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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Play the Sicilian Kan: A Dynamic and Flexible Repertoire for Black - Johan Hellsten Yes, we Kan!

The book arrived today, and the first thing I did was to check what you were supposed to do if White played the standard recipe that everyone uses these days against the Sicilian: Nc3, Be3, Qd2, castle queenside, and try and mate Black quickly.

Well, it turns out that this isn't a good idea against the Kan, and Hellsten tells you why not. Armed with my new knowledge, I went to ICC and played the following opening as Black against a 2280 player:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nd4 a6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. Be3? Bb4! 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. f3 d5 9. ed Nd5 10. Nde2 Ne3 11. Qe3 OO

Black is already better, and I won comfortably in about 50 moves. An auspicious start.

Well, I dunno. I've been playing the Kan a fair amount in ICC 3-minute games over the last three months, but the problem is that White is just more active. If he plays the main line (5. Nc3 and 6. Bd3), he gets a kingside attack without much trouble. Of course, Black has counterplay, but it's easier to be White.

I find I'm playing the Caro-Kann a lot more... not as interesting, I guess, but it seems to score better. Though I'll try the Kan from time to time. Maybe I just need to keep practicing.