Nicholas Pert: The Solid Slav Defence

by ChessBase
4/16/2015 – "I would strongly recommend Pert’s excellent DVD," writes reviewer Zhigen Lin, former Australian U16 champion. This DVD is an excellent was to get started with and opening that a vast majority of the world’s best players are using. The DVD is recorded by a player who used the Slav as his main black weapon to gain his GM title. It is probably advisable to listen to what he has to say.

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The Solid Slav Defence by Nicholas Pert

Review by Zhigen Lin

This article will review “The Solid Slav Defence” by English grandmaster Nicholas Pert, published in 2013. My objective is also to provide an overview of recent developments in Classical Slav repertoires.

Having played the Slav Defence for many years, to call it ‘solid’ is a very fitting description. It’s probably an understatement to say that the vast majority of the world’s best players are actively playing the Slav. Using the Slav ECO codes D10-D19, Kasparov has played the opening an innumerable number of times. While Carlsen only chose to play it a few times in 2014, of the current top players, Anand, Giri, Nakamura and So have used it considerably in the last few years.

Having not looked at a source on the Slav Defence for a while, I bought this DVD with the intention of refreshing my knowledge of the basic plans, plus to update my repertoire. To my surprise, Pert’s recommended repertoire was virtually exactly the same as mine in all the popular lines, with one exception in one of the main sidelines.

Perhaps this is not a coincidence, however. Pert switched from the Dutch Defence to the Slav a while back in an effort to seek more solidity in his repertoire. With the Slav as his main black weapon, Pert went on to earn his GM title. It was probably about this time that the sources I used, the much-loved 1997 Slav book by recently-returned English Grandmaster Matthew Sadler and English FIDE Master Graham Burgess’ thorough 2001 book came out.

Pert has an engaging teaching style and always makes clear what Black’s plans are in any given line. This is also the first time I’ve encountered the new interactive section in ChessBase’s DVDs that test one’s understanding. It’s a great initiative that I’m sure a lot of players would find helpful in understanding and being able to recall the material.

To check the soundness of Pert’s repertoire, let us compare what he recommends with the well-respected writer Israeli grandmaster Boris Avrukh’s book on the The Classical Slav from 2014. We find that there are many similarities in the advocated lines. Of course, Avrukh may well have viewed Pert’s DVD, but having seen Avrukh’s work before, he is very thorough and would never champion a line he knows to be inferior. I have also included some insight from a few others books, most notably American International Master Cyrus Lakdawala’s 2011 book entitled The Slav: Move by Move.

While I have mentioned several sources in the Slav, what almost any player would need is Pert’s DVD and Avrukh’s book. I would strongly recommend Pert’s DVD to get started. The more serious 1800+ player would probably want to get Avrukh’s book. Not only is the book more thorough, but it also provides important back-up lines, most notably in the main line with 6.Ne5 and in the move order trick 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3. The combination of Avrukh’s extremely high quality book and Pert’s excellent DVD, both published recently and giving very similar repertoires, provides a unique opportunity to gain a strong grasp of this top-level opening.

About the author

Zhigen Lin is a former Australian Under 16 Champion. He has represented Australia in world youth tournaments in France, Turkey, Georgia and Singapore.

Zhigen is currently undertaking an honours year in mathematics with a project in general relativity at Monash University. He has previously studied finance, applied mathematics and astrophysics. His website is called Chess Game Improvement.

Nicholas Pert: The solid Slav Defence

  • Video running time: 5 hours 20 minutes (English)
  • With interactive training including video feedback
  • Exclusive training database with 100 essential games
  • Including CB 12 – Reader

Price: €29.90
€23.15 without VAT (for Customers outside the EU)
$27.46 (without VAT)
ISBN: 978-3-86681-393-9

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

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Video sample of Nicholas Pert - The Solid Slav Defence

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