A review of Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 6 by Jeroen Bosch (editor)

Reviewed by Paul Kane

Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 6
Jeroen Bosch (editor)
New In Chess, 2007

This is the sixth volume of a series that aims to expose the amiably plodding chess player to a tempting range of unorthodox – and, on occasion, distinctly odd – opening systems, with the ultimate aim of inducing said chess player to adopt them in his own games, thereby irrevocably corrupting his innocent soul.

There are, altogether, 17 substantial chapters in the book (“Chapter 18” is a misnomer; it consists merely of a one-page list of contributors). Chapter 1 (“The SOS Files”), written by Jeroen Bosch, is mainly a recap and update of some of the systems presented in the previous volumes. Chapters 2-17 are the gen: 16 articles, each one dealing with a strange and rarely traversed byway of modern opening theory. Or, sometimes, as in Chapter 13 (“A Spanish SOS”), an unusual move in a standard opening. There, Adrian Mikhalchishin examines the move 9 …Rb8!? in the Closed Ruy Lopez.

Jeroen Bosch writes 4 of the aforementioned articles (as well as Chapter 1) and the other distinguished contributors include Arthur Kogan (the author of 3 articles, including one entitled “The Tarzan Attack”), Ian Rogers and John van der Wiel. “Scandinavian with 3…Qd6” by Sergey Tiviakov was the article that interested me most, a personal account of how the author came to adopt the Scandinavian as a defence to 1.e4 (amiably plodding chess players be warned). Two other articles, “3.h4 in the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon” by John Donaldson and Jeremy Silman and “Bishops First Please!” by Glenn Flear also appealed greatly. Flear gives a mini-system for White against 1.e4 e5 which is based on the Bishop’s Opening together with some early queen forays. The lines that he covers include 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Qh5!? and 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Na5 5.Qf3!? Adrian Mikhalchishin’s “The Döry Defence” (his second contribution) was fine, but the defence itself (to my way of thinking) was not. (For the record, the Döry Defence arises after 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 Ne4.) Alone of all the systems advocated in the book, this one seemed not quite viable (though there seems to be no straightforward refutation). Perhaps the best that can be said for the Döry Defence is that, unlike as in the Fajarowicz Variation of the Budapest Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5.3.dxe5 Ne4), Black is not a pawn down.

Secrets of Opening Surprises, Volume 6 is, without a doubt, an excellent resource for replenishing and renewing your opening repertoire. If you succumb to temptation, the opening ideas contained in this book will set intriguing and testing challenges for your opponent – and for yourself too! As well as offering a little illicit excitement along the way …

About the reviewer:Paul Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at ludic@europe.com