Monday, 24 May 2010

Instant Opening Repertoire?

At the start of my chess career the book "An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Player" by Keen and Levy was a very popular opening manual. It must have sold very well, as there were plenty of copies floating around the chess circles I moved in. In fact I was still coming across players who swore by it in the early part of this century.
Such books are of course quite appealing. Offering a kind of shortcut to opening success is always a good marketing strategy, so it is no wonder that books like this sell well. A similar book is "Action Chess" by CJS Purdy, which was based on a series of articles he wrote for Chess World. However this wasn't published in book form until the year 2000, and ran into the problem that most of these books do.
By anchoring your opening choices to a specific set of lines researched at a specific time you run the risk of having opponents finding outright refutations. And not in the same way as Anand v Topalov, but in the "oh that line was refuted in 1983" kind of way.
That is not to say such books are worthless, but as the editors of "Action Chess" realised, it is probably a good idea to add your own notes to anything more than 10 years old. Not only does it help you avoid any real disasters, but it may even teach you some good research skills.

21 comments:

MachoM said...

The book "An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Player" by Keene and Levy was in my opinion very overestimated. But maybe I compared it to much with John Nunns "Beating the Sicilian"...

Shaun Press said...

I agree with your comment on Keen and Levy. It is a good starter for players who know very few openings, but it soon runs out of steam. And what do you do when the line they recommend for Black gets played against you when you are White? (In the book they assess everything in that chapter as "giving chances for both sides")

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