Saturday, September 28, 2013

"Play the Open Games as Black" by John Emms, Gambit

I am happy to start this blog with a review of "Play the Open Games as Black" because it is a good one. It was recommended to me when I was looking for an overall book about e4 - e5 in a chess store and I am glad I trusted the salesman as this was good find. Let's have a look at it in more details.

General Presentation

Soft cover, black and white, 224 pages, "Play the Open Games as Black" is an opening book about the open games (1 e4 e5) seen on the black pieces point of view.
This book gives you everything you need to know to play the open games with the black pieces except against the Spanish opening (just the four knights version of it is covered). Why? The author probably thinks that you already have a weapon against the Spanish or that you will want a book entirely dedicated to the Spanish variant you want to play.

On the cover of the book, you can see: "What to do when White avoids the Ruy Lopez".

Structure and Presentation

This book is well structured overall. It is separated in clever chapters, for example one chapter with an introduction to the King's Gambit and its rare variation, then the bishop version of it and finally the knight version of it.
The presentation, though simple is easy to follow. The main lines are clear, generally divided in two (main line A and main line B) with small characters for the variations. So, no fancy symbols, no colors, no intricate diagrams but straight to the point.
I wish all the chess books (at least the opening ones) were that clear and well presented.

The Content

The content of this book is also very good for three reasons:
  • most openings are presented (even things like 2. a3 or 2. Bb5)
  • the more common the opening the deeper the analysis. The Italian/four knights and scotch games are for example better dealt with than the Danish gambit
  • for most opening, the author gives the option to go for a safe line or a more ambitious one. It then depends on your style of play to decide which to choose
Among the openings looked at, you will find: the two knights, the four knights, the king's gambit, the Scotch game, the Vienna, the Centre, the Danish and the Gøring gambits, the Belgrade gambit, the Ponziani and there is a first chapter about other rare second moves for White.

My Conclusion

This book is nice to build an overall repertoire against e4 (by playing e5), or as a reference book (to check what you were supposed to play in that particular opening line you just played). You need however a separate book to deal with the Spanish.

To buy, this book at Amazon, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment