Lars Schandorff’s new Semi-Slav book

Nikos Ntirlis writes: The Semi-Slav is one of the most fascinating openings in modern chess. It is the opening that helped Vladimir Kramnik to climb Mount Olympus as a youngster and make his appearance among the best players in the 90s and today it is Vishy Anand’s most trusted weapon. It helped him to get his first undisputed world title in 2007 and of course who can forget his amazing performance at the 2008 world championship match against Kramnik when the Indian scored two amazing wins with Black in the Meran variation! Of course Anand is still the man to watch for developments in the opening as he is still unleashing opening bombs like in his game against Aronian in Wijk aan Zee 2011!

We would expect such a popular opening complex to be well covered in modern literature, and this is the case. David Vigorito’s “Play the Semi-Slav” is still surprisingly relevant in many lines despite being now seven years old and other experts like Dreev and Sakaev have also presented well respected works on the opening. Still, the last couple of years have been outstandingly rich regarding developments of many key lines for both sides and what is worse, the Semi-Slav has become so deeply and widely analysed that the typical club player will feel lost trying to navigate himself in the complexities of this minefield of modern chess.

In my humble opinion, it is very difficult to find a better author on this subject than Lars Schandorff. His other works for Quality Chess like the two “Playing 1.d4” books as well as the slightly older “Grandmaster Repertoire 7 – The Caro Kann” have proved that he has a special talent to present complex opening lines in a very reader-friendly way. Another thing is also at least as important, Lars is a true expert on the Semi-Slav who has vast experience of defending the opening successfully against strong opposition for many years (a look at the database will convince you!) and thus he has acquired deep understanding.

So, what the reader can expect from The Semi-Slav by Lars Schandorff is fascinating chess, deep analysis and research, and a very friendly presentation of the latest developments of this very important modern opening, many of which cannot be found in other works, simply because 2-3 years back many lines were not even known! This is one such example:

Aleksandr Martynov – Jan Rogos
Correspondence 2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6
This is the starting position of the book.

One of the two big main lines. 5.Bg5 is the other big branch were Lars analyses 5…h6 as well as the fascinating 5…dxc4.

5…Nbd7 6.Bd3
The Meran Variation. 6.Qc2 is another popular move which leads to more positional play and is presented in the book as well of course.

6…dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.0–0 a6 10.e4 c5 11.d5 Qc7 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.Bc2 c4
So far so good. We have now one of the most well analysed tabiyas of the whole opening theory, the “Classical Meran”. Still, in such a well-known position new ideas can be found.

A move that was not considered anything special until Eljanov’s convincing victory over Gelfand at Moscow 2010. It was only quite recently that Black found a convincing way to deal with it.

14…e5 was tried by Gelfand in the aforementioned game against Eljanov. After 15.Ng3 Bc5 16.b3! White allows Black to put a pawn at c3, but this is something that was part of White’s spectacular idea. Starting from this position many analysts recommended that Black should not push the pawn and simply let White take on c4, but the resulting positions are not that attractive for the second player. Lars’ suggestion is much more fun as well as theoretically more sound!

I have a personal experience here. I saw this move played live by GM Banikas against the young IM Antonis Pavlidis at the Greek Team Championships of 2012. Christos Banikas is always well prepared and so he unleashed this move almost immediately! Still, according to Lars another move is more critical: 15.Ned4 and now Lars analyses 15…Qb6 16.a4 e5 17.Nf5 Nxe4 in quite some depth concluding that Black is fine.

15…e5?! was seen instead at the aforementioned game Banikas – Pavlidis, Rion 2012, where White got the upper hand and won rather easily.

White has to attack on the queenside.

16.a4 is met by 16…b4 according to Lars, and 16.Bd2 Nxe4 17.Ba5 Bb6 18.Bxb6 Qxb6 19.a4 Ndc5 is not especially attractive for White either.

16…Bb6! 17.Bb2
17.a4 Rhf8! followed by putting a knight at e5 is analysed by Lars with the conclusion that Black has a very dangerous initiative.

17…Rhf8 18.Ned4 Rfe8 19.Bc3 g6 20.Qb1 e5 21.Ne2

White’s play has been very slow and he is still to produce a real threat to Black’s queenside. After Black’s last, the knight will arrive on d4 and show who is boss in the position.

22.a4 Nc6 23.Ng3 Nd4 24.Bd1 h5
White was so much disgusted with his position that he went as far to resign the game!

So, 14.Ne2 0–0–0 is one of those recent developments that have dramatically changed the opening in the last 2-3 years and you can find all of these presented in the just-published Grandmaster Repertoire book The Semi- Slav by Lars Schandorff.

67 thoughts on “Lars Schandorff’s new Semi-Slav book”

  1. I received my copy of the Semi-Slav today (together with Tal volume 2) and am very happy with it 🙂 . I noticed that Schandorff references many correspondence games (including a game by Nikos, joking that he didn’t know you can actually play chess too 🙂 ). to me this is a perfect companion to Avrukh’s book on the Slav. Since both the Botvinnik and the Anti-Moscow are a bit too forcing and wild for my taste. I play a normal main-line Slav after 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4, while after e.g. the ‘anti-Slav’ 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 I prefer 4…e6 over Avrukh’s recommended 4…a6. I think it’s a perfect combination – both Watson and Kornev admit white has nothing in the (anti-)Meran (Kornev’s recommendation in the Meran has been defused in correspondence chess accoding to Schandorff).

    And of course the book on Tal is also another winning, I love the books by Karolyi!

    Keep up the great work QC!

  2. One minor point: it seems that Schandorff does not cover the anti-Meran with 6.b3. If I remember correctly this was recommended by Watson in his reportoire book on 1.d4. Watson admits white probably doesn’t have anything substantial, but still, it would have been nice if an antidote against Watson’s lines would have been given, if only because such reportoire books tend to be followed, especially on club level? Maybe something for the next newsletter 🙂

  3. Anssi Manninen

    There is no reason to cover that goofy b3. After De7! its white who must be accurately to maintain the balance.

  4. Anssi Manninen

    In general, the Kornev books are great but I agree that his recommendation in Meran is not dangerous at all.

    As far as Watson, the right antidote is 7..Qe7. If my memory serves this move was also pointed out by Dreev a few years ago. Hope this helps 🙂

  5. Gilchrist is a Legend

    You have the choice to play the Semi-Slav after 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3 or the Avrukh 4…Bf5. Both are good, but the Classical Slav choice is much more positional to me, slower game.

  6. @Anssi Manninen
    Thanks! I know that Watson’s recommendation wasn’t much (he even admits it himself), but I still think that recommendations in the major white reportoire books should be covered in a GM Rep book. In a GM Guide, on the contrary, it could have been skipped.

  7. @Ray
    If this is the case (I did not work on the book) it is a clear error. We try very hard to avoid errors and omissions, but occasionally they do happen. I have worked with a number of very strong players, and they miss lines in their preparation all the time. Not just before the games, but also when structuring their repertoires. This is not an excuse, but just establishing a fact – that we cannot get it right always. We will of course do some sort of an update if we have indeed missed something.

  8. @Jacob Aagaard
    Hi Jacob,

    Thanks for your reaction – no problem at all, and looking forward to the update 🙂 I’m working through the chapters on the Meran at the moment and am very happy with the quality!

  9. Gilchrist is a Legend

    That is true, I usually play 4…Bf5 or 4…Bg4 anyway. But how often do you get 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3? I think that it was recommended in some repertoire books, but now players who play this line with White also have to prepare for in addition to the Meran, that 4…a6 Chebanenko hybrid line, but also that wild gambit “Glasgow Kiss”. Probably more theory now than 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. e3…

  10. Anssi Manninen

    “Thanks! I know that Watson’s recommendation wasn’t much (he even admits it himself), but I still think that recommendations in the major white reportoire books should be covered in a GM Rep book. In a GM Guide, on the contrary, it could have been skipped.”

    Yes, that was a clear case of omission as Watson is a popular author. However, black player have nothing to fear after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.b3 Bb4 6.Bd2 Qe7. And as an extra bonus, Watson players are already “out of book” by now. 🙂

  11. Anssi Manninen

    Sorry, a typo in my line. The right one is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.b3 Bb4 7.Bd2 Qe7

  12. @Gilchrist is a Legend
    I play myself 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3, though I might probably switch to something else after having finished Schandorff’s book 🙂 . Indeed it is more theory than 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3, but I don’t like the line with 4…Bg4 or 4…Bf5 for white.

  13. Hey I bought this Semi-Slav book off the website on 21-07-2015. When should I roughly expect this to arrive to me in Canberra, Australia? I didn’t notice an option for me to choose shipping…

  14. I’ve been using quite a few lines from Watson’s book online but I have to admit I’d agree hat 6.b3 isn’t much for white after Bb4, Bd2. IMO b3 and the bishop sitting on d2 just doesn’t seem right.

  15. Pac, I live in NZ and had the book on pre-order. I’ve had notice that it’s dispatched and would expect to receive it sometime this coming week. It generally takes around eight days to get down here so suspect you will be much the same.

  16. > “the Semi-Slav has become so deeply and widely analysed that the typical club player will feel lost trying to navigate himself in the complexities of this minefield of modern chess.”

    I don’t agree with this, not at all. I talk about “the typical club player”.

    Well, the Semi-Slav is typically an opening which is absolutely not for the typical club player or/and amateur player who has other things to do that chess… Don’t touch this kind of opening before at least 2100/2200 Elo, if you have not a very good memory and can learn by rote many long theoretical lines and constant new moves, can, and have time enough, follow the last developments from the last tournaments for the last novelties etc.

    If not, never touch to this opening. To resume, no amateur/club player would have to touch this opening until he/she become a very serious player and has much time and at least 2100/2200 Elo minimum…

  17. @Blue Knight: I’m just curious, what kind of opening would you recommend to below 2200 rating? For example, I have played both the King’s Indian Defence and the (Semi-)Slav, and in my opinion the King’s Indian is more difficult. The same goes for openings like the Grünfeld or the Modern Benoni. Most main-line openings nowadays tend to be rather concrete. I think the strategical ideas of the (Anti-)Meran are rather clear. The Botvinnik and Anti-Moscow are another matter, but these can be avoided by playing the Slav. Besides, the Botvinnik can be rather easily memorised from black’s point of view. In my experience it’s much more difficult for white because black has more options to deviate. I have played the Semi-Slav for a number of years when my rating was between 2100 and 2200, and I have a great score with it.

  18. Nikos Ntirlis

    Hello guys.

    Indeed, 6.b3 was an omission, but only because Watson is a well known and popular author and thus his recommended 6.b3 is something that many club players around the globe are well aware that exists. As it has been said, the line itself is not considered anything really special.

    The reason for this can be found in Botvinnik’s praxis. In the variations of the Meran (e3 and Bd3) where Black doesn’t go for the “modern” (made popular by Larsen, after Botvinnik’s era) …dxc4+b5 plan, White preffers to put his queen to the e2 square and not at c2. This was found after trial and error, but also logic implies that while e2 is indeed a great and safe square for the queen (rooks can go harmoniously at the e- and d-files) Black cannot find such safety for his own queen.

    Watson’s proposal would have been great if somehow White was allowed to play the bishop to d3 without allowing the …dxc4 idea, so that his queen would go to the “happy place” at e2. Sadly, this quick b3 doesn’t match well with the bishop at d3 due to …e5 ideas. So, Watson swallows the bitter pill and puts his bishop to e2 after which there is no better place for the White queen rather than the c2-square and thus we’ll sooner or later transpose to the lines examined by Lars in his Qc2 chapters. I understand though, that this is not something obvious to everybody!

    I am not so sure about how strong is 6.b3 Bb4 7.Bd2 Qe7, but in one of my own games i played 6…Bd6 and as White…

  19. Nikos Ntirlis

    … (continues)

    I am not so sure about how strong is 6.b3 Bb4 7.Bd2 Qe7, but in one of my own games i played 6…Bd6 and as White didn’t put his queen to c2 to transpose to the “usual lines” i felt that the plan of …Ne4 followed by …f5 has to be critical. Indeed, i think that i the following game at least proves that this way of thinking has some bite:

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e3 Nf6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. b3 Bd6 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O
    Ne4 9. Qc2 f5 10. a4 Qe7 11. Bb2 a5 12. Rac1 Ra7 13. c5 Bc7 14. Na2 Ra8 15. b4
    axb4 16. Nxb4 f4 17. Nd3 fxe3 18. fxe3 Qf6 19. Nfe5 Qg5 20. Rxf8+ Nxf8 21. Nf4
    Ra5 22. Bf3 Bxe5 23. dxe5 Nxc5 24. Ba3 b6 25. Qc3 Rxa4 26. Bxc5 Rc4 0-1 (Svaton- Ntirlis, ICCF 2013)

    Of course i didn’t invent a new concept. Semi Slav gurus like Dreev and Shirov have done the same in their own games more than once. As i seem to recall, this is a line Watson missed to include in his analysis.

    I remember that i discussed this …Ne4 and …f5 idea with Lars a couple of years ago and he agreed that this is something that he would seriously consider doing himself if he had the chance!

    Hope this helps 😉

  20. Anssi Manninen

    I just got my copy of the book. A very fine book indeed.

    NN: It seems to me 7…Qe7 is OK but your concept talso looks good. Interestingly, after 7..Qe7 Komodo 9.1 already wants to give up the a-pawn for questionable compensation.

  21. I have the new Semi-Slav book and would recommend it for the clear explanations of Meran coverage alone! However, there’s one line which I can’t find detail on.

    In the 6.Qc2 Anti-Meran, there’s a line played by Gelfand, Mikhalchishin and others as White 6…Bd6 7.Bd3 dc 8.Bc4 O-O 9.O-O b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.Rd1 Qc7 covered in book on page 212.

    The moves 12.e4 and 12.Bd2 are mentioned but not 12.b3

    It looks fairly sensible to follow 12.b3 a6 13.Ne4 Nxe4 14.Qe4 but there’s a crossroads now to play either 14…c5 or 14…e5 or even 14…Be7

    There are 30+ games in the database for this but what would be consistent with Lars repertoire? Perhaps there’s a transposition to elsewhere in the book but I can’t find it.


  22. Schandorff says the Anti-Moscow is more “positional” than the Botvinnik, but is it still a wise choice for someone whose style is more positional/technically-inclined?

  23. @Seth
    There is no choice between the Anti-Moscow and the Botvinnik. There’s a choice between the Moscow and the Botvinnik made by Black, and a choice between the Moscow main line and the Anti-Moscow made by White. Which one do you mean?

  24. Sorry for being so unclear. My fault. I meant – if Black is a positional/technically inclined player, should he play the Anti-Moscow? Or is it just not a good match?

  25. If one is positional/technical player, he does not play the semi-slav, where lots of its positions are totally irrational. One plays slav, ortodox or nimzo.

    Anyway according to dfan you simply cannot choose the anti-moscow with black, you just play …h6, and it is White who chooses to go for the moscow or the antimoscow (not that I now the difference between the two).

  26. @Gollum

    Well that was my original thought, but then I noticed GM Gelfand has played the Semi-Slav numerous times – as well as the young Kramnik.

    And I know White gets to choose whether to play 6.Bxf6 or 6.Bh4… point was that Black has to be prepared for either.

  27. My choice in the exchange variation will come as a big surprise to almost everyone. I think that White is better almost everywhere in the established main lines. OK, Black can draw in he plays well, but most of the times it is not a really satisfying experience. And no, I don’t go for pawn sacrifices or sidelines like 5…Ne7. It is still a main line 5…Bg4, but with a surprising deviation few moves down the way.

  28. Nikos Ntirlis :
    It is still a main line 5…Bg4, but with a surprising deviation few moves down the way.

    Then my guess is 5.0-0 Bg4 6.h3 h5 7.d3 and now instead of the usual 7…Qf6 another idea is 7…Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Qd7 intending to castle long and planning a pawn storm with …f6 & …g5.


    Nikos Ntirlis :
    My choice in the exchange variation will come as a big surprise to almost everyone. I think that White is better almost everywhere in the established main lines. OK, Black can draw in he plays well, but most of the times it is not a really satisfying experience. And no, I don’t go for pawn sacrifices or sidelines like 5…Ne7. It is still a main line 5…Bg4, but with a surprising deviation few moves down the way.

    Hector Gambit or as Kaufman recommended the Bg4 + h5 🙂

  30. I don’t understand why a strong player like Ragger did allow an endgame like in the second Exchange RL.

    [Event “Vienna Chess Open 2015 Ragger-Mamedyarov”]
    [Site “Grosser Festsaal im Wiener Rat”]
    [Date “2015.08.17”]
    [Round “1.1”]
    [White “Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar”]
    [Black “Ragger, Markus”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “C69”]
    [WhiteElo “2735”]
    [BlackElo “2688”]
    [PlyCount “51”]
    [EventDate “2015.08.17”]
    [EventRounds “6”]
    [EventCountry “AUT”]

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 c5 8.
    Nb3 Qxd1 9. Rxd1 Bg4 10. f3 Be6 11. Nc3 Bd6 12. Be3 b6 13. a4 a5 14. Nb5 O-O-O
    15. Nxd6+ cxd6 16. Nd2 d5 17. exd5 Bxd5 18. b4 axb4 19. a5 bxa5 20. Bxc5 Nh6
    21. Rxa5 Rhe8 22. Bb6 Rd6 23. Nc4 Bxc4 24. Rxd6 Re1+ 25. Kf2 Re2+ 26. Kg3 1-0

    [Event “Vienna Chess Open 2015 Ragger-Mamedyarov”]
    [Site “Grosser Festsaal im Wiener Rat”]
    [Date “2015.08.19”]
    [Round “3.1”]
    [White “Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar”]
    [Black “Ragger, Markus”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “C69”]
    [WhiteElo “2735”]
    [BlackElo “2688”]
    [PlyCount “83”]
    [EventDate “2015.08.17”]
    [EventRounds “6”]
    [EventCountry “AUT”]

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 exd4 7. e5 Bg4 8.
    Re1 Ne7 9. exf6 gxf6 10. Nbd2 Qd5 11. Ne4 O-O-O 12. Nxf6 Bxf3 13. Nxd5 Bxd1 14.
    Nxe7+ Bxe7 15. Rxe7 Rhe8 16. Rxe8 Rxe8 17. Be3 Bxc2 18. Bxd4 Rd8 19. Be3 Rd1+
    20. Rxd1 Bxd1 21. f3 Kd7 22. Kf2 a5 23. g4 a4 24. a3 Ke6 25. Kg3 b5 26. h4 Be2
    27. h5 Bd3 28…

  31. “…e5 ideas” looks ok, but if White doesn’t put the Qc2 still I’d go for b6+Bb7, that is what I wanted to say (lol) instead of stonewall congratulations QC for this Blog!

  32. Hi, Chapter 11 / part B / The author writes ” 12.dxc5 will lead to the same position ” but 12…Nxc5 13. Bb5 + Nd7 can transpose to C and can also been followed by 14. Bg5 Qa5 15.Bxd7+ Kxd7 as in an old Kaidanov game

  33. @Anssi Manninen
    Watson calls Qe7 “transpositional” and covers it on other move numbers. So his readers are in book whenever it’s played in the …Bb4/Bd2 line – unless Black has a better follow to 7…Qe7 than …0-0, …b6 or …Bd6. He doesn’t. 8 …e5 is no better than the 9…e5 covered. White chooses the b3 line to control the game, not to blow Black away.

  34. 8…Bb7 9.é4 b4 10. Na4 ç5 11.é5 Nd5 12.dc5 Nc5 and then 13.Bb5+ Nd7 14. Bg5 Qa5 15. Bxd7+ Kxd7 16. 0-0 Bc6 17.b3 h6 was Timoshchenko-Kaidanov , Vienna 1989 .

  35. You may want to check this out and move this to Authors in action but Jan Gustaffson could have done with a copy of Lars book with all the semi slav lines he played and the thinking he had to do at the board at the Thailand Open this year.
    Smirnov may have had a copy though as he was blitzing it out in his game. price of the book a lot less than the prize difference on offer

  36. the Van Wely game is interesting with the early …e5 in the anti meran Qc2 Bd6 line but isn’t the line Lars recommends (he prefers …dc4) but the chat about this being a good solid line against Bd3 but not Be2 is informative. If there is anything I can criticise about Lars book is that sometimes the lines he chooses Black has to force a perpetual or choose a line that is completely equal with no chances to win rather than giving unclear options wghere you can play for a win so it’s good to have back up lines if you need a win. The Smirnov game starts about 47 minutes in but his move order nuances before the game itself is interesting as well as Lars really doesn’t cover much of the non 1.d4 attempts to move order you into the semislav.
    Smirnov basically played Lars recommendation and totally equalised but blundered as soon as he left the book. Jan in comparison had to work out some of the lines Lars gives at the board and was unable to improve on them (though his idea of Bg5 right at the end is a possible chance to get an edge for white.

  37. Jacob/Lars

    Bought Kornev’s Practical repertoire for white Vol 1 QGD recently which also covers the semi slav and even though it predates your book 2013 vs 2015 one of his meran main lines finds a gap in your book.
    In Lars’ book Ch12 and 13 there is no mention of 10.a4 after 8…Bb7 9.0-0 a6 only the main line 10.e4
    Kornev’book does indeed follow this line from white’s perspective eg you reference it on p144-5 but he gives a main line against the 8..a6 move order (ie the move order Anand used in WC matches against Kramnik). Kornev plays 9. a4!? Bb7 10.0-0 which directly transposes into the line missing in Lars’ book.
    The main line seems to be 10…b4 Ne4 (e4 rather than a4 is available for the knoight as white has not played e4 yet) ..c5 and then both Ned2 and Nxf6 are established lines (Kornev chooses to exchange on f6). Kornev also mentions that 9…b4 10. Ne4 c5 11. 0-0 Bb7 will transpose into this as well though Lars doesn’t follow this.move order.
    Gelfand, Najer, Tomashevsky and Matlakov have all gone down this route as white so its not that obscure and Kornev has a good bit of analysis running to pages rather than a paragraph.
    Any ideas? Strange Lars obviously read Kornev’s book (mentioned in bibliography as well) and then missed it.

  38. @Johnnyboy
    I will ask Nikos to look at it. The bibliography is often the editors checking the books. Not just mentioning the books, but actively checking. We try hard. Something here went wrong it seems.

  39. @Johnnyboy
    A really nice find! This is highly confusing! Indeed Lars didn’t cover this in the book, but Kornev didn’t quite provided this recommendation either! Lars took into consideration the Kornev suggestion against the particular move order he suggested. It seems to me that Kornev himself didn’t exactly noticed that he offers two different recommendations against the same line via two different move orders! (i checked his book). Also, from the 8…a6 move order this seems to be a rather main line, but from the 8…Bb7 move order, this seems to be a rather insignificant sideline (10.e4 is more than 10 times more popular!).

    Also, it is highly confusing why the players who have entered this line via the 8…a6 move order usually play 10…b4?! (the only move Kornev examines!) while after the 8…Bb7 move order i have seen the correct 10…Be7 played.

    Anyway, 10.a4?! is not that great because Black now is not forced (and he shouldn’t!) play 10…b4?! After 10…Be7! White doesn’t seem to have anything. For example, after 11.e4 now 11…b4! 12.e5 bxc3 13.exf6 Bxf6! is exactly the same with the suggestion by Lars against the 6.Be2 move order, albeit here White has a slightly worse version.

    I can see only one “high-level”game after 10.a4 Be7 and here White (Kasimdzhanov) played 11.axb5 and if Black had recaptured 11…axb5! i think that he has already equalised very comfortably.

    It is indeed a rather confusing move order…

  40. Thanks Nikos. As you point out Kornev only considers… B4. Can white play it slower as e7 is not the most active position for the Bishop and once he plays e4 after the b4 response neither a4 or e4 is available so he’s forced to play e5 in the line you quoted. Is there a good waiting move before he pushes e4?

  41. Still begs the question about what to play as black in Lars preferred move order with 8…Bb7 if white does choose to play 10.a4 even if e4 is 10x as popular. In the Kornev main line with 12.Nxf6 all three recaptures seem viable and are mentioned and analysed by Kornev. Be good to know what Lars Or Nikos prefer.

  42. Anyone able to help. Quite liked Kornev d4 c4 rep for white but his mirror image of a slav d5 c6 rep for black is just out. Looking at the excerpt the coverage of the botvinnik semi slav is identical to Lars 2015 book. The Moscow is very similar too. Does anyone have the Kornev book yet… Is it worth it if I already have Lars book? The meran line is different with 5.e3 a6!? But maybe this transposes to Lars line after a subsequent Nbd7 Bb7 and the usual… dxc4 and b5 anyway. The one thing missing from Lars but in Kornev is deviations early on but he deviations before reaching the semi slav are covered by Avrukh and Mikhalevski so not so bothered about that. Anyone have any advice?

  43. @Johnnyboy
    Got it . I think Kornev chose 5.e3 a6 to have b5 , c5 and only then Fb7 .
    I think the book will suit best QGA players who want to avoid 3.e4 .
    It’s an interesting choice but it’s not a Meran book .

  44. @Pinpon
    Pinpon do you have Lars book? Anything new in the botvinnik and anti Moscow in kornev or pretty much the same? The 5.g3 and 5.qb3 lines seem identical too. Thanks

  45. @Johnnyboy
    If your repertoire is based on Lars book , you can buy Kornev book for fine tuning ( more recent correspondance games in critical positions ) but there is nothing new under the sun in the Botwinnik .
    Kornev’s choice against 5.g3 is different ( 6… Nbd7 )

  46. @Johnnyboy
    Yes . 5… d5xc4 6. Bg2 Nbd7 which is solid and avoids some crazy lines like 6.Bg2 b5 7.OO Bb7 8.b3 b4 10.bxc4 !!?? bxNc3 11.Rb1 ( slightly incorrect but very dangerous for Black OTB if he doesn’t know the line )

  47. @Johnnyboy
    There is no anti-moscow in kornev’s black repertoire as it advocates the botvinnik 5.Bg5 dxc4.Anti-moscow variation is 5.Bg5 h6.

  48. Lars Nikos et al
    Your book still holding up well but when playing the Botvinnik recently I got my move order wrong and when I looked in the book for advice it wasn’t much help. In the mainline… Dxc4 6 e4 b5 instead of e5 h6 as usual my opponent played 7 a4. I made a mistake and played.. Bb4 thinking this was Lars ‘ recommendation but that was for a move earlier 6.a4 Bb4. Got a very ropey position after that error. In the book it says 7.a4 would be covered under the 6.a4 move order but all I can see is..”.. Qb6 and keeps the pawn”. Looks like a dangerous position even if a pawn up. If white forces Bxf6 gxf6 shatter the pawn structure on both wings then the black king looks stuck in the middle of the board while white can castle safely… Surely enough compensation? Any pointers on the best route to safety after 7. a4?

  49. PS Kudos to Lars as his move order avoids the Topalov Nxf7 in the anti Moscow which grischuk showed was very much alive and kicking in the candidates

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