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My first chess book - GM K. Priyadharshan

by Priyadharshan Kanappan - 25/12/2019

When you see an article entitled, my first chess book, you almost always assume, it is the first chess book that the author has read. However, in this case, we have a person who is talking about not the first book he has read, but the first one he has written! GM K. Priyadharshan is India's 44th GM and recently he wrote his first chess book. It is for the Thinkers Publishing. The book will be available soon in the ChessBase India shop. However, we wanted to know more about what the book contains. After all not many Indian players have gone on to write books for well known publishers. In this article, the author K. Priyadharshan speaks about his motivation of writing the book, what it contains and what a buyer can expect from it. 

The modernized Berlin Wall Defense

by K. Priyadharshan

Priyadharshan has won several tournaments, reached the GM title, trained many strong players, but one of his biggest achievements that stands out is holding world no.2 Fabiano Caruana to a draw in a 71-move intense battle at the Millionaire Open in Las Vegas 2015.

As I sat down to write this article for ChessBase India, I faced similar dilemma that I encountered, when I started working on my book “The Modernized Berlin Wall Defense” and that dilemma was where to start; so I decided to call the help of the famous Canadian humorist Mr. Stephan Leacock to help me with his quote “Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself -- it is the occurring which is difficult.”


The occurring part for my Berlin book took me close to a year, as my thoughts came out in bits and pieces, and those late-night epiphany moments on variations that you couldn’t figure out what to do, took a lot of time, but as a first-time writer, the time I took gave me enough space to polish my words and to draft them multiple times not just for the accuracy of the chess moves, but also to make the writing easier for the reader to enjoy as he goes through the learning process.

Priyadharshan's Modernized Berlin Wall Defense for the Thinkers Publishing

Some of the key ideas that could hook you to the book are the complete coverage of the positions that arise after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 including the Four Knights through a transposed move order.

The starting position of the Berlin

The 100 game appendix at the end of the book that will help you to understand the Berlin endgame better, and covering unchartered paths in the Berlin Endgame starting with 9…a5!?.

Instead of 9...a5!? the main moves in the above position have been Ke8, Ne7, h6 or Bd7. However, Priyadharshan does like the slightly offbeat 9...a5, and he doesn't just recommend it. He has also played it before and won an important game against GM Marat Dzhumaev.

In recent times, the most significant cause of concern has been the 4.d3 Anti-Berlin system, and instead of the more topical 4…Bc5 variation, I have recommended the 4…d6 which gives you a lot of room to get inventive and play some new positions on the board.

Instead of the highly theoretical 4...Bc5, Priyadharshan recommends you to play 4...d6!? which gives you more room for inventive play.

I have tried my best to avoid long-theoretical variations in the book, and suggest variations with a lot of play, such that it will be beneficial for the majority of the players who strive to play for a win with black pieces in open tournaments.


Overall, if you are looking for a solid repertoire with the Black pieces against 1.e4 or if you are one of those folks, who binge-read opening books, then you should get the “The Modernized Berlin Wall Defense” published by Thinkers Publishing, as the book is written for you!

Contents of the book

I am very grateful to all the people who helped me in the project, with special mention to my mentor GM Susan Polgar, for writing the foreword of the book.


Extract of the book

About the Author

Priyadharshan Kannappan is India's 44th GM. He studied at the Webster university where he trained under the SPICE program of GM Susan Polgar and achieved his GM title. He has written a couple of important articles for ChessBase India where he speaks about pursuing chess and education in the US - Part I and Part II. He has recently launched his own academy called the ChessGyan and was coach of the Indian team at the World Youth Olympiad 2019.


Priyadharshan's book "Modernized Berlin Wall Defense" will soon be available in the ChessBase India shop at special prices for the Indian subcontinent.