Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Original Killer Repertoire

Do you know the original 'A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire'? It used to be one of my favorite chess opening books and when Gambit asked whether I was interested in updating it, I jumped at the opportunity.
The original work was a fairly slim volume at 144 pages. It has been out of print for some time now and as usual that causes the price offers on Amazon and e-Bay to skyrocket. I would expect that trend to be reversed or at least reduced by the arrival of the revised edition but you never know. There will almost certainly be someone who swear by the original edition and find all additions to detract from the book's value.

So in order to prepare myself for the coming slaughter, I went searching for internet reviews of the 1998 edition. I seemed to remember a review by a GM on the British Chess Federation's website but was unable to find it. I was also unable to find any review of the book at Silman's large depository so I ended up with a surprising meagre catch:
  • The most interesting find probably was this review by Baburin at Chess Cafe.
  • Niggemann offers a review in German by Thomas Schian in Rochade Europa. See below for a translation.
  • The information at Amazon - and in particular the reviews - is always interesting. The reviews cannot always be trusted - sometimes there seem to be organized campaigns - but frequently you get an impression of the quality of a work.
In his book 'A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire' the English GM Summerscale presents an interesting, unusual, aggressive and rather complete opening repertoire for White. The initial moves are 1.d4 and 2.Nf3. Against the Grünfeld and the King's Indian Summerscale offers the Barry Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3), against the Pirc and Modern defences he recommends 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be3. Here he also examins variations without ...Nf6 for Black. The Queen's Gambit is avoided by means of the Colle-Zukertort set-up (1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 e6 4.Bd3 c5 5.b3). Of course Summerscale also discusses various Anti-Colle systems. Then follows a chapter on the Queen's Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.e3 b6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.0-0 c5 6.c4), the Benoni (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3) as well as the Dutch (1.d4 f5 2.Bg5). In the final chapter various sidelines are examined.

The offered repertoire parts fit well together and make a rather complete repertoire. The killer repertoire contains relatively few theoretical variations. Nevertheless there no doubt are books that treat some of the lines in more detail. This may also be the reason why Summerscale only recommends his own book for players rated up to 2000 Elo. All taken into account the book offers White an unusual but yet correct and aggressive repertoire for the price of 45 Deutsche Mark. However, you will need some basic English reading skills in order to understand Summerscale's explanations.

Thomas Schian, Rochade Europa 04/99

My apologies for neglecting this blog for the past couple of months. I first had a very busy October and then was a bit apatic in November. I now plan to resume blogging as normal.


Farbror the Guru said...

Sounds like a really interesting project! Any crude time line?

Sverre Johnsen said...

The book is scheduled for March 2010. The book's home page at Gambit Publishing is:

You will find some more information in this blog if you go to the Labels field on the left hand side and then click on 'A Killer Opening Repertoire'. More information will follow in the next few weeks but I must restrict myself somewhat as Gambit Publishing should have the right to inform about their products.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to grasp an idea in advance of the bibliography you've used, just to know from where are you building upon?

In this book, is there some update of your london system files (congratulations for 'Win with the London System', I'm enjoying it very much)?

Best wishes.

Sverre Johnsen said...

I have usually had quite extensive bibliographies in the books I have co-authored as that normally is useful information for the reader. However, for this one I plan to make an exception as I have consulted a ridiculous number of books on the Colle, Pirc and King's Indian, and in some of them I found a little information which I included in the book, but mostly I checked that Summerscale's suggestions from 1998 had not been refuted (or superseded by clearly better lines). So in a way I feel listing these books in a bibliography would be misleading. The manuscript is now with Gambit's editorial staff and they may disagree with this view and ask me to include a bibliography anyway.

That being said Palliser's two books on the Colle were very useful as was Vigus' 'The Pirc in Black and White'. I had problems finding a recent and reliable source on the line 1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 but probably I will return to that subject in a blog entry one of the next few days.

I am glad you liked the London book. I am still fond of it but it's already in need of an overhaul.

The Killer Repertoire book had very little overlap with my London book but I did some research on the line 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 which may influence a future update of the London book.