A somewhat late Easter Gift – Two DVD’s by Chessbase reviewed! “Attacking with the Pirc” and “English 1.c4 e5 for Black”

Hello dear readers,

today I would like to provide you with my late Easter Gift I promised! The days were so stressfull that I did not manage to publish them in time. But now you’ll get those two reviews I’ve promised!

Let’s start with

English 1.c4 e5 for Black by GM Victor Bologan!

In a way the meeting the English opening 1.c4 with the  …e5 system is „more logical“, according to Bologan, as it takes the center. The bishop and the queen both get diagonals on which they can be developed. His main recommendation is based on the …Bb4 idea either on the second move or later on. He got his knowledge from Chebanenko, a highly creative player who’s name one of the most popular opening nowadays, the “Chebanenko Slav” (4…a6) bears.

If White tries to avoid the main lines playing an early fianchetto of his light-squared bishop, GM Bologan recommends an interesting set-up based on the idea 1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 h6!?. It’s probably the first theoretical work on it but according to Bologan fully playable.  He gives certain move-orders by White as it’s often the case with a flexible opening like the English. White can play 2.Nc3, 2.Nf3, 2.g3 and so on and against each the author provides you with sufficient material to play all the lines with confidence over the board.

Being an experienced player ensures that he knows how to arrange material so that it will be useful and easily accessible for a practical player. At the same time, thanks to his experience as a writer and coach in the Chessbase studios, the didactic value is also guaranteed.

According to Victor Bologan, one has to learn this opening by scheme, not by memorizing variations, lines and so on. You should see and stick to ideas, plans and motifs cropping up again and again in this ambitious opening!

This DVD is excellent for those planning to play the …e5 system in a long run or to surprise their opponent.  Although his recommendation and the analysis is focused on one line, the popular …Bb4 variation, he gives a “short-cut-repertoire” which allows you to play it as a surprise for one game if your time to study is limited. This “short-cut-repertoire” is not unsound, it’s fully playable and can be used as a major weapon as well, but it’s ideal for a quick preparation.

After I went through the analysis given in the individual files one can find in this DVD, I found many interesting new plans and ideas, which will experience a boost in popularity in near future!  You should try to contribute to these interesting variations as long as they are fresh and not yet heavy-weights such as many other systems.

The content, the general structure of this DVD looks like this:

01 Introduction

1.c4 e5 2.g3

02: 2…Nf6 3.Bg2 h6

03: 2…Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.Nf3

04: 2…Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 Bb4

05: 2…Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3

06: 2…Bb4 stuff

07: 2…Bb4 3.Qb3

08: 2…Bb4 3.Qc2

09: 2…Bb4 3.g3 Bxc3 4.dxc3

10: 2…Bb4 3.g3 Bxc3 4.bxc3

11: 2…Bb4 3.Nd5 Be7

12: 2…Bb4 3.Nd5 Bc5

13: 2…Nf6 3.g3 and 3.e3

14: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e3 and 4.e4

15: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.a3

16: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4

17: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4

18: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Nd4

19: 2…Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bc5


As you can see, he covers all relevant variations. Quite often, when you take up a new opening, you study the main lines, especially if you want to play it in one of your next games. In these situations, you very often skip the small sidelines but are surprised, if they occur on the board. Victor Bologan explains very well what you should aim for, what the typical plans of this opening are and which positions you should avoid! This way of learning an opening, memorizing the ideas and plans, not pure variations, will always leave you with a small guideline, a threat (at least) with which you’ll be able to find your way!

Victor Bologan is born in Moldova, but his English skills are very good, making him a good rhetorician! He keeps eye-contact with the audience (camera) which makes the DVD more pleasant to watch! The tempo in which he speaks is also very good, allowing some independent thoughts before he moves on with his analysis.



Altogether a very good work. I’m happy to see, that Mr. Bologan covers the English openings in his DVD’s (his previous one was on the Symmetrical variation) which is still rarely covered somehow. This DVD is both instructive and entertaining, which is important. As Kramnik once said in his record for Chessbase: “If you enjoy what you do, you do it much better” That’s the way it is and that’s the way you will learn with this DVD! You will enjoy Mr. Bologan’s presentation and will add an interesting and ambitious line to your opening repertoire. My recommendation goes to all players, rated 1400 up to 2300+ at least. Everyone should be able to profit from this DVD. I should add that this work is also a good choice for trainers who plan to teach their students something on the English opening.

Rating: ***** (5/6) Recommended!

Lukas Wedrychowski

DailyChess.org lectures & reviews




But I promised two didn’t I? So we turn our attention to the Pirc terrirtory

“Attacking with the Pirc” by GM Dejan Bojkov

The Classical Pirc Defence is part of this DVD by GM Dejan Bojkov (Chessbase). Why Classical? Well, there are some “modern” move-orders and ways to turn into a Pirc Defence. There is some good literature available on this topic (most recently by NewInChess) so you can get additional material to expand your repertoire.

This opening is not the opening for the world champions“, says Bojkov although many world champions tried it in their career, Mikhail Botvinnik in his later years or most recently Vladimir Kramnik, who’s known for his rock-solid style. But even he added this interesting weapon to his arsenal.

There are many other strong Grandmasters (Marin, Gurevich, Ivanchuk etc.) who play the Pirc Defence from time to time or even on a regular basis. This opening gives the second player many possibilities to change the direction of the game slightly, depending on the move order in the opening. Both players can play either more solidly or more ambitiously. White can choose more quiet lines with g3 and Bg2 or more aggressive lines, the famous Austrian Attack (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4) and Black can choose between either the flexible lines around …c6, more forcing continuations starting with ….c5 or sometimes set-ups with …a6 (…b5 in future). The “small center” gives much room for flexibility and is one of the reasons the Pirc is used to “outplay” their opponents (especially weaker players) as it gives “much space for your opponent to go wrong” (Bojkov).

Bojkov is known as a chess coach, providing lectures on some popular sites. That said, I know and appreciate him as both a player and a trainer. His explanations are easy to grasp as he explains the motifs, the ideas behind the moves very well! Although he cannot give a full lecture on positional themes such as the “exchange sacrifice” or the “dark-squared strategy” he at least took his time to show the audience, why these positional ideas are vital for every Pirc player to know! He added a small section in which he explains this plans based upon practical games and annotates them for you, so that everyone will consider these ideas when playing it him/herself over the board.

After covering the real heavy-weight of this opening, the Austrian Attack (from small sidelines up to the very mainlines) he also deals with 4th move deviations or 4th move alternatives for White! He covers the aggressive, and among club players favored “150-Attack” and many others…

His voice is calm, the ideas and motifs clear and easy understandable, the analysis sharp and clear-cut! The way the material is structured is both good for the new player looking to pick the Pirc, so that he keeps an inner structure while playing and trying to remember the many systems this entertaining opening has to offer. After many hours of play the audience will find a small wrap-up in which the most important “Tabias”, positions which occur frequently and in which the real theory just starts!

The material covered here has certain similar ideas to a recent book published on the Pirc. But both works share something the other cannot really cover well – The analysis provided in a book is in general more complex, contains more branches, more verbal explanations as you can write some pages on typical plans. But in a DVD you are able to show it “live” during your coaches’ presentation! This is supported by Arrows, colored squares and typical positions the author can present you!  Dejan Bojkov is a highly respected chess trainer and I recommend his work to everyone looking for an ambitious weapon against 1.e4!


After finishing the last clip I was taught a new opening as much as I was entertained! I just missed Popcorn next to me which would make this whole survey a real Blockbuster! Don’t get me wrong. This Clip might not contain a Hollywood-star climbing houses and gunfire between two rivals but it has certain similarities! Once you choose the Pirc Defence in your games, you’ll sooner or later start a “gunfire” with you opponent and if you succeed in mastering this opening you may not climb skyscrapers, but the rating ladder! Recommended to players from 1500 – 2200+! I enjoyed it and I’m sure the reader/listener will do this as well.

Rating: ***** (5/6) Recommended!

Lukas Wedrychowski

DailyChess.org – lectures & reviews





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