Michal Krasenkow: "The Triangle Setup"

2/6/2015 – A solid, firm setup, no matter what White plays, has many advantages. White has the first move, but Black determines the structure of the game and sets the terrain for the upcoming struggle. And if he knows this terrain it's even better. Therefore Polish GM Michal Krasenkow recommends to counter 1.d4 with "The Triangle Setup". Interesting and easy to learn.

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Michal Krasenkow: "The Triangle Setup - A complete defense against 1.d4": Review

By Paul Smith

In his new DVD the Polish Grandmaster, trainer and writer Michal Krasenkow makes the audacious claim of offering a complete defense against 1.d4. For a large part he lives up to that claim, delivering quality and detailed analysis of the many lines arising from his recommended repertoire that is based on the so-called “Triangle Defense”.

The DVD sets out to offer a repertoire for Black. But that being said, 1.d4 players like myself can learn a lot from this DVD. The name “Triangle” is a simple but smart choice as it is much more memorable than “Semi-Slav”, the official name of the line Krasenkow recommends.

There are two “Triangle” starting positions. In the most common White puts his Knight on f3 though Nc3 is also played from time to time.

Black triangles, White's knight is on f3.

White put the knight on c3 - Black triangles.

This black set-up enjoys a solid but somewhat passive reputation and is played at the highest levels. One recent notable game is Kramnik vs Giri, Qatar Open 2014.

Overall I found the suggested moves for Black to be very accurate, even when White chooses to play less common sidelines. For instance, against 4.Bg5 (instead of the more common 4.Nf3) he suggests 4…Be7, but against 4.Nbd2 he recommends 4…f5.

I am a 1.d4 player, and I play 4.Qc2 against the Semi-Slav, so, of course, this variation especially interested me. Krasenkow’s analysis covered the three most popular 6th moves for White: 6.g3, 6.Nc3 and 6.Bg5. Unfortunately, he does not analyse 6.Qc2, which is an important line that scores well for White and is played by Super-GMs such as Gelfand and Ivanchuk.

However, this is a minor criticism. Usually, Krasenkow analyses the recommended lines extensively and in detail. For instance, he spends two hours of analysis on the Noteboom variation. This includes his analysis of the lines and three illustrative games that emphasise the crucial themes of this line. This is really quite exceptionally detailed analysis and one could not ask for more.

The DVD also features a database of 75 games. These are high quality games and most of them are annotated. They are arranged in the same order as the video analysis and thus complement the videos.

Finally, the DVD also includes 13 test positions, with which you can check, how well you understood the offered material. These test positions can be useful but I do have a problem in how they are presented. They are simply numbered which I do not find useful. I would prefer if they indicated the variation the test position refers to as this would allow me to test myself while working on the specific variation.

The way it is, I have to click on a random position and hope that it fits the variation I want to test myself on. This problem is not specific to this DVD and I think Chessbase should revise how to arrange test positions.

But these are minor gripes I had with the DVD. All in all I admire the effort Michal Krasenkov put into this DVD which indeed is very close to offer Black a complete, easy to learn, solid and accessible defense against 1.d4.

Sample video

Michal Krasenkow: The Triangle Setup
A complete defense against 1.d4

• Video running time: 5 hours 29 minutes
• With interactive training including video feedback
• Analysis texts of the variations by Krasenkow
• Exclusive database with 75 annotated Grandmaster games
• Including CB 12 Reader

€29.90
€25.13 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$28.55 (without VAT)

This DVD can be be downloaded directly from the Internet, that way sparing you the few days needed for it to arrive by post.

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