Review: A Black Repertoire against Offbeat openings, by Nicholas Pert

By Davide Nastasio

As a young chess player (“young” in the sense that I only began playing chess about five years ago), I do have huge holes in my opening repertoire.  There are many blitz and rapid tournaments in which other chess players try to surprise me with offbeat openings, which is why this work by GM Pert became extremely important for me, and should be a must in every competitive chess player’s library.

In the beginning introductory video, GM Pert gives a summary of the lines covered in the DVD.  Against the Trompowsky variation Pert recommends Ne4:




In perfect Pert style, he goes for the most violent and aggressive lines.  GM Pert is really a role model to learn from, because his games are like fireworks.   Pert covers the Trompowsky, also for those who play D5, and in this case he also recommends a quite aggressive line:




The more I grow as chess player, the more it becomes important for me to know when a certain opening was used for the first time.  The Trompowsky was named after Octavio Trompowsky (his name is quite more colorful: Octavio Figueira Trompowsky de Almeida), a Brazilian champion who played it in the 1930s and 40s.



Octavio Trompowsky


Here are few of his beginning games:




But who are today’s proponents of the Trompowsky?  Here is a game from a great GM who played the Trompowsky throughout her career.



Antoaneta Stefanova


Now bear in mind that in every game there are many critical moments. One should learn to identify at least one for each game.  20. … Bxa1 was a blunder by Black.  Can you find a better move?  Remember: don’t use any engine, because in a real game you cannot use one.



GM Pert also gives us an additional database of games which gives a sample of ideas on how to neutralize the openings treated in this DVD. Here we see how to neutralize the Trompowsky. Notice that this game was played in ICCF; the players can be rated around 2400, but their engines are surely over 3000.  Notice how wild the things can become!



Pert covers also possible London systems, like the one just covered by GM Davies in his DVD:  The accelerated London with 2.Bf4.




Pert gives the following continuation:




I’d like to reiterate the importance of this DVD. Having studied both Davies’ DVDs on the London system (also published by Chessbase), it is great for me to see a strong GM like Pert showing how he would neutralize the ideas of his compatriot if he had to fight against the London as Black. This can help me become a more rounded player (Not that I really needed it physically, since I should lose weight and become less round.), because I can see the argument from both sides.

Now a game by Pert with the line he recommended:



Pert, being very thorough, covered also the Grischuk idea of the London, with Nc3.




As mentioned before, there is a database of additional games which is quite interesting.  Some games are really fought hard, like the following:



GM Pert covers also the Torre attack:




Also this case history helps in shedding light on the opening. The Mexican GM Carlos Repetto Torre (who lived from 1904 to 1978) was born in Merida, Yucatan province, in Mexico.




The first game I saw about the Torre attack is quite famous, and should be known to every serious chess player on the road to mastery.  Please enjoy it, and study it:


If you want to know more about this game, and the story behind it, then you should read the following book by Hannak:




But if you don’t like chess books, GM Davies annotated the game in the video in his DVD on the Torre attack:




However many consider this a more beautiful game than the previous one:



Another system is the Veresov, which is also covered.




1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Nf3/f3/Qd3/e3

Also for this system the name is linked to a minor player who began to play it.  Obviously when playing against the Terrible Viktor, the Veresov doesn’t work!



Then of course, Pert covers also gambits which can take us into unknown territory, like the Blackmar-Diemer:




Obviously Pert says that if one is a Caro-Kann or French player, he can enter into his favorite opening, but his idea is to accept the gambit and take in e4.

Pert then goes to cover the openings which don’t start with 1.d4.  The first one is the King’s Indian Attack, a Fischer’s favorite.  Pert illustrates in which ways he’d like to set the position against it  using Bg4.




Pert then comes to show what to do against 1.g3, which by the way was also the topic of another DVD covered by GM Davies for White.




Then quite correctly, Pert goes on to cover 1.f4, calling such an opening a Reverse Dutch, because wisely he understood that it is a Dutch with a tempo advantage, or it could be a King’s gambit.




A point which came to my mind is that while GM Pert is clearly showing some very important ideas, maybe those ideas could be too advanced for players under a certain rating.  They will not be able to grasp how one transposition brings us into a different opening from the beginning label, and with a different pawn structure which needs a different approach in order to handle it.

In this case, I’d say to the beginner player to stick to this DVD, because its truth will become evident over time.

Pert finally goes on to treat the “wacky moves,” like 1.g4!  In this case, he gives a system with 1…d5;  followed by 2…c6;




This opening was known as the Grob, from the master who played hundreds of correspondence games with it.  However, Grob called it the “Spike Opening,” and during different times it had different names.

Here is one of Grob’s games:



In recent times the maximum proponent of the Grob has been IM Michael Basman, who also wrote a book on this opening:




I’m mentioning it because underestimating the work done by some good players could result in a catastrophe in the opening.
Look how the Blindfold King (AKA Timur Gareev) disposes easily of an IM-level player in a blitz game:



Then we come finally to the mirror of g4 on the queenside: 1.b4!  In this case, Pert recommends 1…e5; and then Bxb4.




In the blitz games I had against 1.b4, I found that also keeping the pawn on e5 and creating a granite barrier can be quite discouraging for the White player.  But once more, don’t underestimate this opening, because there is literature on it and one should study it just to cover all the bases.




The final move covered is 1.b3.  Pert says that Nakamura has played this move, and in his opinion can be fought well with 1…e5;  followed by 2…Nc6;




But 1.b3 is definitely the most dangerous of the group, since it is a real opening used by top GMs as well as world champions.  There are several books written on it.

And the literature is not only dedicated to the Nimzo-Larsen attack, but as we can see in the following example, also to the Hedgehog pawn structure:






I found this DVD to be very important for my chess knowledge, because for each line that GM pert considered, I decided to watch many games to get an idea of the main problems I could face as Black.  I did it using the new Chessbase Online Database with 8 million games! It was really great.




Thanks to this database, I was able to create my own database of important games for the lines that GM Pert treated.  I’ve watched practically 20-30 games for each line, and I downloaded the games I found interesting.  In this way I had the chance to see the latest games played in the main international tournaments, and the ideas behind those openings.

This DVD gave me a better understanding of chess in general, and of the different positions which can happen in my games, giving me in the end a better overall competence in this difficult sport.


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