Belgrade Gambit - $39.95

Author Bruce Monson, a National Master, has ridden the Belgrade Gambit to an impressive +28 -1 =2 tournament record (+7 =1 against opponents rated between 2150-2500) and is eager for more.

What do grandmasters think of the Belgrade Gambit?

"...Not everyone wishes to sacrifice a pawn (or even two) so early in the opening to obtain the initiative. For that reason the [Belgrade] Gambit hasn 't become very popular. All the same this gambit leads to quite exciting and lively play.. I think, those who favor stormy complications should include the gambit in their repertoire."

- F.I.D.E. World Champion Anatoly Karpov, The Open Game In Action, 1988

".../ believe that White's position has great potential and I intend to prove that, in all variations, Black must contend with the worse position"

- Grand Master Lev Gutman, d4 in The Four Knights, 1993

"...for years the Belgrade Gambit has been considered unsatisfactory for White but now I am of the opinion that White has the better chances and Black has no easy defense."

- Grand Master Lev Gutman, d4 in The Four Knights, 1993

In addition, there are still a number of top-flight players who play the Belgrade Gambit today, e.g. IM Igor Polovodin, GM J. Hector, GM Juan Bellon Lopez, CMC's Dr. Karl-Heinz Kraft and Joop van Oosterom and even the up-and-coming GM and winner of the last two Russian Championships, Peter Svidler.

In this book, Monson opens his secret files on this super-sharp attacking gambit and gives you access to reams of original and revolutionary analysis.

From the prologue

When I first set out to write this book (nearly 4 years ago) my primary goal was to complete the most definitive book ever written on the Belgrade Gambit. I had already collected nearly every major theoretical contribution which had been published on the gambit, but I was shocked to discover that, in spite of the incredible mass of books on our beloved game, there had never been a full-blown book on the Belgrade Gambit! While a number of books on the Four Knights or Scotch have afforded some space to it, none have focused on it directly.

This fact changed my perspective considerably. I felt a certain responsibility to produce the very best work possible regardless of how long it took - No exceptions! In this respect I have gone to great lengths to find the truth in all its aspects, including some intriguing information about the gambits origins which have been unjustly overlooked over the years.

Like many chess players, I am guilty of what I call "Displayed Osmosis." Simply put, this is the practice of buying a chess book (with true gainful intent, of course!), reading through a chapter or two until boredom inevitably sets in, then finding a nice visible spot on the shelf (with all the other good intents!) where family & friends might look in awe at the collection and suggest "you must certainly be ready for that Fischer guy!" Sound familiar?

Writing this book I came to realize something about chess books - by and large most of them are simply boring! This led me to wonder what it is that makes a chess book interesting and I came up with three key elements:

1) They should use complete games from start to finish. Not only is this more instructive (as the formations of plans and attacks are seen from beginning to end not just at the critical moment), but it is infinitely more interesting for the reader since games actually read like a story where there is a beginning, a middle and an end.

2) The text should be laid out in a pleasing, easy to follow, format. Looking back through my chess library I came to realize that I have many books which are actually quite informative, but the layout is so bad it muddles the brain after just a few minutes of reading.

3) The text, in itself, should be interesting! While I think it goes without saying that books packed with reams of variations alone top the boredom meter, I have also noticed that accompanying text within many books is also boring. They often read like college text books, forcing your nose to the grindstone and force-feeding you deep explanations. I feel that this method does have its place, but too much is counter-productive. I have always found originality, humor, even sarcasm, interesting and entertaining. For instance, Yasser Seirawan, who is one of the best at this method, might make the comparison between an outside passed pawn and a "Wide Receiver" in a football game; or a Queen making a "...billiard like bank-shot to the queens side" by playing Qh5-d1-a4, etc. Such light-hearted comments tend to soften the mood and often add visual clarity to ideas.

In this book I have tried to combine all of these elements to create an, above all, enjoyable work which can be picked up by a class player or a grandmaster and still be enjoyed with respective enthusiasm. This may seem like a bold statement, but I truly believe this book spans the gap quite effectively.

In a sense this is actually three books in one. In its purest form it must still be considered a serious openings book; and one which will literally rewrite the majority of known theory on the Belgrade Gambit as it stands today. Further, it is a splendid collection of complete games which range from wild tactical miniatures to thought-provoking positional master-pieces, all along allowing the reader to just follow the down-to-earth text or peer into a theoretical microscope. Finally, it is an historical and biographical reference which takes the reader on a journey back in time to the birth of this amazing gambit. We meet the people behind its early development and also its true father.

So, dear reader, without further ado I would like to introduce you to the amazing Belgrade Gambit!

Bruce Monson, Colorado Springs, 1996