One for Black, one for White

6/17/2010 – Last weekend Viktor Bologan became co-winner in the top-class Poikovsky tournament. The Moldavian GM is also a great chess trainer and has recorded two Fritztrainer DVDs, one on the Philidor Defence (for Black) and one on the Sicilian Rossolimo (for White). Sean Marsh reviewed both and recommends them especially to advanced players. Place your order now or read this review.

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Viktor Bologan : The Sicilian Rossolimo For White

Review by Sean Marsh (Marsh Towers)

The Rossolimo arises after 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 and is a popular way to avoid the long theoretical lines of the Open Sicilian (3 d4). GM Bologan demonstrates the plans, ideas and variations (from White's point of view) using 20 illustrative games. Nine of the games feature Bologan himself. He was taught the Rossolimo Variation by his coach, Vecheslav Chebanenco, whose name crops up repeatedly throughout.

The first game sums up Black's early options, such as 3 ...Qb6, 3 ...Qc7 and 3 ...Nd4. The conclusion is that White can do well against all of these unusual tries. He then moves on to the main material and considers Black's most serious tries - 3 ...Nf6, 3 ...d6, 3 ...e6 and 3 ...g6 - in greater depth. On this DVD, White is advised to base the majority of his plans around an early Bxc6. GM Bologan demonstrates that giving up the Bishop pair to compromise Black's pawn structure often results in White being able to choose a specific way of playing. I particularly enjoyed learning about the methods of assaulting Black's Queenside pawns. The ideas were new to me.

Here's some examples of what White should add to his arsenal.

Here, 11 a5 is a powerful move. Black's apparently solid lump of pawns immediately feels the pressure, especially as 11 ...b5 would leave the c5 pawn in a greatly weakened state.

This is the sort of position White is aiming for. With total control of the a-file and invasion imminent, the future looks good for the first player.

This time, Black has played ....a5 to stop White doing so. Unfortunately for the second player, the remedy is only temporary, as after the fantastic 13 b4! axb4 14 a5! Black can take two pawns but his entire Queenside is in danger of falling apart. I think standard club players will find themselves a little bit out of their depth if they try and create an anti-Sicilian weapon from this DVD.

The presenter has a heavy accent and a very low voice which, coupled with the speed with which he plays through the variations, may lose some of his audience along the way. There is a reluctance to break things down into finer detail, in the way Andrew Martin and Nigel Davies usually do. However, more experienced players who are serious students of chess will gain a lot more benefit from this material.

Viktor Bologan: The Fighting Philior

Review by Sean Marsh (Marsh Towers)

The Philidor has enjoyed a revival over the last few years, due in no small part to the realisation that 1 ...d6 2 ...Nf6 and 3 ...e5 can lead to positions Black is after while avoiding some tricky issues after the standard move-order 1 ...e5, 2 ...d6. The DVD uses as a similar format to the one above, with 20 main illustrative games. This time, GM Bologan is mainly seen on the Black side of the board, with nine appearances as opposed to just one with White.

Unusual lines are covered first as the viewer is taken on a journey towards the main lines. White's early deviations from the norm include 1 e4 d6 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4, 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 f3 and 3 Bd3, 1 e4 d6 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nge2 and 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 e5 4 Nge2 None of these should cause Black any real trouble and the lines given for Black here should stand him in good stead.

Then it's on to the real work. The first major section looks at the Queenless middlegames arising from: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 d4 e5 4 dxe5 dxe5 5 Qxd8+ Kxd8

Four main branches are now considered, namely: 6 f4, 6 Bg5, 6 Bc4, and 6 Nf3 6 Bc4 is natural and popular. I have happy memories of this line, having played it successfully in numerous games. I favoured 6 ...Be6, but the move analysed by GM Bologan is 6...Ke8, so it was fresh territory for me.

Clever White players like to try and take advantage of Black's modern move-order by playing an early g-pawn lunge. 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 d4 e5 4 Nc3 Nbd7 5 g4

Popov - Zablotsky This has caused some headaches. The analysis given here heads down the line: 5 ...Nxg4 6 Rg1 Ngf6 and the recommendation is a plan for Black including ....a6, ...b5, ...Qa5 still keeping the option of ...0-0-0 open.

If White doesn't fancy swapping off the Queens are pushing the g-pawn so early in the game then both sides can look forward to ending up in main line Philidor Defence.

Three Black moves are considered here: h6, b6 and a5. All are discussed in detail. Fans of The Lion will be disappointed to note that 'The Lion's Claw' - where Black delays castling and plays an early ...h6 and ....g5 to attack White's King, is not covered on this DVD. Or maybe that's a good thing; not only are those lines kept out of the public eye for a little longer, but players with Black will also be tempted to add these more traditional Philidor lines to their repertoires.

Although I have the same slight reservations as I mentioned for the Rossolimo DVD, there's no doubt about the quality of the Grandmasterly knowledge on display here. Repeat viewings are recommended to gain the most benefit from the material.


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