Open files: original 1981-New and revised edition 2009
Over a quarter of a century ago, the first edition of this book (published in East Germany in 1981) was a huge best seller. Yet unfortunately it was never reprinted and it soon became a scarce collector's item. The reason: one of its co-authors, the chess trainer Gerhard Schmidt, left for the West. He thus became persona non grata in East Germany and the book was banned there. Despite the book's excellent qualities, which were acclaimed in chess circles, from then on its success could only be an underground one.
However, the subject of the book is timeless and transcends frontiers, and so at last we have a new edition, fully revised by the original authors themselves to include modern games by world-class players such as Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik and Judit Polgar.
The book explains, clearly, systematically and comprehensively, the strategy and tactics associated with the open file: how files are opened, blocked, occupied and exploited as roads along which to invade the enemy position. A brief introduction lays the theoretical foundations and is followed by carefully selected and organised material in the form of illustrative games, in all of which the open file is the dominant or deciding factor. In each game there is a pause at a key position where a clear verbal assessment is given; these assessments alone are of huge instructional value, since they do nothing less than teach the reader how strong chessplayers think: what to look for, how to assess, how to plan.
The book benefits not only from Gerhard Schmidt's experience as a trainer but also from the huge knowledge and skill gained by Grandmaster Wolfgang Uhlmann during his long and successful career in top-class chess, which at one point brought him close to the world title, and made him indisputably one of Germany's greatest ever chessplayers.
008 1 Aspects of the evaluation of open files
015 2 The creation of the open file
015 2.1 Methods of creating an open file
043 2.2 Preparing to occupy the open file
056 3 The struggle for control of the open file
056 3.1 The conquest of the open file
063 3.2 Square weaknesses on the open file
075 3.3 The struggle against the open file
084 4 The dominant open file
101 5 Exploiting the open file
101 5.1 Exploiting the open file in association with other positional advantages
119 5.2 Exchanging the advantage of the open file for other advantages
127 5.3 Tactics on the open file
143 6 The connection between the open file and the 7th and 8th ranks
143 6.1 The seventh rank
156 6.2 The eighth rank (back rank)
162 Index of Players
164 Index of Openings