By Davide Nastasio
My interest in openings is not related to rote memorization or dazzling opening surprises which would give me an easy win. Instead I’m interested in the various paths and ideas a player can take to play the game. GM Bologan, an expert coach and one of the top players for over a decade, is clearly the right teacher to follow in this amazing learning adventure. Bologan in the introduction informs us that one of the greatest players having good games with this opening was Karpov. The repertoire is based on ECO E12 through E15.
In the first video Bologan begins to treat some sidelines by White, and the way Black can answer. He does so because some coaches teach to their students some typical setup for White, and Bologan wants to make sure we understand the moves we play and why.
Bologan shows throughout his videos White’s weaknesses, and how to attack them mercilessly.
Bologan does a complete job in also showing White’s plans and how to neutralize them so that we don’t have surprises at the board.
Then, of course, Bologan shows how White can have a bad bishop, and Black a good one:
The DVD is made up of 18 videos of theory and 20 video clips of quizzes on the important strategical-critical points presented in the video lectures. Bologan has prepared a database with 152 model games.
Now I’d like to show you why I wanted to learn more about this opening. Following the advice read in many articles, I’ve tried to see many chess games. Now the problem is that many champions of the past (Alekhine and Bogoljubov come to mind) played this opening as Black. Often also in commented games the opening part was unexplained and maybe believed to be “clear” for everyone. But it wasn’t clear for me. So what I’m trying to do is to enjoy watching classical games while understanding also the opening phase and the ideas behind it. Bologan is a great teacher because he gives us the ideas and an evaluation. But again, maybe this product is not suitable for total beginners who have no clue in evaluating a position, or how to actually win thanks to some of the advantages mentioned by Bologan.
For example, take a look at the next diagram, and enjoy the ideas which are conveyed.
Here Black has a strong supported central passed pawn, Black also has the advantage of the bishop pair, but also in case he exchanges the light squares bishop, his dark squares bishop is more active than White’s one. Now all these words I just uttered can be easily summarized in the above colorful diagram, which everyone will easily understand, and remember, and that is what is great of this DVD!
I’d like you to pay attention to another point which I find incredibly useful. The above position is seen, rightly, from Black’s point of view, because this is a repertoire for Black! Please open any opening repertoire book for Black, and see if the publisher actually cared to show you the position from Black’s side. They do not.
But I’d like to share two wonderful games which come with the database designed by GM Bologan to teach us more about this wonderful opening.
The first game was played by Tony Miles, a really good and talented player who created some beautiful games. In this case we can see that Miles plays at the 4th move: Bf4, which was named the Miles system. Notice how he loses easily against Black.
The second game instead is a masterpiece, and like every masterpiece needs to be read more than one time. This game is difficult and takes a lot of time in analysis in order to understand all its parts. The main three themes one should recognize are the tactics played in it, because Black is one of the most dangerous player on the planet; the way one side lost the attack; and then of course the endgame which followed, which is quite instructive.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this DVD very much, because it gave me the tools to better understand the moves and ideas needed to be able to evaluate the many classical games I’ve seen played by champions of the past. Now I will go back to see those games, and armed with GM Bologan knowledge, it will open my mind to a lot of patterns and ideas I didn’t see the first time.