A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White

Sam Collins

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Gambit Publishing
159 pages

A Simple Opening Repertoire for White could be subtitled, “play the IQP and win.” Indeed, the IQP or Isolated Queen Pawn is the heart and soul of this cleverly designed opening repertoire. International Master Sam Collins, who loves playing with this structure (he wrote a previous book on the Tarrasch Defense to the Queen’s Gambit), has White playing the c3 Sicilian and 2.c4 versus the Caro-Kann, both openings known to often head to IQP positions. But what about 1……e5, the French, Pirc/Modern, Alekhine and Scandinavian?

Against 1……e5 Collins likes 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ and now the little-known 7.Nbd2!?. Black must choose between accepting a gambit with 7……Nxe4 or playing 7……d5 when after 8.exd5 Nxd5 a IQP structure has been reached. If Black varies with 3……Nf6 White plays 4.d4 exd4 5.e5.

Against the French the path to IQP nirvana is 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 (3……c5 4.c3) 4.Bd3 c5 5.c3. Only against the Guimard (3…Nc6) variation does the position remain more closed.

The Pirc/Modern, Alekhine and Scandinavian don’t naturally lead to IQP positions. Here Collins advocates 3.Bd3 versus the former, 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 against the Alekhine and setups with Bc4 and d3 versus the Scandinavian.

This objectively written and well-thought out book should find a welcome audience among players rated 1800-2500.