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A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire For White

The repertoire is based on 1 d4 and 2 c4, following up withmethodical play in the centre. Watson uses his vast opening knowledge to pickcunning move-orders and poisonous sequences that will force opponents to thinkfor themselves, providing a true test of chess understanding. Throughout, hediscusses strategies for both sides, so readers will be fully ready to pounceon any inaccuracies, and have all the tools to decide on the most appropriateplans for White.

A strategic chess opening repertoire for white

White avoids an early Nf3 in most lines, to give maximumflexibility, especially vs the QGD, Nimzo, KID and Grünfeld. Move-orderissues are given great prominence, even potentially awkward sequences that asyet have not been tried much in practice. In most cases, more than one optionis presented for White, and there are a great many additional suggestions thatthe reader may wish to investigate. Material is scrupulously researched andup-to-date. Many ideas for Black are discussed, and remedies proposed, evenwhen they have not yet caught on in practice as yet, thus future-proofing therepertoire to some degree. Dangerous gambits and sharp counterattacking linesare dealt with, as far as possible, in ways that avoid excessive complications.The overall aim in each opening is to reach an interesting position (ideallywith some advantage, of course) where there is scope to outplay the opponent,while avoiding getting embroiled in a do-or-die tactical battle.

Do you know a book, which is similar to'A Strategic Chess Repertoire for White' by Watson meaning that: it covers similar openings (1.d4 - Queen's Gambit, Slav, Semi-Slav, Indians), is designed for white and focuses on ideas but is (at the same time) less advanced and involves much more explanation and narrative?

If you find them too hard, take a look at Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch by the same author. Learn the basics of chess strategy, then take a look at advanced books such as his excellent series on mastering the opening.

Won't... in the opening? Win? Agreed. I've known dozens of juniors who took the advice to play the London System as White. They didn't lose many games, but they also stopped playing competitive chess earlier than others. Chess is supposed to be fun. Play sharper stuff and learn how to beat your opponents. Don't fear your opponent's openings, beat them.

The trick to learning any opening system (besides from opening treatise) is to just do your own analyses. Heh. I know. Such an revolutionary concept. Depending on your level ( I don't know yours at the moment) it would be useful to go over games from players with similiar repertoires...current or past.

Repertoire books like these are not so relevant at your level, but this may be something to aim for in the long run. You can use repertoire books as a reference as you encounter openings in your games. In the meantime, a book like Strategic Chess: Mastering the Closed Game by Edmar Mednis can give you a good general overview of the closed openings with 1.d4.

Introductory game collections like Logical Chess: Move by Move are better at this level for the learning the opening. Mednis' Strategic Chess might be more useful around Class C and includes more modern openings. Tactical exercises are good, but not everything to chess. If you are planning on building a chess culture to become a strong player, you will want to begin reading game collections early on.

John Watson's new book "A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire For White" is a repertoirebook based on white playing 1.d4 and 2.c4. Clearly aimed at strong amateur players it offers reasonablyheavy-weight lines against all of black's replies. I know John Watson through his reviewsof books on this site and his Play the French which excitingly is about to receive an updateto a 4th edition in July. This has formed the basis for my repertoire in the French for years. I have a look at the book and talk about some themes that I'm currently thinking about interms of constructing and learning an opening repertoire which is work in progress for me.

Personally I've struggle to find an effective way of studying openings and have ended up witha mish-mash of ideas and structures which I've trotted out over the years. Such is theway for most who have received no coaching or help. This book co-incidentlyarrived at a time when I've been working hard at my chess for the first time in for a long while.Having watched hours of excellent commentary on the elite events over the last 18 monthsI came to the slow realisation that I don't really look at the chessboard the same anymore andpostponing the struggle to the middlegame by forgoing any real push for an opening advantagewith white also probably puts a limit on how far you can improve.

There is also a plug in and play element to all of these repertoire books. The Queen's Gambitand Semi-Slav parts of this book it neatly dovetail with Lars Schandorff's Queen's Gambit- A Grandmaster Guide. Almost in every line the two books take entirely contrary decisionswith Schandorff's idea to recommend the absolute main lines. Whilst I can understand this in a way,at least in some cases I don't think this is all that helpful, at least for me.In particular the idea of playing the Botvinnik and Moscow variations doesn't appeal at all. The Botvinnik Variation may well be close to winning for white but there is too much theory forthe two games I might get in a year and I believe the positions don't really have a general educationalvalue, they simply teach you how to play the Botvinnik Variation. There is also a second dangerin this approach, that you end up dumped in a position that requires GM technique and calculationalability to actually play. Watching two weak players bash out the moves of the Bronstein vs Ljubojevic 1973Alekhine's Defence, one of the most fiendishly complicated games ever played, is a collective memory at our chess club. They simply had no clue what was going on once they were on their own (nor really indeed before that). However that can be used an excuse not to try at all and cop out into anodyne structures.There is the option of playing sharper variations where I like them and they will still fit in with thewhole idea of a repertoire.

For instance Watson plays 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 (I actually prefer 3.e3 that mostly transposes as I would really like to try the positions with 3...c5 or 3..e5 with white) and Schandorff prefers 3.e4 whichI used to play but lost faith in. Watson generally heads for Nf3, Schandorff Nge2 in the Queen's Gambitand so forth. In the Semi-Slav Watson goes for a quiet line of the Semi-Slav with b3 which probablypromises white very little but there are many top level games to look at and improve your generalunderstanding of the game. Some may be attracted by overwhelming their opponents with learned lines, others by outplaying their opponent, but whichever approach the opening should be about making youropponent make as many hard decisions as possible.

The Exchange Queen's Gambit avoids the extremely painful Lasker Variation which the professionals play when they wanta draw and whose theory at the moment seems on the verge of proving it to be a draw. I've been playing 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e63.Nc3 Be7 as black recently amongst other things. I think this will become much more common. You do need to know your stuffwith the Exchange Queen's Gambit, almost all opening repertoire books recommend it as promising a tiny advantage forwhite, sharp positions, and avoiding having to learn a lot of awkward lines for black, so it at lower levels it's prettymuch the main line. There is also a separate chapter on unusual but tricky variations such as the Baltic Variation (1.d4 d5 2. c4 Bf5)

I took some fearful beatings as white in the King's Indian when I first changed from 1.e4 to 1.d4 andthis opening above others made me turn to 1.d4 2.Nf3 and 3.Bg5 as a way out. Black gets way too much funin the main lines and white has to be accurate for a long time before he can put pressure on black toalter his scheme of attacking on the kingside. I've been playing the Hungarian Variation 5.Nge2 with mixed success for some time now but I like the positions and black in general doesn't. However whitecertainly has to understand a number of structures and I have gone drastically wrong on occasion. 5.h3too looks to stop black's automatic play and present him with new problems.

It isn't an accident that when top players desperately need a win with black the go to the Benoni. White can't entirelyavoid complications. I've tried many cowardly options before going back to playing d5. The Modern Main Line:1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 ed 5. cd d6 6. e4 g6 7. Bd3 Bg7 8. h3 0-0 9. Nf3 according to Richard Palliser'snew book on the opening seems quite interesting to me. John Watson wants to have something that fits in withhis anti-KID and anti-Gruenfeld repertoire with 9. Bg5 but it is probably less critical but does avoid some endingsthat seem forced. The Benko is played quite often, not always played that well by black, if whiteputs the work in the main lines ought not to be too tiresome but 4.Qc2 looks like a useful weapon whichis gaining a real following at the moment.

Such has been the acclaim for John Watson's ground-breaking works on modern chess strategy and his insightful opening books, that it is only natural that he now presents a strategic opening repertoire.

It is the chess-player's holy grail: a flexible repertoire that gives opponents real problems but doesn't require masses of memorization or continual study of ever-changing grandmaster theory. While this book can't quite promise all of that, Watson offers an intriguing selection of lines that give vast scope for over-the-board creativity and should never lead to a dull draw. 041b061a72


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