Book Recommendations and Reviews

RussBell  wrote:

... an excellent, instructive introduction to gambit openings, including the Evans Gambit, are the 3-volume series "The Alterman Gambit Guide" by Boris Alterman.  These are targeted primarily to the beginner-intermediate player... ...

"... For those who want to understand these openings, the presentation will appeal to players rated from 1400 to around 2200, …" - FM Carsten Hansen (2012), reviewing volume 1 of the Black Gambits

Here are samples for all three Alterman Gambit books:

kindaspongey wrote:
RussBell wrote:
kindaspongey wrote:

The thing that struck me is a comment in the second review that the "target audience" is "players rated 1500-2000".

The Gambiteer books by Davies are opening repertoire books.  Repertoire books ... tend to be more readily "digestable" by the average amateur player.  The quality of such books range from very good, in many cases, to mediocre in some.  For those wanting to simply get started playing an opening, a repertoire book can be a good way to begin - for example, Vincent Moret's "My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White" (which I highly recommend) is a perfect example.  ...

It seems to me that repertoire books vary greatly in their target audience. For the reader, I suspect that the degree of digestibility depends considerably on the degree to which the reader fits the profile that the writer had in mind. If a book is intended for 1500-2000 players, it might not work so well for someone below 1100. I am not aware of a rating range for the Moret books, but perhaps a sample can provide a potential buyer with a sense of whether or not they are what is wanted.

"... For beginning players, [Discovering Chess Openings] will offer an opportunity to start out on the right foot and really get a feel for what is happening on the board. ..." - FM Carsten Hansen (2006)

Some of us think that it can be useful to use books like First Steps: 1 e4 e5 and First Steps: Queen's Gambit
as sources of games with explanations intended for those just starting to learn about an opening.

I take no issue with anything said here.

I specifically chose to qualify my comment with the phrase "...more readily "digestable" by the average amateur player." because the statement is not unreasonable, and because I did not want to become pedantically bogged down in the quagmire of attempting to specify which repertoire books would, or would not be appropriate for specific levels of player.  Of course, it should be understood that some repertoire books may be more suitable for higher level players vs lower level players (and vice-versa).  If I cite a specific book, I will generally try to specify if that distinction is significant enough to be made clear.  Thus...

Vincent Moret's opening repertoire book which I had cited is targeted primarily to the beginner-intermediate chess player.


I’m hearing a lot of praise for Silman, Silman’s Complete Endgame Course is here too, I feel tempted to get it


Looking at the recommendations here, these are the ones I got right now. I’m holding off on the others for now, these should take a while.

I strongly agree with brother7’s recommendations in post #8, right on the money ...

1. Chess Steps for damn sure above all the rest at your level (after several months mostly away from chess, I am returning, using this method and wishing I had been using it from the start).

2. Online membership here also is great. Along with the Chess Steps, you can do the “new” chess lessons, practice/analyze several tactics every day on the Tactics Trainer, and work through the many interactive chess lessons starting with the lower level courses.

3. Books, especially on opening repertoires, are largely a waste of time at our level, best for reading for pleasure as a diversion from repetitive tactics training, and learning a little verbiage about general opening/strategy principles that we won’t be using for a long time until we clean up the cruder calculating and pattern recognition errors (tactics tactics tactics again). That said, Silman’s Endgame Course (the early chapters), Weapons of Chess by Pandolfini, Discovering Chess Openings by John Emms, and First Steps 1.e4 e5 by John Emms are great diversion books that will help you barely at all if at all when compared to the resources in points 2 and 3 above.

The title of the book "369 Chess Master Lessons" by Andrew Soltis hints at the audience that the book is intended for.