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The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings by…

The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings

by Reuben Fine

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The selling point of this book was always that, while it didn't get into great analytical detail, it explained the basic ideas behind the openings clearly, and well. For years it was a standard recommendation, but the question is whether, over fifty years since it first appeared, it is still useful. There are certainly some obvious ways in which the book shows its age: many of the specific variations covered are hardly seen at all these days, for example, and there are entire opening systems quite popular now not even touched on here (the Benoni is an example). Very often, Fine talks about openings in terms of typical pawn structures rather than variations; this is simplistic, I suppose, particularly when, as today, greater emphasis is placed on dynamic elements; but it doesn't seem like a bad starting point at all. In any case, it's impossible for me to dismiss it out of hand, because I do feel that it helped me personally a great deal in understanding the basics of openings like the Classical French and Queen's Gambit.

There are more recent books in a similar vein to Fine's (Gabor Kallai's twin volumes "Basic Chess Openings" and "More Basic Chess Openings" seem like pretty good examples to me; Sam Collins' "Understanding the Chess Openings" is another which I've not seen), and if you're buying new, I suppose these should be favoured over Fine's creaky volume. But I do think that, within its limits, this one still has something to offer. ( )
  stilton | Nov 5, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812917561, Paperback)

In the opening, each player tries to control the center, set up a flexible pawn structure, develop the pieces rapidly and harmoniously, sometimes even go for direct attack. But there are so many complicated variations -- how can you memorize them all?

You can't -- and you don't have to! If you understand the basic goals of the opening you're playing, you will know which moves fit logically into its overall scheme. This classic, best-selling volume, now completely reset in modern algebraic notation, explains everything you need to know to play the opening sensibly and successfully.

Reuben Fine, an International Grandmaster, is one of the world's top players and a leading theoretician of chess. He is the author of over half a dozen books, including the definitive Basic Chess Endings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

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