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King's Gambit (Grandmaster Guide) Paperback – September 3, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Shaw is a chess grandmaster who has been Scottish Champion three times. This is his most ambitious book to date, and was many years in the making.

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Product Details

  • Series: Grandmaster Guide
  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Quality Chess; First Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906552711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906552718
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By mojojojo50 on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This immense book will be the definitive King's Gambit Bible for the next 15-20 years. Shaw applies a modern GM assessment & understanding to the dominant opening of mid-19th century 'Romantic era' of chess. The KG is a HIGH RISK OPENING. White initiates tension on the 2nd move (1.e4, e5, 2.f4) by offering a free pawn, allow Blacks KB onto c5 to dominate g1, and encourage Black to grab gobs of space with a rapid kingside pawn advance (also, White's king frequently does notr castle and the endgame can be very messy for white). For compensation, white gets positional piece play, chances to dominate the center, opportunities to wrong-foot the black pieces in unfamiliar terrain and a gloves-off challenge to establish who is the better player. Both sides have real chances. Spassky & other GM's occasinally use the KG to signal a readiness for immediate hand-to-hand chess combat. Often intense piece-playfighting starts before move 10 requiring both players to consider complex/unclear choices at every turn. Draws are hard to come by. A brief cinematic example of KG play is in an early scene from the Bond movie From Russia with Love, (based 1960 Spassky vs Bronstein game).

Shaws outstanding book is the size of a big city telephone directory. A detailed contents page & 9 page variation index make the book easy to navigate.. clear printing, 2-4 diagrams on every page, detailing of mainlines & obscure options, frequent recomendations, novelties, everything is computer tested. The book can be read in bed or lays flat on a table beside my set. Shaw dissects 73 main games; he tries to address every imaginable option for the first moves (clear reasons are given for what is discarded/recomended and deep diving into playable lines. KG has four main lines covered in 21 chapters.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Frederick on September 23, 2013
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Simply an amazing book! Far and away the greatest King's Gambit book ever, and perhaps the greatest book ever written on a single opening. It is 680 pages long (653 + indexes)! But I'm sure Grandmaster Shaw could easily have gotten to 1000 pages. Believe it or not, he had to exercise considerable editorial discretion to keep it down to ONLY 680. For example, fans of the Bishop's Gambit and Muzio won't be happy: he just explains why they're inferior (3...Nc6! with advantage in all lines in the former, 9...Qf5! in the latter) and moves on. Ditto for the Allgaier and the Keres Gambit (3.Nc3). And there are a lot of sidelines where he basically says "yes, this is playable" and goes on to more theoretically critical lines. To my surprise, he is NOT a big fan of the Kieseritzky, which I had thought was close to obligatory for White (1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5). He says yes, it's perfectly playable, but 5...d6! and 5...Nc6! both lead to boring equality. He prefers the Quaade Gambit, 4.Nc3!, intending to undermine Black's pawns with g3. After a simul last year, Grandmaster Larry Christiansen told us that 4.Nc3! is the move, so I find Shaw's claim less surprising/eccentric than I otherwise would. The book is a real labor of love. As a prior reviewer noted, Shaw spent five years on this book, and it shows.

Certainly any King's Gambit fan or potential fan should buy this book instantly. If I were an 1.e4 e5 player I'd certainly get it as well. Even if one doesn't play either side of the opening it might be worth getting the book just for the games. Shaw has included a lot of amazing, entertaining, and instructive games, which are very enjoyable even if the King's Gambit isn't your cup of tea.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Iamachessstudent on September 4, 2013
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WOW!
Really sums up everything that was put into the making of this TOME ( book does not do the size and coverage of this opening justice).
GM John Shaw really took this opening to task and has delved into every variation, sub-variation and has offered a TON of novelties to almost every variation of this opening!
I am just over half-way through the book, and the quality of analysis, explanations and plentiful diagrams just make the book one that you do not want to put down. GM Shaw covers every variation of this venerable opening, and includes a great chapter on why 3.Bc4 is at best, only equal for WHITE which helped me quite a bit, since I played 3.Bc4 quite allot before receiving this tome. I will never play 3.Bc4?! against the KG again!

GM Shaw even quotes the old out of date gambits, like the Rice Gambit, so those of us that are not familiar or just don't remember it have it as an easy reference. i can't wait to get further into this work so I can see the rest of GM Shaw's recommendations and suggestions for the other lines of the KG. He starts the book out running, covering the main lines against the King's Gambit Accepted with 3.Nf3 g5! and the analysis and content grows from there! If you are thinking about playing the King's Gambit as White or need some fresh ideas or just want an excellent work on this romantic opening, Id say Get this book ASAP..you will be more than glad you did! It is one of the best books and most well done books I have had in while !
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. A Oberly on September 18, 2013
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I have probably only played the King's Gambit a half dozen times in my life, and I've never really studied it in any other way than just looking over a few old games. And probably the last book on the openings I have bought was twenty years ago, but when I heard about this one, I was intrigued enough to buy it. I am so glad I did -- I have barely dipped my toe in the water in this book, and it is already fascinating.

The first thing that strikes one on flipping through this book is the colossal depth. Shaw has thick sections for each subvariation of the King's Gambit, many with representative games, which he uses to demonstrate a lot of variations that could have been played, and examines their relative worth. Even if you pick just one sub-variation to study, you will have your hands full. (in a good way.)

The second thing that struck me is how well written the book is. Shaw is mostly all business here, in order to pack as much in as he can, but it is really a delight to read. It is the furthest thing from the sort of database dumps that many opening books are. Having said that, there are some bursts of humor and wit here, and it is in no way dull. Just be aware that this *is* a fairly hardcore discussion of just the King's Gambit, and there is no way you will be disappointed.

In the author's preface, Shaw says in a parenthetical "I hope this book will become the most important source!". I can only say to that: "mission accomplished, sir!". This is probably the most readable opening book I've ever read, and the most thorough for a single opening. It is clearly a labor of love, and it just may make you want to try the King's Gambit. I certainly want to. (just give me some time to prepare, with the help of Mr. Shaw's book, first!)

Highly recommended.
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King's Gambit (Grandmaster Guide)
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