|Price: £ 14,99
|Reviewed by: Allan
||Date: 18/9 2002
Yet another opening book from Everyman Chess. This time Nigel Davies takes up the gauntlet and writes about a very fashionable and sharp opening: The Grünfeld. Given the fact that I found his book on Alekhine's Defence extremely inspiring I was really looking forward to read this new book. In the introduction Davies reveals that his fascination for the opening partly was due to Kouatly and he also feels free to let his Grünfeld tastes reflect the choice of material in the book. This was exactly what I liked about the book on the Alekhine: Rather than paying a lot of attention to main line variations, Davies covered a lot of untested ideas very
successfully I think. Back to the Grünfeld story.
The book consists of 13 Chapters divided into three parts:
The Exchange Variation 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5
1) 8. Rb1
2) 8. Be3
3) 7. Bc4
4) lines with Bb5+ or h3
5) Early divergences
The Russian System 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0
6) Prins Variation 7.e4 Na6
7) Hungarian Variation 7.e4 a6
8) Smyslov Variation 7.e4 Bg4
9) Early Divergences
10) Classical with Bf4
11) Lines with Bg5
12) The Fianchetto Variation
13) Other Variations
An Example from the summaries
At the end of each chapter there is an overview of variations and a summary. The summary serves as a nice guide whereas the index of variations also could be placed at the end of the book and cover all chapters. I guess just one example from these summaries makes clear that Davies attempts to combine his own taste with good practical advice:
"There are several ways to play against 7.Bc4, but unless you enjoy learning complex theory I really wouldn't recommend trying to play like Kasparov. Instead I would suggest that Kouatly's
10...Bg4 11.f3 Bd7 is suitable for aggressive players, while those who prefer a
quieter game would do well to explore
8...b6 or even 10...e6" (p. 48, summary to chapter 3).
Based on Complete Games
As usual with opening books from Everyman it is based on complete games. A feature I like and this time 73 complete games structure the theoretical treatment. Among the many high level games you will find four encounters between Kramnik and Kasparov and many other clashes between giants. Primarily we are dealing with games from recent years, but there are well selected exceptions like
game 16 between Gligoric and Smyslov from 1959. Here Smyslov produces a masterpiece with his favourite move
10...Qc7 (DIAGRAM) (after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10. Be3).
The author is involved in some of the games as well, which I find important. These days many people write books on openings they don't normally play with somewhat mixed success. In both books by Davies the reader clearly senses that the author has his own opinion on matters.
Davies has written a nice book on a very exciting and popular opening. Luckily he sticks to the concept from his former book on the Alekhine, where the authors favourite variations were given a high priority. I find this concept much more inspiring and challenging for the reader. This is no encyclopedia but rather a selection of 73 games among top players primarily from 1999 - 2001. As supplementary reading to books like ZOOM 001 by Larsen and Zeuthen 1977 or
Rowson's "Understanding the Grünfeld" from Gambit
(1999), I find the book ideal. The book can be read on many levels as things are explained in a
clear-cut way. Recommended for all players searching for the latest wrinkles in the Grünfeld.