Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This three-part series by GM Artur Yusupov is terrific. I've been looking over its terrain and I think if CJS Purdy were alive today he would heartily endorse it because:
1. It's practical and useful;
2. It explains well and has great examples;
3. It's very encompassing without fluff.

Tonight I was looking at volume three (Mastery) and reading the section on the French Defense.

Yusupov, also a French player, has some great exercises to work on. Even the "simple" ones take time to think about. For example, what do you do when Black is attacking a pawn three times and White is protecting it three times? According to the Purdy book I am about to release (and others), it is important to remove one of the defenders (and it may be through an Exchange sac.)

But which move should be made first? Is the pawn on d4 the point of the whole series of moves? (I couldn't find in my quick search, anything else.) It is these questions you must answer if you are going to play the French well. He also gives some annotated games he and others have played to enlighten you about certain aspects of the French. This should make your search for better play easier.

What are simple tactics to Yusupov? I think they may be a little harder than simple but not aggravatingly hard. He's trying to encourage you.

Vol. 1 is like an Exercise refresher (and there are exercises in all three books). It includes topics on open files, the opposition in the endgame, centralizing the pieces, forced variations, and much more including, naturally, solutions and a scoring table. Don't dismiss this book on "Fundamentals" as trivial, all of us need this "wake up" prompting.

Vol. 2 is "Beyond the Basics." It's a step above fundamentals as it includes combinations, an opening repertoire, calculation of how to "find" a move (elimination), more endgame technique (Rook vs. Bishop), pawn play (hanging, doubled, etc.) and tons more. Each book is about 280 pages. It's like The Chess Reports but on steroids and delivered to you by a world class trainer. I find Yusupov, a student of Dvoretsky more engaging than D.

Vol. 3 is "Mastery." We hear a lot about the isolated-pawn but too many are afraid to really delve into the subject because of the "negative press." Yet in a recent study I made (to eventually come out as a paper) it is one of the MOST important arrows in a master's quiver. It is misunderstood but, properly applied, can net you many additional points, especially if you are inclined toward patient play. After all, you may be working your wiles against an opponent who is afraid of isolated pawns--see how that works? Evaluation of the position is another subject most of us need. Many, many topics are all designed to improve your skillset. In the end you not only can't help to be a much improved player, not by coincidence will you also score more wins.

This set is heartily recommended. One caveat: at least for the first time through. When you get to his annotated games, skips the long notes until a second time around. The idea is to get you used to where he is going and see if you are making progress. If you score below his "pass mark" he recommends you redo that particular chapter.

This is an amazing set of three books, $29.95 each. Of course I have them specially priced for you. The Gilbert&Lange price for each is $25.50 and the Gold Card price is $22.50. If you buy the whole set of three the G&L price will be $72 plus $6.50 for shipping (in the USA). The Gold Card price for all three is $60.00 plus $6.50 for shipping. If you don't have a Gold Card they are $50 through the end of March (2010) and you can use it all year long for many special promotions. This promotion is good through THIS weekend: February 28, 2010.

As usual, you can contact me (Bob Long) through: -- if necessary to give me credit card info you can email or call me at: 563-271-6657.

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