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  1. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    04 Sep '10 00:39
    I know some will cringe simply when they read the thread title, but I hope my OP will help a bit. I also have to give some credit to Greenpawn34 for making me think about what makes a good opening book, but he may not want to accept it!

    I have many favorite opening books, but two of my all-time favorites are Winning with the King's Gambit by GM Joe Gallagher, and Winning with the French by GM Wolfgang Uhlmann.

    Both of these books use the complete annotated game format, with lots of prose and variations given only when they illuminate the game or an idea the author wants to illustrate in detail. In my opinion, this is the formula for a great opening book.

    GM Gallagher uses many of his own games in his book, and it has a very personal feel to it. It's almost as though he is sitting down next to you as you read, showing you some great games, and what he thinks about them and the opening in general.

    As for GM Uhlmann's book, it is filled with 60 complete annotated French games, and he plays black in every one of them! He is a premier GM and possibly one of the world's greatest French experts, and reading the book is a rare opportunity to "get inside the head" of a world class GM as he shares games and talks about his favorite opening.

    I have never played the French, and have no plans to do so, but I felt like a book by a top-flight GM on his favorite opening, demonstrated as complete games, was too good a learning opportunity to pass up.

    I have to give an "honorable mention" nod to the first edition of The King's Indian Attack by Ken Smith and John Hall, as I feel like they practically taught me how to play tournament chess 20 years ago, but that's more a personal recollection, and the books above are in a different and higher class.

    Paul
  2. 04 Sep '10 01:23
    You'll never get more entertainment or fun from The Two Knight's Defense by Estrin. It's just analysis of variations (no games) but what variations! The Fried Liver, Wilkes-Barre,Max Lange, Anti-Max Lange, and tons of other sharp tactical lines are all there.
  3. 04 Sep '10 02:01 / 1 edit
    Of course I allowed opening books to play a big part in my chess life.

    Estrin's Two Knights. The Chess tacticians Bible.
    There some full games in it and they are fantastic.

    Open Gambits by Botterill
    Gambits Accepted by Harding.
    Bb5 in the Sicilian by loads of people (3/4 books on it).
    French by Watson
    Latvian Gambit books (loads including Russian & German)
    Pirc (4/5 books)
    Loads on the King's Indian. Andrew Martin's book is the best.

    All the books on opening traps/ quick wins etc etc.
    (best of these is a Russian Book called 444 short games of chess
    it's up there with Estrin.).

    My main opening as White is the Lopez which I started playing about
    8 years after I started playing. I swotted up on the traps for both sides
    but have never read a book on it nor looked at any theory exept what
    I have picked playing over games.
    I do not have a book on the Ruy Lopez and yet if my life depended
    on a game of chess, that is what I would play.

    Opening traps are my rep.
    I often go for clean traps. traps that do not do any damage.
    Dirty traps are opening traps that can and will bounce back in your face.
    Will go for those if I feel lucky.

    Here is an example of a clean trap for White tempting a dirty trap.

    1.e4 c5. 2 d4 cxd4.



    Black thinks he is getting a Morra Gambit.

    3.Nf3!

    You go back into the mainline this will gain a few minutes on the clock.
    But underneath there is a trap you want Black to play.
    A Dirty Trap.

    3....e5?!



    If White takes the e-apwn then 4.Nxe5 Qa5+ wins the Knight.
    28 players on here have lost a Knigfht to this trap.

    However White plays 4.c3 instead. and 4...dxc3 5.Nxc3



    And we see the result of Black's Dirty Trap.

    We have a KP opening White up in development and his pieces come
    flying out. Black lags in development d6 is weak and he is in KP terriority.

    (often strange lands for Sicilian players. This is not an e5 Sicilian,
    White has a Knight on c3, not a3.)

    5...Nc6 6.Bc4



    I can do things with White here, most players could, and that is all
    you want from an opening 'trap.' A position full of hope and ideas.
    It's a postional trap (not all traps have to win things).
    Giving me a position I would like to play.

    All for the cost of a mere pawn. I'll worry about that in the ending.
    But before the Ending we go through the Middle Game and that
    is how the God's planned it.
  4. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    04 Sep '10 02:03
    Thumbs up for anything Gallagher writes on the KID. I was brushing up on his starting out book this week.

    I might have to check out the winning with the French.


    Bless John Watson, he's made some great contributions to chess theory, but some of his notions are absolutely insane.
  5. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    04 Sep '10 02:12
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Of course I allowed opening books to play a big part in my chess life.

    Estrin's Two Knights. The Chess tacticians Bible.
    There some full games in it and they are fantastic.

    Open Gambits by Botterill
    Gambits Accepted by Harding.
    Bb5 in the Sicilian by loads of people (3/4 books on it).
    French by Watson
    Latvian Gambit books (loads including Rus ...[text shortened]... like to play.

    All for the cost of a mere pawn. I'll worry about that in the ending
    Andrew Martin's book on the King's Indian is my bible- I can't believe I didn't give him a shout out! His chapter on the Kavalek variation is the reason I won against the fiancetto variation for the first time after a very unpleasant losing streak- it was so good, I have even used the ideas with success when playing the King's Indian Attack.

    And I own 16 KID books, with several of them newer and more up to date, but Martin's choice of games combined with his unique flair and writing style make the book not just educational and informative, but hugely entertaining as well!
  6. Standard member Thabtos
    I am become Death
    04 Sep '10 07:24
    Anybody know any good books for Nimzo/Queen's Indian?
  7. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    04 Sep '10 12:53
    Thabtos- Challenging the NimzoIndian by Vigorito is good if you want to look at the Qc2 variations.

    Chess Explained the Queen's Indian by Wells is not so theory heavy but good.

    Sokolov's Middlegames book is on pawn structures in the Nimzo


    Which btw if I had to state my favorite openings book-

    Pawn Structure Chess by Andrew Soltis- I learned more about openings from that book than all my other books put together. It probably doesn't count though.
  8. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    04 Sep '10 15:19
    I've got shelves of these things, but the electronic edition of ECO gets more use that all the others combined. Now, if I could just get it on my iPad, I would be a happy man.
  9. 05 Sep '10 01:33
    I like the 'Tactics in the chess opening' series because it's not about the openings

    toet.