Average Customer Review:
( 15 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 found the following review helpful:
Up-to-date and comprehensiveNov 17, 2002
By Derek Grimmell
I play only the Caro-Kann against e4 and have worked through several books and most of ECO. I was skeptical as to whether this book would have enough new info to be worth the price. It did. There is excellent coverage of new ideas in key lines up to this very year, and the author's coverage of some critical positions is very good, especially where the top players themselves have not yet made up their minds. This is not the only Caro-Kann book you would need in order to play the defense well, becuase there are several lines that are incredibly deep in theory, such as 6. Nge2 c5 in the Advance variation. But this is the first book to offer real coverage of 3. ... c5 against the Advance, rather than just reprinting Boleslavsky's ancient (and flawed) analysis, and the author recommends you try this if you prefer NOT to memorize long tables of variations. Excellent advice. Good coverage as well of 3. f3 and other sidelines. Upshot: not the place to go for the most detailed variations, but a great book to understand the defense as a whole and start developing it into your "repertoire" against e4 -- just as I have.
21 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Excllent introduction to the Caro-KannNov 13, 2002
By Brian E. Mitchell
This book is a good introduction to the Caro-Kann and addresses some of the complaints about earlier books in this series (ie: this book has an index of variations!). One drawback is the author is not a Caro-Kann player -- I have not decided if that is net good or net bad. On the positive side, it means he wont be chearleading for either side, on the negative I think some enthusiasm may be lost.
Like the rest of the series, the writing is quite crisp, and the example games fairly appropriate. The format is the same as in the previous games in the series, although the sicilian book in the series has a 'strategy' subtitle for general strategy for white and black -- that's not to say this information is missing here, it is simply not provided for in it's own section at the end of each variation.
One thing i'm not terribly fond of in this book is the statistics section -- I don't find it too useful, and anyone with a decent database can generate statistics rather easily (the author used chessbase).
Overall, if you have looked at a general opening book, and decided the Caro-Kann is something you wish to play, this is an excellent first book.
18 of 20 found the following review helpful:
A good chess book on the Caro-KannAug 13, 2005
By Jill Malter
The Caro-Kann is a solid defense to 1 e4. It begins with 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 (yes, those who have second thoughts with Black after seeing the almost inevitable 2 d4 can still change their minds and play 2...d6, switching to a Pirc, but that's another story).
Gallagher leads us through the main lines we need to know to play this defense, as well as to decide what to play against it with White. We begin with the Classical: 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4. And I agree with the author that those interested in this ought to buy Tal's book on his 1960 match versus Botvinnik as well. Black has a choice of 4...Bf5, which is fairly solid, or 4...Nd7, which can be a little trickier, or the more dubious 4...Nf6. The Classical lines take up over half the book.
Then we proceed to the Advance Variation (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5). Gallagher spends quite a bit of time on 3...c5 here. In this, Black is playing an Advance Variation of the French defense a tempo down. We also see a good analysis of 3...Bf5 4 Nc3, where White hopes to launch a kingside attack that includes g4 as a tempo-gaining shot at that f5 Bishop.
Next is the Panov (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 c4). This is my favorite for White. That's because I can use this analysis to play White against the Scandinavian, the Queen's Gambit Declined (if I open 1 d4), and even the Nimzo-Indian (the same isolated queen pawn position can arise in all of these). After 4...Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 6 Nf3 Be7 7 cxd5 Nxd5, we're there (the author now recommends 8 Bd3). Gallagher talks about that isolated White Queen pawn, and how minor piece trades tend to favor Black here by reducing White's attacking chances.
Late in the book, there is a section on the move 2 c4, which I think Gallagher ought to have given a little more discussion. This is an attempt by White to get to a Panov before committing to playing d4. The idea is to make it harder for Black to employ certain defences (such as 5...g6) that might otherwise be used versus the Panov. After 1 e4 c6 2 c4 (I agree with Gallagher that this move looks ugly, leaving that awful hole on d4), I think Black ought to be considering 2...e5, and Gallagher gives a couple of brief ideas here. However, Black is often content to get into a Panov with 2...d5. Next is 3 exd5, to which the author gives 3...cxd5 as the automatic response. But I disagree. I think the automatic response ought to be 3...Nf6!? After that, White will have to humbly crawl back into the Panov with 4 d4, and let Black defend against it any way she wants to. Or else "win" Black's pawn with 4 dxc6 Nxc6, but this is a well-known position from the Scandinavian, and most folks would already prefer Black.
After 1 e4 c6 2 c4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 cxd5 Nf6, I think White is getting what she wants after 5 Nc3, and she even has the option of playing 5 Bb5+ instead.
This book also has three pages on the Exchange Variation (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 Bd3). And it has a section on the infamous Fantasy Variation (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3). I once fell into a famous trap in this line that Gallagher boasts he won three games in as White. I, and Gallagher's opponents, played the following first nine suicidal moves as Black:
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3 dxe4 4 fxe4 e5 5 Nf3 exd4? 6 Bc4 Bb4+? 7 c3 dxc3 8 Bxf7+ (this wins by force) Kxf7 9 Qxd8 cxb2+ 10 Ke2 bxc1=N+ (as the book shows, 10...bxa1=Q gets Black mated, so I tried something else) 11 Rxc1 (White's advantage is overwhelming but now my opponent demonstrates that with bad enough play, any position can be compromised) 11...Bg4 12 Qc7+ Nd7 13 Qxb7 Rb8 14 Qxa7 Nc7 15 Nc3 Bc5 16 Qc7 Rb2+ 17 Ke1 Rxg2 18 Qf4+ Ke8 19 Rab1 Rf8 20 Rb8+ Nxb8 21 Qxb8+ Bc8 22 Ne5 Bf2+ 23 White Resigns
This book is very readable and clear, and I think it is an excellent introduction to the Caro-Kann. I recommend it.
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
The ideal first book on the CKJul 03, 2004
The Caro-Kann has been the first defence I studied versus 1.e4. It's a shame I didn't have that book when I studied it because Gallagher explained the ideas of the CK (for both white and black) very well, and I would have saved a lote of tiresome work (and painful defeats!) if I had it at that time!
This book is especially impressive as Galagher's own experience on the CK is from the white side only. A must buy for a first book on the CK (especially for the black player). Even more experienced players can find many interesting section as "the fantasy variation" (where white playes 3.f3; ) is astounding (here Gallagher's own experience on the white side shines through).
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
wrong choice of authorOct 20, 2010
A poor choice of author by Everyman. From the word go Gallagher makes it clear that he hates the Caro-Kann. "I don't play the opening with Black and I am a fully paid-up member of a club that doesn't believe in the Caro-Kann strategy." Throughout the book you sense the author is hating himself for having to hack it. He also presents games mostly won by white and tells you that he didn't show too many black wins because games won by black with this defense are
boring and drawn-out. He even makes a compelling case for you NOT to use this defense by showing Kasparov losing with it.
Need I say more?
See all 15 customer reviews on Amazon.com