Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire on the Loose

Gambit Publishing has now released their coming titles for the winter. There are quite a few interesting looking books on the horizon.

To me, the most interesting one is an update of Aaron Summerscale's classic ' A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire' which is scheduled for March 2010. I can honestly say I was surprised to see my name listed as a co-author as my task just was to bring this 11 years old book up to date. However, in retrospect Gambit's decision seems the only reasonable one. The book has been quite heavily updated and it would not have been fair to mr. Summerscale to list him as sole author.

Another surprise was that the book - as the only one on their new list - will be in Gambit's small format (A5 - 210x145 mm). I have no idea why this decision was made but it must somehow be related to the fact that even after the update the book is relatively light weight.

I am again pleased with the cover which certainly must be another Wolff Morrow creation. His style is quite recognizable and the theme fits the title quite nicely.

My apologies to everybody waiting for blogs with an analytical content - be it the Stonewall or the Noteboom. I am working but I am working slowly and the days go by.


Simon said...

A good book for its time.

Just out of interest - anything worthy for the punters to deal with Dembo's anti-anti-KID recommendations?

More worthy than Palliser's and the enthusastic amateur Rudel's (only CZ)?

Sverre Johnsen said...

Well, frankly I am not sure how much I am allowed to reveal.

For the moment I will only say that all the three sources you mention were consulted (Palliser's books quite extensively). I can also safely point out (as all fans of the previous edition know) that KCOR offers a more complete repertoire than Palliser or Rudel.

Anonymous said...

Everymanchess has a new forum on their website. Under the post Starting Out: The London System, John Emms says they are planning a repertoire book on the London called Play the London System by IM Cyrus Lakdawala and due out in summer/autumn 2010.

Sverre Johnsen said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for providing this very interesting information!

I was kind of expecting a 'Starting Out: The London System' from Everyman and was not sure whether Gambit would see that as a sufficient reason to update our 2005 book. However, a 'Play the London' book is much more of a direct competitor.

I will try to convince Gambit Publications that December 2010/January 2011 will be the perfect time for an update of 'Win with the London System'!

I have a lot of improvements/ corrections/ additions from readers and from Prie at ChessPublishing so with the Everyman book in the bibliography 'Win with the London System 2' could become the 'definitive' work on the London System. I really hope I can get Kovacevic on my team again!

David Rudel said...

I am revamping Zuke'Em and was wondering if it would be at all useful for you to see the new edition or whether it would be too late at that point.

The treatment for the mainline variation is completely different [following the gist of the article I wrote for chessville []

By the way, in response to Simon, the closest thing to an Anti-KID I have suggested previously was an informal update here:

Is that what you refer to? I ask because your post makes it sound like I have suggested one should use the C-Z against the KID, and I don't think I have ever made that claim. Indeed, my advice in Zuke 'Em was to use the 150 and Barry found in Summerscale's and Palliser's book.

In future Zuke 'Em editions I will likely flesh the above idea out, leaving only the Dutch unattended in terms of major opening defenses. Of course, CKOR treats the dutch, meaning it will still be a leg up in the comprehensiveness category.

Sverre Johnsen said...


I enjoyed the first edition of your book and admire the effort you invest in your project. I don't always agree with your evaluations and your strategic explanations but I will make sure to get hold of the next edition. If the revamped edition is available early in January it will probably still be possible for me to make use of any relevant analysis.

However, the overlap between the books is less than one might expect. I have tried to stay faithful with Summerscale's original repertoire wherever possible - mainly adding more recent game references in the notes. Consequently there are lots of parallel and similar lines but not that many identical ones.

The Killer Repertoire manuscript now is being checked by the Gambit staff. For me it in practical terms has reached the print setting stage where it is still possible to make necessary changes but considerably harder to do so. When the pages are set, changes generally must be done according to the 'One Line In - One Line Out' (OLIOLO) principle. If I want to add a line somewhere on a page I generally have to delete another line on the same page, so that the change doesn't impact later pages. Only at the very end of chapters I usually am free to add extra material.

David Rudel said...

Gotcha. Well, I'll send it along and you might some gems worth adding.

Sverre Johnsen said...


I am again impressed by your generous and non-competitive attitude. Taken together with your C-Z Forum and your other web-updates I can only conclude that your driving force must be a love for the Colle Zukertort and a feeling of responsibility for your readers.

Did you notice that Yusupov's "Build Up Your Chess 3 - Mastery"
contains the outlines of a C-Z repertoire and quite a few annotated C-Z games? I got the book only yesterday so I have not had the time to inspect it closely but it certainly looks interesting.

David Rudel said...

Thanks, Sverre. You have me pegged pretty well, I'd say. I just ordered the book myself and will pass on the note to readers at the forum.

Best Regards,

Sverre Johnsen said...

I have the Yusupov book in front of me now. It contains four relatively deeply annotated games with Yusupov playing the white side of the Colle. The first two are the Zukertort variety while the 3rd game is a Colle/Stonewall set-up and the 4th a Classical Queen's Indian.

What actually may be even more interesting is the following 12 exercises which are all taken from Yusupov's own praxis in the Colle Zukertort. For most test positions the entire game score (with brief Informator style comments) is given in the solution.

It seems this could be quite a good introduction to the C-Z for anyone willing to invest some time and effort in the project.

The Colle Zukertort repertoire is complemented with a chapter on the Smyslov variation versus the King's Indian (and a line against the Gruenfeld). This short chapter too concludes with 12 exercizes similar to the ones in the C-Z chapter.

Wolff Morrow said...

Hello again, Sverre!

Thanks so much for the compliment on the cover. If you'd like to see a larger preview image of it, here's a link to it on my web site:

This cover was both a blessing and a curse. First, it was a curse in that I had very nearly finished the image when a thunderstorm blasted my computer and corrupted all my files on the project (including backups I had completely forgot to burn off). I ended up having to start over from scratch. But as I said, it was also a blessing in that I got to design the entire concept of the image myself and just sort of have fun with it.

I'm considering having the 3k-resolution version made into a poster. I did this previously for one of my other cover images, and it turned out quite nicely! I have it framed and hanging on my parent's living room wall.

BTW, I'm a fan of the original KCOR book and looking forward to reading this updated version!

Sverre Johnsen said...

Welcome back Wolff,

I was aware of your home page but didn't dare to give the link, as you seemed to be a bit restrictive about it. Can I feel free to refer to it in a context related to my books?

I must say that I was tempted by the idea of 'my' book covers made into posters. Do you have any idea whether this could be arranged and about the costs involved? I am planning to move into a larger apartment some day within the next year, and it would be the perfect decoration in the entrance. (I hope my wife agrees!)

I hope you will like the revised Killer Repertoire. It hasn't been an easy task. I have tried to remain in the back-ground wherever possible. However, quite a few places it was necessary to reorganize the material in order to include new developments. I hope a side-effect has been to make it more reader friendly as the longest notes now have been split.

Wolff Morrow said...

Oh sure you can refer to my web site no problem. When I originally started the web site, I had made the mistake of posting images before Gambit had listed the books on their web site. Now I just wait until they post the book on their forthcoming list before I post the images on my own site.

On the poster prints, I had looked into getting my own printer for making them, but such printers cost quite a bit of money (thousands). So what I did was burn the image bitmap onto a CD and took that to a local printing shop. I had set up the print size beforehand so all they had to do was print it out on a 24"x36" poster (standard movie size). Ended up costing me $65.00 when they finished, and then I just took the poster and put it in a movie poster frame case. Looks great, and I've had many people offer to buy prints from me after I showed them.

Anyway, yeah I can hardly wait to check out the book. I have most of the previous books on the subject, including Rudel's book. I had done a review of Rudel's book on my page on I was brutally honest in my opinion on the book, although this is mostly because I'm very obsessive about concrete analysis and in-depth coverage. You'd be surprised at how many analysis errors you can spot in chess books by simply entering every suggested line into a custom database. Often times I will do this and discover the author contradicts his/her own analysis in two different sections of the book!

Sverre Johnsen said...

I have now added your site to my "Favorite Chess Links". I hope you find the label and lead text acceptable.

The price for printing was somewhat higher than I expected and will undoubtedly be higher in a Norwegian print shop but still not entirely prohibitive. How much would you charge for a CD/DVD containing the four files with "my" covers (including the right to print them for my personal use)?

Concluding on a more chess related note: I see you used to play 1.b3 and 1.Nf3 + 2.b3. Have you ever considered what may be gained by combining this move-order with certain lines of the Colle Zukertort? This thought has struck me several times but I have never got around to exploring the option in any detail. I remember being disappointed by how difficult it is to gain any real advantage against 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.b3 g6 (or even 1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6), but that's about it.

David Rudel said...

For whatever it may be worth, I once looked into this question and concluded that someone who played the C-Z in another life would occasionally find themselves in a line they recall, for the most part the Nimzo-Larsen is so free-form that one cannot build a repertoire effecting those line with any real frequency, even in the Classical sub-tree.