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How to Play against 1.e4

192 Seiten, kartoniert, Everyman, 1. Auflage 2008.

9,95 €
inkl. 7% MwSt., zzgl. Versandkosten

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It's not easy finding a good opening to play against 1 e4, especially if - like the majority of chess players - you don't have endless hours available to study the latest theoretical developments. If you choose fashionable openings, in this information age it's sadly often a necessity to keep up with theory if you want to survive the opening with Black.

This book provides a solution. Neil McDonald advocates his favourite opening - the very popular French Defence - but chooses a repertoire for Black that requires only the minimum amount of move memorization. The lines he selects are very easy to learn and play - perfect for those who are unwilling to be slaves to opening theory. But there's also something here for more experienced players, as McDonald goes on to offer a second repertoire based on counter-attacking lines against 3 Nc3 and 3 Nd2.

  • An easy-to-learn defence against 1 e4
  • Provides solutions to all of White's options
  • Written by a world-renowned expert on the French
  • Ideal for improvers, club players and tournament players

English Grandmaster Neil McDonald is an experienced and successful player on the international chess circuit. He is a respected chess coach, who has trained many of the UK's strongest junior players. McDonald is also a talented chess writer and has many outstanding works to his name.



When I was asked to write a repertoire book against 1 e4, I guess it was natural that I would seize the opportunity to discuss the French Defence, 1 e4 e6, which has been my staple defence for more than a quarter of a century.

The French has a very long history, which implies that it can be understood more easily than openings such as the Sicilian or Caro-Kann. It must have an intrinsic logic, amenable to common sense, or else it wouldn't have been popular before sophisticated openings were devised. In any case, it is hoped that a perusal of the first three chapters will quickly get you up and running in your new opening.

The Fort Knox is the most solid and untheoretical of all the main line French varia­tions, and has the virtue that it can be played against both 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 and 3 Nd2, thereby greatly cutting down the amount of book work you need to do. The lines recommended against the Advance Variation and French Exchange also shouldn't tangle you up too much in theory. Finally, at the end of the book there is a brief discussion of early white divergences from the main lines.

After you have gained some experience, you might decide that you want to try out more counter-attacking variations. For this reason chapters 4-6 discuss lines in the Classical, the McCutcheon and the Tarrasch with 3...Be7 which are more dynamic but also require a lot more memory work than the Fort Knox.

It should be remembered that it took a great many experiments for chess players to discover what works and what doesn't work in a given opening. An ordinary player can't expect to discover for himself the best moves and plans in a complex position; he must rely on the work of his predecessors. Alekhine, for example, was a brilliant theorist, but in the 1920s he condemned as a strategic error the basic ...e5 plan for Black in the King's Indian Defence, which many years after his death was to become Fischer's main weapon and then a useful point scorer for Kas­parov. The reason, of course, was that the King's Indian was little played during Alekhine's lifetime, and so he had few examples on which to base his judgement.

Three things especially struck me while writing this book:

i. The number of women players who have made an important contribution to the modern theory of the French Defence. It could quite reasonably be renamed the 'Fairer Defence' in their honour (but not the crude 'Female Defence'). As usual when talking about chess, I mean 'he' to stand for both 'he' and 'she', and espe­cially so in this book.

ii. How often the black king should (and does) stay in the centre in the French Defence. Many years ago the great World Champion Emanuel Lasker suggested the right to castle should be abandoned in order to allow more attacking chess be played. Capablanca (or perhaps Reti) replied that without the castling rule, White's right to move first would give him too much advantage. Well, looking at the games in this book, it strikes me that Black can get on pretty well in the French without castling. Often he (or she!) leaves the king in the centre for the whole game, or only condescends to castle at move 20 or so. Just one example: 31...0-0! forces Kasparov to instantly resign in the first game of Chapter One!

iii. Black can no longer count on having a good game just because he has dismantled his opponent's centre. The French Defence is handled in a very dynamic way these days. Black doesn't have to fear the white centre - he has to be afraid of what happens when it vanishes. He wants to destroy it, certainly; but he has to be careful that he isn't destroyed himself in the process by a burst of energy from the white pieces, who suddenly find a whole host of open lines, diagonals or attacking squares handed to them. There is a special art in making sure that the white centre vanishes on Black's terms.

The question of open and closed positions is vital when playing the French. Black can get away with strategically desirable but time wasting manoeuvres if the position remains closed. However, the same manoeuvre might be suicidal in an open position.

It's time to wish you good luck with your new opening. I hope you enjoy this book and learn some useful ideas. Have fun with the French!

Neil McDonald,


September 2008

Sprache Englisch
Autor McDonald, Neil
Verlag Everyman
Auflage 1.
Medium Buch
Gewicht 360 g
Breite 15,2 cm
Höhe 19,2 cm
Seiten 192
ISBN-10 185744
ISBN-13 9781857445862
Erscheinungsjahr 2008
Einband kartoniert

005 Introduction

009 1 The Advance Variation

050 2 The Exchange Variation

071 3 The Fort Knox

096 4 The Classical 4 e5 Variation

131 5 The McCutcheon

173 6 The Tarrasch 3...Be7

198 7 The King's Indian Attack

219 8 Odds and Ends

229 Index of Variations

237 Index of Games

How to Play against 1.e4