Have you ever set out to play the Scandinavian Defence in answer to 1.e4 and then suddenly found yourself having to play a French Defence? If this has surprised you then you need to take a look at Andrew Soltis' new book and find out what more could happen in your favourite openings.
Transpositions between openings and within openings is a tricky and complicated subject and Soltis has been brave enough to tackle this in a logical format. He deals mostly with transpositions that can occur within particular opening variations and most importantly describes the reason and purpose of such nuances. This is well put in the Introduction by the example of the famous game between Botvinnik and Capablanca during the A.V.R.O Tournament of 1938.
Thus Botvinnik fooled Capablanca by means of a transposition that left him in a theoretically inferior position. This is one nuance that can occur and it is wise to be alert for such happenings in your own games.
Soltis deals with each opening in the normal opening structure of :-
These chapters are preceded by an Introduction and the book is completed with an Index of Opening Variations.
To account for all nuances in every opening would be a massive task and the author has to admit that in certain openings - such as the Najdorf Defence in the Sicilian - not all transposition possibilities have been considered. Such can also be said of the Flank Openings that can so easily switch from one opening to another. For instance if White plays the Reti, and opens 1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 he can convert to a Slav Defence after 2....... c6 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.d4 or a Queen's Gambit Accepted after 2....Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Bxc4 e6 5.d4 whereby he has avoided .....Bg4 lines. In playing 2.e3 White has many transposition possibilities and avoids the possibility of 1.Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4!?
The Ruy Lopez and Sicilian provide a rich harvest of transpositions and Soltis quite rightly devotes a full chapter to each. In fact his work on the Sicilian occupies forty pages and is the longest chapter in the book.
The Alapin Variation of the Sicilian Defence is quite popular in club chess and Soltis points out a nuance that is worth some attention. He points out that 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 allows White to see what Black is going to play on his
The treatment of transpositions has been poorly represented in chess literature and this book fills a rather painful gap. Andrew Soltis must have spent many hours researching the subject and must feel well rewarded by the result. He is a well respected chess author who has many books to his name and these cover many chess subjects. To his credit he recognises the power that the written word has over copious analysis and his explanations are very penetrating and understandable.
Batsford have maintained their high standard of production in this 219 double column page book that can be thoroughly recommended.