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Bologan's Black Weapons in the Open Games: How to Play for a Win If White Avoids the Ruy Lopez Paperback – 29 Aug 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: New in Chess (29 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9056915436
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056915438
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 3.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A 28-page Arsenal of Strategic Ideas is essential reading, setting the whole repertoire in context as regards pawn structures and important themes. This is a very impressive book indeed and one which benefits greatly from the extra care and attention devoted on it from the design team.--Sean Marsh "CHESS Magazine "

The Arsenal of Strategic Ideas and Themes is such a great idea. It's worth reading through as it stimulates one's thinking about positional themes even in the most romantic of opening sequences. It's jammed-packed full of great stuff.--Grandmaster Glenn Flear, author of Starting Out: Open Games

A real gambit-killer. Ambitious club-players who are looking for a reliable weapon against 1.e4 after playing 1.e5, can hardly leave this book unopened.

Full of surprising ideas, in all sorts of variations.--Richard Vedder, FIDE Master, Netherlands " "

Although this book is mainly aimed at club players, even GM's could fall victim to the tricks and traps that are being shown in quite a few openings. Despite the many variation the book reads quite well.--B. Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad "The Journal Of Religion "

I have verified that this book is up-to-date on the latest theory, and yet the author has injected many of his own ideas. If you play with Black 1...e5 after 1.e4, you simply cannot ignore this theory work which announces a new era.--Martin Rieger "Schachwelt "

Bologan's opening guide for Black is the most original in content, the best-organized, and the most user-friendly of any opening book I've seen in years. It is cutting edge, up-to-date, relevant, and bursting at the spine with content spanning 57 chapters in 528 pages. You get inside the head of a grandmaster who obviously loves keeping pace with modern theory and practice. Yet we don't get the sense that computers dominate his approach. I give Bologan's Black Weapons my highest recommendation. It is easily the most enjoyable book I've reviewed in years.--John D. Warth, This title is destined to be a classic... "Chess Club of Southern Indiana "

The book is really excellent. Not only is the analysis up to date but also the presentation is right to the point and very readable. Not many long variations but verbal explanations. Just the way opening books should be in the modern computer times.--Karsten Muller, Grandmaster, author of 'Fundamental Chess Endings'

There is a huge amount of theory in this book, but Bologan presents it in a lively manner and explains things simply and well. One way that Bologan has been able to cover so many openings in a little over 500 pages is to adopt a modified approach. The author does not cite game references in the main body of the text but gives footnotes. The full game citations can be found in the back of the book. The advantages are clear - it saves space and it makes for a clearer presentation. I give this book a strong recommendation for players of a wide range of playing strengths from the club level (who will love the gambit coverage) to grandmasters who will appreciate the in-depth coverage of the Scotch.--John Donaldson, International master, International Master "Chess Today "

The solid Bologan quality we are used to. I am a big fan of his books.--Simen Agdestein, Grandmaster, six-time Norwegian Chamion and former trainer of Magnus Carlsen

From the Back Cover

Victor Bologan is a world-class grandmaster. HIs tournament victories included the Aeroflot Open in Moscow and the Dortmund super-tournament. He is the author of acclaimed opening books like The Chebanenko Slav, The Rossolimo Sicilian, and The Powerful Catalan.

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There is a huge amount of opening theory to be learned in order to play e4 e5 well. For the club player, it requires a supreme effort to learn all that theory. If you ever thought about playing e5 then you couldn't find a better companion on your journey to learn the Open Games than this book. It contains a wealth of information relating to the open games: traps, transpositions, ideas to remember, strategic ideas, information about pawn structures, historical information, interesting quotes taken from other books. At 528 pages, the book contains an immense amount of information, extremely well organised and presented, making it a joy to pick up and read.

Excerpt from the introduction:
If you are a beginner, the move 1. ... e5 will help you to grasp the essence of chess. If you are a trainer, 1. ...e5 will be the best teaching tool you will ever find. If you're a contender for the World Championship title, your knowledge of the move 1. ... e5 will make your opponent think twice before playing 1. e4. And what do I think of those players who never in their life played a single game with 1. ... e5? Well... I think they never played real chess :)))). Of course, I'm joking, but they would definitely discover a fascinating new world if they started playing 1. ... e5.

The material is broken down into 57 concise chapters:
Part I - 1.e4 e5
Part II - 1.e4 e5 2.f4
Part III - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6
Part IV - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6
Part V - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

Before the chapters on each opening, there is a very useful "Arsenal of strategic ideas & themes" to act as a further guide in the Open Games.
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Well presented and researched book. Lots of interesting ideas for Black to think about - I'm sure e4 players would also benefit from studying the lines given!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary format 12 Dec. 2014
By popcorn - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm very impressed with this book. It takes a new direction for chess books in terms of its formatting, borrowing ideas from scientific journals, technical manuals, and the like and creating an accessible learning format new to chess literature. Pages are easy to scan for topics and main lines are quick to find among the variations with eye-catching use of highlighted and boxed text of various shades of gray. There are several symbols to learn, for example a circle or a square around a move number or a piece that is half black, half white. These were easy to learn and seemed helpful. Citations of most games are given a mark and the reader is sent to the back of the book to an Index of Games if he or she wishes to learn the players, dates, and events, etc. This saves space and makes the analysis cleaner and easier to read. The lists of games associated with each chapter helps to reference them quickly during research without hunting through the text. The move index also is pleasantly thorough. The book is hefty at 528 pages. The paper and binding seem of good quality.

The buyer should know that while this book is a repertoire, it does not give a specific list of lines that the reader should play and then analyze them in depth. There is a "Fast Lane" set of variations recommended for those with little time to study, usually chosen for their ease of understanding and less reliance on memorization, but the reader is advised to ultimately read the entire book. The Fast Lane recommendations are intended to get the reader playing as soon as possible but still represent mainline systems. Other chapters provide alternate variations, reinforce useful familiarity, and generally broaden education in certain types of positions. Sometimes analysis is as deep as 25 moves or more, sometimes as few as 8 moves with a description of where black should be steering the position afterward. I know this sort of approach irritates some readers, but I believe GM Bologan has chosen his battles well and invested his page space appropriately, especially for the enormous mass of theory to tackle in the subject.

The beginning of the book has a 30 page "Arsenal of Strategic Ideas & Themes" that sets a foundation of pawn structures and piece maneuvers that apply to the entire book. Very helpful guidance for the club player.

Text and variations seem to be in balance in this book. The writing is very readable and the tone friendly and to the point. At times there is humor, such as at the beginning of Chapter 34 where the Fast Lane comment says, "Frankly speaking, it's best to skip this chapter and leave it for a rainy afternoon when you are bored and have nothing to do." I can respect a writer who will say that!

The variations are up to date, approved by a strong GM, and bear the reliability of history and the relevance of modern GM practice. I recommend this book highly.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! 23 Jan. 2015
By mojojojo50 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My e4 playing opponents rated below 2150 are more likely to play non-Ruy e4 systems (eg KG, Italian, Evans, Vienna, Scotch, Danish) or the Ruy Exchange variation. This is the kind of pragmatic opening decision, taken by people with jobs, family demands and limited availability of study time. I often encounter trappy specialties (Belgrade, Urusov, Vienna Gambit, Scotch Gambit, Evans). The coverage in NCO/MCO, brief references in Kaufman or Davies do not have sufficent details and understanding to adequately handle junk or the mainlines. Also, White has a lot of complicated variations available with clever transpositions!? Bologan's masterpiece sets out to instruct Black e5 players in how to blow away cheapo lines and to gut-punch for dynamic equality in the sounder mainlines!!

Victor Bologan has almost 30 years of GM experience in 1.e4, e5 systems. He is a concise, lucid writer of prose and an experienced trainer. Much of this book resembles an expansion from his opening workshop of his playing years (once rated 2734, ranked 18th in the world). There are 57 chapters with 464 pages of analysis, covering all imaginable open non-Ruy Lopez systems. The table of contents fills 4 pages; an easy to read opening/variations index goes 10 pages; game reference index goes 22 pages and 36 pages of "ideas & themes" are discussed. Each carefully outlined chapter first addresses discarded/ inferior ideas, then lists his A or B recomended lines, followed by move-by-move analysis, finished by a brief summary. Most pages have two diagrams. Colors are reversed, eg Black is on the bottom. (I have found this book can easily be read in bed.) The opening phase concludes with an assessment, game reference. While there are no complete games, Bologan points out that modern players should be accessing a software database. (actually there is plenty of the low-priced chess-playing software like Chessmaster/Fritz/Chess King, which include large game libraries for $10-30). This books dense layout becomes understandable within an hour of use. Chapters are 6-10 pages and adhere tightly to the specific line only. His efficient writing style has moments of charm, wit, candor and display Bologan's sense of chess truth.

Of course, this book is enters an already crowded field for Black 1.e4, e5 books-- Emms & Davies each provided illustrative games collections for their recomended lines(dated, but still good stuff);-- Lysyj/Ovetchkin wrote a well-researched, solidly analyzed opening guide, their format is slightly awkward to read use (I did a lot of highlighting to make this book easier to use); -- Marin's Beating the Open Games is highly praised(loved!), his chapter layout starts with a lengthy theory article, then a MCO/NCO variation tree with copious footnotes/details, information; -- Kaufman's '04 Chess Advantage coverage i narrower but excellent. All very good books. However, Bologan has the best teaching product(twice as long as Marin's). Bologan's believes that 1500-2600s will find this book useful. None of these books are encyclopedic. They recomend playable repretoire. Balogan centers on playable/dynamic lines of play, with abundant explanations.

Of course, main lines for Open Games were carved out in the 1800's. White initiates an early grab for central squares, trying to either dominate the center or attack Blacks king. Play centers on a d-e-f center central squares battle-zone. White plans to use d-pawn lever(or f4) for the tension, his Kt goes to f3, KB to c4, frequently Blacks f7 square is a lethal target. Black fortifies his e5 pawn with a Kt to c6, then decides between Nf6 or Bc5(or both). Pressure builds fast, quickly into battle where Black must choose manageable structure after a few pieces/pawns are swapped. The 'viola' we are in the middle-game around move 12-16. For Black to achieve a playable set-up requires accuracy and knowledge(hence all these books). Bologan selects lines that offer Black dynamic middle-game possibilities. He describes a 4 year trawl through two centuries of opening writing (the Bibliography covers 2 pages). He offers one safe and one dynamic(complex) variation. Tries to avoid deaddraws and lifeless equal positions. There is lots of positional explanation. I am especially impress with his help to explain transpositional aspects of these lines (esecially in the Two Knights).

Part I: Center,Danish,Bishops,Vienna/s --attention to traps, transpo's, he explains "when violating an opening principle is acceptable", 50 pages, ((I easily found a friend's favored Vienna gambit line and how to manipulate into a favorable black King's Gambit line))
Part II: King's Gambit Accepted(Bishops,Polerio,Kieseritsky,Falkbeer/Modern,etc) 50 pages, references to Shaw, ((I found coverage of another friend's 3.Qf3, with half a page of dynamite against Moody's Gambit)).
Part III: Ponziani (references to a 2014 book), 1.e4 blitz-players might like the Ponzianipas did Ljubo, Velimirovic years ago), many little seen lines are addressed, like the trappy Relsson's Gambit & Sarrat's Attack(not quite sound knockout weapons from the 1800's), in below 2000 tournament-sections the Goring/Scotch Gambit often appear and require knowledge to handle correctly, also 80 pages devoted solely to the Scotch, Bologan follows Marin with the Mieses 8..Nb6 with 12 pages of ideas-- they diverge at move 9 & 10, Victor + Bologan also explores other mainline(4...Bc5) options.
Part IV: Four Knights (Glek, Belgrade-8pages, main lines, recomendations how to safely break symmetry and how to prepare for the frequent closed nature of 4Ns, 66pages
Part V: Italian systems covered in 200pages, (every line has two choices: pianissimo 3..Bc4 and ..Nf6, Evans Accepted ..Ba5 and ..Bc5 recomended as much better than its reputation, deep coverage the d4 gambit & d3/g3 options) with brillant instruction on transposition issues.

The book is laid out in a classic math-teaching format. He writes a basic opening position on the blackboard, offers general comments, then outlines a list of structured patterns of responses (eg variations), discards the crap & dead-end lines with precise reasons and in such a way that the student builds on a series of proofs of why the accepted lines succeed (each of which are then systematically explored into the middle-game) and finally justifies confidence in these particular recomendations. How to use this book: QUICK REFERENCE ability due to well-laid out labeling & consistent structure, with awesome indexes for hunting of exact lines; easy to BROWSE this massive book because of the digestable size of the short, concise chapters-- eg I didn't know there was a Tringov Opening; STUDY specific lines to a deep, but not burdensome level in a well-written style; TONS OF GREAT CHESS CULTURE information tying modern ideas into 20th & 19th century learning, during my reading I keep thinkling "I didn't know that" or "Okay, I get it now"; and a chance to UNEARTH NEW IDEAS, I think this is a treasure trove for blitz & rapid players to scoop up slightly incorrect opening schemes, trappy lines, secret knowledge and killer refutations for drowning the victims during rapid play. This book compliments the other Open Game manuals nicely. Bologan has a bestseller here, that will feel current for years, because Open-Game theory is largely fixed and this book leads the reader to many different options.

I believe this massive book (which is easy to read) will have the kind of large impact that John Watson's first edition of 'Play the French' had 30 years ago, when that repertoire book transformed the French from Black's rare 4th choice(after Sicialian/e5/ CaroKann) into a mighty modern weapon. Bologan applies a modern spin to the largely ignored 1870-1914 chess culture, (which has alwyas been fertile ground for Bronstein, Fischer, Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov, Korchnoi, Anand, etc).
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I particularly like that he gives a King's Gambit Accepted repertoire and ... 7 Jan. 2015
By Wayne R. Gradl - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bologan's Black Weapons definitely does a superb job of arming the 1. .... , e5 player in how to proceed when White does not play the Ruy Lopez. I also agree with Bolagan's promise that the book will generally improve the reader's Chess skills beyond mere knowledge of opening lines. The book is very detailed and, as advertised, offers Black players different options against the various non-Ruy Lopez 1. e4 openings. With respect to the details and breadth of coverage I didn't even know the full extent of the universe of non-Ruy Lopez systems that I might encounter until I started perusing Bologan's book. I particularly like that he gives a King's Gambit Accepted repertoire and good recommendations against the trappy Giuoco Piano lines. I am very glad I bought this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looks pretty good but the novel features the author has included ... 3 Sept. 2015
By Kenneth K. Raymond - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Looks pretty good but the novel features the author has included to facilitate reading i found to be a tad confusing. I am trying to figure them out. Lines recommended are way less tame than Nigel Davies' or even Emms'.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have always had trouble against the Italian opening of ... 14 April 2015
By Daniel Davis - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have always had trouble against the Italian opening of White, because I didn't understand the theory of how Black should play these positions.This book really helped to fill the gaps
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