Posts Tagged ‘Know the terrain’

I first came across Sam Collins in a book he wrote giving a repertoire for White starting with 1.e4. At first, I wasn’t very impressed. I found the book to be superficial. There wasn’t much explanation of the chosen lines and he was very dismissive of what he called “rubbish” responses from Black.

It’s all very well for the national champion of Ireland (and Japan! — how did he manage that?) to be dismissive of “rubbish” but amateur players like me have learnt to show a great deal of respect for rubbish moves, especially when Fritz plays them.

However, I was very impressed by his commentary on the Slav opening on the Chessbase Openings Tutorial #3 DVD, so I decided to buy this one on the Carlsbad structure.

From his book, I’d imagined a thick-set thug in Doc Martins and denim jacket but it turns out Sam is a very soft-spoken intellectual with refined manners and impeccable presentation.

For those who don’t know, the Carlsbad structure arises from the exchange variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5) and is one of the most important structures in classical chess.

It quite clearly says on the cover of this DVD that it is Vol 1. However, in the DVD itself, Sam refers to it as Vol 2, following on from where he left off in Vol. 1 because there is just so much material to cover. In fact it appears to be 2 volumes combined and is packed with information and analysis on 7 hours of video.

Sam’s analysis is very clear, very enlightening and very thorough. Thanks to his quiet, thoughtful and articulate delivery, this is quite restful to watch at the end of a busy day wrestling with non-chess-related matters and has become one of my most-watched DVDs for this reason alone. He presents full games from the very best players and his comments are very insightful.

I’ll certainly be buying more of these Know The Terrain DVDs.

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