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How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire [Paperback]

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Item description for How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire by Steve Giddins...

In this book, the first to focus on these issues, Steve Giddins provides common-sense guidance on one of the perennial problems facing chess-players. He tackles questions such as: whether to play main lines, offbeat openings or 'universal' systems; how to avoid being 'move-ordered'; how to use computers; if and when to depart from or change your repertoire. Giddins argues that from novice to grandmaster, a player's basic task when choosing a repertoire is the same: he needs to select openings that suit his playing style and that he can play with confidence. The repertoire should not require more memory work and study than he is capable of, or has time for. The book is rounded off with a look at the use of 'role models' and an investigation of the repertoires of leading players past and present.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Gambit Publications
ISBN  1901983897  
ISBN13  9781901983890  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

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

Reviews - What do customers think about How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire?

dont start your opening repertoire without reading this book  Jul 17, 2008
this is an excellent book to be read before planning to build a serious opening repertoire , it will save you lot of time and efforts and normal pittfalls .....he is not suggesting any opening to use but teaches you what should you consider when planning your repertoire advice dont start buying openings books before reading this book , its a great answered all the questions and more that passes by any serious intermediate player in studying opening theory, in fact i didnt find any book that delivers even the same topics under one ambrella.
buy this book!  Mar 5, 2007
This is the single most useful opening book I have read. It's really a "meta-opening book" - advising the reader on how to approach opening study, rather than teaching any single variation.

Giddings' advice, in a nutshell, is to pick just a few compatible openings, e.g. IQP systems for White and Black, and thoroughly learn the opening variations, typical middlegame ideas, and resulting endings. He backs up his opinions with plenty of examples, and the result is a pleasure to read.

I wish I'd had this when I first became serious about tournament chess! (USCF 2010.)
How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire  Mar 16, 2006
Very good for beginner through intermediate players. Theory and practical application is presented in interesting and easy to understand manner. Highly recommended.
Nice book  Jul 29, 2004
My first reading of this book made on me a good impression. The author illustrates his points with a few examples and much more text than chess moves.

Giddins chapter on transpositions is a delight; it shows a few example of how world class players handle the opening to achieve the positions they want to play as well as how to avoid being "move ordered".

Also the chapter on computer use in chess has an interesting example of a accidental discovery of a strong continuation in a variation of the Petroff Defense that led Anand to win a convinging game against Kramnik.

His views on how to build/change one's repertoire surely will help the reader. I recommend it for those that are more serious about the game, from club players to those aiming at FIDE title norms.
Niche book for those confused on choosing repertoire  Nov 4, 2003
One shouldn't be confused when buying this book without the luxury of browsing it. This isn't a book recommending a certain opening as such. It's geared more toward someone who doesn't have a opening repertoire, jumps from opening to opening, or have faced roadblocks in deciding what opening to play.

Steve Giddens introduces these possible familiar themes in the books introduction:

- Most of us blame the opening for our defeat, unjustifiably
- We never say, "If only I knew endgames better" or "If I could play fixed-pawn games better."
- We resign to saying, "It's that opening, I always lose with it. I'll have to give it up."
- Players under master strength spend a disproportionate time on studying openings.
- We gain very little from this time wasted, due to constant switching around of openings, rote memorization w/o understanding, trusting authority rather than our own ideas, etc.
- Too few players understand HOW to learn an opening and develop a repertoire.
- Due to spending too much time on the opening, we seriously neglect the other areas.
- When we lose, we usually blame the openings, oblivious to the fact that we lost because of our endgame, etc., then spend yet MORE time on another opening
- This book will help you develop an opening repertoire. It won't guarantee wins, but will set you down the correct path, and help you see the true reason for losses, which is rarely the opening.

The book then covers the following:

How building a repertoire allows a player to become very familiar in certain positions, but can result in a limited view on the game, being only proficient with certain pawn structures, etc. An prime example being Fischer, who played the Najdorf and KID almost exclusively. But how today, with the incredible ease of accessing games through computer databases, that masters can 'bookup' against players with fixed systems. This can happen at your local clubs, as well.

How growing pains exist in learning a new opening, and how it can take months or years to get comfortable with it. Example games are given when grandmasters have deviated from their familiar starting grounds only to show their lack of experience with their new opening show through in the middlegame (ie - Ulhmann, a French Defense player, starting out with the Caro-Kahn...Karpov, starting with a Sicilian Defense, etc.)

How a player shouldn't be concerned with memorizing the latest theory on move 13 of the QGD. A game of Nigel Short's (playing White) introduces a novelty in an opening where previous White tries resulted in difficulties. Nigel plays a move after assessing the position and following his plan. "I have a terrible memory," he explained, assuring the reader even more how great moves are made by understanding the position, and not through memorization or playing what's in vogue.

Whether to play 'Main line' or 'Side variations'. Whether to play offbeat opening or classical ones. Also, a chapter covering reverse openings (ie - King's Indian Attack, etc.), with a move in hand are discussed. He discusses the misconception of these openings - "If the King's Indian is good with Black, it must be fantastic with White." Yet, he give much explanation that these openings tend to lack the 'oomph', and that the extra move in hand, surprisingly, tends to be a disadvantage.

How a player should have his game assessed to determine his style and what openings he should consider playing.

When studying an opening, to beware of transpositions into lines you may be unprepared for (ie - Having mastered the Queen's Gambit, Exchanged variation and Queen's Indian, your opponent tricks you with 1. d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d5!, and now you're in lines where your prepared Exchange Variation loses it's punch as Nc3 hasn't been played.

The book at the end covers a dozen or so players and their repertoire, and each chapter's main theme is supported by at least a few example games. The book itself is also made of good quality paper and should last for quite a while.

The book is an interesting read, with quite a few games backing up all of the book's major points. As mentioned, it isn't a book you go over in preparation for a tournament, but acts as more of a guide for those who have become lost in the sea of opening theory and need a little wake-up call. This book is not at all a must-have book, and if you're under expert, you shouldn't be concerned so much with booking up as you should be other parts of the game, as it's returns are diminished. But for those who have become addicted to opening theory (you know who you are), or if you're a strong player who has yet to developed a proper repertoire and isn't sure where to start, this book may be a decent guide.


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