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Chess World Online Chess Forum - Replacement for Fine's Ideas Behind the Chess Openings

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  Play ... Latest Forum Posts > Chess Forums > Chess books
  Replacement for Fine's Ideas Behind the Chess Openings

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NL2

Chess rating: 2205



 Topics started


England
Give chess goodie
Tue Jun 19 2012 11:13PM | MsgID: 15554633


Just wanetd to say a big thankyou to all the contributors on this topic. Both interesting and informative.

I 'grew up' on an old second hand copy of Fine and i still have it. Along with Reti's classic 'Masters of the Chessboard' it formed my approach to chess.

I have seen quite few newer books that have claimed to be its successor but never been convinced until now. In idle moments i have wondered about attempting to write a book in his style to cover the modern understanding of chess openings - but that might have to wait until retirement (and a willing publisher...)

I agree about Watson's books - I have volume 3 and it is excellent on the variatiosn it covers, but is not comprehensive. I clearly need to take a look at some of the other titles suggested here - as a librarian i ought to be in a good position to do this or even to recommend them for library stock...



SteveCS

Chess rating: 2380
LCF 127 Fide approx. 1885




 Topics started


United Kingdom
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 9
Fri Jun 15 2012 9:43AM | MsgID: 15542174


I have both Kallai books and they are useful partners to my original Batsford Chess Openings 2 (BCO2). I have started teaching my 9 year old daughter to play and the Kallai books are proving really useful here also.

I also have the 4 volume 'In Action' series by Karpov. Karpov's writing may not be to everyone's taste, but I like them. The books are highly narrative, and show how opening ideas are developed and then evolved through testing in practical play. There are very few 'theoretical line' - almost everything is based on actual games, all of which are complete. This, combined with the detailed annotation and commentary, allows you to see how the ideas developed in the opening influence the rest of the game. They are no longer in print but are available 'used' from Amazon. Many of the games used are from Karpov's epic WC battles with Kasparov, so even if you learn nothing about openings, you get a really great narrative of those classic clashes, including discussion of the non-chess stuff surrounding those matches. Highly recommended!

The Open Game in Action - ISBN-13: 978-0713460964
The Semi-Open Game in Action - ISBN-13: 978-0020218012
The Semi-Closed Openings in Action - ISBN-13: 978-0020218050
The Closed Game in Action - ISBN-13: 978-0020339854

/S



bnolan

Chess rating: 2005
LCF 1906






 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 5
Fri Mar 2 2012 5:21PM | MsgID: 15236299


Originally posted by: "bnolan"

An update after receiving more books:

"Fundamental Chess Openings" by Paul van der Sterren

"Mastering the Chess Openings", 3 volumes by John Watson


Both of these are fantastic. Both use a lot of text to explain why certain moves are made, and why other moves aren't played. The both give a lot of information about transpositions and move order considerations.

The major difference is in coverage. FCO tries to say something about every opening, but can't go as deep into any of them. Watsons volumes give very detailed coverage of the chosen lines, and go very deep into the lines, including example games. Watson, however, doesn't try to cover every opening, or even every line in the openings he does cover.

I'll give some examples from my favorite openings:

Giuoco Piano w/ 7.Bd2
- FCO gives a main line up to move 9, and another to move 10
- Watson gives almost 5 pages, 2 main lines starting at move 10, several complete games

Evans Gambit
- FCO gives 4 variations up to move 9
- Watson does not have any coverage

Ruy Lopez, Marshall Attack
- FCO gives 1 main line to move 17 with comments on other variations
- Watson has 7 pages, many variations and many complete games

French Defense, Winawer Poisoned pawn variation
- FCO gives 1 line to move 12
- Watson has 3 pages several variations and 2 complete games

Benko Gambit
- FCO has 5 pages!
- Watson does not cover



To summarize:
- Both books do a great job of explaining the ideas
- FCO often stops just when things are getting interresting
- Watson gives more detail, but doesn't try to cover eveything (no Petroffs for instance)


I started this topic to find a book to replace Fine's "Ideas Behind the Chess Openings". In particular, I wanted something that would help me get a basic understanding of a new opening so I could try it out without having to invest in an opening monograph for each new line. With that in mind, FCO is probably the better choice. FCO + NCO would be a good combination.

To be fair to Watson, he does a good job of choosing the lines that have the most instructional value, so you will learn things that will apply in many of the lines he does not cover.





Watson has now come out with a 4th volume. It covers the Reti, kingside fianchetto, queenside fianchetto, f-pawn openings, reversed openings, symmetrical openings and irregular openings.

In my previous post, I had noted no coverage of the petroffs, benko gambit or evans gambit. All of those get coverage in this 4th volume.




bnolan

Chess rating: 2005
LCF 1906






 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 5
Tue Feb 2 2010 3:31AM | MsgID: 12654602



An update after receiving more books:

"Fundamental Chess Openings" by Paul van der Sterren

"Mastering the Chess Openings", 3 volumes by John Watson


Both of these are fantastic. Both use a lot of text to explain why certain moves are made, and why other moves aren't played. The both give a lot of information about transpositions and move order considerations.

The major difference is in coverage. FCO tries to say something about every opening, but can't go as deep into any of them. Watsons volumes give very detailed coverage of the chosen lines, and go very deep into the lines, including example games. Watson, however, doesn't try to cover every opening, or even every line in the openings he does cover.

I'll give some examples from my favorite openings:

Giuoco Piano w/ 7.Bd2
- FCO gives a main line up to move 9, and another to move 10
- Watson gives almost 5 pages, 2 main lines starting at move 10, several complete games

Evans Gambit
- FCO gives 4 variations up to move 9
- Watson does not have any coverage

Ruy Lopez, Marshall Attack
- FCO gives 1 main line to move 17 with comments on other variations
- Watson has 7 pages, many variations and many complete games

French Defense, Winawer Poisoned pawn variation
- FCO gives 1 line to move 12
- Watson has 3 pages several variations and 2 complete games

Benko Gambit
- FCO has 5 pages!
- Watson does not cover



To summarize:
- Both books do a great job of explaining the ideas
- FCO often stops just when things are getting interresting
- Watson gives more detail, but doesn't try to cover eveything (no Petroffs for instance)


I started this topic to find a book to replace Fine's "Ideas Behind the Chess Openings". In particular, I wanted something that would help me get a basic understanding of a new opening so I could try it out without having to invest in an opening monograph for each new line. With that in mind, FCO is probably the better choice. FCO + NCO would be a good combination.

To be fair to Watson, he does a good job of choosing the lines that have the most instructional value, so you will learn things that will apply in many of the lines he does not cover.



bnolan

Chess rating: 2005
LCF 1906






 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 5
Sun Oct 11 2009 11:01PM | edited: 11:31:00 | MsgID: 12118662


I have received "Understanding the Chess Openings" by Sam Collins and "Basic Chess Openings" by Gabor Kallai.

My impressions (for those of you who may be contemplating the same choice):

Collins gives more verbal explainations, Kallai gives more variations (which makes sense, as he gets 2 volumes to do what Collins did in 1).

Both are much more up to date than Fines "Ideas behind the chess openings."

Collins is more opinionated about some lines, stating that they are bad. Kallai seems more open minded, but still points out what difficulties each side will face.

Collins points out the general plans before giving the variations. Kallai gives the variations then discusses plans from that position.

Neither book gives as much instruction about the pawn structures as does Fine.

Both books point out traps and transpositions.

My conclusion, I am glad I have both books. I think together they will be a much more up to date replacement for Fines "Ideas..."





armstrong789

Chess rating: 2370





 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 8
Thu Oct 8 2009 12:36PM | MsgID: 12102177


You are much more up to date than I am. Your list and comments are excellent. I always try to go to a bookstore with chairs, (Barnes & Nobles or Borders are good that way) so I may use my pocket magnetic chess set to check out moves before buying a book.I have avoided some lemons, and got some gems that way. Good luck!



bwzins64

Chess rating: 2208





 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 1
Thu Oct 8 2009 5:05AM | MsgID: 12101100


You're welcome! Considering how expensive chess books are in general, it is nice to be able to check things out before buying.



bnolan

Chess rating: 2005
LCF 1906






 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 5
Wed Oct 7 2009 3:15AM | MsgID: 12096011


Thank you, that was a very helpful post.

Just last night, I ordered the Sam Collins book and the Gabor Kallai books. I wish I lived in a town that had a decent book store or library.




bwzins64

Chess rating: 2208





 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 1
Tue Oct 6 2009 10:02AM | edited: 10:17:09 | MsgID: 12091777


Now that you've probably already bought your new book...


- 'Understanding the Chess Openings' by Sam Collins

Does an excellent job I feel in explaining the openings to the average player. On more than one occasion I've gone to the book store to "borrow" their copy when I wanted to do some research on something.

- 'Basic Chess Openings' and 'More Basic Chess Openings' by Gabor Kallai

I used to own both of these books, and would compare them strongly to 'Understanding the Chess Openings'. What I liked about them, was the summary given at the end of each section explaining what future strategies each side might use to continue play from the final position given.

- 'Mastering the Chess Openings' (3 volumes) by John Watson

Excellent books, but they go into great detail and are probably for the more advanced player.

- 'Chess Opening Essentials' (3 volumes) by Stefan Djuric

Also excellent, but also goes into great detail. Probably more for the average player than 'Mastering the Chess Openings' though. Does give quite a few complete games, if that's something you like.

- 'Mastering the Opening' by Byron Jacobs

Good, but very basic and probably not enough information to really help you. I do however like the success pecentages given for the different openings. (White 46% Black 43% Draw 11%)

Also, a book to be released later this year

- 'Fundamental Chess Openings' by Paul van der Sterren

Not familiar with, obviously.


My recommendation? 'Understanding the Chess Openings' because like Fine's book, it's geared more for the "average" player, and more up to date than 'Basic Chess Openings' and all in one volume. (Hope this helps!)



armstrong789

Chess rating: 2370





 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 8
Wed Sep 16 2009 1:13PM | MsgID: 11996162


The Starting Out series also has all the latest innovations and trends, with many original suggestions and ideas by the author. Because each one costs a bit perhaps one should decide first on their opening systems preferences and then invest further on the Starting Out series.I have got most of them however and they are great.The "idea variations" are the heart and soul of the Horowitz book, and will never be outdated however.



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