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VINE VOICEon November 21, 2013
Lakdawala essentially gives an opening system that can be played against 1.d4 or 1.e4. However, the main value of the book is against 1.d4 openings.

The backbone of this system has been called the "Rat" (among) various names. Essentially Black will allow White to set up and then undermine the center. Lakdawala guides the player through some dense analysis with reasonable explanations.

Since the 1980's this opening system has come a long way. At points it's about ideas and at other points it is about the exact move order (or you get clobbered). However, the author does a good job defining the motifs breathing new life into an oddball opening that just might be more fun than its reputation.

So if you are patient, don't mind defending and counter-attacking, and have a strong strategic slant then you might want to explore this opening and this book is definitely the best to date.

My rating floats around the 2100 mark.
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on June 6, 2012
I took up 1...d6 for Black as my main repertoire after having a world of difficulty with it when I had the White pieces. Before that I played the KID almost exclusively (sometimes Benko, Benoni, and a few others) so I found the positions resulting from 1...d6 lines to be familiar for the most part. 1.d4 players often like playing 1.d4 and 2.c4, which runs into a favorable line for Black (most databases have a blistering 55% score for Black [in case you don't already know, ca. 45% should be the norm for most mainline Black openings]): 1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5! which often leads to an exchange of queens where Black loses his ability to castle and that is absolutely no problem. Black plays ...c6 and ...Kc7 where safety is found while White is saddled with his light squared bishop having limited scope due to his own pawn on c4. I run this almost everyday on club players with much better results than 55%... YOU SHOULD TOO.

Transpositions into other openings like the Philidor, Old Indian, KID, Benoni, English, Sicilian and others means you can lure opponents into territory they are not familiar with. this will cause them to lose valuable time off their clock while you can go for a pleasant walk at your next tournament. This DOES mean you have to familiarize yourself with additional opening systems and let me tell you, this is what it takes to build a repertoire and that takes years my friends--no matter how talented you may be. The book provides you with guidelines and asks you questions to make sure you're actively participating in the learning process.

Reasons why you should play 1...d6!? are numerous--I'll give you a few:
* Universal system you can play against any of White's first moves
* It is easy to unbalance the game from just the first two or three moves--Black gets to call the shots!
* Strong World Champs like Kasparov and Petrosian have employed it with success

Hope this was helpful and good luck to you,
Adam V Meyer
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on February 18, 2012
In my chess tournament career, I have never played 1... d6 as black. I bought this book primarily because I found it somewhat annoying to play against as white, especially in blitz games. I have also liked the other books I have read in Everyman's "move by move" openings series, so I had high expectations for this book, which have fortunately been met.

As the author states, his "true chess nature is that of an initiative-challenged chess dullard." In that spirit, this book and black opening repertoire is directed more at those players of a positional rather than tactical bent, recognizing that in any opening there will be lines that lead to more tactical than positional treatments.

I like the Q&A format, and the true measure of my appreciation for the book is that I am seriously considering changing my own black opening repertoire to include 1...d6. I have to admit, though, that although I have skimmed through the whole book, my thorough reading has taken me through only 1/3 of the book so far.

One small complaint is that sometimes he talks down to the reader, with comments such as "White always enters this line expecting something for nothing. With this sense of entitlement..." But this does not seriously detract from the enjoyment or educational value of this book.

Few of the games in the book that are used to illustrate the opening ideas are games of the top grandmasters. This is probably due in large part to the nature of the opening, which isn't particulary popular at the very highest levels. Also, the author at times seems to be a little biased towards black in his analysis, a not uncommon trait in a repertoire book. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this book to chess players who are looking at this opening from either side of the board, especially players who are unfamiliar with this opening, and players rated below about 2300.
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on November 25, 2012
I think this book is well written and engages the reader to think at critical points in the illustrated games. The main lines of the "d6" system are shown with a good explanation of why the chosen moves are played by the author. The book pauses often to ask the student to solve an exercise and then presents the solution. In addition there are a ton of sidelines presented with some explanations for those as well. I would give this a full on five star rating except after diligent reading of the first third of the book I have come to a conclusion about the opening system itself. The effectiveness of the opening presupposes that White will waste a lot of time on the clock because you are using an unusual system and/or that White will inexplicably throw his pawns forward in a kamikaze attack. However I think that if White is patient and chooses a calm slow build up he should contine into the middlegame with a decent edge. (Just my opinion - I am a lowly 1700 player). So... This opening is a good one to confuse your opponents and launch counterattacks should they choose a suicidal attack. One other caveat, the author does explain many times how the "d6" opening has morphed into another system with a better position. For example one of the lines is shown to have become a French opening one tempo down but without the bad French bishop. Other systems mentioned are the Prybil, Alekhine, and Phildor to name a few, so it would be helpful to know a bit about many other openings as well.

So, a good book that helps the student to think critically and an offbeat opening for what that is worth. Final analysis, I would not buy it again.
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on February 26, 2013
This opening book has yeild ed many points for me in tournament and match games. When I didn't win my loss was not due to the opening but simply me getting outplayed. I love the way Cyrus weaves questions throughout the book jus as if you were having personnal lessons.
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on October 22, 2012
This is the second Everyman press book that I have purchased on the Kindle. I really like my Kindle. It allows me to read books in a new and interesting ways. Unfortunately, Everyman press has decided not to include the variations index and the table of contents as items that can be access from the Kindle options menu. This means that at the very least you will have to go through the laborous process of creating these bookmarks yourself. At the price, that is just plain a rip-off. My strongest suggestion to Everyman press is to get with the program. You are not providing value to the readers. :-( This means that on structure alone I would not suggest this book.

As for the author, I am not a good enough chess player to judge his ability, I did however attempt some of the lines against Shredder chess on the web. I was especially intrigued by a comment in the chapter on the answer to d4. The line goes like this
1. d4 d6
2. c4 e5
3. Nf3 e4
4. Ng5 f5
5. g3 Be7
6. Nh3 The author writes that white does not want to play h4, because it weakening. Shredder plays this
automatically. He aims to use the Nh3,Nf4 idea after having built the outpost on f4. This means
that black has some issues with e6. I still have not worked out a way to get equality.

I am guessing that computers are doing this right and left now. I did find most of the book to be helpful, but as I have stated above. The absence of the indexes is just plain bad.
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on December 30, 2013
All that I could have hoped for and more!!! I especially like the way that he explains the choices that he makes or the individual who's playing a particular game, and the questions by the "student"!
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on December 4, 2015
Beautifully Written. Cyrus was born to write chess.
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on May 19, 2017
Better books out there on d6.
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