Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ghost Books?

One of my favorite chess authors from the eighties is Robert Bellin. Among his books that I read and enjoyed were:
  • The Classical Dutch, Batsford 1977
  • Queen's Pawn, Veresov System, Batsford 1983
  • Trompowski Opening and Torre Attack, Batsford 1984
  • Test Your Positional Play, Batsford 1985 (with Pietro Ponzetto)
  • Winning With the Dutch, Batsford 1990

So when I saw that Batsford announced a book "London System Repertoire" by him - first for January 2005, then for February and finally for June, I worried about competition. But although it is still advertized by Amazon, it now doesn't seem likely to ever appear (or will it be re-launched when Batsford feels my London book is aging?).

Now when planning a book on the Dutch Stonewall, there again are books that have been announced for some time and then seriously delayed. First I noticed a Batsford book by Collins with the title "An Attacking Repertoire for Black", which proposes a repertoire based on the French and Stonewall defences:

It was announced for August and later September 2006 and now it's said to be expected August 2007. Will it ever appear?

Then I saw that Quality Chess announced two updates by Aagaard of his Everyman book Dutch Stonewall; one in Swedish and one in German. The Swedish version appears to have been canceled but the German book is still announced to be published in May.


Anonymous said...

After advice to use Robert Bellin's books for the Dutch & London, I discoverd that they are mainly out of print.
Luckily, "Winning with the Dutch" showed up second hand in my local shop. Well written, good chess analysis and amusing in its move judgements. Recommended, I can see why you liked it.
I previously found Karpov' "Winning with the Spanish" from the same series. Competent and accurate, but he's much less of an author.
Robert Bellin was the winner of the brilliancy prize last year at the Guernsey tournament, but with neither the London nor the Dutch : the Philidor of all things!

Sverre Johnsen said...

Well, the Philidor isn't such a surprising choice for Bellin after all. It seems he has a keen eye for underestimated openings and I think the Philidor belongs to that category.
Bellin's books are comfortable reads and still worth having. However, to some extent they are readable precisely because Bellin didn't have access to the huge databases and the analytical tools of today's authors. Too many game references and too long lines tend to clutter the text; sometimes they even overshadow the strategic explanations.
By the way, do you have any indications that his London book was ever printed?

Anonymous said...

Not that I know much, but trawling the web suggests that this book ( Bellin's London System ) is not published. The only place with a proper reference in, but that indicates 2015 as a publishing date ! It will be definitive if he takes that long on it ;)

Sverre Johnsen said...

You are right - December 31, 2015 actually! It will be a long wait.

Thanks for sharing an amusing observation!

Anonymous said...

I have now gone through a lot of Bellin's "Winning with the Dutch", and what an enjoyable book it is. I have genuinely learned a lot from this, and have begun to adopt the Dutch in games now ( I play on FICS mainly ). His excellent analysis gives good and highly playable games, taking me out of the opening into a decent middlegame.
This is more or less the first time I have done this ( dedicated time to playing properly through an opening book ) and it has been rewarding.
I see there are other Dutch books around, but I really would love an update on Bellin's ( although doubtless your proposed book will be good on the Stonewall ! ) as he covers all the Dutch variations in one book.
I actually saw that the Agaard "Stonewall 2" is out now in my local shop. Sadly only in German. I guess it must have been a better seller there than elsewhere !

Any recommendation of latest books on the Dutch ? I seem to have come up against the 'Classical' more than others so far, or else the Bg5 varieties, which, of course I do not fear as Bellin has the riposte !

Sverre Johnsen said...

I doubt you should wait for one single comprehensive book on the entire Dutch complex - the subject has simply become too vast. However, within its obvious limits, McDonald's 'Starting Out: The Dutch Defence' is an excellent book. You will not find all the relevant lines in all sub-systems but you will get a very good overview.

Good luck with your Dutch games!

Anonymous said...

I just love the Dutch ! It has solved what I play against d4, and even when you use it against c4, you have what you want ! No longer a worrying English with White in control, but Dutch !
I'm no expert, and there are doubtless lots of mistakes here,but am particularly satisfied with this example played today. I actually planned the capture of the light-squared bishop so I could play Ne4, though I think White's knight sacrifice was probably more important in swinging the game.

1. c4 f5 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 g6 5. Bg5 Bg7 6. e3 O-O 7. Qc2 c6 8. Bd3 Na6 9. a3 Re8 10. O-O c5 11. dxc5 Nxc5 12. Rfd1 a6 13. Nd5 Nxd3 14. Qxd3 Ne4 15. Nxe7+ Rxe7 16. Qd5+ Kf8 17. Bxe7+ Qxe7 18. Qa5 Bxb2 {Black resigns}

Anonymous said...

Finally, I found a copy of "The Classical Dutch". I'm sure it is now a bit outdated, but I do so like his writing style, and at my level the latest trends is probably umimportant ( & sometimes the older variations are more useful :) Sometimes, I love ebay !