Psakhis, Lev/ French Defence 3.Nc3 Bb4
(Batsford, London 2003)
Paperback, 256 Seiten
in englischer Sprache
In the third volume of his series on the French Defence, Lev Psakhis analyses the Winawer Variation: 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4. Pioneered in the classic games of Nimzowitsch and Botvinnik, this system is today championed by such leading players as Nigel Short, Alexander Khalifman, Predrag Nikolic, Smbat Lputian, Rafael Vaganian and many more.
A lifelong adherent of this opening, Psakhis maintains that the Winawer is the most complex variation not only in the French Defence but perhaps in the whole of chess opening theory. To do full justice to its strategic and tactical range, he provides a wealth of illustrative games, critically annotated with the most up-to-date theoretical refinements. Whether you are for or against the French, this is the most authoritative and comprehensive guide available today.
Grandmaster Lev Psakhis is a former Soviet Champion, now living in Israel. He acts as trainer to the world's No.1 female player Judit Polgar. His previous books for Batsford include The Complete French and The Complete Benoni, as well as the two previous volumes in the present series: French Defence 3 Nd2, and Advance and Other Anti-French Variations.
In this book, the third volume of the series, we examine the Winawer Variation - perhaps the most complex variation not only in the French Defence, but in Ihe whole of chess opening theory! It is characterized by the moves:
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4
The Winawer has a long and illustrious history. It began to be played more than a hundred years ago, but it owes its theoretical foundations to that great chess innovator Aron Nimzowitsch, to his articles and books, and of course to his games, To all those who want to include this variation in their opening repertoire, I recommend a reading of Nimzowitsch's remarkable works My System, Chess Praxis and of course The Blockade, Afterwards the baton was picked up by Mikhail
Botvinnik, who successfully employed the Winawer Variation against the best players of his time.
Merely listing the strong grandmasters who have played their part in developing this most interesting system would not at all be simple. Let me recall just a few: Viktor Korchnoi, David Bronstein, Wolfgang Uhlmsnn, Rafael Vaganian, Smbat Lputian, Nigel Short, Predrag Nikolic", Sergei Dolmatov, as well as the author of these lines and many, many more. If you are preparing to play the Winawer on the White side, you should take a close look at the games of Vassily Smyslov, Aleksei Shirov, Sergei Dolmatov and Judit Polgar. Vishy Anand also has some remarkable results to his name.
With his third move, Black immediately organizes pressure on his opponent's pawn centre, just as he does in the Classical System with 3...Nf6 - which will be the subject of our fourth volume. One difference is that in the present case, the advance of the white e-pawn will not attack the black knight. On the other hand the active bishop sortie also has its drawbacks - chief of which is that the Black kingside is weakened, at least temporarily.
Quite honestly, it isn't easy to find another variation in which Black suffers such painful losses - though there have been quite a few memorable wins for him too!
In the overwhelming majority of cases White happily pushes his pawn with 4 e5. Of course we shall also carefully analyse some less thematic continuations such as 4 Qg4, 4 Bd3, 4 Bd2, 4 a3, 4 exd5 and 4 Ne2, but it is definitely not in these lines that Black's chief problems await him. After 4 e5, the most popular continuation is 4...c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3. The fate of the entire French Defence largely depends on the assessment of the resulting position.
The beginnings of the coming conflict are visible to the naked eye. Black has succeeded in weakening his opponent's queenside pawn structure - though perhaps this assertion is controversial! - at the considerable cost of exchanging off his dark-squared bishop and thus leaving his kingside exposed to attack.
I will now say literally a few words about the possible plans in this position. According to his mood, White can either go into action on the kingside - which frequently means pinning his hopes of advantage on a swift advance of his h-pawn - or else gradually try to exploit such long-term factors as his powerful pawn centre and his bishop pair. Black most frequently strives to exchange off the light-squared bishops by "fair means or foul", but he also has no objection to placing his bishop or queen on the blockading square a4 at the earliest opportunity.
Difficult as this variation is to play, I hope that this book will help you to understand it a little better.
Lev Psakhis, Rishon le Zion, October 2003
Symbols and Abbreviations ..... 4
Preface ..... 5
1 Rare Fourth Moves for White (C15) ..... 7
2 4 a3 and 4 exd5 (C15) ..... 19
3 4 Ne2 (C15) ..... 41
4 4 e5: Black Avoids 4...c5 (C16) ..... 56
5 4 e5 c5 (C17) ..... 91
6 4 e5 c5 5a3: Black Avoids 5...Bxc3+ (C17)..... 110
7 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Rare Sixth Moves for Black (C18) ..... 137
4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 h4 and 7 a4 (C19) ..... 145
4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Nf3 (C19) ..... 178
4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 (C18)..... 205
4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 0-0!? (C18)..... 228
Index of Variations ..... 253
Index of Games..... 256