© 2015  Jonathan Whitcomb
Books on Chess Openings
Chess Books New Paperback Books on Chess Skill Levels of Beginners Some of the Best Chess Books
Why learn openings? Tournament players generally need more than just a basic knowledge of opening principles. They need at least a little knowledge of opening variations, at least a few of them, to some breadth and depth. That does not mean that openings take up most of their study time, however, for middle-game tactics and endings are generally more important in improving overall performance in tournament competition. So we’re talking about intermediate and advanced players here, not beginners. Most opening books are indeed for those competitors, not for novices. If you’re a raw beginner, knowing only the moves of the game, you would do better to read Beat That Kid in Chess rather than an opening book. Start well in a chess game, and you’re more likely to end well. That’s the point of studying openings. The Introduction of the book Fundamental Chess Openings begins as follows: “In the colossal body of chess literature, no aspect of the game has been treated as extensively as the openings. In varying degrees of expertise, clarity, and depth, thousands of books discuss every imaginable and unimaginable opening the game of chess has to offer. This is a process that will never stop.” Type One: Encyclopedic Fundamental Chess Openings 448 pages — ISBN-13: 978-1906454135 Modern Chess Openings - 15th edition 768 pages — ISBN-13: 978-0812936827 Type Three: One Variation Sicilian Scheveningen 272 pages — ISBN-13: 978-1857446906 Ruy Lopez Exchange 192 pages — ISBN-13: 978-1857443899
Types of chess opening books 1. Encyclopedic or very broad 2. Covering only one opening 3. Focused on one variation of one opening 4. Opening principles in general The first type includes Fundamental Chess Openings (by Paul Van Der Sterren) and Modern Chess Openings (15th edition by Nick De Firmian). For most players, almost any opening they could think of (by name) is found in both of those publications. The second type is represented by books like Slay the Sicilian, by Timothy Taylor. This kind of publication is much more focused than the encyclopedic ones about almost all chess openings. The third type includes works like Sicilian Scheveningen, by Lorin D'costa. This book covers only one of the many variations of the Sicilian opening. This kind is probably more popular with higher ranking tournament players like experts or even masters. The fourth type differs greatly from the first three. This kind of chess book gives the reader explanations for the general principles of opening play. Many examples may be given, but not concentrating on any one opening. One publication of this type is How to Play the Chess Openings, by Eugene Znosko-Borovsky. Type Two: One Opening Slay the Sicilian! 288 pages — ISBN-13: 978-1857446845 King's Gambit (Grandmaster Guide) 680 pages — ISBN-13: 978-1906552718 Type Four: Principles How to Play the Chess Openings Be aware that this older book uses the old descriptive notation (which is now considered out-dated). Still, the general principles given are surely timeless. 160 pages — ISBN-13: 978-0486227955