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6 hours of a Complete Repetoire for Black the Modern Defence

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  Foxy Openings: Modern Defence

Repetoire for Black by Andrew Martin

 Parts 1-3    Running Time Total  7Hrs

Review by Lance Martin

Prior to getting on with our review we need to note that The Modern is referred to as The Robatsch in Modern Chess Openings. This is to acknowledge the contribution of the Austrian Grand Master Karl Robatsch who was probably the first to play this series of moves seriously. To paraphrase Nigel Davies The Modern is a universal system that can be played against any white opening. It begins with a fianchetto of the King’s bishop as 1…g6 2…Bg7. It differs from the related Pirc which is played as 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6. So we see that there are set moves to the Pirc whereas Black can play the Modern against almost anything white throws at it. We need to be aware that black can transpose to a Pirc by playing …Nf6. Actually, the Modern can transpose into a number of openings but is associated with the Pirc because many of the plans and attempts to defeat it have similar moves and have been given a similar nomenclature. The Modern was popularized by two English players; Colin McNab and David Norwood more than likely due to a book on the Modern by two Englishmen, Raymond Keene, and George Botterill. The former had played more than 50 rated games in this system while the latter barely a dozen. In the interim another three books and literally thousands of games have been played in this opening which has been given the recognition of its own Chess Informant code of B06.Its related opening has the Informant code of A42.  In the interim I must not forget the last public outing of the Modern in Tiger Hilarp Persson’s treatise called Tiger’s Modern where the author has literally played a couple of hundred games as black in the Modern.  The series of DVDs by Andrew Martin picks up on these initial outings and tries to give some semblance of order to a

system which almost defies it. I will try to present some of Martin’s ideas as I review these DVDs.   

It is safe to say that Austria was defeated twice. The first time came in the Ausrto-Prussian War fought in the 19th century. While the second defeat was attempted by Andrew Martin as he attempted to stop the Austian attack in the Modern Defence.

The Austrian attack in the Modern Defence is characterized by the following moves: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 and is described by Hillarp Persson as ‘the most brutal’ way to face this opening. Martin follows in the footsteps of Hillarp Persson in believing that he should tackle the most critical line first.


The attack really begins with the move 4.f4 and Andrew Martin provides us with a myriad of ways to break this attack which can either instigate a King side attack or cramp the pawn center. Here is an example of the early days of Black meeting the attack:

The following is the reason that 5…Nc6 cannot be recommended for Black. Martin points out that according to Nigel Davies the move Bb5 is the reason that Nc6 cannot be played against the f4 attack:

The move …a6 which was originated by Kotov and recommended by Hillarp Persson is also not on the list of viable possibilities for Martin:


The line that Martin does recommend in this system is the “little known and little used” e6:


His immediate recommendation for Black against the pseudo Austrian is 4…e6 followed by strategical attacks in the middle of the board. This is followed by threats and attacks on the Queen side and followed up with a smashing finish on the King side that cannot be avoided or won by the White pieces who instigated this attack.  As seen, Martin provided us with a short history of the moves that have been tried and used over thousands of games in the Modern defence against the pseudo Austrian. 


To continue our history lesson it seems that the move 4…e6 had its beginnings in the games of Davies and Krasenkow. According to Davies it started when he was playing his normal Modern as Black. For a very long time Davies would meet the Austrian with 4…Nc6 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nf3 0-0 7…e6 8…Ne7 9…b6 10…Bb7. White’s dark square bishop is restrained as Black pressurized White’s dark bishop and was ready to counter-attack white’s

move.  Black sets up with a kind of hippopotomus attack as it waits for white’s moves and reacts accordingly. Martin begins by illustrating games by lower level players before he moves on to a couple of games by players in the 2400 range. This part of his lecture does not include any of the games of the well known or great players of the Modern defence. Back in 1983 Davies had played 4…c5 followed by 5…Nf6 to undermine the center. These moves were played back in 1983 and still played today by such GMs as Azmaiparashvili. Tiger Hillarp Persson believes in 4…a6 as the correct path. Therefore, you have an enormous range of moves from which to choose depending on the book or DVD that you follow. As pointed out by all three of these instructors you have to undermine white’s center whenever you can. There are just several opinions on which is the best way to accomplish this.

     If Martin had to choose a model game then he would probably look to the encounter between Ris and Adly that was played in 2005. Here is the game after move 12 when the first signs of black dominance are beginning to show as black begins to take control of the light squares.


White has the initiative and finally by move 34 the white attack is over and Rybka has Black ahead in a game that was called ‘cold blooded’ by Martin:




Black takes over the reins and the final position after move 43…Qf4+ and there is nothing to do but for white to resign the position and the game. Adly took every offensive move by white and countered them and finally crushed his opponent who did not appear as resilient as Adly. This is but one example of Martin’s philosophy of undermining the center that is working out very well indeed.



Here is another game in which there is an excellently timed counter-attack. If Black moves rapidly and knows when to attack the center than the result is the following game after move 19:





We know the right strategy and our tactics are good but Martin has still not flushed out a mainline for the Austrian Attack. He can only refer to it as the e6 system and we are just told to study the games presented. There is no overall summary of this ‘system’ as I would have expected just moves that are reactive to white’s advances.

    In game 8 we begin with the system where white plays an early Be3. The original idea of this move was to prepare an attack similar to what white plays against the Sicilian Dragon.  A game like this was played by Robatsch in 1956 and saw an encounter between Timman and Smyslov in 1972. It did not become popular until the mid 1980’s. White is going to prepare to exchange Black’s dark square Bishop with Qd2 and an eventual Bh6. White will then follow Fischer’s idea of h2-h4-h5 and eventually mate the castled  

King. For this Martin recommends the move 4…Nc6. This counter to Be3 was also played by Robatsch in 1953 against Geller and also in the Smyslov-Timman games in 1972. It is a valid system against white’s Be3 and should be studied seriously with special attention to game 14 which features George Botterill as white.



This may officially be a Pirc but it is being played by one of the ground breakers in the Modern Defence with the White pieces with Albin Planinec as Black. Planinec follows the method taught on this video and here is the game only at move 18 with Rybka seeing the win for Black with a score of -2.30.   



Vol.108 Part 1 Modern Defence 130 Minutes

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The Modern Defence is a tough system based on counterattack. In this new three-volume Foxy Openings series IM Andrew Martin maps out a repertoire for Black for use by players of any level. The Modern creates difficult positions which are ideal if you want to play to win with Black.
Volume One covers black responses to the Austrian Attack and 4 Be3. These are the most aggressive options available to White.
All 3 Dvds
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Foxy Openings Vol. 108 Modern Defence Part 1 of 3 By Andrew Martin

Games collected by Lance Martin

Prior to my writing a review for Foxy Videos I am going to provide you with the collection of games contained on that video. This is for your assistance in watching the video without having to rewind and replay every few seconds. It is only provided as an assist for your learning the concepts provided on each vid

Game 1

 Van Wiele,Kurt (1894) - De Reymaeker,Walter (2200) [B06]

BEL-ch op Namur (2), 05.07.2009

 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.f4 d6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 b5 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.0–0 Bb7 10.Bd3 Nf6 11.e5 Ng4 12.Nd1 0–0 13.c3 Rc8 14.h3 Nxe3 15.Nxe3 c5 16.g4 dxe5 17.fxe5 Bxf3 18.Rxf3 cxd4 19.cxd4 Qxd4 20.Qe2 Bxe5 21.Raf1 Qxb2 22.Bc2 Bd4 23.R1f2 Bxe3 24.Rxe3 Qc1+ 25.Kg2 Rxc2 0–1

           Game 2

  Buchkremer,Felix (2040) - Kniest,Oliver (2213) [B06]

Leverkusen-ch Leverkusen (3), 09.02.2009

 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 Nd7 7.a4 a6 8.Qd2 b6 9.Be2 Bb7 10.0–0 Nf6 11.Qd3 c5 12.Rad1 c4 13.Qxc4 Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Ng5 Bd5 16.Qd3 h6 17.Nf3 0–0 18.c4 Bc6 19.b3 Rb8 20.Ra1 Qc7 21.Ra2 Qb7 22.Ne1 Rfd8 23.Bf3 d5 24.Nc2 dxc4 25.bxc4 Bxf3 26.Rxf3 Nf5 27.Bf2 Qd7 28.Rb2 Qxa4 29.Rb4 Qd7 30.d5 exd5 31.Rxb6 Rxb6 32.Bxb6 dxc4 33.Qxc4 Rc8 34.Qe4 Qc6 0–1             Game 3

 Bryson,Douglas M (2345) - Krasenkow,Michal (2555) [B06]

Hastings Challengers 9394 Hastings, 1993



 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 b6 7.Qd2 Bb7 8.0–0–0 Nd7 9.Bd3 Nf6 10.h3 0–0 11.Rhe1 c5 12.Bf2 c4 13.Bf1 b5 14.e5 Nh5 15.Nxb5 Bxf3 16.gxf3 d5 17.Nd6 Bh6 18.Be3 Qb6 19.h4 Nf5 20.Nxf5 exf5 21.Re2 Rfb8 22.Qc3 Bf8 23.a3 Rb7 24.Kb1 Qa6 25.Rg2 Bxa3 26.b3 Rab8 27.Qa1 Qa4 28.Qa2 cxb3 29.cxb3 Rxb3+ 30.Ka1 Rxe3 31.Rc2 Bb2+ 32.Kb1 Ra3 0–1

     Game 4

  Ris,Robert (2337) - Adly,Ahmed (2480) [B06]

Groningen Harmonie Groningen (8), 29.12.2005

 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 a6 7.Bd3 b5 8.Qe2 Nd7 9.e5 Bb7 10.0–0 Nb6 11.Rae1 Nbd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bd2 Ne7 14.Qf2 Qb8 15.c3 Bd5 16.b3 Qb7 17.Ng5 Qc6 18.h3 h5 19.Rc1 Qd7 20.c4 bxc4 21.bxc4 Bc6 22.d5 exd5 23.e6 fxe6 24.Rce1 dxc4 25.Bxc4 Bd5 26.Bxd5 exd5 27.Ne6 Bf6 28.Qg3 Kf7 29.f5 Nxf5 30.Ng5+ Kg7 31.Qd3 Rhe8 32.Qxd5 Bxg5 33.Bxg5 Rxe1 34.Rxe1 Re8 35.Rf1 Qb5 36.Qd2 Qc5+ 37.Kh2 Re4 38.Rc1 Qe5+ 39.Kg1 c5 40.Qa5 Qg3 41.Qc7+ Re7 42.Bxe7 Qe3+ 43.Kh2 Qf4+ 0–1 

Game 5

 Dal Borgo,Albin (2164) - Sulava,Nenad (2479) [B06]

Metz op 26th Metz (2), 20.04.2008



 1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 a6 6.Bd3 b5 7.Be3 Nc6 8.0–0 Nge7 9.a4 b4 10.Ne2 0–0 11.c4 bxc3 12.bxc3 a5 13.Qe1 Ba6 14.Bxa6 Rxa6 15.Qh4 Qd7 16.g4 f5 17.gxf5 exf5 18.e5 d5 19.Bc1 Nd8 20.Ba3 Re8 21.Rfb1 Nc8 22.Bc5 Bf8 23.Bxf8 Rxf8 24.Rb5 Nb6 25.Ng5 Qg7 26.Nc1 h6 27.Nf3 Ne6 28.Nd3 g5 29.fxg5 hxg5 30.Qh5 Nc4 31.Kh1 g4 32.Rg1 Ne3 33.Qh4 f4 34.Nf2 g3 35.hxg3 Nf5 36.Qg4 fxg3 37.Qxg7+ Kxg7 38.Nd3 Rc6 39.Rc1 Ne3 40.Nde1 Nxd4 0–1

Game 6

 Luther,Thomas (2538) - Hickl,Joerg (2602) [B06]

Bundesliga 0203 Germany (9.1), 12.01.2003



 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Bd3 0–0 7.Be3 Nd7 8.Qd2 a6 9.0–0–0 b5 10.h4 c5 11.h5 c4 12.Be2 Nf6 13.e5 Nfd5 14.Ne4 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 Nf5 16.Qf2 Bb7 17.Nfd2 Qb6 18.c3 Bxe4 19.Nxe4 b4 20.g4 bxc3 21.Nxc3 Rab8 22.Rd2 dxe5 23.gxf5 exd4 24.Nd1 c3 25.Rc2 exf5 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Bd3 Rfc8 28.Kb1 a5 29.Qf3 a4 30.Re1 Qd6 31.Nf2 Bh6 32.Re5 Rxb2+ 33.Rxb2 cxb2 34.Bc2 Qc7 35.Qe2 Bxf4 36.Re8+ Rxe8 37.Qxe8+ Kg7 38.Nd3 a3 39.Qa4 Qc3 40.Nxf4 Qe1+ 41.Bd1 Qe4+ 0–1


   Game 7

Stefanova,Antoaneta (2481) - Malakhatko,Vadim (2590) [B06]

Kaupthing op-A 1st Differdange (5), 10.07.2007

 1.d4 d6 2.e4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Ne7 6.Be3 Nd7 7.Qd2 a6 8.Bd3 b5 9.0–0 Nb6 10.Qe1 0–0 11.a4 b4 12.Ne2 a5 13.Ng3 f5 14.c3 bxc3 15.bxc3 fxe4 16.Bxe4 Rb8 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nf3 Ba6 19.Rf2 Nf5 20.Bc1 Qd7 21.Bc2 Nd5 22.Ne4 Rf7 23.Bd2 Bc4 24.Qc1 Rbf8 25.g4 Nfe7 26.Nh4 e5 27.f5 gxf5 28.gxf5 Nxf5 29.Ng6 exd4 30.Nxf8 Rxf8 31.Ng3 Nxg3 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.hxg3 Qg4 34.Qe1 dxc3 35.Qf2+ Kg8 36.Bf5 Qd4 37.Be6+ Kh8 38.Be1 Nb4 39.Bf5 Nd3 40.Bxd3 Qxd3 41.Qf4 Kh7 42.Rc1 Be5 43.Qh4 Qe3+ 44.Kh2 Qxc1 45.Qxc4 Qxe1 46.Qf7+ Bg7 47.Qf5+ Kg8 48.Qc8+ Bf8 0–1




                                                    Game 8

 Goetz,Ralph (2315) - Schneider,Bernd (2460) [B06]

Bundesliga 8990 Germany, 1990



 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Be2 Nf6 7.h3 Bxf3 8.Bxf3 e5 9.Ne2 0–0 10.c3 d5 11.Bg5 dxe4 12.Bxe4 exd4 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Qxd4 Qxd4 15.Nxd4 Rfe8+ 16.Kf1 Rab8 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nb3 a5 19.Rb1 a4 20.Nc5 Rb5 21.Nxa4 Ra8 22.c4 Rb4 23.Nc5 Rxb2 24.Rxb2 Bxb2 25.Ke2 Bd4 26.Nd3 Rxa2+ 27.Kf3 Rd2 28.Ke4 c5 29.Nf4 f5+ 30.Kd5 Be3+ 31.Ke5 Bxf2 32.Kf6 Bh4+ 33.Ke5 Kf7 0–1


Game 9

 Duriga,Stefan (2295) - Hoi,Carsten (2460) [B07]

Politiken Cup 11th Copenhagen (9), 1989

 1.d4 d6 2.e4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nc6 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.f3 e5 7.d5 Nd4 8.Nd1 c6 9.c3 Nb5 10.Bxb5 cxb5 11.Ne2 0–0 12.Nf2 Ne8 13.0–0–0 f5 14.g3 Nf6 15.Rhf1 Qc7 16.Kb1 fxe4 17.fxe4 Ng4 18.h3 Nxf2 19.Rxf2 Rxf2 20.Bxf2 Bxh3 21.Ng1 Bg4 22.Rc1 a6 23.b3 Rc8 24.c4 bxc4 25.Rxc4 Qd7 26.Rxc8+ Qxc8 27.Be3 h5 28.Kb2 Bf6 29.a4 Be7 30.Qf2 Qf8 31.Qg2 Kg7 32.Kc2 Bd8 33.Kb2 Ba5 34.Bd2 Bb6 35.Nh3 Bd4+ 36.Ka3 Qc8 0–1

Game 10

 Donko,Matyas - Brandics,Jozsef (2335) [B07]

Kecskemet5 Kecskemet, 1992

1.g4 e5 12.Nge2  1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.f3 a6 7.0–0–0 b5 8.Bh6 0–0 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.h4 h5 1hxg4 13.h5 gxf3 14.hxg6 Rh8 15.Rxh8 Qxh8 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Ng3 fxg6 18.Qf2 0–1


Review by Lance Martin

     I have to recommend that you also study the games of the great chess players of all time when we are studying an opening that requires less theory and more of an understanding of the strategical motifs behind the moves. We should study the games of someone like Alexei Shirov who has played 29 games in the B06 variation of The Modern and won 17 of them with 6 draws. I should mention that several of these games are annotated by him in his wonderful book  ‘Fire On Board’. I feel it necessary to also bring to light the work of Colin Mcnab, Nigel Davies(who has over  a hundred games in this system), and Azmaiparashvili who also has about a hundred games in the B06 Modern as Black.

     I would just like to summarize volume 1 by saying that it is an excellent introduction to the Modern as long as you realize that there is much to study and you have to take this system as seriously as does Andrew Martin.

                            Part 2 of the Modern Defence by Andrew Martin

    While the first DVD looked at the Austrian Attack and Be3 the second DVD will concentrate on other systems. White may play Bg5 early in conjunction with an f4 or perhaps without it. According to Nigel Davies in his book on The Modern Defence this is known as ‘The Byrne System’ and is one of the most dangerous that white can employ. While Davies recommends 4…Nc6,  Martin recommends that black play 4… c6 to fight against this system. He thinks that this system was unjustly ignored for the more fashionable a6. Actually, this is not true as the recommended move is played twice as often as the move 4…a6 or any other fourth move by Black. But on a more theoretical level this is the move recommended by Tiger Hilsarp Persson in his book on the Modern.  Again, as in the first DVD he chooses games which reinforce his theory with the White side making mistakes that Black is only too willing to take advantage of.  We can be sure that in almost every game the Black side outplays and outthinks white to score the win. This is an unfair test of the systems which Martin has chosen against white play. You need to study the reasons behind the moves and not rely on your opponent’s mistakes as is the case with many of the games on these DVDs. The fact is that there are many games by players of equal strength that show the superiority of Black’s moves. I believe that Martin has done this to more easily point out the reasons for Black victories and explain the strategical mistakes that permit Black the win.  Here is the first game between Horvath and Petrosian after 16 moves with Petrosian up by -2.31 according to Rybka:


This should show the veracity of Martin’s theory of fighting White 5.Bg5 with 5…c6. However, with Black rated over 100 elo points higher than white it is no wonder that there is a Black victory. It may show the attacking potential of 4…c6, and it may not, as the largest data base in the world shows a 60% white victory for that move.  I should point out that both players have played the Modern Defence many times previously and are not novices to the system. Martin allows for three lectures using the Byrne system although two of them are not in the Modern but in the transposed Pirc. Martin summarizes the Bg5 system by saying that while it is aggressive it does leave the squares d4 and b2  “a little loose”. So we have the Black move c6 where we are preparing to bring our Queen out to b6. To dissuade white from castling on the Queen side Black should play b5. In other words Black can counter any moves white makes and have no worries in this system.

     One of the advantages of the Modern is the flexibility of the pawn structures that can be played with success. One such set up is known as the Hippopotomus. It was rarely played in the early part of the last century. However, with much thanks to former world champion Boris Spassky it has become a ‘regular’ opening with its own chess Informant code. Spassky even played the Hippo twice in his world championship match against Petrosian and they both ended in a draw. During the last decade the Hippo has been played with some regularity by Grand Masters such as Short, Krasenkow and Hillarp Persson among others. The main idea behind the Hippo is for black to fianchetto both of his bishops. He puts his knights on f7 and e7 while pushing the middle pawns to d6 and e6. Does this sound like it might be a familiar site for the Modern?  This is being used by Martin against white’s playing the classical modern where white plays Nf3.

While this might look peaceful, as pointed out by Tiger Hillarp Persson the Hippo is a ferocious animal ready to attack any piece that comes too close. While Martin uses the Hippo exclusively against the classical Modern I should point out that other players use it in other systems of the Modern Defence as well as in other defensive systems.  Martin notes that the Hippo does require a good deal of patience while the black side must believe that it will crush everything that comes near. If there is any fault that I can find with Martin’s lectures it is the lack of a plan for playing against certain advances by the white side. Instead we are left to figure it out for ourselves based on the moves in the four games devoted to the Hippo against the classical.

     I would be derelict if I didn’t point out the marvelous game 4 of the Hippo between Boris Spassky and Alexei Shirov. This game ends in a draw but it give you a wonderful chance to study a game between two of the greatest players of this and the last century in this system which should now be taken very seriously. 

There is a great discussion of the system initiated by Anatoly Karpov against g3 in the Pirc.

He initiated this system as white and his record is 1 win and 3 losses. He has never played it as black. However, to Martin’s credit this is not recommended as he recommends Nc6 against g3

Here is Martin’s recommendation following Colin Mcnab. Even though after the position shown there are not that many games in the data base that continues this move order.

Mcnab does an excellent job in meeting the moves by white and presents an excellent win.

     Martin then goes over the quiet Geller system with 4.c3

An early 4.c3 Nc6 is once again the recommended response. This is the answer to Geller’s quiet system and it should prove well. Geller’s quiet plan with c3 Be2 should present no problems.

   The following system is referred to a ‘toothless’ yet shows over 1000 games on the largest data base in the world: 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bd3 0–0 6.0–0 Nc6


This was first played by the famous chess composer Kasparian in 1946 and currently played by such as Kramnik, Kortschnoi, Beliavsky, Karpov, Rublevsky, and Gelfand. Martin recommends Suttles’ approach with 5…e5. I have to admit that of all the games from which Martin could have chosen the one on the DVD with a player rated 2565 as Black against one rated 2255 as white would not have been my first choice.

     In any event, I found the second DVD to be a good follow up to the first with almost all of the systems covered well on the DVD. I was now looking forward to the Averbakh to be presented on DVD part 3.

    The Averbakh is named after Yuri Averbakh who is the oldest living Grand Master at the age of 88. It is also known as the Wade system after Robert Graham Wade the chess player from New Zealand. It is usually not discussed along with the other systems of the Modern as it has its own Chess Informant code of A42 and is closer to a King’s Indian structure. Here is the beginning of the Averbakh where white is inviting Black to play the King’s Indian Defence.

Part 2 on this 6 hour repetoire for Black, White systems coming from the 1 e4 move-order including - The Classical defence, Which Andrew Martin Recommends the Hippo setup, g3,and an early c3 3 pawn attack

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Purchase 109 and 110 Both for $29.95


Purchase $19.95

Purchase 109 and 110 $29.95

Volume Three covers Queen's Pawn systems, including the Averbakh system: 1 d4 g6 2 c4 Bg7 3 e4 d6 4 Nc3 and shows ways for Black to play against the London system and Torre Attack.