Bologan: The Catalan – A Complete Repertoire for White

1/4/2012 – It is one of the most solid openings for White and forms part of the large and strong fianchetto family in which White builds his strategy mainly around the bishop on g2. This DVD by GM Viktor Bologan covers all of Black’s replies to the Catalan, some of which can even transpose to other openings such as the Tarrasch System and the Queen’s Indian. Chess Cafe review by Carsten Hansen.

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Catching Up

By Carsten Hansen

The Catalan: A Complete Repertoire for White (DVD) by Victor Bologan, ChessBase GmbH 2011, Running time: 5 hours 29 minutes, $36.95 (ChessCafe Price $30.95)

The Catalan is a very solid opening for White, but it is strategically complicated. Play can turn from quiet to tactically complicated in an instant and vice versa. In the introduction, Bologan tells us that he is the perfect guide for presenting this opening because he plays it himself and can even speak a few words in the slightly obscure language that is Catalan.

The material is divided into nineteen segments:

01: Introduction
02: 4...b6: Miton – Brownscombe
03: 4...c5: Gelfand – Grischuk
04: 4...c6 5.Nf3 Nbd7: Miron – Chrzaszcz
05: 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7: Tkachiev – Filippov
06: 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd6: Meier – Ponomariov
07: 4...Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bd7: Gleizerov – Horvath
08: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 b5: Buhmann – Bologan
09: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c6: Iskusnyh – Yemelin
10: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 c5: Fominyh – Ruban
11: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 a6: Kopylov – Solleveld
12: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+: Eljanov – Fedorchuk
13: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Nc6: Khalifman – Ivanov
14: 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 Nbd7: Meier – Ghaem Maghami
15: 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2: Dydyshko – Petrik
16: 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Ra7: Shirov – Jakovenko
17: 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1: Grischuk – Solomon
18: 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Qc8: Kramnik – Leko
19: 7.Qc2 a6 8.Qxc4 b5 9.Qc2 Bb7 10.Bd2 Be4 11.Qc1 Bb7: Nielsen – Hou Yifan

The first thing to note is that Bologan has a very distinct Slavic accent that is occasionally difficult to understand. It would seem to be for this reason that he avoids long explanations of what is happening on the board and limits himself to terse, safe statements.

The repertoire in itself is interesting and will undoubtedly provide some players with ammunition in particular lines. However, the DVD is mainly aimed at players rated below 2000 and it is not simplistic enough in its approach to be of any great value for players of that strength, nor does it provide enough detail in the variations to be of interest to players who are much stronger. As someone who has played the Catalan Opening regularly, I found myself wanting to get specifics in various lines, but almost every time Bologan stopped short of what I would have wanted.

Overall, this is a decent DVD, but it could easily have been considerably better.

My assessment of this product: Uneven (three out of six stars)

Sampler from Victor Bologan – The Catalan


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