Saturday, September 28, 2013

"English Defence" by Ilia Odessky, Chess University

I have a big respect for Ilia Odessky as it is clear that this person works very hard on his books, not just quickly publishing something for the sake of the money. As far as I know, this is the first book published by this author, at least in English. Here is my review of this book.

General Presentation

Hard cover, black and white, 270 pages, "English Defence" is an opening book mostly for Black to play the English Defence (1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6). It can also be used for white players who play 1. d4 to avoid being surprised with this opening.
2 quick words about the opening itself: it is an interesting opening as it is less well-known than the Slav or the Queen Gambit, gives you some initiative and is not just a crazy opening where you sacrifice everything.

Structure and Presentation

I like the font used in this book and I find it easy to read. The structure is well defined by the author (we will look at this variant, then that one, then this other one and finally that one over there) but the structure could have been better highlighted. For example, when switching from one variation to another, a subtitle would have been appreciated.

Otherwise, the book is divided in 5 chapters, each with a nice title which seems to be the signature of Ilia Odessky (ever seen a chapter called "A Simple Way for a Simpleton" in another chess book?).

The Content

Some authors like to tell you how Black is winning in an opening by showing you what to play against poor play by White. Ilia Odessky is not one of them. The lines analyzed in this book are looked at thoroughly and many White alternatives had not been analyzed before.

However, as a player of moderate skills myself (international rating about 19xx), I sometimes feel hungry for more information. For example, what to do if white plays Nf3 early in the game (instead of e4)? Or what to do if White deviates very early. I wouldn't expect a full answer to every possible White moves.

But a few more words about positions that could arise outside the books would have been nice to have. Or maybe more general directions: what is Black trying to achieve? By what means?

My Conclusion

This book is an important resource for people playing this opening but if you are new to this opening, you may want a more general introductory book about this opening in addition to this book.

To buy this book at Amazon, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment