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Other good books for learning the ideas behind the various openings are Pawn Power in Chess and Pawn Structure Chess. The arrangement of the Pawns plays a major role in determining the correct strategical plan.
Thanks uwinagain. I lost my granny, not in a game of chess though. What is that coin?
Hi Kayak21, sorry to hear about your Granny, actually both of mine passed on as well but I still like the phrase.
As for the coin, I'm a metal detectorist and its one of my favourite finds;
Its a Roman siver Denari of the Emporer Trajan, AD 98-117 and in lovely nick! Reverse has Mars on it but a little weakly struck.
Ill add you to my friends list; we could have a game soon!
Try the excellent easy to read primer "Chess Made Easy" by Purdy & Koshnitsky, pub by Penguin.
I play based on general principles like many here suggest. When I start my post game analysis I grab a general opening reference book to see which opening I played and what line I entered into. I then look for the main ideas of the opening and compare it with my play. This approach works wonders as you actually start to acquire an opening repertoire. You will also be surprised that by playing the opening based on general principles how you are able to actually stay in book. Two weeks ago as black at my club I entered into the French Milner Barry variation and I was in book to move 11. I had gotten out of the opening with good middlegame prospects and that is all one can ask of opening play.