Weird and wacky or safe and sound? The Sokolsky Opening is both. Sometimes the play is truly deviant – both sides’ initial few moves all on the a-b-c files and the first pieces exchanged a pair of rooks – at other times 1.b4 becomes merely a roundabout route to a respectable English, Reti, King’s Indian or reversed French position. This book, packed with fresh analysis and 95 illustrative games, clearly shows that White can look forward to a rewarding albeit complex or unusual struggle. There’s no need to dwell on the usual platitudes applied interchangeably to unorthodox openings, like “a good psychological choice to get your opponent into unfamiliar territory.”
The Sokolsky, otherwise known as the Orangutan or the Polish Attack, is an independent opening whose merits are due to chess analysis not psychoanalysis. 1.b4 is sound, the refutations don’t work, assessments are disputed, printed theory till now has been inadequate, White’s aims are clear, and the practitioners have been world class. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit your opponents with the b-pawn!
"Konikowski and Soszynski have put together a thorough survey of an interesting and offbeat opening. The Sokolsky might not be for everyone; you have to be content with achieving equality out of the opening, and winning on the basis of your superior understanding of middlegame plans and positions arising from 1. b4. That said, anyone who plays it is sure to get some exciting games, and -- especially at the club level -- should get good results against opponents who underestimate or simply don't understand the ideas behind the opening.
Jerzy Konikowski is one of the most prolific chess authors in the world, with dozens of publications n several languages to his credit. He holds the FIDE Master title as well as titles in correspondence chess and chess composition.
Marek Soszynski is a Master of Philosophy and co-author of the best-selling and widely acclaimed How to Think in Chess.
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