Black is Still OK, by Adorjan-Book Review

Recently I picked up a copy of Adorjan’s second book on his theory that “Black is OK” from Fred Wilson’s chess book store, and I have to say I was immediately sucked in by the hyperbolic claims in the introduction. The basic idea of his first book “Black is OK!,” is that the commonly held belief that white is entitled to an opening advantage is a fiction. Adorjan tells us “The tale of White’s advantage is a delusion, belief in it is based on mass psychosis.” He goes on to claim that the prevailing philosophy of winning with white and drawing with black is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and that many players could push for full points with black but quickly resign themselves to a draw, even against weaker players, because of their entrenched beliefs in the relative value of white’s claim to advantage.

Both books are excellent game collections, replete with fantastic notes and asides, in which Adorjan attempts to support his scandalous claims with concrete variations. There is also an awful lot of prose for a chess book. Perhaps the best part of “Black is Still OK!” is a selection of theoretical essays responding to one another, one of them by my hero, Evgeny Sveshnikov, who disagrees with Adorjan’s assertions and gives an interesting perspective on his “scientific” approach to the game.

Perhaps to shock his readers into the right state of mind, Adorjan includes these three minatures with black in the first chapter titled “how it all started.”