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Fundamental Chess Openings
Titel: Fundamental Chess Openings
Auteur: van der Sterren P.
Uitgever: Gambit
Jaartal: 2009
Taal: Engels
Aantal pagina's:   480
Verkoopprijs:   Ä 24.00
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  • The perfect survival guide to the chess openings
  • All openings covered
  • Detailed verbal explanations of plans for both sides
  • Up-to-date and featuring many tips and recommendations
  • Insights into the 'character' of each opening
  • Written by one of the world's foremost opening experts

The first moves of a chess game define the nature of the whole struggle, as both players stake their claim to the critical squares and start to develop their plans. It is essential to play purposefully and to avoid falling into traps or reaching a position that you don't understand.

This is not a book that provides masses of variations to memorize. Paul van der Sterren instead offers a wealth of ideas and explanation, together with the basic variations of each and every opening. This knowledge will equip players to succeed in the opening up to good club level, and provide a superb grounding in opening play on which to build a more sophisticated repertoire. The strategies he explains will, unlike ever-changing chess opening theory, remain valid as long as chess is played, and so the time spent studying this book will be rewarded many times over.


In the colossal body of chess literature, no aspect of the game has been treated as extensively as the openings. In varying degrees of expertise, clarity and depth, thousands of books discuss every imaginable and unimaginable opening the game of chess has to offer. This is a process that will never stop. As long as a particular opening is being played, its variations will be worked out deeper and deeper and assessments will be modified on the basis of these new experiences. As long as chess is alive, its opening theory will also be alive and new books will be needed to document all of this new life.

This book intends to introduce the reader to this strange but fascinating world, the world of open­ing theory. There will be no long sequences of moves, no complicated analysis and no real attempt to keep up with the very latest developments. Instead I shall attempt to clarify the background, the gene­sis and the development of all major openings and try to show how they are much more intercon­nected and based on the same ideas and insights than many people think. This approach makes this book a very different one from the usual opening manuals. It could perhaps be said to precede them. If it has the effect on the reader that it whets his appetite for these 'usual' opening books, or at least makes him understand them a little bit better, this book will have fulfilled its purpose.

What is Opening Theory?

Everyone who devotes even the tiniest amount of thought to his first move not only makes a start with that particular game but also with the development of opening theory. From that moment on, every new game will confront him with the starting position again and therefore with his earlier thoughts on it. Also he will sooner or later find out that millions of other players have pondered ex­actly the same problems and, whether he wants to or not, he will to some extent start comparing his own ideas about how to start a game with theirs.

This means that opening theory arises quite naturally with the start of a game. No one can avoid it. It ends, equally naturally, with the end of a game. If we pursue our thinking about the opening position logically and systematically, while accepting only the highest possible degree of certainty as a satisfactory result, we cannot end our investigation unless we are sure we have reached either a winning or a drawn position. Seen in this light, thinking about the starting position involves a thor­ough examination of the middlegame and endgame as well.

It could be said then, that opening theory does not really exist, at least not as something separate from other aspects of the game. Ultimately, opening theory comprises all theory.

However, since the human brain and even the computer is still not capable of completely seeing through (and thereby destroying) chess as a whole, in practice opening theory does not end with an empty board but in positions where there is a certain consensus about how they should be assessed, for instance 'chances are equal' or 'White (or Black) has the advantage'.

Sometimes a question can be answered with total confidence. In the position after 1 e4 there is some room for discussion on how good or bad 1...g5 is (though not much), but if White continues 2 d4 here, there can be no question on the value of 2...f6 because 3 Qh5# is then mate. End of game, end of theory.

But in most cases an assessment is merely a temporary stop. The moment somebody starts ques­tioning it, the argument continues. Until the next temporary stop is reached.

And so, ever since the beginnings of chess, every single chess-player has contributed something to that gigantic construction called opening theory. This brings us to the next question.

How Much Theory Should a Player Know?

The most severe answer to this has to be 'everything', the softest 'as much as you like' and the pro-foundest 'nothing'. All three are correct.

Knowledge of opening theory is a double-edged sword. The player who knows a lot will un­doubtedly profit by his knowledge, but he may also live in constant fear of meeting an opponent who knows even more. Everyone who has studied opening theory in depth will have learned that, no matter how well you do your work, there is always the possibility of having overlooked some­thing or of not having looked deep enough. Trying to keep abreast of the latest developments, read­ing everything, keeping a close watch on the Internet, makes you very knowledgeable but also acutely aware of the possibility of missing something. In short, he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.

It is therefore of the utmost importance for a chess-player to find his own personal balance be­tween knowing too much and knowing too little. The purpose of studying opening theory should not be accumulating any set amount of knowledge, but being content with whatever knowledge one has. For someone with a natural flair for study, it may be perfect to work on openings all the time. For someone who is much less scientifically minded, even the slightest attempt to study openings may well be superfluous and even detrimental to his game.

But there is another aspect of studying opening theory to be mentioned. Anyone with even the slightest intellectual bent of mind (and which chess-player isn't?) may find getting to know a little bit about opening theory very interesting. Even without any ambition to improve your results and independent of your level of play, you may simply find the study of openings very enjoyable. You may also discover that this has absolutely nothing to do with memorizing variations or the need to occupy yourself with chess more than you want to.

This sheer fun is in my view an essential element of studying opening theory. It is my hope that this book will make some of this pleasure visible and perceptible. The book contains an overview of all major openings, how they have evolved through the years and how they are looked upon to­day, early in the 21 st century. I shall be just sketching the outlines and will be very concise, but per­haps this is precisely the way to convey the fascination that opening theory has always had for me. Opening theory has been an almost inexhaustible source of pleasure for me throughout my active chess years. I sincerely hope it may be the same for you.


005 Symbols and Notation

006 Introduction

008 The First Move

009 1 d4

011 Queen's Gambit Declined

027 Slav and Semi-Slav

040 Queen's Gambit Accepted

046 Other 1 d4 d5 Openings

057 Nimzo-Indian Defence

077 Queen's Indian Defence

089 Bogo-Indian Defence

093 King's Indian Defence

121 Grunfeld Defence

140 Benoni and Benko

159 Other 1 d4 Nf6 Openings

174 Dutch Defence

185 Other 1 d4 Openings

198 Flank Openings

199 Symmetrical English

222 Reversed Sicilian

233 1 c4 Nf6 and Other English Lines

248 Reti Opening

261 Other Flank Openings

269 1 e4

272 Ruy Lopez

301 Italian Game

312 Scotch Opening

318 Four Knights Game

322 Petroff Defence

328 King's Gambit

337 Other 1 e4 e5 Openings

347 French Defence

375 Caro-Kann Defence

389 Sicilian Defence

447 Alekhine Defence

453 Pirc Defence

461 Other 1 e4 Openings

469 Index of Named Opening Lines

472 Index of Variations


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