Another brilliant book from John Watson!

Another brilliant book from John Watson!

| 2 | Opening Theory

Mastering the Chess Openings

Volume 4

320 pages

Gambit 2010 $29.95

ISBN 1-906454-19-1


For several decades now John Watson has been one of the finest writers on chess, and his latest volume lives up to the standards of his previous work.  This is the fourth and final volume in the mastering the chess openings series, and it starts off by finishing off the openings.  he had not considered in the is first three volumes, namely, the Reti Opening, the Modern kingside Fianchetto, and the Modern Queenside. Fianchetto. These are excellent contributions, but it is the remainder of the book that is the most fascinating. 


Here Watson shares his opinions, often quite strong, on the chess opening themes. He starts with Gambits and their he then goes on to consider reversed openings in general, and the early advance of the f-pawn, moving onto the concept of symmetrical openings and examining in detail the Petroff defense and the Four Knights game.


The next 50 ages are devoted to a topic that John and I have worked on together: irregular openings and the psychology behind them. Again he treats us to specific alalytical assays.  But as usual, he maintains a skeptical l attitude toward the validity of the moves objectively, but does give credit for their unbalancing psychological effects and the difficulty in meeting them over the board.


Of particular interest to amateur players are his series of essays on at preparing typical openings for use in competitive play.  He concludes with a discussion of the future of openings, taking into account the bold exansion of opening plans.  Despite hundreds of years of analysis Watson feels,, as I do, that the future of chess opening theory is bright.


I don't think you'll find a better read this year and although it is early on this book must be considered one of the favorites for book-of-the-year awards.  It is a great read and deserves to be on ever chess-lover's bookshelf.

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