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Sabotaging the Sicilian, French & Caro-Kann with 2.b3

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Sabotaging the Sicilian, French & Caro-Kann with 2.b3

By Jerzy Konikowski and Marek Soszynski

Russell Enterprises, 2018

ISBN: 9781941270837

One for flaneurs who like to meander.

If you play 1.e4 and are not averse to veering off into an infrequently frequented sideline when meeting various semi-open games, then this book may well be for you. It looks at lines involving the fianchetto of the queen’s bishop, an unusual sidestep in connection with 1.e4, but there we are.

We start with the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.b3), which is covered in section 1, chapters 1 to 8. There are 20 annotated games featuring , on the white side, the likes of Spassky, Kramnik, and Carlsen. This approach has a excellent pedigree, clearly, and on the evidence presented here tends to lead to interesting , complex middlegame positions. Let us say that Black tries to close down the long diagonal (a1-h8) with 2…Nc6 3Bb2 e5 (say). White can then seize the newly weakened diagonal (a2-g8) with 4.Bc4 or, alternately, try to prise the other diagonal open with 4.f4. Or indeed, he could pursue both goals. Tamaz Gelashvili, the Georgian grandmaster, is a great specialist in this line.

To the French now (1.e4 e6 2.b3), the focus of section 2, chapters 9-15, though with a mere five annotated games this time (a reduction of 75% I note). Pride of place here goes to the so-called Reti Gambit (1.e4 e6 2.b3 d5 3.Bb2 dxe4) although it is only a genuine gambit if Black defends the pawn with a pawn (4.Nc3 f5), a line known as the Gurevich Defence. Now 5.f3 Bd6! can lead to interesting complications. There is a fine attacking game by Luke McShane here which put me in mind of Carlsen’s game against Wojtaszek at Shamkir 2018. In both, you have an open Sicilian pawn structure (the moves d4 and …cxd4 have occurred) with White castled queenside, his king position fortified by the bishop on b2. A line that would be worth an occasional run out, I would say. Why not?

But the same cannot be said, alas, for  2.b3 against the Caro-Kann, which happens to be the subject of section 3, chapters  16-21. Here the analysis is accompanied by 5 annotated games and, despite one of these games being an exciting, epic encounter between Vasiukov and Bronstein, you would have to say that, realistically, the line only offers white equality. On 2…d5 3.Bb2 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qe2 Bf5 (or maybe 5…Bg4) Black holds the pawn pretty easily and obtains a comfortable position. Yes, White can probably get it back if he goes 5.Ne2 (the plan being Ng3 and then Qe2) but I mean, really, is this how you want to be playing as White? White is just scampering to regain the pawn, not playing for an advantage, will obtain at best a position with few prospects. Not a good outcome for White.

As an afterthought (or postscript) the authors, Jerzy Konikowski and Marek Soszynski, look at the Scandinavian: 1.e4 d5 2.b3 (and not 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.b3? Qe5+ with disaster) dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Qe2 when the best move is 4. …Nc6! and …Nd4 gives Black an advantage. My advice to white players: don’t do it!

So what is the verdict? Well, 2.b3 is a move that must be employed with judicious care; it is a bit of a slippery slope. To summarise briefly. 2.b3 is splendid versus the Sicilian ,whilst it can be frenetic (unduly forcing) against the French. It is mite concerning if not exactly crippling when essayed against the Caro-Kann. But the big no-no: it is as suicidal as an Ingmar Bergman character if played as a response to the Scandinavian. Desist!

The publisher’s description of the book is here.


Książka ta, która ukazała się w 2005 roku w amerykańskim wydawnictwie Russell Enterprises, jest kontynuacją moich badań nad atakiem czterech pionków w obronie królewsko-indyjskiej po posunięciach 1.d4 Sf6 2.c4 g6 3.Sc3 Gg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4. Zawiera 18 teoretycznych rozdziałów i 63 komentowane partie.

Do współpracy zaprosiłem mistrza angielskiego polskiego pochodzenia Marka Soszynskiego.

Marek okazał się doskonałym partnerem: sprawdzał moje analizy i uzupełniał materiały o nowe przykłady, których nie znałem. Książka uzyskała dobre recenzje i wydawca Hanon Russell zaproponował nam dalszą współpracę.


The King’s Indian has long been one of Black’s sharpest defenses to 1.d2-d4. The Fearsome Four Pawns Attack is a book that deals with one of the most aggressive systems against this popular defense.

The logic of the system is quite simple: With f2-f4 White stakes a maximal claim in the center, which he will follow up by an attack on the enemy king. Of course, Black has a lot of defensive possibilities, but must play with a feel for the positions and above all know the theory well. Otherwise White will quickly grab the initiative, and Black may find himself on the wrong end of a blistering, direct attack on the King.

Jerzy Konikowski is one of the most prolific chess authors in the world, with dozens of publications in several languages to his credit. He holds the FIDE Master title as well as titles in correspondence chess and chess composition.

Marek Soszynski is a Master of Philosophy and co-author of the best-selling and widely acclaimed How to Think in Chess

John Watson, The Week In Chess:
„The authors pay attention to every variation and subvariation, suggesting new moves throughout, many very relevant for an objective assessment (…) it’s definitely worth having.”



In the first full book to examine 2.b3 against the Sicilian, French and Caro-Kann, mainlines, interesting sidelines and current theory are reviewed. In addition, what actually happens in modern practice is surveyed.

The authors are optimistic for White, and concentrate on the best continuations while trying to be objective. It is in that spirit that they conclude that 2.b3 is sound against the Sicilian, fun against the French, and curious against the Caro-Kann. In all three cases, the objective is to sabotage Black’s play, to take him out of his comfort zone. The word “sabotage” has historically derived from throwing a clog into machinery, or in other words, throwing a monkey wrench in the works; here the wrench is a queenside fianchetto.

White aims his light-square bishop toward the right flank; he typically delays Ng1-f3 so that he may play Qd1-f3 or advance his f-pawn, and use his light-square bishop to build a full-scale kingside attack. Queenside castling often occurs, hoping for a kingside pawn storm. Yet, despite all these characteristics of 2.b3, White may still retains the option of d2-d4 for a more conventional-looking 1.e4 opening.

With 2.b3, you will have one more arrow in your theoretical quiver to battle Black. And, like it or not, Black will be compelled to do deal with the queenside fianchetto factor.


Jerzy Konikowski is one of the most prolific chess authors in the world with dozens of publications in several languages to his credit. He holds the FIDE Master title as well as titles in correspondence chess and chess composition.

Marek Soszynski is a Master of Philosophy and co-author of the best-selling and widely acclaimed How to Think in Chess.


New in Chess



Misay Bandido napisał:

Hello the author of the book Sabotaging the Sicilian, French and Caro Kann? Coz I got it and just arrived yesterday.

I’ll surprise my opponents next time with this book, I’m certain that I’ll learn a lot from your book thanks.

Książkę można zamówić tutaj. 




Wkrótce ukaże się w renomowanym amerykańskim wydawnictwie Russell Enterprises, Inc moja nowa książka wraz z Anglikiem polskiego pochodzenia Markiem Soszynskim Sabotaging the Sicilian, French and Caro-Kann Defenses with 2.b3.

Więcej informacji: link.

To jest nasza trzecia wspólna praca:

1.The Fearsome Four Pawns Attack

2.1.b4: Theory and Practice of the Sokolsky Opening





Niedawno znany wydawca amerykański Hanon Russell z Milford zaprezentował w centrum Euwego w Amsterdamie najnowszą książkę turniejową swego wydawnictwa o mistrzostwach świata w Hadze i Moskwie w 1948 roku.


Max Euwe: The Hague-Moscow 1948
Russell Enterprises Inc, 2013
240 stron


Hanon Russell nie tylko wydaje książki, ale jest także właścicielem świetnej strony internetowej Chesscafe. Mnie udało się opublikować u niego dwie pozycje:

Link 1

Link 2


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