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How to Play Against 1 e4 Paperback – January 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess; First edition (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857445864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857445862
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Once again I would like to say how much I like McDonald as an author. He gets to the meat of the subject and shares his thoughts with the reader. As with any book there are some details that are left for the reader to work out, but the amount of valuable information that is shared far outweighs that."

- NM Bill McGeary, Chessville.com

From the Back Cover

It’s not easy finding a good opening to play against 1 e4, especially if you don’t have endless time available to study the latest theoretical developments. If you choose fashionable openings, it’s often a necessity to keep pace with modern theory if you want to succeed with Black.

 

This book provides a solution. Neil McDonald advocates his favourite opening – the very popular French Defence – but chooses a repertoire for Black that requires only the minimum amount of move memorization. The lines he selects are very easy to learn and play – perfect for those who are unwilling to be slaves to opening theory. But there’s also something here for more experienced players, as McDonald goes on to offer a second repertoire based on counter-attacking lines against 3 Nc3 and 3 Nd2.

 

*An easy-to-learn defence against 1 e4

*Provides solutions to all of White’s options

*Written by a world-renowned expert on the French

*Ideal for improvers, club players and tournament players

 

English Grandmaster Neil McDonald is an experienced and successful player on the international chess circuit. He is a respected chess coach, who has trained many of the UK’s strongest junior players. McDonald is also a talented chess writer and has many outstanding works to his name

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Kalhornov on January 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a repertoire book against e4 based on the French Defence.
The author, Neil Mcdonald, is a chess grandmaster and a very experienced practitioner of the French (20+ years).

So what lines of the French does the author recommend?

Against the Advance French (chapter 1 - 41 pages) McDonald opts for two lines, both of which revolve around the idea of quickly exchanging Black's problem piece - the light-square bishop.
The lines are: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 b6 followed by Ba6 and 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Bd7 with the idea of Bb5.

Chapter 2 (21 pages) deals with the Exchange Variation and gives the Black player plenty of tips on how to get the edge in this relatively quiet and symmetrical variation.

Chapter 3 (25 pages) - the Fort Knox variation - the "lazy" player's solution to both 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 and 3.Nd2. In both cases Black plays 3. ... dxe4 followed by Bd7-c6. Black will most often give up the bishop pair in return for a very solid yet somewhat passive position, but skips all the theory of the Nc3 and Nd2 main lines (yay!).
A good choice if you want to avoid spending countless hours studying the main lines and get a playable position which, however, does not offer too many winning chances. A reasonable choice against a lower-rated opponent or if you're looking for a low-risk game.

Chapter 4 (35 pages) - The Classical Variation with 4.e5 - the more ambitious player's weapon against 3.Nc3 if you feel the Fort Knox is too passive for your taste.
No Winawer folks. If you like to stick your bishop on b4, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Chapter 5 (42 pages) - The McCutcheon variation - 1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bb4. OK, so you'll get to stick the bishop on b4 after all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Nikitin on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a clear and concise book with a lot of good ideas well presented. I would say it is suited for the novice to the middle of the road player - like me!
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I love Chess, my rating is around 1500 to 1600 depending on which speed setting I play at. I enjoyed Neil McDonald's way of explaining the tactics for challenging the opponents move "1. e 4". I was stuck for over a year playing 1. d4 until I got sick of people memorizing lines up to the 25. move. That's when I bought Neil's "how to play against 1. e4" and started understand from both sides of the chess board how to best capitalize off my opponent.

I think this book is good for the 1000 to 1600 rated player, a former friend (2300 rating) enjoyed Neil's book and learned a few lines he might have forgotten over the years, it's hard being a 63 year old 2300 rated chess player. All and all, it's a good book for the newbie learning to challenge the basic opening many chess club players have left behind for "1 d4.". Sorry I am not the best chess book reviewer, all I know is this book helped boost my rating and I enjoyed each page!
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Another good book from a trusted author who knows what he's talking about! I found some good ideas in this book and you can make up your own mind from his information about which way you want to proceed. The KIA approach is terrific if you want an easy to learn system that was used by no less a great as 'Fischer' himself in his early days.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alonzo H. Ross on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a newcomer to the French Defense and found this book to be a great way to get started. I liked its emphasis on the big ideas but at the same time give useful variations.
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