Chess

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IN The Dynamic English (Gambit, pounds 12.99) the grandmaster Tony Kosten presents what he subtitles "The aggressive player's guide to a traditional chess opening".

Rather than cover the full range of this venerable opening (1 c4), which is named after its adoption by Howard Staunton in the middle of the last century, Kosten has concentrated on one particular approach with 2 g3 against almost everything and a bias towards later playing e2-e4 with a set-up often successfully used by the late great Mikhail Botvinnik.

With the reams of opening theory now extant, this is far from a bad approach to a book which certainly doesn't pretend to be comprehensive: though in the interests of his readership, who will generally be playing the White pieces, he has not been entirely unbiased as can be shown most easily by the final sentences of the first half-dozen chapters, say: "White enjoys a plus", " . . . as being critical for Black", "White is only a little better, though he won in 40 moves . . .", "White has good compensation", "White went on to win a fine attacking game", "White has a significant edge", "Black's compensation proved quite insufficient". And I must also point out that pages 11 and 13 have inadvertently been transposed.

With these reservations (how on earth should Black play?), Kosten has written an interesting guide to the subtleties of the lines he recommends; and readers who study these should have excellent chances of outplaying their opponents in the opening.

Take this game from chapter one, which illustrates two important precepts that he highlights.

1) That in positions like this White (and indeed Black after Be3) should wait for the bishop to be developed to e6 so that Ne7 xd5 would lose a piece and then immediately move the knight to d5.

2) That White wants to play exf5 but only when Black can't recapture with the knight - which is why Smejkal waited for 14 ...Ng8 and then played 15 exf5 at once.

Kosten finishes very reasonably with "White has a small but enduring advantage" (though in fact, in the end Yusupov broke out and Smejkal had to force a draw).

White: Jan Smejkal

Black: Arthur Yusupov

Bundesliga 1992

1 c4 e5

2 Nc3 Nc6

3 g3 g6

4 Bg2 Bg7

5 e4 d6

6 Nge2 Nge7

7 d3 0-0

8 0-0 Be6

9 Nd5 Qd7

10 Be3 f5

11 Qd2 Rf7

12 f3 Raf8

13 Rae1 Kh8

14 b3 Ng8

(see diagram) 15 exf5 Bxf5

16 d4 Bh3

17 Ndc3 Bxg2

18 Kxg2 exd4

19 Nxd4 Nge7...

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