reden een hekel hebben!

Morozevich is trouwens ?ɬºberhaupt niet partijdig. Hij wil nergens de indruk wekken dat de Chigorin een geweldige opening is, of dat je met zwart voldoende hebt om 1.d4 te bestrijden als je iets weet van de Chigorin. Leuk zijn de voorbeelden waarin hij laat zien dat zijn collega-grootmeesters, in hun drang?Ǭ†de grote Morozevich te?Ǭ†kopi?ɬ´ren,?Ǭ†eigenlijk weinig begrepen van de diepere?Ǭ†idee?ɬ´n?Ǭ†achter de zwarte opening.?Ǭ†Morozevich wil alleen maar laten zien dat de opening speelbaar is - op alle niveaus. En dat alleen is al verfrissend en inspirerend om te horen van een topspeler die zijn brood o.a. verdient met het pluggen van openingsvarianten. Leerzaam zijn ook de 'vuistregels' die hij af en toe geeft: in de Chigorin moet wit nooit lang rocheren; zwart moet altijd 'mentally prepared' zijn om het loperpaar op te geven; zolang de zwarte dame zich in het centrum kan handhaven kan wit nooit voordeel claimen.

Morozevich schrijft dat hij de Chigorin voorlopig zelf niet meer zal spelen, maar je blijft je toch een beetje afvragen waarom eigenlijk niet. Nergens wordt immers echt duidelijk hoe wit een tastbaar openingsvoordeeltje kan krijgen (behalve dan in misschien bovengenoemde variant met 7.Dd4... ;-) ). Of misschien is dat het?Ǭ†juist:?Ǭ†het is altijd wit die op zoek is naar een openingsvoordeeltje, en dat?Ǭ†gaat natuurlijk ook vervelen.?Ǭ†

Maar gelukkig heeft hij nu wel zijn idee?ɬ´n opgeschreven in dit boek. The Chigorin Defence according to Morozevich is niet alleen een goed openingsboek, en een mooie partijenverzameling,?Ǭ†maar geeft ook een dieper?Ǭ†inzicht in de meer algemene vraag naar hoe een topspeler openingen bestudeert. Soms?Ǭ†lijkt het daarbij niet zozeer te gaan om concrete zetjes, zoals we misschien geneigd zijn te denken, als wel om wilskracht, koppigheid en historisch besef.?Ǭ†Les voor openingstheoretici: bekijk eens een rustige partij van de oude meesters, in plaats van een krankzinnig tactisch duel in de Najdorf. Als Morozevich het doet, wie zijn wij dan om het anders aan te pakken?[/lang_nl][lang_en]The expectations were high, when it was announced that no one less than Alexander Morozevich, one of the strongest chess players of these days, had written a book about the Chigorin Defence, which arises after

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6!?
ChigorinIt's rare anyway?Ǭ†when an abolute top player reveals opening secrets.?Ǭ†?Ǭ†Admittedly, it does happen from time to time. Euwe is a famous example. Polugaevsky wrote a book about his variation in the Najdorf, Shirov wrote about the Botvinnik-variation, and more recently Khalifman has written an excellent series about the opening repertoire of Kramnik and Anand.

And now we have the book The Chigorin Defence according tot Alexander Morozevich,?Ǭ†published, as always very neatly, by New in Chess. Just like Kasparov in his ''My Great Predecessors'-series, Morozevich, too, has worked with a co-author: IM Vladimir Barsky.?Ǭ†What's with these co-authors anyway? If they're even necessary at all, then why not say (especially when one author is so much stronger than the other!) what's by Morozevich and what's by Barsky? But, of course, that's not how it works. People would skip Barsky's work and move directly to what the world's number five has to say. More confusion is added by the fact that sometimes a text is preceded explicitly by a statement that Morozevich wrote it?Ǭ†('Alexander Morozevich: ...'). It seems a bit sloppy to me?Ǭ†that the editors of New in Chess?Ǭ†haven't asked for more clarity from the authors?Ǭ†on this point.

Alexander Morozevich is, as is well known, an eccentric?Ǭ†guy.?Ǭ†Eccentric ideas about the game of chess, obstinate humor, an obstinate, not to say self-conceited personality. He can mess up terribly (as I witnessed once during a Donner Memorial tournament in Amsterdam, where he played on in a completely hopeless rook ending?Ǭ†where he was?Ǭ†three passed pawns down, until it got really embarrassing.) But he can also do truly brilliant things,?Ǭ†that nobody else can think of, and that's the reason that Morozevich, despite his weird actions, is justly very much loved?Ǭ†as a?Ǭ†top chess player. Take, for instance, the following position:

Harikrishna-Morozevich
Hyderabad 2002?Ǭ†

This position arised from the variation?Ǭ†3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Nc3 e6 5.cxd5, about which more later on.?Ǭ†How?Ǭ†would you recapture on d6??Ǭ†

16...cxd6!? Morozevich: "A radical solution to the problem of the c7-pawn, typical of the Chigorin Defence. Black takes control of the c5- and e5-squares (giving the f-pawn the possibility of advancing), and it is not easy to exploit the weakness of the d5-pawn - it is securely defended." The book is full of such great moments.

How is Morozevich as a writer??Ǭ†His style of writing (let's for convenience's sake accept that writing is Morozevich's and the heavy variation stuff is Barsky's) is full of dry humor and that makes him quite sympathetic. In the preface he writes about WGM Maria Manakova: "who at that time was not yet a grandmaster and our chess sex symbol". And when he describes how Granda Zuniga thinks for three quarters of an hour about his third move, Morozevich writes:?Ǭ†"If Julio had warned me beforehand about his thoughtfulness, at that time I would possibly have arranged to meet some charming lady." This is not a boring opening book, but a personal testimony.

Morozevich is also honest and open about the scepsis and sometimes even scorn by his colleagues when they're confronted again with this weird Chigorin opening?Ǭ†- without?Ǭ†saying this scorn is dogmatic or?Ǭ†simply stupid. After describing the stern criticism he received from his former trainer Vladimir Yurkov, he writes: "In some way Yurkov was right, because at a young age it is not good to become obsessed by one opening." And there are more examples of such honesty. On the cover of the book is the following teaser: "With more than 50 previously unpublished games!" This is indeed the case, but the fact that these are mainly blitz games, is conveniently left unsaid. You can feel screwed about this, but it soon turns out that Morozevich himself doesn't take these blitz games (some of which were played on the internet, some of which in training matches) very seriously either, and also that he actually regrets that he hasn't been able to reconstruct all his games with the Chigorin Defence. Such curious but funny openness characterizes Morozevich's style.

Back to the variation you're gonna look up first. I have played the Chigorin Defence occasionally in the past with Black, but have also fought against it with White.?Ǭ†In 1994 I played a rapidmatch?Ǭ†with a club member, and in one of these games I had an interesting idea:

Moll-Janse
Amsterdam (rapid) 1994

Qd43.Nc3 dxc4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.e4 Bg4 6.d5 Ne5 7.Qd4!?N

White sacs a pawn hoping to develop fast.?Ǭ†After 7...Nxf3+ 8.gxf3 Bxf3 9.Rg1 e6 10.Bxc4 an interesting position arose, where White probably has the better chances.

In my next game with White I played the even stronger 10.Rg3!?Ǭ†and again White obtained good play. I also showed the pawn sacrifice 7.Qd4 to several strong players, including Zsusza Polgar, when I happened to meet her in Holland one time. She found it a very?Ǭ†interesting idea, and she suspected that Black was having a tough time after Qd4. But, she said, Black is having a tough time anyway in the Chigorin Defence...

However, in later rapid games Janse discovered a very strong possibility for Black, namely:

7...Nxf3+ 8.gxf3 Bxf3 9.Rg1
Rg19...e5!?Ǭ†A splendid move. If White takes on e5, Black exchanges queens after which the pawn on e4 becomes rather weak. A few years later, I got this position in a tournament game (against Dennis Helvesteijn). After 10.Qxe5+ (10.Qxc4 a6!) 10...Qe7 11.Qxe7+ Bxe7 12.Bg2 Bxg2 13.Rxg2?Ǭ† resulted an unclear position, which, however, is not better for White I think. I concluded that 9...e5 more or less refuted the idea of Qd4, and I didn't repeat the variation after that.

Now, the reader will?Ǭ†understand?Ǭ†that?Ǭ†of course I wanted to know immediately whether Morozevich mentioned this idea at all. I found the poistion after Black's 5th move on page 187. Morozevich writes: "One of the most critical positions of the Chigorin Defence." Ah, now we're talking. And on the next page he indeed gives 7.Qd4, as an alternative for the more usual 7.Bf4. "7.Qd4 looks promosing for White," he writes, and then after 7...Nxf3+ 8.gxf3 Bxf3 9.Rg1 e6?Ǭ†he gives variations with?Ǭ† 10.Bxc4 en 10.Rg3, ending with advantage to White. So, according to Morozevich, 7.Qd4!? was a serious assault on the whole Chigorin Defence,?Ǭ†like I had thought thirteen years ago.

But the idea of 9...e5! is mentioned nowhere, and this was a disappointment after all. A top-5 player had looked at the same idea, but had not found what two club players had.?Ǭ†How would that be with another critical position I had some experience with, this time with Black, and unfortunately not a?Ǭ†particularly good?Ǭ†experience:?Ǭ†?Ǭ†

B?ɬ?dicker-Moll
Amsterdam 2002

3.Nf3 Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3 5.dxc6 Bxc6 6.Nc3 e6 7.a3!??Ǭ†
7a3At the time I had never seen this move before. Already during the game it seemed very unpleasant for Black that he could not play his beloved Bf8-b4 anymore. What does Morozevich write? "A rather cunning move".?Ǭ†Indeed! And next: "Generally speaking, it is not so simple for Black to find a place for his dark-squared bishop." Indeed!

7...f5?! According to Morozevich, this is "a way to create counterplay." My thoughts?Ǭ†exactly.?Ǭ†He now gives a game Dumitrache-Bukal, Zagreb 1997 in which White played 8.e3, and Black soon obtained counter-chances. My opponent played a much better move:

8.e4!N?Ǭ†This is not mentioned by Moro. I now thought Black was in big trouble and played the weak move 8...fxe4? Perhaps this was too pessimistic, since I later found a game in which played the stronger 8...Nf6! after which White?Ǭ†only has a small advantage.?Ǭ†(By the way, Morozevich does give another way for Black to get counter chances, namely with 7...Nf6 8.f3 Nh5! with unclear play.)

Okay.?Ǭ†I was disappointed twice,?Ǭ†and I consider this a point of criticism,?Ǭ†for I don't think of myself as a particularly great connaisseur of the Chigorin system at all. How often will die-hard Chigorin-fans will be disappointed? I don't know. Morozevich and Barsky seem to have done all the analysis work themselves, since they don't mention any other opening books about this line. It often strikes me how little the top players know of existing opening books anyway. They seem to prefer their own thoughts rather than being spoiled with what others have to say about it.?Ǭ†I imagine this can be somewhat confusing for readers who do like references to other theory?Ǭ†books, so that they can update their knowledge more efficiently.

But let me state clearly that?Ǭ†I am enthousiastic about this book, and that it's wrong to let?Ǭ†such first impressions decide whether you're going to buy the book. When a top player writes a chess book, that's always interesting.?Ǭ†First of all there are also a lot of variations where I think Morozevich and Barsky?Ǭ†certainly contribute to the existing theory of the opening. It's beyond the scope of this review to go into the tricky complications they analyze - opening freaks will study them for a long time to come. More important is that the positional variations are discussed at great length, though even there I sometimes would like a little more explanation. For example in the variations that arise after:

5.e33.Nf3 Bg4 4.Nc3 e6
A?Ǭ†somewhat old-fashioned, quiet variation. White can now choose?Ǭ†between?Ǭ†5.e3 straight away or first placing his?Ǭ†bishop outside the pawn chain. It's not clear to me what the advantages and disadvantages?Ǭ†of both ways of play are?Ǭ†exactly for White, except the first one looks rather passive at first sight and the second doesn't. (But I always have that problem with the Meran Defence and the QGD with Bg5 or Bf4 as well, so maybe it's just me, or maybe it's just a matter of taste.) Fortunately, many can be understood from the various?Ǭ†comments. After

5.Bf4 Nf6! 6.e3?Ǭ†Bb4 7.Rc1 0-0 arises what Morozevich calls "a typical position and one that is very important for an understanding of the entire system." The following quote is instructive and also applies to other positions:

"Initially?Ǭ†in this scheme I endeavoured as quickly as possible to develop my?Ǭ†bishop to b4 and play ...Ng8-e7, but in time I came to the conclusion that the plan with the development of the knight to f6 is more promising. When Black chooses the Chigorin Defence, he aims above all for active piece play, and at e7 the knight is more passively placed. It makes sense to place the knight on e7 only?Ǭ†if White has already exchanged in the centre (cxd5 exd5). Then Black disposes of the plan with ...f7-f6 and ...g7-g5 and a pawn offensive on the kingside."

A?Ǭ†big?Ǭ†bonus is that great attention is being paid to?Ǭ†classic games by Chigorin and his contemporaries, and also the ideas?Ǭ†of that time. It's very nice, because historical perspective in?Ǭ†an opening book is something to cherish. I enjoyed reading that Morozevich approves of Steinitz's?Ǭ†play,?Ǭ†but somehow?Ǭ†had the feeling he didn't quite understand what the position was?Ǭ†all about. Somewhere else he writes that Chigorin hated the Queen's gambit,?Ǭ†but that he nevertheless realised it was a very good opening for White. Or that Karpov stubbornly?Ǭ†kept believing that?Ǭ†White's centre should result in opening advantage in the end, but?Ǭ†that time and again?Ǭ†this?Ǭ†was?Ǭ†impossible to show in the?Ǭ†blitz?Ǭ†games they played. Those are the insider-pearls we get to hear far too little from the top players. Why is the subject always politics or direct colleagues? Let the top players talk about the players?Ǭ†who inspire them, not the players they dislike for some reason or another!

By the way, Morozevich?Ǭ†is never biased. He doesn't want to suggest that the Chigorin Defence?Ǭ†is a great opening, or that it's sufficient to fight against 1.d4 if you know something about his system.?Ǭ†Funny are also the examples in which he shows that his colleague-grandmasters,?Ǭ†in their effort to copy-cat the great Morozevich, actually hadn't understood much of the deeper ideas of the Black opening.?Ǭ†All Morozevich wants to show is that the opening is playable - on all levels. That alone is already refreshing and inspiring to hear from a top player who makes his money studying (among others)?Ǭ†opening lines. Also instructive are the 'rules of thumb' he gives now and then: in the Chigorin Defence, White should never castle queenside; Black must always be 'mentally prepared' to give up the pair of bishops; as long as the black queen can maintain herself in the centre, White can never claim an advantage.

Morozevich writes that he probably will not play the Chigorin Defence in the near future, but you still?Ǭ†keep wondering why not. After all, it's not clear how White can get a substantial?Ǭ†opening advantage (except?Ǭ†perhaps in the above mentioned variation with 7.Qd4...;-) ). Or maybe that's exactly the point: White is always searching for an opening advantage, and this becomes boring after a while.

But fortunately, he has now written his ideas down in this book.?Ǭ†The Chigorin Defence according to Morozevich is not only a good opening book, and a beautiful collection of games, but it also gives deeper insight into the more general question how top players study openings. It seems that sometimes it's not about concrete moves, as we may be tempted to think, but about will power,?Ǭ†being stuborn and historical perspective. Lesson for opening?Ǭ†students: look at a quiet game of the old masters once in a while, instead of?Ǭ†a crazy tactical game in the Najdorf. If Morozevich does it, who are we to do?Ǭ†differently??Ǭ†[/lang_en]

Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll

Chess.com

Comments

Frank Anderen - ICC:uranus's picture

I must express my respect and thank you for a great article on the review of Morozovichs new
book about the Chigorin defence.
I enjoyed it very much and in my oppinion it sets a high standard on bookreviews!
I wonder if your ICC-name is the same- in that case we haved played each other several times :).
I look foreward to read more of your good and clear thoughts - and to fight against you on the internet - if possible:) Kind regards Frank

arne's picture

Thank you for the praise, Frank. By the way, I'm not 'arne' on ICC but 'rapanui'. Cheers! Arne

RoelandPletter's picture

ik heb het boek gekocht, eens kijken wat er van komt

Mikhail Golubev's picture

When people are working together, why should they always explain what exactly was done by whom? As there are two co-authors, it is quite clear that two persons are responsible for the work, and not just one person. Of course, one may wish to know what exactly was done by Morozevich (or to know other things about Morozevich), but he is simply not obliged to provide this information. In general the author can not be obliged to explain how exactly he worked on his product, it could be a nonsense to ask.

BTW, here at
http://www.chessvibes.com/?p=489
the name of the reviewer could have been provided not only inside the review in the games section, but also somewhere else :-)

arne's picture

Hello mr. Golubev,

thank you for your comments on our website. It's always interesting when a strong player says something about it!
WIth regard to your comment about co-authors, I can say that my criticism was mainly triggered by the fact that the name Morozevich is used to attract readers, while it is not clear if Morozevich even wrote most of the book. Thus, to be completely fair to the reader, the book should have been called "The Chigorin Defence according to Morozevich and Barsky", don't you agree? And also, the subtitle should have been "A world class player and an IM on the opening he made popular". Why mention Barsky only as the co-author and not in the title? If anything, this seems unfair to mr. Barsky not by me but by the editors, in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong: I am not saying it's wrong for authors to write together, but I do think it's sort of misleading of commercial editors to attract potential readers by mentioning only the most attractive author and not the other in the title. Let's be fair, how many people would have bought the book if it would have been called 'The Chigorin Defence according to Vladimir Barsky'? Not as much as now, I think.
So, in fact I am not critisizing mr. Barsky at all, I am criticizing New in Chess editors for not being clear who was the main author and being honest about it. Now, they leave it up to the reader to guess who wrote most of it. My personal guess is that mr. Barsky did most of the analysis work and I would be glad to here otherwise. Anyway, I think he actually deserves a compliment for this, rather than being mentioned only as the co-author, don't you agree? If he did most of the work, then why is he not mentioned in the title?

Same with Kasparov. If it turns out Plisetsky did most of the historical research and in fact did most of the writing and sorting the material, then why is the book not called "Kasparov and Plistesky on My Great Predecessors?" The reason is commercialism, and this, I think, is misleading towards the reader. But if anything, I wouldn't call it criticism on Plisetsky, but on Kasparov or the editors of the book.

Best regards,
Arne

tedi's picture

hallo ik vindt schaken leuk en ik hoop dat Topalov wint

Alex Baburin's picture

Dear Mr Moll,

While I find your review very interesting, I think that you are not fair to my friend IM Vladimir Barskij - or in fact to any such co-author! Nobody wants to write a bad book, so if Morozevich was happy to work with Barskij, we should trust his judgement.

Maybe Barskij prepared reference material, maybe he checked lines with computer - or perhaps he helped to better explain things to the main target audience (ie. club player). I don't know what his role was - and neither do you. But, as long as the book is good, I don't care.

One cannot seriously speculate that Morozevich's name was just used to sell the book - he IS the main expert on the Chigorin.

Finally, why to be so dismissive of lesser players? I refer to your comment "People would skip Barsky?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s work and move directly to what the world?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s number five has to say." Should people just skip what Arne Moll had to say and move directly to the book review by GM Jonathan Rowson or some other GM (ideally from the top 5 in the world!)? Personally, I don't think so. I believe that, while titles and rating add credibility, one should be judged by his work. And as I said before, I find your review very interesting.

Best regards,

Alex Baburin

arne's picture

Dear mr. Baburin,

thank you for your kind words about my review. About the issue of mr. Barsky, I think my comments were misunderstood, so perhaps I didn't formulate my opinion too well.
As I explained to mr. Golubev as well, I think mr. Barsky deserves MORE credit than he gets. In fact, I think he probably did a lot of the analysis work, and he deserves to be mentioned in the title as well. My point about co-authors was a bit ironic, I admit, in the sense that I think the editors of the book (New in Chess) wanted to profit from the fact that people would likely be more interested in a chess book by an a super GM than by an IM (even if the IM is quite well-known and has a good reputation!) but my point was rather serious: I think if you write a book together, like in the case of Morozevich and also of Kasparov, then why mention only the strongest player in the title and in fact in the advertisement? (Remember, Kasparov did all the autograph signing of his books; where was Plisetsky?)

Anyway, I am of course not implying Morozevich's name was used just for commercial purposes at all. But all the same, here are two suggestions as to why I suspect many analysis work was done mainly by Barsky:
1. While mr. Morozevich is very personal in the introduction, the analysis of his games are sometimes sort of inpersonal, refering to 'Black' and 'him' instead of "I" and "me" for example. This is not clear evidence, I admit, but surely it's a striking contrast.
2. Sometimes there is explicit the mention of "Alexander Morezevich: ..." as if to suggest that the rest is NOT by Morozevich (I mention this in my review as well). I find this strange and confusing.

To be fair, as I said I think the rest of the book is very good and Barsky and Morozevich deserve equal credit for it.

Finally, as to your comparison that people should in the same way perhaps skip the review of 2200-player Arne Moll and move immediately to 2500-Rowson's opinion - well, surely "writing ELO" is not the same as "chess ELO" (this is in fact one of my main points about the book: I think Moro's book is very well *written*, but chess wise I was sometimes disappointed) so that a low rated chess player could still write a good book review and vice versa. But I leave that up to the reader - I can actually understand if people prefer to read Rowsons opinion than mine. It's only natural I guess, since he is a GM after all.
Anyway, If I gave the impression of being unfair to mr. Barsky, I want to apologize and give him my compliments on an excellent book - for which he deserves to be mentioned in the title, in my opinion.

Best regards,
Arne Moll

blitzfrieden2's picture

never played the chigorin before, just got interested in it from reading your article and tried it on playchess and won a lovely game with it, full of tactics and action. great opening! thx arne!

blitzfrieden

Prof.Nagesh Havanur's picture

Dear Sir,

I am an academic by profession and a a chess aficionado by inclination. I have contributed reviews to a number of web sites and magazines including KARL,Rochade kuppenheim,Kania Verlag, Chessville.com and Kingpin etc. This is to make an offer to write reviews for your website.If you are interested, you may let me know.
Thanks

Goran Urosevic's picture

Arne, excellent review. And I so much agree with your comments on "co-authors issue". After some years, people will remember that Kasparov "wrote" fantastic series, while in actual he did the minor work.

TrapArecev's picture

A large part of the chess audience (if not the vast majority) is of an academic education and therefore adheres to strict scientific standards (the same is true for more than a few IM's and GM's, by the way). Of course this critical audience is not amused by the persistent habit of publishers, for the sake of commerce, to omit the true extent to which top-level (and thus top-selling) GM's contribute to their products. This same audience is all too aware that in scientific publications, failure to disclose the exact contributions of all involved, borders on professional suicide.

This alone provides ample reason for reviewers like Arne Moll to continue to critically examine or even dissect any co-authored book published.

Javier's picture

I think the fact that Morozevic doesn't mention ...e5! in that variation matters very little.
An opening is always evolving. What seems ok today, might not be so next year. When learning an opening, I think it makes a lot more sense to learn the "spirit" and general principles. If you learn those, don't you worry, you'll find a move like ...e5! when needed. (and to prove this, Dunnington found that move in a real game back in 1995, although he didn't know any of the analysis :) he just "felt" that was the right move to play. Memorizing is absurd.
About the book: AVOID books "signed" by world class GMs but written by less well known players. The less known player has done most of the work, and GM has got the money for his name. It's a rip off.
If you're a well class GM and you REALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY to the world, you don't ask someone else to write a book with you, you write it yourself. Period.
Prof.Nagesh Havanur: your email doesn't work, please get in touch with me.

www.chessnia.com

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