Click here to look for "chess" with the Google search engine.   Hello friend!     ...............    Welcome to one of the best {private} chess sites around. (Recognized as such by several national chess federations and also "C.J.A." Site of The Year for 2004.)     ................     Check out my School of Tactics!!  ..........  Many improvements and NEW PAGES!!!!   (Be sure to check the T.L.A. in 'Chess Life' for the tournaments in your area.)  Thanks, and have a great day!!!

   A FIDE "Top 100" site.  
  Best site, CJA, for 2004.

All the 
in chess.

(Navigation bar 
directly below.)

UP (One level)
My Book Reviews, II


Keep watching these pages as they grow and change!!

 © A.J. Goldsby, 2015. 
  (All rights reserved.) 


    Click  HERE 
     to see my       
    Chess Items.  


Official PayPal Seal


Buy a book  
(And help me out as well!)


 Click  HERE ...
 to see a list of the businesses that help to sponsor all of my chess efforts.

My Book Reviews

Home UP (One level) Next

My original intention was to bring all the book reviews I could find and reproduce them on this page. I now (Dec. 2000), have decided this is neither necessary or even possible. What I will do is try to get as many of the better book reviews I have done and reproduce them here. You should also check out my page on "The Best [Chess] Books," to see if I have not already listed a review there.  <resource


wpe2.jpg (15202 bytes)


I am going to have some of my better book reviews on this page.

(I have written dozens of book reviews on chess books over the years. These have been printed in just about all the South-East State Magazines. Also my reviews have been published in New York, California, Illinois, Ohio, etc. My book reviews have been published in magazines, newspapers and other sources. I also had a review printed recently, [The end of the year, 2000.]; in "Chess Horizons.") So I plan to reproduce many of them here for you to read, if you are interested.

If you can't wait until I finish this page, click HERE and go directly to's Chess Book Page. There you can read a few of my better reviews. (I have reviewed many of their "Top 100" chess books.) 

My current rank, as of 04/22/00, as a reviewer for is # 776. I have written around 50 reviews to date (that are actually posted) for This compares very favorably now over 1,500!! reviews written by their Number #1 reviewer. I am also, to the best of my knowledge, the  ONLY  reviewer in the Top 1000 that has reviewed  nothing  but chess books!!!

(To go directly to the page on, that contains ALL of my book reviews, click here.)

   Read  my book review of  "The Immortal Game,"  by  David Shenk.   

Review, "The Complete Chess-Player."

Here is my review of, "The Complete Chess-Player", by Fred Reinfeld from

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful: (Copied from approximately Oct, 2000.)


"All you need to know about chess...,"  November 28, 1999

stars-5-0.gif (1174 bytes)
top-reviewer-1000.gif (1371 bytes)

Reviewer: A.J. Goldsby I (see more about me), 
from Pensacola, FL (U.S.A.)

"My [chess] Bible. I studied this book several times very thoroughly. I, at one time, had memorized every  single one of the illustrative games in the back of the book.

I had already been through this book several times. I was stuck in a rut, so I decided to go through this book again. (My library was very small at that time.) This process took about 4 months. Every time there was diagram, I set up the position on the chess board. (I often used 3 chess sets and one pocket set.) I did not move on from one section until I felt I understood EVERYTHING the Author had to say about that subject in that particular section. The result? I went 4-1 in the Open Section of a tournament and went from 1400 to 1700 in ONE TOURNAMENT! (In the 70's.)" 

  << Note: This was "The Vulcan Open," in Birmingham, AL.1977.  I still have the trophy. >>  

"I have taught chess in several Public Schools and also in private schools here in Pensacola. I have always used this book as my textbook, and have designed an entire curriculum around this one book.

I also like Reinfeld's approach to writing. Some Master's seem to write to impress other chess authors and other Chess Masters. Reinfeld is writing for the average Joe. You will readily understand and absorb what he writes.

Is your rating below 2000? Do you want to improve? Then DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR,  you will NEVER buy a better chess book than this one!"

book_nco.jpg (20138 bytes, wpe3 file)

Nunn's Chess Openings (NCO)

My review of NCO appears below.

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful: (Copied from web on Oct. 21st, 2000.)

"The Opening Book for the Serious Student."

stars-5-0.gif (1174 bytes)
top-reviewer-1000.gif (1371 bytes)   
Reviewer: A.J. Goldsby I (see more about me), from Pensacola, FL (U.S.A.)

<< This is the "GrandMaster" of opening books. I am a Master and I teach chess for a living. When my students want to learn an opening, or need a one volume reference for learning new openings, this is the book I recommend to them. A "MUST" for the Postal player! There is more information and fewer mistakes in this book, than any opening compendium I have ever seen!

WARNING: If you are a casual chess player, or looking for a book to help you improve and learn something, this is not the book you seek. This is a book for very serious chess players. If you have never used an opening book before, you will find this book a very difficult "read." Its just lines and recommendations for what is best in the openings. There are a great deal of symbols and lines that end with an evaluation like "White is slightly better." There is nothing (no verbiage) that explains why White is better. Unless this type of dialogue would be useful to you, you are better off not buying this book. >>

My review of 
"The Art of [chess] Analysis," by Jan Timman. 
(See below.) 

  "A True Classic," September 11, 2000  

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:  (Copied from, Nov. 01, 2000)

stars-5-0.gif (1174 bytes)  Reviewer: A.J. Goldsby I (see more about me) from Pensacola, FL (U.S.A.)
top-reviewer-1000.gif (1371 bytes)   

Not many words. With this book, they are unnecessary.

Maybe, "The Greatest Chess Book Ever Written?"

No, I am NOT kidding.

My first copy of this book came out probably 20 years ago. (I just got another copy.) Its just as good (better) today as it was then. I think even Garry Kasparov (and any other player in the World's Top Ten); would learn something from this book if they cared to apply themselves. Its like a diamond, every time you look at it you see a new and beautiful facet to enjoy with awe and wonder. Only a handful of books will ever come close to what this book achieved.

Note of Warning: The very beginner/lower-rated player will find this book much too tough a read.

(The following is one of my better reviews, and certainly is in great detail.)

"I tip my hat to GM Sadler." (Sept. 19th, 2000.)

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful: (Copied from the net, April 22, 2001.)

stars-5-0.gif (1174 bytes)
top-reviewer-1000.gif (1371 bytes)  
Reviewer: A.J. Goldsby I (see more about me), from Pensacola, FL (U.S.A.)

<< When you first pick this book up, you are struck by its quality. Nice binding, sturdy and beautiful flex-cover, clear typesetting, white pages that are opaque and have almost no bleed through. (Hold one of the pages up to a strong light and you can barely see the print on the opposite side of the page!) I have spent many hours in this book preparing this review, (somewhere between 20-50); and the book shows almost no wear-and-tear at all! The publisher obviously went through great pains to produce a quality product. Begin to read inside and you see the author has produced an atypical opening book also. The first part of the book is an introduction where the author explains some of the basic ideas of the QGD in a very instructive question and answer format. The author even delves into things not usually covered by an opening book, such as various possible move orders and how they affect what you have to learn in the Opening as White and Black. I went through the book with a fine-toothed comb looking for errors of the type that chess books usually contain dozens, if not hundreds of. I found no typo's, no diagrams with an incorrect position, no games with move pairs left out, no mistakes in analysis, etc. Obviously, the PC and chess programs are having a huge impact on the market of chess books. The publisher must also have a first-rate proofreader, someone who obviously must play chess!! (A plus over convention!)

The author covers virtually every line one could conceive of facing in the Queen's Gambit Declined, with one notable exception. (The Cambridge Spring's Defense for some reason is left out.) The author continues his highly instructive question and answer format. He often delves into questions of strategy and many other topics not usually covered by a chess opening's book. He uses complete games for a model, and the student always gets the entire game - from move one to the resignation! (An improvement over the norm for chess books.)

Chapter One covers the Lasker's early ...Ne4 in the QGD. Chap. Two covers the Orthodox variation with 6...Nbd7, (Old Main Line), and the various systems after 7. Rc1, c6. (He covers Capablanca's freeing maneuver, [early ...dxc4; and/or ...Nd5;]; without crediting the originator.) Chap. Three covers the Orthodox variation and even covers the ultra-modern 7. Rc1, a6!? Chap. Four covers White's 7th move alternatives in the Orthodox variation. Chapters Five and Six covers the Tartakower Variation in complete and up-to-date fashion. Part Two, [Chapters 7 & 8]; covers The Exchange Variation. (An early cxd5 by White.) The final section of the book [Part Three], deals with such lines as an early BxN/f6 by White, and 5. Bf4.

The coverage in this book is very modern; you will find very few "old/classic" games in here. (Necessary for a modern chess opening's book. The average game dates from 1985 to the present.) The coverage is fairly balanced, with both White and Black on the winning side. The author has obviously strived to make this a quality book and has even turned it into an outstanding teaching vehicle! I can find only a few minor faults with this book. I am puzzled how one could write a book on the "Classical" QGD and omit coverage of the Cambridge Spring's Defense. (A modern player can certainly count on seeing this line even today. It is certainly as likely a variation as any of the others in this book.) Some of the games that I thought were key to opening theory, (See any Informant, NCO, or MCO-14.); are not necessarily covered here. I am not sure what the criterion was for choosing the games, and the author does not explain that in this book. And the author often lets 25 moves of a game, (or more) transpire with virtually no comment. But again, for the most part, these concerns are trivial. I will conclude my critique by noting that the Table of Contents serves as an outstanding index of the variations, and there is a first-rate index of complete games.

If I were grading this book as a teacher might, I would give an "A+." On a scale of 1-10, I would give it an 8.5, which is as high a mark as I would be willing to give any opening book. (A pity. Had all of my concerns mentioned here [above] been addressed, I might have awarded it a perfect 10!!) This book sets a very high mark for a book on the openings, and all the others that come after this one will be judged by this new standard. The bottom line? If you currently play the White or Black side of the QGD in either postal or over-the-board chess, then you MUST buy this book! If you are below 1800 USCF and spend just a little time with this book, then you will probably learn as much as you have ever learned from any chess book, period. This is the highest praise you will ever see this reviewer giving an opening book. >>

  Below is my review of the book, 

"Winning Unorthodox Openings," by IM Angus Dunnington.

The book, "Winning Unorthodox Openings," is a book by an English player, IM A. Dunnington, who has a reputation as a trainer for English players who participate in the Olympiad and also an excellent trainer of junior players in the UK. He writes concisely in a no-nonsense style of which I approve. 

I went through the first few chapters with a fine-tooth comb. I looked for errors in analysis, and I found none. I looked for games that were quoted in error, mis-spelled, etc, and I discovered no mistakes of this type either. I went through the entire book, looking for errors in the diagrams, (Incorrect positions - this used to be a plague to otherwise good chess books!); and I found no errors of that type either. (The PC and programs like ChessBase are having a huge impact on the field of publishing chess books.)  


Having said that, I must immediately point out a few things that grab my attention. The blurb on the cover, and one in a press release promises: 

<< Complete and concise coverage of all of White’s alternatives 
      to - 1. e4, 1. d4, 1. c4, and 1. Nf3. >> 

This is  not  what you get when you plunk down your hard-earned dinero.

First, he classifies the "Unorthodox" openings into two categories, good and bad, (or playable and unplayable). This in itself is a sticking point in my mind.

I can understand such openings as 1. h4, or 1. a4, or 
1. h3, being branded as bad. However, I find it odd he can label 1. g4, (Grob’s Opening) as bad, (beware Basmaniacs!); but can throw Solkosky’s/Orangutan Opening, (1. b4,) in the "playable" pile. It seems to me that they both do the same thing, just on opposite sides of the board! I guess players of the Grob will simply have to get IM Basman’s book on this opening.


Several other VERY playable openings are dismissed with a wave of the hand. One is Anderssen’s opening, 
(1. a3, ); which is an opening that I have personally used in tournaments many times - and I have never lost with it! The author does not seem to realize (or bother to take the time to point out); that this can be one of the most complicated openings you can play. I also used to use it, with tremendous effect on opponents’ who are "booked out to the max," but have little or no understanding of the general principles of the game. I also used to make this opening a very effective "Anti-computer" line, when computers were still being allowed to play in tournaments with humans. 

It can also be a highly transpositional opening and can result in a "reversed" defense being played with an extra move in hand.  

< I.e. A "King's Indian Reversed results after 
1. a3, ('!?') 1…d5; 2. Nf3, c5; 3. g3, Nc6; 4. Bg2, 
[4. d4 is a reversed Gruenfeld, but there are some variations where a3 may not be all that useful of an extra move.] 4…e5; 5. d3, followed by 6. 0-0. This is a very nice set-up! If the K.I.D. is O.K., then the same opening with an extra move is even better. Moreover, on top of his normal problems, Black must be VERY concerned that White may play a timely P/b2-b4!, with a sizeable advantage. >

That being said, there is virtually no Indian game, (Or virtually any reversed defense for that matter!); where the move a3/(a6) would not have come in handy. (Common sense should tell you this.) 

Another point is that the author covers 1. b4, and 1. b3. However, he does not bother to cover similar/related lines like "The Improved Solkosky’s," with 1. Nf3 and then – and only then – 2. b4. (Or 2. b3.) This is a shame because this method has been used by dozens of strong GM’s.

He also dismisses a reversed French Defense or a reversed Pirc Defense in similar fashion. (I know a Master who liked his Pirc so much, he began playing 1. d3, so he could play The Pirc as White!!) But by now, the reader should get the general idea. The author also seems to confine himself to lines of "independent value." 

So exactly what does the author cover? There are five very good chapters of material. Chapter 1, covers the Solkosky’s/Orangutan Opening. (1. b4.) Chapter Two covers the Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack. (1. b3.) Chapter Three covers "The Dunst Opening," or as the author calls it; "The Queen’s Knight Opening." (1. Nc3.) Chapter Four covers the "Bird’s Opening." (1. f4.)  

(The From’s Gambit is covered in sufficient detail, but the line 1. f4, e5; 2. fxe5, d6; 3. exd6, Bxd6; 4. Nf3, g5; 5. d4!?, g4; 6. Ng5!? [The author gives this move a dubious appellation.] 6…f5!; is probably blown off a little too lightly. [The position is very unclear and contains some of the most complicated lines in chess.] Dunnington stops here giving the impression that White is in trouble, but the fun is just beginning!)  

The lines recommended in the Bird’s Opening are good and the theory is sound. Chapter Five covers, "The King’s Fianchetto Opening." (1. g3.) This opening could transpose to an almost endless variety of other openings, but the author tries to concentrate on material that is unique and independent in nature. Chapter Six is the Chapter where the author blows off the reversed French or Pirc and perfectly reasonable openings like 1. c3. (As good or as bad as anything else in the book.) Instead, he gives minor coverage to the Grob’s Opening, (1. g4.); and then wastes a lot of time on a game beginning with the move, 1. f3?  

Now I think by now you may have gathered that these openings are not exactly my cup of tea. The coverage is not in great depth and could not be in a book of this size. 

A plus is a very detailed Index of variations. A slight minus is the absence of any Player Index whatsoever. 

So having said all of the above, could I recommend this book to a potential buyer? The answer is : Absolutely! 

In other words, if you are looking for something off the beaten trail or something unusual to surprise your opponent with, then this is the book for you. If you have ever thought about, or played the openings named above in a tournament, then you should get this book. If you are under 1800, were going to buy only a few books (say less than 10), and did not want to play "Main Lines;" then this would be a good book to buy. The author gives many (21) complete and very well annotated games. (I am a sucker for well-annotated games.) He also gives numerous games and lines in the notes and the sub-variations. The material is well thought out and very efficiently organized. 


If you like the unusual openings or were just looking for an opening to surprise your "booked-out nemesis," then this could be the book for you!

  The "Modern Benoni," by IM Andrew Kinsman 

  Reviewed by USCF LIFE-Master A.J. Goldsby I (May 17, 2001.)  

When asked by the editor of the Georgia State Chess Magazine to review the new book on the Modern Benoni by Kinsman, I thought this must have been fate … or a fortuitous - even a very serendipitous - event.

You see I am a Master and I teach chess professionally. And the Benoni was one of the very first openings I ever studied in depth. I must have close to 30 books and pamphlets on the Benoni that I have gathered over the years. 
(Like the book, Modern Benoni Dynamics [hard-back], by Steffen Zeuthen. © 1976. I am told this is now something of a collector's item.)

I first played the Benoni as a lower-rated player in the 70's. Eventually I gave it up as, "too complex," but later came back to it as a Master, (in the 1980's); on the advice of GM D. Gurevich. (He told me to have something very complex and double-edged to play against lower-rated players.)

I still use this opening too - indeed I crushed a very strong master (2435 ELO) with this opening in one of the "Dos Hermanos/ICC (Internet) Qualifying Tournaments" earlier this year. (I do not give the game, as it is basically a blitz game and a relatively routine [Benoni] affair.)

Upon first examining this book, you note that it is definitely well made - like all books from this publisher. (EVERYMAN Chess.) The bindings are securely sewn and glued in, and very sturdy. (Unlike some other chess books!) The "flex-cover" is thick and very durable. The pages are relatively opaque, (with little bleed-through); supple, and are acid-free. The ink used in the print is clear and bold and does not run if it becomes wet.

(I also want to comment here on the publisher. Everyman Press probably has the highest standards of any modern-day publisher of chess-books. They obviously have editors, typesetters and proofreaders who at least know the moves of the game! And this was NOT true of publishers of chess books in the past.)

The material is neat, clear, and very well organized. There are 10 chapters in three main sections. Just about every line that one could expect to have played against you is covered. The Sections are based on the opening variations, consisting of a total of 64 complete, well-annotated games present in the material. 
(Approximately 145 total pages.)

The blurb on the back cover reads:
"The Modern Benoni (1. d4, Nf6; 2. c4, c5; 3. d5, e6;) is one of Black's most dynamic Queen's Pawn Openings. From the third move, Black strives to create a permanent imbalance in the pawn structure, with exciting results. Both players must be utterly fearless in carrying out their plans; in the Benoni he who hesitates, is lost!"
Truer words were never spoken. I would also like to add that this is a razor-sharp line and anyone who fears intense tactical battles should probably avoid it like the plague!

  • IM Andrew Kinsman is a well-known player and trainer; who is an expert on the Benoni. He remains very objective; as we see one of his wins in this book, and then one of his losses.

Section One covers the "Main Lines," (Classical) including the tricky lines that use an early h3 by White. Section Two covers The Four Pawns and the Mikenas Attacks, The "Flick-Knife" Variation, (The Taimanov); The Modern or Samisch Variation, (White pawn to f3); and other systems - such as the oddball line that GM Seirawan often employs. (Bd3 & Nge2). Section Three covers the lines that avoid an early e2-e4 by White. (The "Knight's Tour" Variation by White.) This section also covers the line that features the use of an early Bf4 by White. This line was extremely popular in tournament praxis just a few years ago.

When I first got the book, I tried to go through it in great detail. (Indeed, I have been through the book, cover-to-cover; many times!) I pulled up about a dozen games up on my database [program] and checked the game scores for accuracy. I then had my daughter pick out 4 games at random. ( She chose - Games # 1, # 4, # 23, # 54. ) I went over every move, note and line of these 4 games many, many times. I looked for: errors in analysis, misprints, and diagrams that have the incorrect position. I found no mistakes of this type.

(But upon going through the book again later, I did discover that the diagram at the bottom of page # 14 has the wrong position.)

(I also refer you to page # 56 of game # 23. {Lautier - Sutovsky; Tilburg, 1996.} In the variation after 22…Rxd5?; Kinsman writes: "Plaskett points out the major improvement 22…Rc7!; 23. d6, Rcc8; 24. Bg4, Rcd8; 25. Bxd7, Rxe5!; (Lautier only considered 25…Rxd7; 26. Nc5) 26. Bg4, f5; ("-/+") and Black is winning. The game move results in a very advantageous ending for White." This is all basically true. But the first thing to note is that the move 24. Bg4?!, is vastly inferior to 24. Nf6+, which I found almost straightaway. After 24. Nf6+, Nxf6; 25. exf6, Bxf6; 26. d7, Rxe1+; 27. Rxe1, Rd8; 28. Re8+, Kg7; 29. RxR/d8, Bxd8; 30. Bb7, and White has a very large, if not a winning advantage. The other thing I want to point out in this variation, is that 26. Bg4 may not be the best move, again. It seems that 26. Rac1(!?) may be slightly better. I could show you more lines and variations of this type. But I won't as that simply would be showing off. My main point of this foray is: # 1.) Don’t ever take anything at face value; #2.) No one's analysis is air-tight, improvements can always be found if one is willing to search; and # 3.) You must be willing to work very hard to really learn an opening. {I also wonder whether or not IM Kinsman uses a computer and a good chess analysis-engine to check all of his work.} And to be honest, many of these finer points - especially to the average player - may seem like so much splitting of hairs.)

The next thing I did was to take out my many other books on this opening and make a list and see if all the pertinent lines were covered. And they are! In short just about everything you might need or want in a book of this type is here. A special bonus is the introduction. Here the author gives an over-view of the variations, including the fact that he examines - in detail! - the four main pawn breaks of this opening. He also considers what type of pawn structures may arise from such moves, and what the advantages and disadvantages of each formation are. (I wish chess books had done all this 25 years ago. It probably would have taken me a lot less time to become a Master if they had!! I cannot stress enough how important it will be to study this section if you purchase this book!) Another plus is the summary and a "schematic" at the end of each chapter. (The author tells you what lines are played and in which games you can find the analysis of these lines.) In addition to this, there is a very fine table of contents with a lot of useful information, and a very complete index of the complete games in the back of the book.

The games and the analysis are modern, there are very few "dinosaurs" present here. The author also incorporates a great deal of material into some of the games, so that virtually every possible line is thoroughly covered. Additionally, the author always conveniently points out where a certain variation is analyzed, so you should never be lost or groping about to find where your favorite continuation is examined. I would also like to point out that GM Topalov is the hero of this book, as he champions our defense many times with the Black pieces. References to his games are found throughout this entire book. (Hats off to the American Nick DeFirmian, he has also been a fairly regular adherent of this opening.)

There is very little, if anything "wrong" with this book. I would advise the average player to purchase MCO-14 in addition to this book. But since this is what I advise ALL my students, this does NOT even amount to a real criticism of the author or this book!

I do wonder about the choice of games. By pulling up all the lines in my database, with the ECO codes A70/00 to A79/99; using 2400 ELO as a cut-off point; it pulls up nearly 3000 games. When I sort these according to the average rating of both players, one begins to notice a few things that are relative to this book. The game with the two highest-rated participants would be Karpov-Topalov; Las Palmas 1996. (That game is in this book.) But many others, such as A. Karpov - G. Kamsky; (The FIDE World Championships, Elista, Russia; [#15] 1996.); are not in this book. Since the author does not tell us how he arrived at his criterion for selecting games, (Most chess authors DO NOT give this information either.); we are left to wonder. But I will say that ALL the main lines are well covered, and there is really no need to worry on this front. (If you are a "Theory Hound," you will see many of the most important games of the M.B. of the last 25 years covered in these pages!)

[I should also note that if you thumb through the last 5-10 Informants, you would quickly see that every significant Benoni game of the last few years is not covered here. One is often left wondering exactly how an author chooses the games for his book, but I am sure one consideration was space limitation.]

One other thing I would like to say is I am sorry the author did not take much time out to talk about the history of this variation. I would have liked him to take a couple of pages and at least comment on the rich history of this line. The game that Marshall played that is probably the "Grand-Daddy" of the M.B. The games by the [former] World Champion Mikhail Tal, (1936-1992); which are a cornerstone to this opening. Indeed, the line may have died out completely except for Tal's use of this opening - at a time when virtually no other GM would dare employ it!

And games like Boris Spassky - Robert J. Fischer; (The 28th Chess World Championships, [#3.] Reykjavik, Iceland; 1972.), are absolutely fundamental to the history and study of this line. I could go on, but by now I trust you get he point. A good database will help the serious student find any of these games. You may also download them for free (in PGN format) at, or

In summary this is an outstanding book! All opening books need to be written like this one. (And the one by GM Sadler, - on the Q.G.D.) It does not matter if you are a raw novice who has never played in a tournament, and you want to play a tactically sharp line; or if you are a seasoned Master like me. This book has just about all the information you will want or need to learn this opening and learn it well. Just going over the 64 complete well-annotated games should raise your rating 100 points! I heartily endorse this book and give it a: "9.5" on a scale of one to ten.

A.J. Goldsby I; May, 2001.

What follows is a book review I wrote - - -

This book, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy," (Advances Since Nimzowitsch);

[by IM John Watson]  is a landmark in chess writing. This may be Mr. J. Watson's definitive chess book!

I have a friend who writes a very interesting and informative newsletter on lesser-used openings, and he (among others!) requested many times that I review this book.

First of all, I was a little intimidated by the title. The Nimzowitsch book, "My System," is easily one of the greatest landmarks of all of chess literature. (See all the reviews of this great book to begin to appreciate just what a revolutionary book this really was. Many great GM's - such as Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian … among the many more famous examples - have repeatedly said this was THE most influential book in their development as a player.) So to put yourself in such [literary] company at the very "get-go," could be interpreted as a little assuming. (To say the least!)

I have had this book for around six months. I have read it through at least 3 times. I have studied certain sections over and over. Repeatedly. I have tried to "punch holes" in his ideas and his analysis. While I may have found one or two minor flaws in the analysis of certain lines, (which virtually undetectable to the average player, especially one who is not using a strong computer program to check every single move); I have found no major, fundamental flaws anywhere in this book. (I have also found almost no diagrams with the incorrect position.) The book is also well constructed - a sturdy flex-cover and pages that have a nice 'feel' to them.

An example of what you will find in this book? I will not give an overview of everything in the book, but just a sampling to whet your appetite. (The book is divided into two major parts.) Part 1, ("The Refinement of Traditional Theory."):

Chapter One - Overview. Here Watson discusses some basic ideas of Middle-Game Theory. He shows what some of the basic concepts are and then some of the typical problems with 'standard' middlegame methodology. Chapter Two, "The Center and Development." Here the author goes into quite some detail showing just how modern theory has evolved and developed since its conception. Chapter Three, "Minorities Majorities, and Passed Pawns." Here the author examines all the ideas of these subjects. He shows exactly what conventional theory is, and then provides some fresh, new insights.

As I said, I am not going to cover the entire book, but give you just a brief glimpse of what you will discover in these pages. By now you are wondering what I really thought of this book?

I think the best way to illustrate this point is by looking at a concrete example. Let us consider Part Two, Chapter Two; the section on "Rule Independence." Here the author discusses in great detail virtually all of the basic ideas you have learned. He shows there are some very basic fallacies to virtually everything you have learned. For instance is a Rook really worth 5 points? What is the real value of the exchange? Do you really have to develop during the opening? I could rave on, but by now you should get the general idea. The author is determined to try to make you think for yourself.

Another strong point to this book is the author almost continually quotes other good chess books - I spent a lot of time digging various books out of my library to check his almost constant references to other famous (and not-so-famous) chess books.

Overall I think this is one of the very best chess books written in the last 50 years!! I personally recommend this book very strongly, and think it would make a great companion book to Silman's work, "How To Re-Assess Your Chess." [3rd Edition.] I believe the author very completely and successfully sets out what he tried to do when he wrote this book. It more than lives up to the ambitious title.

WARNING:  I personally feel this book is NOT suitable for an absolute beginner. (I am sure such a player could learn a great deal from this book, but I do not believe this is what the author intended.) In fact, I am quite sure you should not tackle this book unless you have been playing chess for at least one to two years, and have a rating of at least 14 - 1600. In addition, you should also - ideally - work your way through Nimzo's book first. (To better appreciate what is written here.)

The author very obviously assumes you are already familiar with the basics of chess. Many times he does not stop and explain all the standard ideas of a concept he is studying. I guess he [rightly so] assumes you have already read several chess books and are pretty familiar with the fundamentals of chess. I am quite sure the very raw, absolute beginner(s) … and those that are not very experienced in chess … will be almost completely overwhelmed by this book.

(Indeed, one of my students who had been playing chess on the Internet for around 7 months bought this book and basically got lost attempting to really grasp the ideas involved. He found Reinfeld's book, "The Complete Chess-Player" to be much more to his liking.)

But if you fit the description above, then GET THIS BOOK! 

( Posted on my web site:  February 02, 2002. ) 

  sob_t-c.jpg (42 KB)  {A cool tiling effect to a graphic I created.}
(A stack of books with special effects.)

Want to buy books from a source where you can find the very best price for any book on-line? Then Click HERE.

Want the very best buys on books that are available on the Internet? If you are, then click HERE.
Would you like to buy books from one of's biggest affiliates? Click HERE.

  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I  

  Copyright (©) A.J. Goldsby, 1975 - 2013.  
  Copyright © A.J. Goldsby, 2014.  All rights reserved.  


   Page last {majorly} updated on: December 31st, 2004.  Last edit/save on:  09/17/2014 .  


   [Home]      --->  Click  here  to go my second page of book reviews.

[ Click  HERE  if you would like to go to the page for game analysis ... that is directly associated with any of my various book reviews. ]