on 6 April 2011
The publisher's blurb above notes that this book "does not concentrate on theoretical lines but on the structural ideas that govern this opening." There is a very good reason for that which unfortunately isn't made clear in the marketing pitch: this book is a translation of the second of a two-volume project on the modern Scandinavian. The first volume, not available in English, focuses on the theoretical lines, and the present text assumes that the reader has absorbed that information. To attempt to remedy this rather backwards approach, the publisher includes about a 20 page appendix which is designed to substitute for all the theory of the first volume. For those who already play the main line Modern Scandinavian, perhaps this may suffice, and I am sure they will benefit from the detailed explanation of the typical pawn structures and middlegame plans addressed in the main part of this book. For those without a foundation in this theory, I am doubtful that the appendix will suffice. I for one only play the Nf6 Scandinavian but was willing to entertain playing the main Qxd5/Qa5 lines occasionally on the strength of this book's reputation. But I'm not comfortable that the short appendix on theory suffices to deal with early variations and other issues. For example, the appendix has passing references to move order variations to avoid new lines where White gains "a very strong initiative," but the nature of the threat is not fully demonstrated. I prefer opening books long on explanations and short on very detailed vatiations, but the balance here seems too extreme and, more importantly, it does not seem that the authors themselves intended this book to totally supplant the first volume.