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The Four Knights (Everyman Chess) [Paperback]

Jan Pinski
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2003 Everyman Chess
The Four Knights has the distinction of being one of the oldest openings in the history of chess. In a king's pawn opening, both players bring out their knights before contemplating further development. Despite its deceptively peaceful appearance, the Four Knights can lead to wild gambit play as well as calmer positional waters. Adherents include the renowned tactician from Latvia, Alexei Shirov.
International Master Jan Pinski delves into the secrets of the Four Knights for the first time, studying the tactical and strategic ideas for both White and Black players. Pinski covers both the fashionable main lines and the tricky sidelines, bringing readers right up to date with the expanding theory.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess (15 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185744311X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857443110
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 15.4 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,301,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

International Master Jan Pinski is a young and talented player from Poland and a well regarded openings theoretician. His earlier works for Everyman include "Sicilian Kalashnikov" (co-authored with the Danish International Master Jacob Aagaard) and "Classical Dutch."

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good review with a few gaps 3 Mar 2009
John Cox, if you wonder if your recommendation of this book in "Starting Out: Alekhine's Defence" persuaded anyone, then the answer is yes. I got this book so that I would have something against 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3.

This book gives a reasonably comprehensive view of the Four Knights, with the main focus on 4.Bb5, 4.d4, and 4.g3. Moves like 4.Bc4 and 4.a3 also get covered. The game has a wide selection of games (99 in all), so there is plenty of material to pick up the strategic ideas. For the most part, the book is unbiased, perhaps with a very slight view towards those who play White (otherwise the position after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nc3 Nf6 would have gotten more treatment).

There are a few things which ought to be covered. In the Bergen Chess Club, The Glek variation 4.g3 has a slightly risky reputation due to 4...Nxe4!?, a sacrifice which is by no means easy to refute. IMs and GMs have had trouble with it as White. Although the Pinski gives some coverage to the Halloween attack (4.Nxe5), and the delayed version 4.a3 g6 5.Nxe5!?, the black counterpart is not.

A minor point is a slight inconsistency between the chapter summary and recommended lines in the book's introduction. For uncompromising players, Pinski recommends the Belgrade gambit (4.d4 exd4 5.Nd5) in the introduction, then in the conclusion to the Belgrade chapter, recommends that White play something else. (A practical recommendation in the intro, and a theoretical one in the chapter maybe?)

Nonetheless, a pretty solid book. Although I feel Cox was doing blatant advertising for Everyman books by recommending this, his recommendation is nonetheless a good one.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but unoriginal 3 Jun 2004
By Joseph L. Shipman - Published on Amazon.com
This book would get 4 stars if the author had done some original analysis and had worked a little harder to find alternative ways for White to play for a win. A big book like this is going to be bought by people who play the Four Knights, not people who just need to know how to meet it, because most people rarely meet it.
Specifically, the main line 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bb5 Bb4 5 0-0 0-0 6 d3 d6 7 Bg5 Bxc3 8 bxc3 is woefully undercovered. White's sharpest reply to Metger's 8...Qe7, 9 d4!, is not even mentioned, and the complex 7...Ne7 line that is recommended as equalizing does not receive enough supporting analysis to justify this conclusion.
The coverage of the Rubinstein line 4...Nd4 is pretty good, and it remains the toughest nut for White to crack. Pinski is correct that 5.Ba4 is White's only chance for an advantage against the Rubinstein; however, 5.Bc4 and 5.0-0!? deserve a bit more space than they get -- they are good practical choices for White even if theoretically equal.
Pinski spends a lot of space on 4.d4 and Glek's 4.g3, even though the first has been analyzed to death and the second should not worry Black. But he dismisses 4.Bc4!? simply because of the fork trick 4...Nxe4, without giving the Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit 5.0-0! any serious consideration, although it is quite difficult for Black to meet unprepared, and not bad for White even if Black is prepared. Furthermore, White can avoid the fork trick by switching move orders (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Nc3, or 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 Nc3), and the resulting "Italian Four Knights" requires careful handling by Black.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written chess book 6 Oct 2005
By Jill Malter - Published on Amazon.com
If you answer 1 e4 with 1...e5, you'll almost certainly have to face the Four Knights with Black. And this book will help you learn it. After 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 Nf6, you will learn what to do against:

4 a3 d5! (a Scotch Four Knights with colors reversed!)
4 Bc4? Nxe4! (you can also get here by trying to play a Two Knights defence with Black).
4 g3 (the Glek system) 4...d5 (4...Bc5 is also given a chapter)
4 d4 exd4 5 Nd5 (the Belgrade gambit) 5...Be7
4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Bb4 (the main line of the Scotch Four Knights)
4 Bb5 Nd4 (4...Bb4 is also given a chapter), the Spanish Four Knights. Actually, Pinski shows that 4...Bd6 is also quite playable here. One of the more unusual variations he gives here is 4...Bd6 5 g4 Bc5 6 g5, but I'd certainly much rather have Black in this position.

Of course, this book will also help you play the Four Knights with White. And that can come in handy, even if you play the Ruy. When I was a beginner, decades ago, I decided to play the Exchange Ruy with White. But the first time I tried it, it went like this:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6. I did not want to play against the Petroff Defence, so I decided to play something I knew (since I defended against 1 e4 with 1...e5), namely the main line of the Scotch Four Knights! 3 Nc3 Nc6 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Bc5 (oops, my opponent chose a rare sideline) 6 Nxc6 bxc6 7 Bd3 d6 8 0-0 and I had at least an equal game, and maybe a slight edge. In any case, I was never in trouble and eventually won. To my surprise, as this book relates, this exact position was reached many years later in the game Miles versus Hebden.

In my next attempt to play the Exchange Ruy, the game went:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6. (Oh, no! That's my beloved Berlin Defence! I decided to avoid it with White, and try the Spanish Four Knights instead.) 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 0-0 0-0. (Now I played a rare sideline myself, to try to get my opponent out of his book.) 6 Re1 (this move is not in Pinski's book, but it is playable) 6...d6 7 Bxc6 bxc6 8 d4 exd4. (I was getting worried here. If I played 9 Nxd4, Black would probably be in good shape after 9...Bxc3. So I considered playing 9 Qxd4, but I eventually decided against it.) 9 Nxd4 Bb7 (It seems that Black got the idea of playing Bb7, c5, and Bxc3, winning my e-pawn, but he did not execute this plan very well.) 10 Bg5 (defending against this threat) 10...h6 11 Bd2 (As you will see, I am still defending against the threat.) 11...Bxc3 12 Bxc3 c5 (chasing my Knight to where I wanted to play it anyway) 13 Nf5 Bxe4? (Now Black gets slaughtered.) 14 Rxe4 Nxe4 15 Bxg7 (15 Qg4 is even better) 15...Qg5 16 Qf3 Nd2 (if 16...Rfe8 17 h4) 17 Qd5 c6 18 Qd3 Rfe8 19 Bxh6 Qh5 20 Bxd2 Re5 21 Qg3+ Qg6 (if 21...Kf8 22 Bh6+) 22 Qxe5 Black Resigns

I recommend this book, and I advise all chess players to learn about the Four Knights.
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