Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Big Book of Busts

"The Big Book of Busts" was one of the most imaginatively named chess books I have come across. It major purpose was to collect refutations (or 'busts') to a number of off beat openings all in one place. I have just discovered that the book has been recently updated, but sadly, so has the title. It has now become 'Taming Wild Chess Openings' , which makes it seem less interesting, although the content is still quite useful.
John Watson and Eric Schiller (the original authors) have arranged the content not in the tradition ECO order, but instead grouped the openings by the more cinematic "Good, Bad, and Ugly". They have also added some new codes to positions including "The Rabbit", "The Monkey" and "The Snake" (against weaker players, just for fun, you might get bitten, respectively).
As the emphasis of the book is on playing, or playing against, off beat lines, it is best suited for players who wish to meet opponents who have their 'pet' systems. Often these openings also have their own weird names, so when you meet the "Mkole Mbembe" or the "Drunken Hippo Formation" you will be prepared.
Of course one persons refutation is another persons challenge, so any book claiming to blow openings out of the water needs to be approached with a little scepticism. Indeed some of the suggested lines are predicated on an assumption that your opponent will play sub-optimally, but they do flag that in the notes.
I certainly will be adding it to my collection of opening reference works, and may even use it to spring the odd surprise. "Taming Wild Chess Openings" is available from e+Chess Books for $11.99US

(My review copy of this book was supplied by e+Chess Books)


Anonymous said...

Does the book remember to cover the Sculpture Defence? I had to get that question off my chest as it will be pivotal in determining whether I purchase this effigy of a work.

Anonymous said...

Tell me the moves and I'll check for you...
Heligan, e+books