Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Slay the Spanish!

I have been working through Tim Taylor's recent Slay the Spanish! Weapons against the Ruy Lopez (Everyman Chess 2011), along the way creating a Slay the Spanish game collection at focused on the most sound lines in his repertoire.  You can find the table of contents and introductory overview online in various places.  My plan was to write a review, but Tim Harding has done a thorough job in today's "Slaying the Spanish and Other Matters" (Kibitzer #180 at ChessCafe) and John Donaldson gives a nice overview, so I hardly see the need to add much more myself.  Slay the Spanish! offers a very interesting repertoire with a nice mix of choices, both very sound (for serious games) and a little less so (for internet blitz and other fun occasions).  I bought the book because I had already started looking at the Steinitz Deferred as a more reliable method than the Smyslov Variation of gaining the sort of fianchetto positions I've been seeking in the Open Games (as discussed in A Black Fianchetto System in the Open Games Part I and Part II).  Similarly, I have been trying out Mihail Marin's preferred approach (analyzed in ChessBase Magazine #128) to the fianchetto vs the Italian Game with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6!? rather than 3...g6, which also feels a little more sound.  Against the Ruy Lopez, I have always chosen to sidestep the Exchange Variation by varying on move three (even flipping the Bird at the Spanish Bishop with 3...Nd4); but Taylor offers some very interesting ways of countering the Exchange, especially with Larsen's 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 bxc6!? where Black gets the two Bishops without the typical structural concession of the weaker majority.  The coverage of the Siesta Variation (with ...f5) and the Yandemirov Gambit (with ...Bg4, meeting h3 with ...h5!?) are a nice bonus and I'm sure those who play most of their chess as online blitz will find these lines a lot of fun.  I find the more solid lines more interesting, and I appreciate most how Taylor focuses on high class games played by World Champions and contenders (especially Keres), making Slay the Spanish! one of those rare opening books where you really get a lot out of playing through the games themselves.  Highly recommended.


katar said...

Thanks for this quick review.

Michael Goeller said...

Thanks to Katar for the comment. It was, however, apparently deleted during the recent problem with Blogger.

Michael Goeller said...

"Defending the Ruy Lopez" by Dan Lamson covers some of the same territory.