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Grandmaster Repertoire - 1.e4 vs The French Caro-Kann and Philidor - Parimarjan Negi

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Grandmaster Repertoire - 1.e4 vs The French Caro-Kann and Philidor - Parimarjan Negi

Post  jiri on Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:16 am



Ever since its inception in 2008, the Grandmaster Repertoire series has produced some of the world’s best opening books, but an elite repertoire with 1.e4 has always been missing – until now.

In the Grandmaster Repertoire – 1.e4 series, Indian superstar Parimarjan Negi presents his own world-class repertoire. Building on a foundation of tried-and-tested main lines, the author shares a wealth of his innovative analysis to chart a course towards an advantage for White.

Volume One covers the French, Caro-Kann and Philidor.

Parimarjan Negi is a former child prodigy who is the second-youngest player of all time to obtain the Grandmaster title. He was Asian Champion in 2012, and is a key member of the Indian national team which won bronze medals at the Tromso Olympiad in 2014.

ISBN: 978-1-906552-06-0 - 600 pages - Published 6 August 2014

ChessPublishing Opening Book of the Year 2014

Reviews

"Quality Chess continues to produce an astonishing amount of high-quality opening books, and the latest offering from the Indian GM Parimarjan Negi – 1.e4 vs The French, Caro-Kann & Philidor – is no exception. Actually, this book should be recommended reading for any young (or old!) player who aspires to grandmaster level and above. It's nothing to do with the specific analysis of these openings (although that is superb of course) but it's more to do with the attitude to opening preparation that Negi demonstrates...

It's so good! It shows everything that you need to produce world-class preparation."

GM Matthew Sadler, New in Chess

“I know Parimarjan well enough to know what he is capable of when it comes to chess analysis. He was foolish enough to be totally honest in his book, not hiding anything from the readers, and now a bunch of new creative ideas in 1.e4 is out there in the open. The day after the book was on sale I won a nice game at the Olympiad with White against a French Defence in a topical variation, following one of his recommendations. No, it was not a coincidence! And yes, I am a quick reader."

GM Anish Giri

"I’m a hard man to please, and no more so than when it comes to chess books. I expect honesty, I expect diligence, I expect innovation, and, perhaps most difficult of all, I expect my short attention span to be entertained at all times. It’s a tough sell, I grant you.

But every now and then, every once-in-a-FIDE-cycle, a book comes along that seriously impresses me. And recently, I received another of these rare, pleasant shocks. Indian GM Parimarjan Negi’s first book of his 1.e4 repertoire series is a real stand-out, an excellent piece of chess authorship. And it even kept me engaged!

The analysis in this book is ahead of its time in terms of theoretical relevance, and I dare say will prove to be the benchmark for 1.e4 theory for several years to come."

GM David Smerdon, Chess.com (full review)

"Many authors add in explanations these days, but Negi goes further. It's pleasant to see so much informative text in a book which is supposed to be pushing at the boundaries of theory. It's all there: the background, the relevance in practice, the logic, the threats and all the strategy, all flowing in a style that is a pleasure to read and gives the impression that it's been well thought through."

GM Glenn Flear, New in Chess Yearbook

"Quality Chess has produced many fine opening books, but [this] might arguably be the best one so far.

Negi doesn't just regurgitate current theory. There are many interesting novelties and lots of original analysis in this volume... What makes this book special is Negi's communication with the reader. He carefully explains why he chooses one line over another and what led him to do so."

IM John Donaldson, Chess Today

"The Indian GM Parimarjan Negi may be little known in this country, but as a result of this book, that is likely to change abruptly!

For me this book is a highlight from Quality Chess. Super analyses and great comments makes the book more than satisfactory."

Martin Rieger

"Summing up, I think readers will be very impressed by the quality of the analysis, but none of it can be learned quickly. This is a book for hard working chess players who already play at a high level, typical of the standard we have come to expect from Quality Chess's Grandmaster Repertoire series."

Sean Marsh, CHESS magazine

"Another hit from the Grandmaster Repertoire series. If you want a reference book, you need look no further."

I’m a hard man to please, and no more so than when it comes to chess books. I expect honesty, I expect diligence, I expect innovation, and, perhaps most difficult of all, I expect my short attention span to be entertained at all times. It’s a tough sell, I grant you.

But every now and then, every once-in-a-FIDE-cycle, a book comes along that seriously impresses me. And recently, I received another of these rare, pleasant shocks. Indian GM Parimarjan Negi’s first book of his 1.e4 repertoire series is a real stand-out, an excellent piece of chess authorship. And it even kept me engaged!

The first book of his series sees Negi take on the French, the Caro-Kann and the Philidor Defence – all in one book! Furthermore, Negi has chosen (or been politely encouraged by his editors, I’d wager) to focus on the absolute main lines against each defence. Given all of this, it’s quite amazing that he’s managed to fit it all in to one book (albeit one of 600 pages). Surely he’s made some sacrifices, I hear you ponder – surely some short-cuts here and there; surely some important omissions? “No!” I answer with resounding and unexpectedly strong support of our author, “Not at all!” The truth is that the book has all the theory you need, and all up-to-date, to fill a full, main-line repertoire against these three defences.

In fact, ‘beyond-the-date’ would be a more appropriate description (if it wasn’t such horrid English), as the book is jam-packed with scores of the author’s own novelties that are just begging to be released. Negi is one of the best young theoreticians around, and became the second-youngest player ever to achieve the grandmaster title when he was awarded it at the tender age of 13. He has just commenced studies at Stanford University, so chess is taking a back seat for a while. Given this, from what I can gather, Negi seems to have decided to give away all of his secret, high-level opening analysis in this book series. I guess we can all thank Stanford for that.

“Hmm”, you muse, “In that case, I bet it’s just full of analysis, without any explanations. Those super-GM types don’t know how to talk through their thinking to normal people.” No, no, and no again. Luckily for us all, Negi does take the time to explain the logic of each structure, detailing the plans for both sides in a pleasant amount of detail. Practical guidance is a common theme throughout the book, and often Negi chooses to recommend variations that are easier to understand and to play, instead of unintelligible silicon-sourced alternatives. Still, I’m the sort of guy who often likes to go my own way, so I was very happy to see Negi analysing and offering several alternatives for White on occasion. Often, authors of repertoire books don’t bother with this, choosing to save time and space (and ego?) by limiting their analysis singularly to their own recommendations. I find this frustrating, particularly when I don’t agree with the conclusions and evaluations of the author in a particular line. This occasionally happened with Negi’s books as well (I can be annoying like that) – see the two examples below – but at least he’s presented us with promising alternatives with analysis that serves as a solid basis for personal research. In the French game below, Negi has presented some interesting analysis on 21.f5!?, which could assuage my doubts about White’s chances after 21.Rd3 Rb8!?. In the Caro-Kann game, his interesting 17.Nh4!? has also interested me enough to distract me from concerns over the main line with 17.Ne5. In short, I’m happy.

In terms of the book’s repertoire recommendations, Negi has gone for the main lines at every turn. You’re looking at 3.Nc3 against both the French and the Caro-Kann, and, notably, Negi has gone for the Steinitz (4.e5) against 3…Nf6 in the French, dodging the tricky McCutcheon variation (4.Bg5 Bb4!). This latter choice is, I think, a very good one, and has become a staple feature of the repertoire of (among others) Karjakin, Svidler and Grischuk. It’s all main-line stuff against the Caro-Kann (4…Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3; 4…Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4) and the Philidor (5.Bc4 Be7 6.a4), too (although it should be noted that the latest GM fashion against the Caro-Kann seems to be 3.e5). I was particularly impressed with Negi’s handling of the unusual but tricky Philidor system 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4!? 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Be2 0-0 7.Bf4 and now 7…Re8 8.Qd2 Bf8 9.f3 c6 10.0-0-0 b5!?. These positions can be tricky to handle for White over-the-board, because I find that players on the black side usually have far more experience with these positions and can occasionally whip up a deceptively dangerous attack on the queenside. But here Negi suggests 11.Kb1!, an excellent preparatory move that has been seen in a couple of correspondence games, but is a novelty in over-the-board play. One of my pet hates is when chess opening authors fail to research correspondence games in their analysis, as not only are these usually excellent sources of analysis, but often it leads to authors claiming or misappropriating novelties that rightfully belong to someone else. Not in this book, however, as you’ll see references to correspondence games throughout.

If I had to make one criticism, it would be this: On the rare occasion in Negi’s analysis, he doesn’t consider what computer engines suggest to be the strongest move. Sometimes these moves are novelties, and so the regular reader is unlikely to encounter them in practice. And in a mammoth book covering such a large body of material, it’s understandable that not every alternative can be considered, so it’s logical that the unplayed ones should be the first to go. Still, every now and then a computer suggestion is ignored, despite the fact that it leads to a largely forced variation that may question or even overturn the evaluation of Negi’s analysis. The French game below (Caruana-Meier) is a good example of this. I actually used a friend’s iPad-copy of the book at the recent Olympiad in Norway for my preparation

https://m.vk.com/doc450680886_451433486?hash=58355a70ec33cd2760&dl=87835e858602e2c0d9



jiri

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