Wojo’s Weapons 3

Winning With White

Dean Ippolito, Jonathan Hilton

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Mongoose Press
402 pages

The third and final volume of Wojo’s Weapons – Winning with White by IM Dean Ippolito and NM Jonathan Hilton is out. The present work deals with the Grunfeld (Fianchetto), Maroczy Bind, Symmetrical English, Dutch, Old Indian and 1.Nf3 d6 – all arising from the move order 1.Nf3 intending 2.c4. This is an opening repertoire for players looking for stability (the theory doesn’t change quickly as in main line Sicilians), strategic play and who value king safety. White plays for small but durable advantages.

This book contains the follow openings.

* Part I: The Open Fianchetto Grunfeld
* Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Fianchetto Grunfeld: Wojo’s Dynamic System with 11.Bg5
* Chapter 2: The Fianchetto Grunfeld, Main Line with 10.Qc2!?
* Chapter 3: The Open Grunfeld with 7…c5
* Chapter 4: Black Strengthens White’s Center by Taking on c3
* Chapter 5: 7…c6 and Black’s Other Tries

* Part II: Black’s Solid Grunfeld with …c7-c6
* Chapter 6: Black Bolsters the Center with …e7-e6
* Chapter 7: Black Takes with 7…dxc4, Struggling for Active Piece Play
* Chapter 8: Black Grovels with 7…Qb6
* Chapter 9: Odds and Ends: Black Moves His a-Pawn

* Part III: The English Opening
* Chapter 10: The Maroczy Bind
* Chapter 11: The Half-Maroczy bind
* Chapter 12: Black Plays for …e7-e6 and …d7-d5
* Chapter 13: Queen’s Indians, Hedgehogs, and the Rubinstein Variation

* Part IV: The Dutch Defense
* Chapter 14: The Leningrad Dutch
* Chapter 15: The Dutch Stonewalll Dutch
* Chapter 16: Other Dutch Defenses

* Part V: Odds & Ends
* Chapter 17: The Old Indian
* Chapter 18: Other Odds and Ends with …d7-d6 and …e7-e5
* Chapter 19: Other Tricky Systems

This three volume series, which totals over 1100 pages, will be of interest not only to those opening 1.Nf3 but also 1.d4 players as it covers the King’s Indian Indian, Grunfeld, Dutch, Queen’s Gambit Declined and Accepted, Slav, Queen’s Indian and 1.d4 d6. Think of this repertoire as playing 1.d4 without facing the Modern Benoni and Benko Gambit and you will not be far off. This last volume will also be of interest for those who play the English and meet 1…c5 with 2.Nf3 (over 100 pages).

This is not the first repertoire to be based on 1.Nf3; one need only recall the White according to Kramnik series by Khalifman advocating 1.Nf3 and 2.c4 (except in case of 1…d5 which is met by 2.d4). Quality Chess repertoire series by Avrukh (1.d4) and Marin (1.c4) cover similar ground in certain openings, which begs the question of how the present trilogy differs. Judged as a whole the other three authors have more in common. They are more analysis oriented whereas Ippolito and Hilton offer more prose explanation. This is not to say (by any means) that the three GMs don’t explain things or that the two Americans don’t offer concrete analysis, it’s just a question of degree. Of the four series I would rank Khalifman’s books the densest and Ippolito/Hilton the most prose oriented. That said I would be hesitant to recommend any of these books to players below 2000 unless they especially like opening study.

Devising a comprehensive opening repertoire is not a simple task. While 1.Nf3/2.c4 is not as theoretical as 1.e4 the fact remains that openings like the Catalan and Grunfeld are heavily analyzed. The late Alexander Wojtkiewicz (“Wojo”) had to deal with this patching up and repairing process in the late 1980s and early 1990s when he played in a number of high-level competitions. This became less of a problem the last decade of his life when he focused on the American weekend Swiss circuit. There he was one of the biggest sharks in the ocean and pairings typically went up 5 minutes before the round, which eliminated extensive pre-game opening preparation. This meant that Wojtkiewicz didn’t have to keep his repertoire completely up to date. Fear not, the authors have filled in the gaps.

Invariably in a series of this nature some things are overlooked. If it can happen to the ever-conscientious Avrukh (see the updates on the Quality Chess website), anyone is fair game and Ippolito and Hilton are no exception. In the present volume they left out lines in the main line Fianchetto Grunfeld where Black’s plays …Nc6 before castling in an attempt to force White to play e3 to defend his d-pawn.

Highly Recommended