1.d4 — Beat the Guerrillas!

Valeri Bronznik

Reviewer: John Donaldson
New In Chess
272 pages

Beat the Guerrillas by Valeri Bronznik is a new type of opening guide that seeks to fill a gap by covering a variety of overlooked systems in one book. Along the lines of Kiril Georgiev’s Squeezing the Gambits (which dealt with the three B’s – the Benko, Blumenfeld and Budapest), Bronznik aims to provide a practical repertoire for the tournament player against less commonly seen systems after 1.d4.

His new book, 1.d4 – Beat the Guerrillas!, an updated translation of his work, 1.d4 – Ratgeber gegen unorthodoxe Eröffnungen, covers a wide variety of territory as can be seen from the table of contents:

PART I Various 1st moves – 9 Chapter 1 The Englund Gambit and related material – 10 Soller Gambit Delayed – 11 Hartlaub Gambit Delayed – 11 Felbecker Gambit – 13 Englund Gambit – 14 The Zilbermints Gambit – 17 Chapter 2 The Dutch Benoni – 1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5 – 20 Chapter 3 The Woozle – 1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.Nc3 – 27 Chapter 4 The Polish Defence – 1.d4 b5 – 31 Chapter 5 The Owen Defense – 1.d4 b6 2.e4 Bb7 – 41 Chapter 6 1…Nc6 – 50 Chapter 7 The Keres Defense – 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ – 60 Chapter 8 The English Defense – 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 – 83

PART II Variations in the Queen’s Gambit – 123 Chapter 9 The Marshall Defense – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 – 124 Chapter 10 The Austrian Defense – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5 – 133 Chapter 11 The Baltic Defence – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5 – 144 Chapter 12 Albin’s Counter-Gambit – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 – 151 Chapter 13 The Schara-Hennig Gambit – 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 – 164 Chapter 14 The Delayed Stonewall – 184

PART III Indian Specialties – 209 Chapter 15 The Snake Benoni with 5…Bd6 – 210 Chapter 16 The Vulture – 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 Ne4 -223 Chapter 17 The Fajarowicz Gambit – 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 -231 Chapter 18 The Budapest Gambit – 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 – 239 Chapter 19 The Black Knights’ Tango – 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 -258

The subjects of this book could in fact be labeled the good, the bad and the ugly as they run the gamut from being seen at the highest levels to the lowest! You will never find the Englund Gambit (1.d4 e5 – and named after the Swede Fritz Carl Anton Englund and not the actor that played Freddy Krueger) played by 2700s, but some of the others, including the Delayed Stonewall, the Keres and English Defenses, and the Black’s Knight Tango are used by the elite from time to time. What Bronznik dubs the Dutch Benoni (1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5) was played by no less than Mamedyarov this past summer against Seirawan at the World Team Championship in Ningbo.

Bronznik faces a balancing act when presenting his material. He realizes it’s not very practical to offer a lengthy, difficult to remember variation against a line that is rarely met. In this case something that offers 90 percent of the advantage of the “refutation” may be in order. On the other hand some of these variations can only be beaten with a strong blow.

One example of the latter situation is the Owen Defense (1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7). As Bronznik explains after the classical approach 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.Bd3 Nf6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 d6 10.Nd2! g5!? no convincing route to an advantage for White has been shown. He advocates instead 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nge2. This setup is well positioned to meet the traditional Owen strategy of …Bb4 and with 5…d5 leading to a bad French the second player is forced to opt for 5……c5. This is met by the surprising gambit 6.d5!? which leads to very interesting play. Here White needs to know something concrete but a little homework pays large dividends.

Those who play 1.d4 will find 1.d4 – Beat the Guerrillas! a very practical way to learn how to meet lesser seen defenses. This book is aimed at players 1800 on up.