This week, I received Eric Jego's book "Gambit Hubsch - Antidote ou Leurre ?".
Eric's book is in French - "leurre" can be translate in English as "bait", or "decoy". And that word illustrates the concept of the book very well. Eric tries to explain the applicable ideas in the various Hubsch lines. I like his work, especially for following reasons :
1. As always with Eric's books, the layout is great and facilitates the reading. It is obvious Eric has spent lots of time on it. Just look at the art work on the front page and you will know what I talking about !
2. Eric focuses on games between titled players. I focus more on (computer) opening analysis, but it is great to see how strong players react on white's enterprising play. Guess this gives confidence to the reader that strong player make errors too. In my books and blog, I am looking into it differently, but Eric's work is equally valuable.
3. I like the comments section at the end of each variation. It summarises the ideas quite well ( an area I have not focused on in my book on the Blackmar Diemer ).
4. In comparison with his previous book, Eric has focused less on the application of the "elementary principles". Eric does a remarkable job of applying them in the right dosing throughout the text.
5. "Gambit Hubsch - Antidote ou Leurre ?" does not focus on single variations but provides a wide look into all variations. This broadens the scope of the book, and reader.
Some (minor) concerns I have :
1. The physical size and used font seem to small as I had problems reading it in bed. Now reading chess books in bed might not be recommended, but it happens. So I would recommend increasing the book and associated font size a bit - which will make life easier.
2. Whilst Eric does a remarkable job in describing possible variations, the lines he analyses are not analysed very deeply. As an example, I have played the Hubsch twice against IM masters, both played exactly the same line 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.c3 e5 7.d5 (diagram). Now one IM played 7...Ne7, the second played 7...Nb8. I never saw the pawn back and was simply crushed. It can be coincidence that they played the same line, but from the smalltalk after the game, it seems they both knew about the Hubsch and this was their prepared reply. So thorough analysis and opening analysis seems necessary when playing sharp lines. Eric's book seems not targeted towards this deep analysis.
So I really recommend this book to anyone studying the Blackmar Diemer - reading this book will keep you posted on that annoying Hubsch gambit. But is it now a refutation, or is it a trap ? It's up to you to find out !