"How to Play the English Opening" review
I just finished "How to play the English Opening" by Anatoly Karpov so I thought I'd write a wee review while the book is still fresh in my mind.
Firstly I'd like to say that along with "The Dynamic English" by Tony Kosten this is the best book on the English I have ever read! In fact I would like to say that this book and the mentioned "Dynamic English" are the perfect pair of books to buy for people interested in playing the english opening seriously as white.
The book is a collection of 30 games played in the last 25 years, all english openings and all HEAVILY annotated by Karpov. A great deal of the games feature Karpov himself. Now, when I say "heavily" annotated I mean INCREDIBLY heavily annotated. He doesn't just give alternative lines he gives entire games within those lines, sometimes several games! Even the alternative games within the main game contain alternate games with THEM! The volume of information presented here is just staggering, but it never gets boring because all the games Karpov uses are extremely interesting and thematically relevant. There are so many alternate games, variations, and explanations in each main game....it took me about an hour to go through each one properly!
Since the games are so deeply annotated it becomes a mental workout just to keep track of all the variations you're playing through. Everytime I finished a game I felt like I had just done 300 tactical puzzles over the course of an hour, that exhuberant "My chess is better now and everything makes sense" feeling you get after a good study session. That being said, the games explore complicated strategical themes and require real effort to go through properly. I would not recommend this to anyone under 1500 OTB.
I'd say this is probably the best pure english games collection ever written and I give it my highest recommendation. Hats off to Mr. Karpov!