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Hi everyone, I'm currently playing a little bit of everything, and I finally want to start thinking about a more serious opening repertoire. Not throwing out whatever opening move I feel like atm, and I was thinking that a repertoire book, not focused on fotm overly tactical variations, or just plain bad moves, would be just the thing.
The book I'm the most interested in is The Chess Advantage in Black and White by Larry Kaufman, but it seems I can't find it available for the life of me. Anyone know of a similiar and equally (or atleat close to) praised book?
Well, you may need to get more than one book, depending on your repertoire choices. I, for example, have about 9 books I am currently using for my white repertoire alone (yes, just on 1.e4) because I play mainlines which are quite theoretical. I believe the Kaufman book gives a repertoire for both sides, but seems to be out of print. You could probably get a used copy from Amazon though.
Other 1.e4 repertoire books include: "chess openings for white explained" by Alburt and others, as well as "starting out 1.e4" by McDonald. I don't have either of these, but I have heard a lot of bad things about the first one, and the second one is a starting out book so the coverage won't be too detailed, especially since McDonald recommends the open sicilian as well as an answer to everything else in only 192 pages (the sicilian deserves 300+ pages alone). Both books focus on secondary lines I think, which probably won't give you an edge, but will allow you to get a playable game without knowing too much theory. I have a feeling that you may want to upgrade to better openings as you progress though.
I think it is best to figure out the lines you want to play, and then buy books on those lines, instead of playing whatever the book recommends. If you could tell me your favourite lines as white against all of black's responses, then I may be able to recommend some books on specific openings.
It seems you are correct BigTy, the first one I've only heard bad things about aswell, and the Starting out: 1.e4 by Mcdonald I've actually borrowed free from the library, and it recommends the open sicilian, and pretty heavy mainlines, it covers the Najdorf (english attack) in only 11 pages, dragon yugoslav attack in 13 pages etc, it's not very helpfull I'm afraid.
I'm currently playing the openings I just fell into as a beginner, the Ruy Lopez, mainlines, might give the exchange a try. The Nc3 against french, mainlines, I've played everything against the Sicilians, might head into the Bb5 variations. The pirc actually gives me some problem, or rather, I don't score bad against it, but I never feel comfortable in it. I haven't faced the Alekhine enough to even play a proper line against it, but I don't score bad against it. I've also played 1.b3, english and Nf3 as my opening moves. As you can see, I just play whatever I've played before, and there is no clear idea behind chosing the variations I do. I was thinking that a repertoire book could be a good place to start looking, and then I'd switch and mix things up where I felt it was necessary.
I dunno what kind of positions I prefer, I enjoy all positions, I don't feel comfortable in all of them, but that's my lack of experience more than anything else.
Hmmm... You sort of sound like how I was when I started trying to build a repertoire. I played a lot of different things and didn't know much theory, but then I decided on 1.e4 as the only move I would play as white, ordered some books, and sort of just dove in haha. Of course I have made adjustments to my repertoire since then, upgrading to main lines against most openings, but at the same time I have stuck to my first move for over two years, and have learned a lot from it.
If you like the Ruy and 3.Nc3 french, by all means, stick with them. They are the best choices against 1...e5 and the french. If you want to avoid a lot of theory in the Ruy and still get ruy lopez type positions, than I would recommend you look into "Play the Ruy Lopez" by Andrew Greet. It is a great book, with a lot of explanatory prose, but still a decent and complete repertoire in the Ruy for white. I started with that, and then got some old Khalifman books a year or so later and used them to upgrade to the mainlines (I still have tonnes of work to do).
The Nc3 french is a lot of work, but there are several books out there covering the subject. Be prepared to learn a lot of forcing lines though. "Opening for white according to Anand volumes 6 and 7" are what I use for this, but they are very variation heavy and text light so if you want something that focuses more on the ideas of the variation than you may want to look elsewhere, but I am not sure exactly where....
The Bb5 sicilian is a good choice if you want to avoid the open sicilian. I would recommend the open sicilian of course as it is the most fun and rewarding if you put a lot of work into it. The c3 sicilian is another good choice if you want chances for a slight edge while avoiding tonnes of theory. Palliser's book, "The Bb5 Sicilian" is probably your best bet for the Bb5 sicilians, while "Dismantling the Sicilian" is an excellent choice if you choose to play the open sicilian as white.
Getting a repertoire against the french, 1...e5, and the sicilian is probably a good start for you, as these are the three most critical replies to 1.e4 and probably what you will see the most in your games. I am like you, I still don't know exactly what types of positions I like, but since I play mainlines against most openings, I get to play a wide variety of positions, which satisfys my uncertainty and allows me to learn a lot from all the different set-ups I play. So yeah, I hope this was helpful. Remember, don't try to learn everything at once! Take each variation one at a time, try them out in your own games, and if you really don't like what you are playing than switch it up!
The Bongcloud repertoire
The Bongcloud Fortress-1.e4 e5 2.Ke2 d5 3.f3 Nf6 4.d3
King David Attack-1.e4 c5 2.Ke2
The Bongcloud Gambit-1.e4 e5 2.Ke2 Nf6 3.Qe1 Nxe4 4.Kd1
Bongcloud Zigzag Attack-1.d4 Nf6 2.Kd2 g6 3.Ke3
Bongcloud Kite Variation-1.f4 d5 2.Kf2
Bongcloud Counterattack-1.d4 d6 2.c4 Kd7
Looking at your rating, I would advise to not get a repertoire book just yet. Instead, look at a bunch of Grand Master games in magazines, Informants, on line (where ever) and see which ones look like they appeal to you. Then you'll build your own repetoire: one that fits your style & temperament.
What does the Bongcloud Scandinavian look like?
200 Open Games by David Bronstein is quite good, although not really an "openings" book. Instead, he provides general comments about the opening in question and then shows some representative games. The vast majority of the games are Ruy Lopez, with decent attention given to the other hits.
If you want to immerse yourself in 1. e4, there's no better place to start. :)
Interesting recommendation. I just got Zurich 1953 for Christmas last year, so I'll stick with that one for now. But this looks like a great celebratory book for when I get the FM title and then switch to 1.e4.
And then lose many many rating points. (-:
Sam Collins 1.e4 repetoire book An Attacking Repetoire for White is quite good and harmonic. He uses similar structures in many lines of different openings. Alot of IQP attacking positions and advanced e4-e5 pawn formations.
A quicky from my memory:
150 attack vs pirc/modern
great lines against petroff and philidors defense also imo
I think his choices are great. They are not cutting edge with unreasonable amounts of theory but they do have bite.
For the moment, I'd recommend a pass on the current crop of e4 repertoire books, and recommend instead that you pick up Tal's Life and Games, and Fischer's 60 Memorable Games instead. You'll learn more about the Ruy and the Sicilian than you would from any half-baked repertoire book. And you'll get a bonus look at their play on defense, as well as a handful of games against black's other tries. But the Ruy and Open Sicilian make up nice, thick chunks of both books...and that's where you want to focus, anyway.
I say "for the moment" because chances are that will change next year when the "Grandmaster Repertoire" series is finally slated to tackle 1.e4. I think Aagaard is on tap to write it, and even though he's been hit and miss in his writing past, his hits have been "book of the year" quality...and the GR series has been WAY beyond first rate so far. Expect the GR 1.e4 to set a new and untouchable standard for the white side of the pieces, just like GR 1.d4 and GR 1.c4 have. It would be foolish to spend on a whole bunch of repertoire books for e4 right now, with that coming down the pipe.
If you must have one, make it Dismantling the Sicilian. It focuses on the English Attack, which is nice because it's cutting-edge relevant, thematically consistent, and also offers play that's really similar to the Be3/Qd2 lines against, for example, the black fianchetto defenses. Be a nice cornerstone to a repertoire.
I wish this thread got as much attention when I first posted it, not now. I got Larry Kafuman's The Chess Advantage in Black and White, I'm following some of his suggestions, as trying out the French Tarrasch, in some of the Nc3 lines I didn't feel comfortable. I don't follow his suggestions completely, I do play the open Ruy instead of the exchange variation, and so forth.
His 1.e4 e5 repertoire as black I do follow though, gave me a great opportunity to switch from a line I had started to lose confidence in (2... Nf6 scandinavian).
I also do own Tal's book on his life and chess, and I will jump into it as soon as I'm done with Kramnik's life and games, and maybe Korchnoi's. I enjoy Korchnoi's writing more than Tal. On the other hand, Tal's repertoire is more interesting for me (I especially enjoy his Modern benoni games).
All in all, I appreciate the advice, I will keep a look out for the Grandmaster 1.e4 repertoire when it comes out, and by all means, keep posting, there's always something usefull to pick up. But I've mainly solved my problem for now, getting the bulk of my repertoire from Kaufman's book, while still keeping the opening variations I enjoyed.
I don't get this line:
"I do play the open Ruy instead of the exchange variation, and so forth."
The Open Ruy is a Black variation that veers away from the Closed "classical" lines with 5. ... Be7: 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Nxe4
The Exchange is a White variation: same as above until 4. Bxc6.
Whatever it is, it seems like you are choosing things that you feel a better preference for playing (like the Tarrasch instead of the Classical Nc3 French).
Establishing your repertoire is a long and painful process of trial & error. Don't get discouraged by a bad showing and keep fine-tuning your collection.
Ops, I meant the mainlines in the Ruy, except for the Marshall attack that I do sidestep.
That's what happens when you write a post 04 am in the night without proof reading it.
4 a.m. is about when my cat is waking me up.
Anyhow, that's a good policy: avoiding he Marshall. I use the a4 line. Why let your opponent play a long, prepared attack that they probably would never have thought up on their own, when you can force them to think on their own?
I have never even glanced at this book, and have no idea what lines he recommends. Nevertheless, I recommend this book.
This is a four part series on the opening. Part one, the link I provided, deals with 1. e4. Part 2 is 1. d4, part 3 is 1. c4, and part four is everything else.
I have the part three (I am an English player) and love it. He writes very clearly, and explains things well.
You may know this author as the king of the Frenchies, as his "Play the French!" is perhaps THE definitive book on the French Defense.
Anyway, check it out.
That looks pretty good, like an update (long overdue) of Fine's Ideas Behind the Chess Openings.
As for Watson's Play the French, Vol II was pretty expansive, but Vol III seems more narrow-focused. Lev Psakhis's out of print The Complete French is much more complete to learn that opening, though it would take a long time to go through and wouldn't really form an easy-response repertoire.
1. e4 d5
2. exd5 Qxd5
I'm really excited about 1.e4 Grandmaster Repertoire. It will be in the same vain as 1.d4 by Avrukh as Mudhouse mentioned so you can rest assured only highly reliable lines will be recommended.
Of course, it will probably span a few volumes (but hopefully fewer than the currently 13 volumes in Anand's White repertoire lol), which means hard work will be required.
Another book that recently came out is Beating 1 e4 e5 by John Emms who also wrote Attacking with 1 e4.
Attacking with 1 e4 might be the book you're looking for. It recommends the following lines vs:
e5: Bishop's Opening
Caro: 1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.ed cd 4.cd!? (not a Panov)
Alekhine: Exchange variation
Pirc/Modern: 150 Attack.
and vs the others he gives reliable lines.
In his newer book Beating 1 e4 e5 he gives the Bishop's opening as well, but with the idea of transposing into the Italian Game with d3, Nf3, c3, etc, with play similar to a closed Ruy.
Emms also wrote "Easy Guide to the Ruy Lopez" which pretty much covers the main lines, yet only in 144 pages so it's a good place to start if you want to stick to them.
I also really like the Greet book that Bigty mentioned, but it covers the Qe2 lines, so it might not be to everyone's liking. You can use it for all the sidelines (Schliemann, Steinitz, Bird etc)
Another repertoire for White is Chess Openings for White Explained by Alburt and friends. If I remember correctly they give:
Sicilian: Grand Prix Attack
e5: Scotch Gambit (this actually has more venom than it looks. I faced this with Black against GM Dzindzhi, one of the authors, and soundly beaten)
French: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 (you said you play this). Now vs the Winawer they give Bd2!?
Caro: Exchange variation
Alekhine: Exchange (this seems like a trend vs the Alekhine, even Mcdonald's book recommends this. If you want coverage of the Modern line with Nf3, then get either the Collins book or Opening for White according to Anand volume 5)
Pirc/Moderm: h3 lines.
For the Nc3 French, Pedersen wrote The Main Line French: 3 Nc3 which is in the easy to follow Gambit format.
Another book with a couple of interesting Nc3 lines is Dangerous Weapons - French by John Watson. He gives 5.Qg4 vs the Winawer. Vs the Classical he gives 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 and now 7.Qh5!? which is more dangerous than it looks, and it's always fun to play a beginner's looking move like Qh5 :)
For the Open Sicilians, besides Dismantling, I really like Experts vs the Sicilian because each variation was covered by a different author, so you get a nice mix. Also the Bg5 vs the Najdorf is fun to play. Keres Attack is fun. And the 9.0-0-0 is more fun than the 9.Bc4 lines.
Another book I saw is coming out from Everyman is Beating Unusual Chess Defences: 1 e4: Dealing with the Scandinavian, Pirc, Modern, Alekhine, and Other Tricky Lines by Andrew Greet. Unfortunately we don't know yet what lines it will recommend, but Greet is a good and thorough author so I have high hopes for this one.
Well I could go on cause I have a lot of other books but I hope that gave you some more ideas.
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