True Lies in Chess

After the intense work with Baku Grand Prix coverage, I decided to reward myself with a good chess book and ordered Glenn Flear’s “Practical Endgame Play – Beyond the Basics”. It should be fun to go over 544 pages of endings with two pieces and pawns for each side. At the same time, I always look for the candidate books that I could buy on next turn after those endings saturate me.

One title, “True Lies in Chess” by GM Lluís Comas Fabregó, immediately caught my attention. At first,, I thought this is another book about Fischer, Kasparov, Soviets, KGB or some other controversial subject that people use when they want to earn quick buck. So I wanted to see what is this all about and the first stop wasa  website of Quality Chess, who published this work.

True Lies in Chess

The official book description says: “Very few chess books are able to make an original contribution about the strategic side of chess, but that is the aim of this remarkable book. The dogmas of chess, which have been established for more than a century, are rarely questioned despite the clear evolution in the style of top class chess. Chess grandmaster Lluís Comas Fabregó takes on the challenging task of separating the truth from the lies in traditional advice on how to play better chess. By taking an irreverent look at the supposed absolute truths of chess, Comas Fabregó judges the validity of established rules and strategic concepts. Accompanied by many practical examples and good advice, readers learn how to reduce the complexity of chess towards the essential features of each position, and so improve their play.”

Good, it’s not about the Soviet cheaters! Quality Chess also quote Steve Giddins: “A thought-provoking book…first impressions are of a highly interesting and non-standard effort”, and James Vigus with: “True Lies is a delight to read… a treasure-trove of highlights.”

Glenn Petersen’s review at intrigued me even more: “The ‘True Lies’, of course, refers to published (and faulty) analysis, and judging by the bibliography, these lies can be found in many of our classics: Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Secrets of Practical Chess, My System, The Praxis of My System, Lasker’s Manual of Chess, Modern Chess Strategy, The Art of Sacrifice, etc. And everyone lies: Botvinnik, Smyslov, Nimzovitch, Geller, Polugaevsky, Shereshevsky, to name but a few.”

If anyone has read this book, please drop in a comment. I am thinking whether buying this one or “The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess” by GM John Emms (I really like his style). The excerpt provided by Quality Chess shows that Comas gives plenty of good analysis. Here is a part of what he wrote about diagrammed position:

I’m going to sum up the typical plans for both sides from the main diagram after White’s 13th move.


– The f2-f4 break to activate both the rooks and the bishops (remember that when in possession of the bishop pair one has to open up the position—always with caution, though) and begin an attack on Black’s king.

– The transfer of the white knight to the outpost on f5 followed by:

A piece attack on the kingside via Re1-e3-g3.

A pawn storm on that flank, going after the contact point on g5 with f2-f3, g2-g4 and Re1-e2-g2.

– The sacrifice c4-c5 to activate the bishop on c4 and disrupt Black’s pawn structure.

– A pawn storm with the pieces posted behind the pawns; for instance g2-g3, Nh4 (e1)-g2 and f2-f4.

– In the event of Black playing …c7-c5, the possibility of taking dxe5(c5) and playing for the central d5-square.


– To put pressure on White’s centre with the aim of provoking the positional concession d4- d5, if possible without having to resort to the move …c7-c5.

– To take prophylactic measures against White’s aforementioned plans, of which the move Nf3-h4 is the common element.

– The innovative plan of going for the central break …c6, …d6-d5 while White is preparing his attack on the kingside: the only place where the latter actually has any prospects. (Comas said c6 is the best move from diagrammed position.)

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