Cyrus Lakdawala is an IM and former US Open Champion who teaches chess and has written over 25 books on chess openings.
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This is the Modern Defence, which has been described both as a fighting opening, based on counterattack and a masochistic paradise, where Black has to sit with less space for the whole game and then loses.
Having played the Modern for some 40 years now, I can testify that the truth is somewhere between the two views.
You either like the Modern or you don’t and you have to get into the right frame of mind in order to play it properly. Black has to suck up early pressure and time his counterattack to perfection to break up the enemy position. If this is your thing and you have an independent character, you will find what you want after 1…g6.
I think I have most of the Modern Defence books in my library, stretching back to Keene and Botterill, through Norwood and Tiger Hillarp Persson and now complimented by the latest work from Cyrus Lakdawala : ‘ Opening Repertoire’ The Modern Defence.
Lakdawala’s book is comprehensive, brimming with ideas and gives lines for Black after all sensible opening first moves, based on complete games.
His suggestions differ from Hillarp Persson, in that whereas the Swedish GM recommends that Black plays an early …-a7-a6 in most lines, Lakdawala goes back to the Norwood repertoire of old, where 1 e4 g6 2 d4 d6 3 Nc3 c6!? was one of the key pillars of the Black counterattacking reply.
It’s an approach which seems to stand up in the present day.
Let’s dive in and take a look at a few recent games that are not in the book, but which align with the recommendations therein.
I enjoyed the book and I think you will too. Focus on the ideas and the originality of Lakdawala’s thought and you will get a lot from it. I guess the book could have been shortened by 20/30 pages with a more economical writing style, but that is the way he does things and you like it or lump it.
Lakdawala’s book is an important addition to the available chess literature on the Modern. As such, it comes with my strong recommendation.
Andrew Martin, Bramley, Surrey, 6th February, 2020
Book Details :
- Paperback : 416 pages
- Publisher: Everyman Chess (22 Oct. 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1781945306
- ISBN-13: 978-1781945308
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 7.5 x 24 cm
The book is available as a physical book and as a Kindle version.
Official web site of Everyman Chess