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Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition Paperback – April 8, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Series: Chess
  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Puzzles & Games; 15 edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812936825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812936827
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Regrettably, MCO 15 is not what it should be. First, like MCO 14, there are countless typographical errors. Experienced players will no doubt suffer through this, but the editors are the ones who should have suffered so that readers do not have to. Secondly, most of the material is in lifted from MCO 14. Mr. De Firmian has his favorite openings and updates those better, but for non-topical lines developments go unmentioned. Thirdly, in spite of the claim that variations have been checked by computers, I have found serval cases where computer evaluations refute those given. So while computers must have been involved in the production of the volume, it would be interesting to know what percentage of the lines were actually checked. For an author who is sensitive enough to never fail to use the he/she convention, perhaps more thought could have been given to the environmental impact that this book would have given its limited use. More could be said, but I think that this suffices for those who are looking to spend thier money wisely.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The review by Gina Kruml is right on. I had waited for years for the new edition....what a disappointment. The number of typographical errors is staggering. It's hard to find an opening free of typos. In a chessbook, this is particularly bad and I tend to fault De Firmian, the author. Doesn't he have any responsibility to read his own work? Kruml blames the editors, but I think Kruml is too kind.

The book also does a poor job on providing the names of the more obscure openings. Although they may be covered, no names are attached and they are not indexed. How does this help the chess student? Blame the editors, but it seems as if De Firmian detached himself from any supervision. As for the number of he/she's puffing up the text (and slowing down the reader), well Kruml did nicely mention the environmental impact. This must be the fault of the knee-jerk editors.

Of course any decent chessplayer has to buy this book...it's a classic. But it's so sad to see chess computers getting better and MCO editions getting worse.
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Format: Paperback
I very much support the review by Gina Kruml that this edition is under-revised.
I have used the 14th edition of MCO to play through Grandmaster Games for the last 9 years and have penciled in those lines and novelties played by my favorite players like Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Aronian and recently Carlsen as well. When I got the new 15th edition I checked if these lines were incorporated into the book, but to my disappointment even these novelties by the best players weren't to find in the book. I rather found out that the 15th and 14 edition don't differ very much in their contents and very minor contributions have been made to the new edition.
If you open up the book the first thing that will strike you is, that the appearance of the pages are very 'white'; that is to say, there is not too much printed on the pages and the free space between the printed lines is quite big. Maybe that's intentionally made so the reader can write updates with pencil in between...
That said, MCO doesn't give a lot of variations, but rather always one single sideline, that's it. But this will not suffice to play the openings with confidence yourself...
My advice: if you really want to have a single volume reference book on chess openings, get the old 1999 Nunn's Chess Openings NCO book, it's still the best of it's kind.
But if you prefer to write updates with pencil into the book yourself, then maybe buy MCO 15th edition, simply because it has lots of free white space on the pages to write on...
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Format: Paperback
I use to have Nuuns book on openings but I misplaced it. Anyway I needed a book on opeings ASAP so I ran to Borders and found MCO. I wanted to study an unusual opening to throw off my opponent. Anyway as I am studying the lines on my database I find some unsual things and typos. eg on page 730 of the Larsen's opening if you play out the moves to follow subscript E you will notice that the book on the 8th moved sacrifices the queen for no reason or advantage Fritz and chessmaster in the analysis mode call this an major error.

Also on same opening if you play out the move on column 5 and finally get to subscript L, you will notice it does not follow. It calls for the knight to take on D4 but there is no piece on d4.

If you are a serious player this book make throw off your game. I recommend nunns book over this one. I have
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Format: Paperback
Modern Chess Openings has been one of the major players when it comes to books that deal specifically with chess opening theory. In the age of database-oriented training and the availability of online resources that are available for little or no cost it is important to make sure that printed editions of books like this are as close to flawless as possible. This book is far from flawless though it has its merits.

In my opinion, the very best attribute of this book is the organization. The openings are divided into king-pawn openings, queen-pawn openings, Indian openings and other logical groupings, and each of those sections is further divided by the name of the openings and the many, many variations and sub-variations. Each opening gets a page or two of descriptive explanation, and each variation is further documented with references to past games with frequent evaluations. This format works well for me. I have little issue finding what I need quickly and working through variations as I try to learn.

There are two issues with this book that counter the layout. First, the explanation of each opening could be better. That is, there is an explanation for the overall opening but then the variations are presented just as lists of moves. Some of the variations could use a little more explanation, particularly when the variations have been named. The variations exist for a reason and it would be helpful to know why.

The more grievous issue is that the book is not edited very well. As many other reviewers here have noted, there are typos that seriously take away from an otherwise good book and as a result there are some questions that arise - are the variations accurate? How well checked was each variation?
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