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Understanding the Chess Openings [Paperback]

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Item description for Understanding the Chess Openings by Sam Collins...

This major new work surveys all chess openings, providing a guide to every critical main line and featuring descriptions of the typical strategies for both sides. These commentaries will be welcomed by all club and tournament players, as they will help them to handle the middlegame positions arising from each opening better, and will equip them to find the best continuation when their opponents deviate from the standard paths.

Covers all chess openings, with verbal explanations of the ideas. This is the first book of the modern era to do this.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 7" Height: 10"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 30, 2005
Publisher   Gambit Publications
ISBN  190460028X  
ISBN13  9781904600282  

Availability  17 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 07:34.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Sam Collins

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Sam Collins is an International Master with two Grandmaster norms, and a former Irish and Japanese Champion. He has represented Ireland at six Olympiads, winning an individual gold medal at Bled 2002.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Board Games > Chess
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Understanding the Chess Openings?

The adult beginners saviour !!  Jul 7, 2008
As someone who took up chess late, I faced the challenge of trying to find out a bit on different openings and what would be best suited to me. There are huge resources in any specialised opening but this overall guide to the types of openings has a clear help. Instead of trying to guess 2-3 moves of a reply, you get a clear explanation of white or blacks plan to move into the middle game. I've met Sam Collins at tournaments and duely said "Thank you !" on behalf of the adult learner.
Without doubt in my mind, this book has helped provide a straight forward, uncomplicated structured approach to finding your way out of the beginners to a competent club player...and even beyond.

There is always work to be done in improving but this is an excellent book to put you smack in the centre of making the best informed choice of what opening or reply you can take on.

Excellent work Sam, Get to the Cork congres soon so we can get you autgraphing books !

Don't Expect to "Understand"  Jun 28, 2008
This book should have been entitled "Learning the Major Chess Openings". It organizes the main opening lines and many sub-lines well, and it's a good reference if you want to learn the difference between say, a Scheveningen Sicilian and a Najdorf Sicilian, but it does little to help you "understand" these openings.

As is typical with most worthwhile chess books, the text contains a lot of strings (and stub-strings [and sub-sub strings] of moves, and it can get confusing. My objection is not to that, but rather to the fact that the explanations as to why one move is correct and another is incorrect are often so perfunctory as to be completely unhelpful. Over and over again, I found myself asking "why?" Clearly, this book wasn't helping me "understand."

As an alternative I'd suggest John Nunn's "Understanding Chess Move by Move." His book takes the approach of examining specific games to explore various themes in chess, not just the opening, but it will give you much better insight into the "why" of the opening moves than Collins's book. My one quibble with Nunn's book is that the Table of Contents does not specify the opening for each game (I've taken to handwriting them in myself).

So, alas, I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for the definitive replacement for Reuben Fine's classic, "Ideas Behind the Chess Opening," still arguably the best book on opening theory but now a little out of date.
Essential Reference for Beginner/Intermediate  Dec 23, 2007
Well-covered by other reviewers, I feel compelled to add my vote for this rare, well-written chess book. I've played chess for years but just recently started getting serious about getting a decent rating. While Reuben Fine's book is often referenced as great for understanding openings, I found it to be impenetrable. Meanwhile Sam Collin's book has become my first go-to book for getting a basic understanding of what an opening is all about. His writing is crystal clear, and he gets you straight to what the opening is trying to accomplish. Other books, like Modern Chess Openings or Standard Chess Openings, can then be used to examine alternative variations, but speaking for myself, I really need to start from Collins to get the strategy behind the opening first. I find this book to be an essential reference for a beginning or intermediate player.
Exceeded my expectations!  Apr 22, 2007
This book is very well organized. I am very pleased with it. By playing several of the openings in the book I have found myself (finally) able to defeat the computer at chess at levels where I couldn't do so before. I have also learned which openings are to be avoided as well, that way I don't have to spend time memorizing all of them. But it is still important to understand why some openings aren't good.
GREAT concise book that covers a lot of territory....  Jan 17, 2007
There are many different openings books which focus on different aspects of opening play. This book is like a survey of the territory and covers the most likely openings to come up and the many variations of each. What I most like about it is that it is logically organized, well-written and easy to follow. It includes commentary, but the commentary is not comprehensive. This good or bad depending upon what you are looking for in a book on openings. In short, the text gets to the point with respect to the major tactical advantages and disadvantages of particular openings. However, it doesn't cover any of them in great depth.

I like this book because it doesn't repeat a lot of the ground covered in other books. It is a small volume at less than 225 pages of many different openings and the MOST important points about each. This makes it a great reference book to get one started with a particular opening. However, you need something with more depth to go along with it.

I am sometimes "turned off" by chess books which are 1,000 pages with very little text or diagrams. This is a bias that I have and learning anything sometimes seems overwhelming. This book strikes a nice balance between text, diagrams and presenting a series of moves. It makes the content more digestible and because of how its organized, easy to learn.

As far as I am concerned, this is a MUST own book for a serious chess player and particulary for someone transitioning from the beginner to advanced beginner or early stages of intermediate play. It uses modern notation and it is extremely well thought out with respect to layout. Both the author and the editor did an excellent job!

This book WILL help you to improve your opening play. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to any player and if you are turned off by poorly organized or cumbersome large volumes, you will like it even more.

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