- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Everyman Chess; 1st edition (October 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857445538
- ISBN-13: 978-1857445534
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire Paperback – October 1, 1998
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That said, keep a couple of things in mind. First, being "startling" is not without risk. Do you try it in the first round of an open Swiss when facing an opponent 400 points higher in rating? You would either (a) get instantly demolished, or (b) actually have an interesting game. It all depends. Do you try it against an equally-ranked player? Perhaps, depending on the tournament or match situation. Against a lower-ranked player? Again, perhaps....
This leads to the second point: with all repertoire books, but with this one especially, you MUST do your OWN thinking. The author cannot do that for you. You must go through the book, choosing lines that interest you, and then decide when and if you might try them out. For instance, I found this book's chapters on the Sicilian and the French rather interesting; certainly off the beaten track and worthy of more study. I don't know that I would try the Cochrane against the Petroff, as other reviewiers have also opined.
As to whether the book's analysis is sound and complete, I am not qualified to judge. But I do find it interesting and worthy of selective study. I would actually rate the book 3.5 stars.
Baker, an International Master, has made little effort to explain why moves are made or the general trend/idea of the game, leaving things up to the reader to do so. I would not recommend this book to players with USCF ratings of 1500 or below and even then, not without a lot of personal and computer-aided analysis of the lines. However, in the right hands, it's great to trot out these lines as White from time-to-time, if only to get Black thinking for long enough for White to get a cup of coffee!
Chris Baker has created a much more profound repertoire than most people appreciate. It is truly "startling" and well thought, yes as others have mentioned it's not always stupendously perfect but that is not its intention!
The book has two major goals, one- to impart the wisdom of understanding ideas rather than memorizing the latest issue of whatever. Two- to equip the novice player with a repertoire that is build on development, open lines and good endgames. Baker takes on the "classic" approach of swift development that was forgotten and revives it quite well.
After reading this book you may feel that you need to "graduate" Some of the openings that he offers, for instance, as fascinating as it may be the Max-Lange is probably not as sufficient as other tries - however, it is important to master none the less! Not to mention that it's fun!
Also, as others have mentioned the 4.Nxf7 against the Petroff is not everyone's cup of tea (I prefer 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3) but is educational none the less! There are other openings that you may feel like you need to study harder and perhaps find better ways to tackle them but one thing is certain - you will not find a better opening repertoire book! Believe me I'm a book collector and a "Book Hunter" I buy many chess books and I can say with out a doubt that this is one of the bests! This is the book I get back to the most!
The chapters on the Sicilian are stupendously magnificent and enlightening.
I can't say enough good things on this book, a true classic, profoundly important, deep and thorough, go out and buy it! The chapter on the Rossolimo alone makes it worth every penny. Well done Chris, well done!!