"Beating the Open Games" book review:

Aug 3, 2009, 11:01 AM |

I recently purchased "Beating the Open Games" by Mihail Marin. I had for many years avoided the open games (1.e4 e5) as black because frankly I was intimidated by the work load. As I'm now nearing 1800 rating, I've been able to appreciate more how important learning these openings from the start is to the club player.

Just about every club player it seems is looking for that "easy opening" pet line they can trot out to play a comfortable system into the middlegame. This kind of thinking only slows proper developement of chess skill. The best way to approach getting better at chess is to jump right into the thick of it with classical developing moves. You learn how to use the power and scope of your pieces more efficiently by starting from the cornerstone of chess openings; the open games!

With the release of this book alongside Marin's other brilliant masterpiece "A Spanish Repertoire for Black", players seeking to learn the open games now have a definitive guide to pull knowledge from. The structure of Marin's book is truly the best I have ever read. Each of white's main openings like the King's Gambit, Scotch game, exchange Ruy, etc., are first described in concepts and ideas rather than flood you with page after page of diagrams & sub-variations. The idea is you actually LEARN the key points of the opening instead of memorizing moves. After you finish the chapter lesson, you get a section devoted to all of the sub-variations by themselves in a nice condenced reference form. I found it especially useful for entering the lines into my openings training program based on Marin's suggestions and analysis. Without a doubt, all chess openings books should be structured this way.

I'm in agreement with many reviewers in chess circles that this is clearly one of the best chess books ever written regardless of content. Every club chess player should own a copy of this book, as well as Marin's "A Spanish Repertoire for Black". It's a rare treasure among the thousands of generic opening books out there!