Scandinavian Books

I have recently bought a couple of books on the Scandinavian:

  • Smerdon’s Scandinavian – David Smerdon
  • Understanding the Scandinavian – Sergey Kasparov

These are two very different books with very different approaches. Smerdon’s approach is based on the most aggressive attempts including the Portuguese and Icelandic Gambits. These are pretty hairy but a lot of fun to play through. Here is the beginning of game two to give you a flavour:

By contrast Kasparov recommends lines based on an immediate Qxd5 and then Qd6, Qa5 or Qd8. He spends two chapters on Qd6 which is the more modern treatment and prevents an early Bf5. I like his contention that this is basically an improved and more forcing Caro Kann which was a new idea to me. These kinds of concepts can help you find the right plan when you get out of book.

I guess the one you prefer will depend on your style…with limited time and wanting to pick something up quickly then Kasparov is the natural choice. For the swashbucklers then Smerdon will appeal.

I guess that’s why I chose both 🙂