The Modernized Ruy Lopez Volume 1 and 2 by Dariusz Swiercz (2 books)
A Complete Repertoire for White
The first volume includes three parts. The first part is about Black’s alternatives to the modern major lines. Even though they are not as frequent as lines that I cover in subsequent chapters or volumes, I believe that it is good to know what to do in less popular variations too. After all, why would we study only (say) the Berlin Defense, leaving our opponents able to surprise us with the sharp Schliemann Variation? From a practical point of view, such a line would be very hard to face over the board from both chess and psychological perspectives. Basic knowledge of sidelines is therefore important.
The second part I devote to the extremely solid Berlin Defense. The amount of theory in this opening has grown exponentially in recent years, as basically all the top players go for it with at least one color. I will try to shed some light on this complex line and try to show different ways in which White can try to get an advantage out of the opening.
Finally, in the third part I discuss the Open Ruy Lopez. Similarly to the Berlin, the theory has developed immensely here in recent years. I will try to show some interesting lines and ideas that challenge this opening.
I would like to note one thing. Chess is a game where, with perfect play, Black should be always able to equalize. However, equal positions do not mean that the game should end in a draw. In many lines (especially in the Berlin), the positions are simply equal if Black does everything correctly. There is no way to prevent that. However, I aim to show lines that can possibly create practical problems for your opponents. Very often the objective evaluation does not really matter if a player knows what he or she is doing while his or her opponent does not. Having a clear idea about the plans and where to put one’s pieces, as well as a general “feeling” for the position, is way better than knowing that 0.23 is shown by an engine and not having any idea what to do next. And this is the primary goal of this book – to provide to the reader various ideas in the Ruy Lopez that could be used to the reader’s advantage in practical games. This would increase the chances of opponents making mistakes (by driving them out of their comfort zone) and therefore also your winning chances.
This second volume on the Ruy Lopez consists of two parts. In the first part I focus on modern systems with …Bc5, attempting to dissect both the Archangelsk and Moller Variations. These two variations have quite a rich history but in 2020 there have been several developments. If I had to name one person that contributed the most to the developments in those lines it is, without a doubt, Fabiano Caruana. His encounters in the Candidates Tournament in Ekaterinburg, then his theoretical discussion in those lines with Leinier Dominguez, revised my opinion on many of those lines and led to interesting discoveries that I analyze in this book.
In the subsequent part I discuss the Closed Ruy Lopez. It is easily one of the most popular openings throughout the history of chess with many games occuring as early as the 1800s. I suggest going for 9.h3 which usually leads to a positional battle. I present new trends and find new paths and ideas in such evergreen variations as the Zaitsev, Breyer, Chigorin and others. Additionally, I attempt to crack the Marshall Attack by suggesting the Anti-Marshall lines with 8.a4. I must admit that I thought that it would be a pretty easy task to analyze those openings having some prior analysis and experience with both colors. However, time after time I was encountering new challenges and new ideas from both sides that I had to resolve. My conclusions, based on careful analysis with the most powerful engines currently available is presented in this book.
This book completes my series on the Ruy Lopez.
Paperbacks, 520 pages & 336 pages respectively, Thinkers Publishing
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