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MACA Book Review
Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 3 Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 3
by: John Watson

Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-904600-98-5
Format: Book 351pp.
Publisher: Gambit Publications

Reviewed by: Chess Horizons Editor Mark Donlan
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

The first volume focused on king’s pawn openings and the second investigated queen’s pawn openings and the structures to which they lead. This third volume covers the English Opening and related structures. The author also promises a fourth volume “devoted to a selection of the remaining chess openings,” including subjects such as choosing an opening, opening preparation, and how to study openings.

Watson states that the English is “wonderful grounds for the study of positional ideas that encompass the entire range of chess practice.” He discusses the ideas and principles of play from the very first moves “in order to explain the elementary properties of the English Opening” and notes that the opening lends itself to a “broader conceptual approach” that allows for an increased role of verbal explanation.
However, this book will appeal to more than just beginner players, because the complexity of the material increases as Watson delves deeper into particular positions. He writes that the relative scarcity of the opening in practice has allowed him to present much more up-to-date material and original analysis than in previous volumes and that his objective is to appeal to both the beginner and those “familiar with a good deal of theory.”
The publication of this series is a bellwether event in chess publishing, and all players should avail themselves of the opportunity to read these books. You can download a PDF file with a sample from the book from the Gambit website.

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