Reviews - What do customers think about Chess Explained: The Queen's Gambit Declined?
A Succinct Summary Emphasizing Ideas Jun 8, 2008
This is a relatively short book with a page count of 128 (including title page, contents, etc., and advertising at the back!) but it is filled with useful information that emphasizes ideas more than an endless list of variations. It is probably the best overall QGD survey book in my sizeable (550 volume) chess library.
The book presents 25 complete games. This is a great approach for the class player (compared to a variations tree) because you see the middle games and even endgames that arise. The games are spread over 8 chapters which cover the Alatortsev variation, Tarrasch Defense, Exchange and Blackburne, Ragozin and Vienna, Semi-Tarrasch, Cambridge Springs and Laskers, Tartakower, and Classical. As you see the coverage is wide, treating to at least some degree (one or more games) the major variants which are in play. The notes also treat (briefly) many other options including oddities such as the Dutch-Peruvian Gambit. Games are from modern practice.
While plenty of variants are presented in the notes (certainly enough to cover the ground and be useful) the book is really on the "chatty" side and there is plenty of text which explains concepts and ideas. This is all made to fit in a low page count by means of slightly oversized pages and a rather small font size. However, the diagrams are large, clear, and copious. Even though I can't play blindfold, I am able to read a lot of the book without the aid of a chess set and board.
There is no real white/black bias. Ideas for both sides are discussed making this book suitable for basic repertoire development for either color. I say "basic" repertoire development and what I mean is that there is more than enough here for the class player, but at a high level of play (perhaps expert and up) you will want specialist books which cover your favorite lines in more detail.
Overall: a very nice effort and well worth the cost. Don't be put off by the low page count. More is not always better.