15 May 2012

Openings According to Khalifman

In a recent post, Time Enough for Taimanov, I became frustrated with a particular bit of research and wrote,

While preparing this post, I spent some time looking for the relevant [Sicilian 2...e6 Taimanov / Paulsen] volume in Khalifman's series on the 'Opening for [blank] according to [blank]'. After some effort, I located it in volume 9 of the 'Opening for White according to Anand'. I might have overlooked an obvious resource, but it appears this series is not well documented anywhere. I'll come back to it in the future.

Afterward I learned from Chessmix.com that the Sicilian 2...e6 system spans volumes 8 & 9. Here is a summary of the theory covered by each volume, as determined by following the site's Anand Chess Books Collection on the series 'Opening for White According to Anand'.

  • 01: 'various rare openings after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3, but the focus is on the Petroff Defense and the Ruy Lopez without 3...a6'
  • 02: 'Ruy Lopez'
  • 03: 'Caro-Kann'
  • 04: '1.e4 d6, or 1.e4 g6'
  • 05: '1.e4 with 1...Nc6, 1...b6, 1...a6, 1...Nf6'
  • 06: '1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 de4, 3...Nf6 and other moves'
  • 07: '1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4'
  • 08: '[Sicilian] seldom played lines on move two for Black; 2…a6; rarely played lines after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4; Paulsen - Kann [Kan] system, 2...e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6'
  • 09: 'variations arising after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6, especially the Kalashnikov; 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6'
  • 10: 'Sveshnikov (Chelyabinsk)'
  • 11: 'Dragon'
  • 12: '1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6'
  • 13: 'Najdorf / Scheveningen'

The same site also has a Kramnik Chess Books Collection. Unfortunately, it's not complete and since I'm not a 1.d4 player, I decided not to spend time assembling a similar summary from another source. Because it's a single volume, the 'Opening for Black According to Karpov' offers no such difficulty. Volume one of the Anand series starts,

This publication is a logical sequel of the five volume study "Opening for White according to Kramnik - 1.Nf3". However I am fully aware that my current undertaking requires even more effort and responsibility than the previous one.

A little later it quotes volume one of the Kramnik series, giving the raison d'ĂȘtre for the work.

Take as your ideal model someone of today's leading grandmasters, whose style is akin to yourself and whose successes you admire. Then try to build your opening repertoire according to his.

Khalifman discussed the series in an interview published on Chessintranslation.com: Khalifman: "Anand’s a genius. He emanates light".

Q: Both of your series of books – "Opening for White according to Anand" and "Opening for White according to Kramnik" have quite a specific title and purpose. Why did you decide in favour of exactly those two chess players?

A: Firstly, no-one can argue that Anand and Kramnik aren't very serious and significant figures in the chess world. On the other hand, if a chess player at the level of candidate master starts to play the opening "according to Kasparov", then either I'll have to deceive him, because it'll be the opening according to someone else, or he'll simply get lost in the wilds of opening variations and complications and there'll be nothing but trouble. Therefore it was exactly because there's some sort of healthy positional basis to the opening repertoire of Anand and Kramnik that I chose them as models.

I doubt that many people have acquired all books in these series. To help choose the relevant volumes, it would be useful to have reference scans of the table of contents for each book. I found scans for different volumes, but not for the entire series in one place.

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