Ragozin Complex, The

A Guide for White and Black

By Vladimir Barsky


Ragozin Complex, The
Ragozin Complex, The
New in Chess (2011)
351 pages
$27.95
Reviewed by John Donaldson
Today, with entire books written on sub variations of popular lines, it seems hard to believe that a popular and well respected defense is receiving full-fledged treatment for the first time in half a century! THE RAGOZIN COMPLEX: A GUIDE FOR WHITE AND BLACK by Vladimir Barsky is the first book on this system since Lipnitsky’s QUESTIONS OF MODERN CHESS THEORY was published in 1956. This classic work was published in an English translation by Quality Chess in 2008 minus the section on the Ragozin, which first introduced Bobby Fischer to this opening. Barsky has translated this missing section, which starts his monograph.

The Ragozin straddles the border between the Nimzo-Indian and the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Barsky covers a wide field.

How to Study a Concrete Opening, by Isaak Lipnitsky… 15
Chapter One… 29
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+
Chapter Two… 123
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qc2
Chapter Three…
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qb3
Chapter Four… 177
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3
Chapter Five… 237
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.a3
Chapter Six… 259
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bg5
Chapter Seven… 279
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5

Fischer, inspired by Lipnitsky, played the Ragozin and related systems roughly a dozen times between 1958 and 1962, with mixed results. One of his most famous games with it, against Pachman at Santiago 1959, has recently been making the rounds. Pachman’s notes to the game can be found in the recent Czech book Bobby Fischer proti českým velmistrům, which roughly translates as Bobby Fischer versus Czech Grandmasters. It’s game number 32 in THE RAGOZIN COMPLEX: A GUIDE FOR WHITE AND BLACK and Lubosh Kavalek takes a fresh look at it in an article on ChessBase. GM Kavalek says that the notes Hans Kmoch published in Chess Review at the time, were in fact based on a conversation with Fischer.

Barsky’s oversize paperback of 350 pages organizes itself around 65 heavily annotated games which cover not only the opening but typical middle and endgames associated with the Ragozin. Presently this system is seen predominantly at the professional level but this book should make this aggressive defense popular with those in the amateur ranks.

Highly Recommended.