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on October 12, 2013
I was looking for a good compendium of chess openings with some comments about how they work and the kinds of positions they lead to in order to help me start building an opening repertoire. This book is that, to some degree, but not quite what I was expecting. Seirawan will give you a taste of a number of good openings, then guide you to his particular favourites. Yet, he cannot go into very much depth with the openings he does recommend, and spending time giving his recommendations subtracts from the breath of openings he could have covered in the more encyclopedic sections. What is more, if you conclude that you don't really want to play the same kind of style as Seirawan, the book will end up having pretty limited use for you.

Positives are many, though. Seirawan's writing is great and very inviting - often funny and frequently self-effacing (some of the games from his childhood are a riot). This really helps the young player feel confident - even the great GMs used to make those mistakes! The games are illustrated frequently which is good for a beginner. The lay-out of the text is clear. For what it actually is, it's a very helpful book, but maybe not the best way of designing a primer on the topic, and maybe not what every buyer might be expecting.
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on June 29, 2004
This is one of the greatest opening books of all time in my opinion! Unlike other chess books, you don't have to memorize tons of variations and alternatives to get better at playing the opening! My rating went up thirty points after the next tournament!
Seirawan also doesn't put all of his variations in the normal print, he bullets them, then goes over them one by one in order of most active!
And he does not only the openings, but their certain defenses in the fourth and fifth chapters! It's a great book for intermediate/beginners, to. You can learn a lot from chapter one, "early days," and enjoy his "cannon attack" and "queen raid"! I thoughtthat chapter was funny.
Yasser had a gift for writing. And he's letting yo make use of it! I would recommend this book to anybody from 600- 1300
I have a list of book that can improve your chess greatly as well:
1. Winning Chess Series- Yasser Seirawan #2
2. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess- Bobby Fischer #3
3. Everybody's Second Chess Book- Dan Hiesman#4
4. Chess for Juniors -Robert M. Snyder #1
5. Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors -Robert M. Snyder #1
6.Winning chess openings- Bill Robertie#8
7.Chess Travellers Quiz Book- Julian Hodgsen#6
8. Logical Chess-Reuben Fine #7
9. The Tao of Chess- Kurzdorpher #5
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on December 24, 2003
I'm a chess enthusiast who mostly plays Chessmater 9000. According to the program, after 12 rated games, I'm somewhere around 1000, and that's only because one of the computer opponents, "Argyle", keeps beating my butt. Otherwise I think I'd be around 1200 becasue I have a fairly easy go with all the other opponents rated around the 1000 mark.
What I wanted from Sierawan's book was a good synopsis of modern King Pawn (e4) Defenses since that is what Chessmaster usually plays. I usually play white and I always open with e4. Why make it more complex than it has to be, eh? The real fun doesn't start until the middlegame, anyway, so let's just get there. The sooner the better.
Sierawan's book delivers just what the doctor ordered. There's a full chapter dedicated to modern King Pawn Defenses and their variations told in simple terms that you don't have to be a grandmaster to understand. So, if you're a Chessmaster player, I'd sugest you download the nifty Chesspad utility ([...] and use it to study these openings. You'll be glad you did.
Chessmaster offers a fine reference to opennings itself in it's "library" feature, but I found Sierawan's book to be much more effective in giving me a grasp on what the openings are about.
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on December 4, 2003
Seirawan's book has a great deal to recommend it. He not only covers most of the openings and defenses you're likely to see, but gives you the reasons behind all the important moves. This is important because in any number of openings it looks like the logical move would be something completely different than what the book recommends, but in all those circumstances (or all the ones I've encountered) Seirawan shows why and how this "logical" move is in fact not so logical at all. Another great plus is that in looking at Seirawan's commentary on the openings and defenses you'll learn something about positional play rather than just memorize rote openings. Probably the biggest plus this book has for intermediate players is that, by showing us his own blunders, Seirawan keeps one from getting discouraged. Finally, he mentions quite a few books on the openings he discusses, so the book points the reader in the right directions if she's interested in a certain opening.
So now to the glaring omission: As other reviewers have pointed out, he doesn't cover the English Opening (1.c4). What makes this more than a mere gripe, besides the fact the English is a rather common opening, is that at the beginning of the chapter 7 he groups the English with the Barcza Opening, KID, and Pirc Defense as an opening he recommends and implies that he will discuss it in detail. My theory is that at one time the manuscript did cover the English and editorial pressures forced Seirawan to shorten the book, which he did by cutting his long discussion of the English, and as he planned to discuss it at length there is naturally no short section on the opening and no one remembered to include one. It seems an odd coincidence that this book and the other title in the series I happen to own (Winning Chess Strategies) are exactly the same length. If this is the case they should definitely lengthen the book in future editions, and even if not coverage of the English would be nice. It is exactly the sort of quiet opening that deserves to be discussed with the Barcza. At any rate the recommendations I've gotten say to respond to the English with a Hedgehog Defense, which Seirawan does cover. All an all despite this wart it's still a good book to help one get a grip on openings.
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on January 23, 2004
I have found that his method of teaching the opening to be the Best, it helps show his students why it takes time to understand what is happening early in the game. Seirawan has done a grandmaster's job with his Winning Chess Series of Books.
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on July 24, 2014
Tries to cover all the openings and in so doing manages to cover none. I like Mr. Seirawan's recommendations in the final 3 chapters of the book though.
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