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MACA Book Review
Play the Queen’s Indian Play the Queen’s Indian
by: Andrew Greet

Price: $24.95
ISBN: 978-1-85744-580-0
Format: Book 256pp.
Publisher: Everyman Chess

Reviewed by: Life Master and FIDE Trainer Lou Mercuri
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

For those not familiar with the author, British International Master Andrew Greet has authored two outstanding opening works on the Accelerated Dragon (Everyman, 2008) and the Ruy Lopez (“Play the Ruy Lopez”, Everyman, 2008) where the depth of his analysis and explanations have been considered exceptional. This third work on the Queen’s Indian explores an opening that most consider solid with few winning chances for black against 1 d4. Greet steers us away from the monotony and the long theoretical lines towards a black repertoire that offers serious winning chances or at least the opportunity to complicate matters. To achieve this, Black must take more risks, but Greet has done his homework and the recommended repertoire incorporates lesser-known games and original analysis where black seems to be doing fine. 

The format presented here is consistent with the “Play the…” theme of these Everyman publications. Sixteen chapters outline the material after 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 and each chapter differentiates a critical white alternative. The chapters use an outline format of variations and alternatives, all of them from the white side as this is a repertoire book for black. Explanations for moves abound and there is an emphasis on recent games to support the variations. I would estimate that players rated between 1400 and 2200 would benefit most from the format and depth of analysis. Greet is also careful to point out transpositions to the Nimzo Indian Defense since the two openings can overlap. For example, the Hybrid System covered in chapter 4 begins 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb4 5 e3 Ne4! where the same position is sometimes reached via the move order 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6 5 Nf3 Ne4 although in the Nimzo move order 5 Bd3 is considered more accurate. Finally, there is a six-page index of variations that closes the loop on how the key positions are arrived at. 

Readers who appreciate insightful observations and lucid justifications for variations will be very satisfied with the material. Those seeking dense coverage and a large database on display of lesser-known continuations will be disappointed. However, on balance, I think Greet’s approach works for the Queen’s Indian; it is a fundamentally sound opening where strategy and piece placement seem to predominate over lengthy tactical exchanges. But make no mistake; Greet is not afraid to analyze variations to move twenty and beyond to support his evaluation of the critical positions. 

When I opened the book, I first sought out Greet’s “solution” to the main line “problem” in the Queen’s Indian. After 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 black has a tough decision to make. Do you play 4…Bb7 (old main line) and permit white to make easy simplifications leading to a forcing of equality and a likely draw, or do you try the more enterprising 4…Ba6 and steer towards the extremely heavily analyzed positions after 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6 8 Bc3 d5 9 Ne5.? Both variations are safe, but certainly black has few winning chances in either. Instead, Greet does propose 4…Ba6 and after 5 b3 proposes the counter 5…b5!?. If nothing else, black nearly forces white to unbalance the pawn structure and later on black will frequently come back with a pawn break by playing c5. The book ends with Greet revealing a surprising, untested move in the critical position after 4…Ba6 5 b3 b5 6 cb5: Bb5 7 Bg2 d5 8 O-O Nbd7 9 Nc3 Ba6 10 Ne5 c6!?. At that point, he considers several white alternatives in this completely unexplored position. There are several pages of original analysis where tests are needed, but Black seems to be fighting for the full share of the point. Good stuff, since the originality is bold indeed and where many authors keep these types of novelties to themselves for use on future opponents. 

To conclude, Andrew Greet has previously published quality work and this latest effort to infuse life into the Queen’s Indian meets this high standard as well. Players of a wide range of abilities would benefit from this timely and carefully thought out opening repertoire. 

For a PDF excerpt from the publisher click here: Extract in PDF

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