Sunday, February 12, 2012

Interesting Article: Greg Shahade on Opening Books

IM Greg Shahade has an interesting article expressing his opinion on books written about openings in Chess Life Online.

I agree with some of his observations about the limitations of many current opening books. There are often basic things I would like to know, that they assume we already know. Like, why does white play 3.Nf3 in the Slav? It certainly is a good developing move, but it doesn't seem to threaten anything like the next most played move 3.Nc3, which also is a good developing move, and puts more pressure on black's d5-pawn. Even a primer opening book like Seirawan's Winning Chess Openings does not address this question.

Shahade's suggestion that opening books should be organized by things you should know at your current strength (like Silman's Complete Endgame Course), rather than by variation is an interesting suggestion. Perhaps annotated complete games in a move by move kind of way with the games selected and annotated for particular ideas appropriate to strength levels would be best. Of course, this kind of book would be much harder to write than the current collection of variations with the less than informative "and white has a slight advantage".

The key thing missing is the answer to the question, "Now what?"

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