CHESS EXPLAINED: THE MERAN SEMI-SLAV (Reinaldo Vera)
112 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$39.95

Chess Explained books provide an understanding of an opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

Belying its solid classical appearance, the Semi-Slav is one of Black's most aggressive responses when White opens with the queen's pawn. The Meran is its traditional main line, and often leads to chaotic positions of immense strategic and tactical richness. This is territory where the player who is better prepared and has a superior 'feel' for the nuances will typically emerge victorious, even against a stronger opponent. Vera draws upon decades of personal experience to explain the underlying logic of the Meran and related lines, and to pick out the key features of positions that to the untrained eye might appear random and unfathomable. In addition to discussing all major lines after 5 e3, Vera also covers many subtle issues of move-order, which are of great importance when trying to steer the game into the desired channels.

Reinaldo Vera comes from Cuba and has been a grandmaster since 1988. He has won the Cuban Championship on two occasions and was a member of the Cuban national team for more than two decades. Vera graduated from Havana University, and has written for many chess magazines, including New in Chess, Jaque and Peon de Rey. He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer, and the coach of the Cuban team.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

Gambit books by Vera: Chess Explained: the Meran Semi-Slav; Chess Explained: the Nimzo-Indian.

"...a great selection of important model games from black's point of view." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"One extra feature in this book... is a short final chapter dealing with move order. As with so many opening systems the move order is very flexible in the first few moves, and the author examines various move orders, explaining the nuances of each, and pointing out possible transpositions to other openings" - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Vera is a great expert on the Meran who played it for many years before it reached its present level of popularity and it shows in his ability to understand what is most significant and what can be left out ... for a wide range of players from 1800 to Grandmaster it will be most helpful ... Highly Recommended." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com

"This is a good explanation of the variations, written by an acknowledged expert." - Steve Giddins, BCM


CHESS EXPLAINED: THE MODERN BENONI (Zenon Franco)
112 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$39.95

Chess Explained is a new series of books about chess openings. They are not theoretical works in the traditional sense, but more a series of lessons from a chess expert with extensive over-the-board experience with an opening. You will gain an understanding of the opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

* 25 recent and highly instructive games discussed in detail
* Chapter introductions and conclusions emphasize the key points
* Full indexes of games and variations
* Extensive verbal explanations of plans and manoeuvres

The Modern Benoni is a perennial favourite among players looking to create winning chances with Black. It is one of the few openings where White has no easy way to force drawish simplifications or deny Black any dynamic counterplay. Both players need to understand the imbalances in the position and pursue their plans with great vigour. In this book Franco shows how Black can seek to create the kind of mayhem that has attracted champions such as Tal, Kasparov and Topalov to the Benoni, and also demonstrates how White can seek either to put a positional clamp on the game, or else to storm Black's position before his development is complete. A special section deals with the vital question of move-orders.

Zenon Franco is a grandmaster from Paraguay who now lives in Spain. For more than a quarter of a century, he has written a popular column for Spanish-language chess magazines. He is an experienced chess trainer, his most notable pupil being Paco Vallejo, now one of the world's top grandmasters, whom he taught from 1995 to 1999.

Gambit books by Franco: The Art of Attacking Chess, Chess Explained: the English Opening, Chess Explained: the Modern Benoni, Chess Self-Improvement, Winning Chess Explained.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"25 well annotated model games of recent vintage. ... required reading for players rated 1800-2400 interested in playing this aggressive defense." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com

"Franco provides a comprehensive introduction to the opening, and this is a very useful volume for anyone interested in the opening." - Steve Giddins, British Chess Magazine

"There is a lot of value in this book!" - John Elburg, chessbooks.nl


CHESS EXPLAINED: THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT DECLINED (James Rizzitano)
128 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$39.95

Chess Explained books are not theoretical works in the traditional sense, but more a series of lessons from a chess expert with extensive over-the-board experience with an opening. You will gain an understanding of the opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

The Queen's Gambit Declined is one of the most important and popular of chess openings. While an immensely solid and classical choice for Black, it has remained highly topical for more than a century. Both sides have ways to create imbalance and test their opponent's skills and knowledge in a full-blooded struggle. Most of the World Champions have taken both sides of the QGD, with Spassky and Karpov especially notable defenders of Black's cause. In addition to the traditional main lines with Bg5, White has at his disposal the Exchange Variation, and the Bf4 system, both of which can be handled in highly aggressive style if he wishes. Rizzitano covers all these lines and a plethora of other important lines, focusing on the fundamental ideas on which they are based.

James Rizzitano is a strong international master who dominated chess in the New England region during a 14-year period from 1976 to 1989 - he won 157 out of 336 events in which he competed. His career highlights include victories over Alburt, Benjamin, Benko, Christiansen, Dlugy, I.Gurevich, and Wolff. Rizzitano has recently made a return to competitive chess, and has already written three successful books for Gambit.

Gambit books by Rizzitano: Understanding Your Chess, How to Beat 1 d4, Chess Explained: the Taimanov Sicilian, Chess Explained: the Queen's Gambit Declined.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"...the fourth book by New England IM James Rizzitano for Gambit and once again he has a winner. ... in the midst of ably explaining the basics Rizzitano offers some tasty nuggets." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com

"As with Rizzitano's previous works on the QGA and Taimanov Sicilian, this looks like a comprehensive and readable summary of the current state of QGD theory." - Steve Giddins, British Chess Magazine

"A very complete learning book on the Queen's Gambit Declined!" - John Elburg, chessbooks.nl


PERFECT YOUR CHESS (Andrei Volokitin & Vladimir Grabinsky)
160 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$47.95

Andrei Volokitin is one of a rare breed of players: he achieved a ranking in the world's top 20 while still a teenager, playing dynamic and often brilliant chess. Although we cannot all aspire to emulate his achievements, there is much that we can learn from his training methods, his games and his general approach to chess. These topics are the subject of this book, written in collaboration with his trainer.

The core material of the book is 375 positions where the reader is given a task or asked a question. These tasks resemble those that players regularly face over the board, and are especially useful from a training viewpoint. Sometimes we are told we need to find a combination, but often the task is simply to decide on a move. It is for us to determine whether to play quietly or stake everything on a sacrificial attack!

The examples are all from recent years, and so even the most zealous reader of chess literature will have seen few of them previously. Many of the positions are from Volokitin's own games, so we get the 'inside story' on some truly spectacular chess. We are also presented with fine examples from Grabinsky's training files, carefully collected and graded over the years for their instructive merit. The commentaries and detailed solutions explain the key issues in each position, and also convey the authors' philosophy of chess and their love for the game.

Grandmaster Andrei Volokitin was born in 1986 in Lvov. In 2004, he won the Ukrainian Championship and was a member of the team that won the Chess Olympiad in Calvia. In the January 2005 rating list he was, at age 18, placed in the world's top 20 for the first time. He has won many prizes in junior championships and major international events.

International Master Vladimir Grabinsky is the coach of the Ukrainian youth team. In addition to Volokitin, his pupils include several other players who have achieved international titles at an early age.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"A delightful selection of puzzles" - IM Gary Lane, Chess Moves

"A word about the authors. Andrei Volokitin is only 21 but he has already accomplished a lot, most significantly playing board three for the gold medal winning Ukrainian Olympic team at Calvia in 2004 - his score of 8.5 from 12 earning him a 2771 performance rating. His co-author, IM Vladimir Grabinsky, is probably only known in the Ukraine but I became acquainted with him this summer while playing in a round robin in Edmonton. One day I had the opportunity to ask the top-seed, 21-year-old GM Valery Aveskulov, how it was that the Ukraine produced so many great young talents. I had already factored in a tradition of excellence, government and private support, and an economically challenging environment in which being a chess professional did not look so bad, but Valery added one more key ingredient - good coaching. One of the best he said was IM Grabinsky of Lvov and then rattled off a list of teenage IMs and GMs over 2500 on a rapid course toward 2600. Perfect Your Chess is geared towards this level and many of the young talents Aveskulov mentioned have gone through this material which relies on the games of Volokitin and others. ... If you think you can solve ten exercises in half an hour forget it. Try one or two. Even if you fail, take heart, Volokitin and Grabinsky offer detailed explanations that add to the learning experience. ... Highly recommended." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com

"The authors obviously have an eye for beauty in chess, and have preserved many combinations that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Highly recommended for players rated 2000+ who want to improve their calculation." - James Vigus, BCM

"I am determined to solve this excellent training book from cover to coverů" - GM Jonathan Rowson, New-in-Chess

"All the best opening preparation is useless if your brain can't spot combinations, key lines and the best moves in complex positions. The authors of a new book have addressed this issue by producing a unique guide to exercising the brain and enhancing chess vision. ... There have been similar books before, but this one has some unique characteristics. I especially like the last section, which asks a specific question for each position, and really challenges the reader to think critically. ... Few books can offer instructive material to both average club players and masters, but this is one of them. Some of the positions have stumped some of the top players in the world in tournament conditions. If you are serious about improving your chess and enhancing your critical thinking, get this book." - Cecil Rosnser, Winnipeg Free Press

"Another book, useful to serious tournament players, comes from Andrei Volokitin, for a brief time in 2005 the world's top-rated junior, and his coach, Vladimir Grabinsky. Their work Perfect Your Chess, issued by Gambit Publications, is a wonderful training book with nearly 370 positions from recent years, including 69 of Volokitin's gems. It provides a rare glimpse into a workshop of one of the world's most talented young grandmasters." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"Perfect Your Chess is one of the best chessbooks that has come into my hands in recent years." - Martin Rieger, www.freechess.info

"I have not played through all 369 positions (the authors advise tackling only about 5-6 positions a day) but those that I have tackled randomly throughout the book have proved to be quite testing. This is as it should be, as there is no point in spending good money on a mass of easy positions from which little can be learnt. If you like books of this genre I recommend that you give this one a try, as it will provide not just hours or days, but several weeks of fun (or hard work, depending on your point of view!)" - Alan Sutton, En Passant


MASTERING THE CHESS OPENINGS volume 1 (John Watson)
336 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$49.95

For many chess-players, opening study is sheer hard work. It is difficult to know what is important and what is not, and when specific knowledge is vital, or when a more general understanding is sufficient. Tragically often, once the opening is over, a player won't know what plan to follow, or even understand why his pieces are on the squares on which they sit. John Watson seeks to help chess-players achieve a more holistic and insightful view of the openings. In his previous books on chess strategy, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy and Chess Strategy in Action, he explained vital concepts that had previously been the domain only of top-class players. Moreover, he did so in ways that have enabled them to enter the general chess consciousness of club players. Here he does likewise for the openings, explaining how flexible thinking and notions such as 'rule-independence' can apply to the opening.

In this major two-volume work, Watson presents a wide-ranging view of the way in which top-class players really handle the opening, rather than an idealized and simplified model. This volume, focusing on king's pawn openings, is a book that will make chess-players think hard about how they begin their games, while offering both entertainment and challenging material for study in openings such as the Sicilian and Ruy Lopez.

International Master John Watson is one of the world's most respected writers on chess. His groundbreaking four-volume work on the English firmly established his reputation in the 1980s, and he has produced a string of top-quality works since. In 1999, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Watson's first book for Gambit, won the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award and the United States Chess Federation Fred Cramer Award for Best Book. His former pupils include the 1997 World Junior Champion, Tal Shaked.

Gambit books by Watson: The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Chess Strategy in Action, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 1 and Mastering the Chess Openings volume 2.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"Even though volume one mostly deals with 1 e4 and volume two deals with 1 d4, the books nonetheless represent one body of work that should best be enjoyed together, and they are written by one of the finest authors of the last several decades. ... To say that these books are about opening strategies or opening theory would be a disservice to the importance of the material covered in them. ... I found his chosen examples excellent and his commentary instructive and very enlightening. Whether you are an inexperienced improving player or a seasoned tournament player, you will learn loads from studying these books. His discussions of pawn structures and their interconnected strategies are worth the price of both books. Even I feel as though my game has improved after having studied both volumes at length. ... The books convey an understanding of the opening that even specialized opening works do not provide. ... I highly recommend the two volumes of Mastering the Chess Openings to anyone who truly wants to improve their understanding of the openings and of chess in general. - Carsten Hansen, www.chesscafe.com

"If you are aspiring to be a strong player you should really like this book. ... I've been putting off writing about this book because there is so much in it to read it's hard to figure out where to start. The section I started out with this morning was the Sicilian Poisoned Pawn, Fischer's contributions, and latest theory (which by the way holds that Black has excellent winning chances, AND, so does White!). In fact, it seems that this is the currency of this book-openings where the better prepared player and student has chances of winning. ... In the beginning he writes about 'Fundamentals' and covers 80 pages on that, structure, opening ideas and positional features, and the introduction to the Open Games. Here's a thought - read those 80 pages if you read nothing else. You will learn a lot about chess and it will probably spur you on to looking at the later chapters. This section has been very ably written and it explains a lot of the things the rest of us take for granted, but for which we really don't know all that well. Seriously, read this. ... In fact, just get this book. Full retail is $29.95 and it's worth every cent - it'll teach you chess." - Bob Long, www.chessco.com

"When Chess Life asked me to review John Watson's new opus, my reaction was that this was akin to criticizing Moses on the Ten Commandments. Aside from his almost legendary books on specific openings like the French Defense, his last two spectacular books - Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy and Chess Strategy in Action - are landmark books in their own right. All of these epic Watson works have one thing in common. You walk away after reading with a deeper understanding of chess. He does not try to tell you how to beat your opponent by the first time control. He treats the reader as an adult who is willing to work a little to find the greater richness of the royal game. Watson explains to us the value of modern grandmaster chess: the new ideas in the middle game and the new approaches to opening play. He translates what the grandmasters play into understandable concepts. ...
Mastering the Chess Openings is yet another magnificent effort by arguably the most important writer in American chess history. If you are a young chess player who wishes to learn the openings in a proper way, you will give yourself a big boost toward developing into the strong player you want to be by studying this book. If you're an older player still open to learning more about what you should already know, this is the book for you. If you simply want to understand why the grandmasters play the openings the way they do, John Watson explains why. Add this book to your 'Watson shelf' in your personal chess library." - Pete Tamburro, Chess Life

"Aside from chess players, this is also a good reference material for chess coaches, too. With clear explanations, this Watson's masterpiece can serve as the openings' textbook used by chess coaches around the world in training with their students. This book is a highly recommended option as a reference material in chess coaching. ů What more can I say, but it looks like John Watson has done it again! This is proving to be a classic already. So, wait no more, dear chess player. Just buy it! Highly recommended." - Edwin Lam, Black & White

"[Watson] ... looks at thematic lines and ideas using illustrative games. Within these games a considerable amount of theory is given, probably just enough to see a club player through the main lines. Watson has been very astute with his choice of illustrative games. As well as using recent games, there are classic games from the past (where fundamental plans are more clearly illustrated) and even one or two interesting correspondence games. It's good work by the author to use musltiple sources - a lot of effort has gone into finding the right game to demonstrate a theme or idea." - Munroe Morrison, Open File

"The main factor that sets this book apart and makes it unique is the way Watson explains the openings and the ideas behind the moves giving the reader a broad view of the openings and a good idea of how to play the opening and then proceed from there. Many of the works out today focus on long lines without much explanation except for short evaluations at the end of the variations. Watson's book is the perfect manual for beginners, intermediate, and even many advanced players who are wishing to study and improve their opening! All I can say is I highly recommend this book and I am eagerly looking forward to volume 2!" - Andy May, www.nsgchess.com

"International Master John Watson of Lincoln, Nebraska, is widely regarded as one of the most influential chess writers in the world. His thoughtful masterpieces Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy and Chess Strategy in Action gave contemporary players an updated Nimzowitsch's My System and Euwe and Kramer's books on the Middlegame combined. His latest venture is no less bold. ... Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 1 is a first class production from a physical as well as chessic perspective.The two-column format is easy to read, the type-setting first rate, the paper of a good quality and the binding sturdy and ready for hard use. This is a book that belongs in every chess library. Highly Recommended." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com

"I would like to make special mention of Mastering the Chess Openings, an important new Gambit book by IM John Watson. The renowned American author previously won prestigious awards for earlier works ... and his new book will also be very well received. You'll find interesting analysis, ideas, and strategies relating to numerous popular openings, and many mysteries will be unravelled with the help of Watson's choice of instructive illustrative games that he has annotated with characteristic crystal-clear clarity." - GM Paul Motwani, The Scotsman

"The author explains it best when he writes that his goals are to explain the 'ideas, strategies, and interconnections of chess openings' as a whole, and to give a feel for 'the common threads that underlie opening play or the reasons why opening strategies can differ so radically,' so that 'regardless of the uncertainties of theory, you should be able to find your way through many of the problems posed by unfamiliar moves.' The first of two volumes, this focuses on king's pawn openings and should help to teach chessplayers how to think for themselves by examining openings 'from the ground up.' As individual variations are explored, special attention is given to move-order issues and how 'openings and their variations fit into the general contours of a chess game.' (Highly Recommended)" - Mark Donlan, Chess Horizons

"Put it on the Christmas list!" - John Lee Shaw, www.chessgateway.com

"A major release providing a powerful but easily read insight into modern opening theory. It may finally be time to ditch that old openings book and start to use this modern coverage of the openings and strategies behind them. Watson offers an opportunity to take your play to the next level. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" - Michael Blake, www.bfcc-online.org.uk

"...seems to have what it takes to become another Watson classic!" - New-in-Chess, www.newinchess.com

"...promises to unlock the mysteries of modern opening play and as usual Watson is great in explaining the fundamentals and the basic ideas." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"All openings are characterised by distinctive moves, but what Watson points out so cogently is that there are many inter-connecting ideas that apply to all these openings. The realisation of this fact by the average club player marks a tremendous leap forward in his understanding of the game. This, ultimately, is what the book is all about, and it should be high on the essential reading list of all aspiring players." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"A book that is overloaded with a unbelievable amount of instructive text." - John Elburg, www.chessbooks.nl


MASTERING THE CHESS OPENINGS volume 2 (John Watson)
320 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).
$59.95

For most chess-players, opening study is sheer hard work. It is hard to know what is important and what is not, and when specific knowledge is vital, or when a more general understanding is sufficient. Tragically often, once the opening is over, a player won't know what plan to follow, or even understand why his pieces are on the squares on which they sit. John Watson seeks to help chess-players achieve a more holistic and insightful view of the openings. In his previous books on chess strategy, he explained vital concepts that had previously been the domain only of top-class players. Here he does likewise for the openings, explaining how flexible thinking and notions such as 'rule-independence' can apply to the opening too. Watson presents a wide-ranging view of the way in which top-class players really handle the opening, rather than an idealized and simplified model.

This volume, focusing on queen's pawn openings, is a book that will make chess-players think hard about how they begin their games. It also offers both entertainment and challenging study material in openings such as the Nimzo-Indian, King's Indian and the entire Queen's Gambit complex.

International Master John Watson is one of the world's most respected writers on chess. His groundbreaking four-volume work on the English firmly established his reputation in the 1980s, and he has produced a string of top-quality works since. In 1999, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Watson's first book for Gambit, won the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award and the United States Chess Federation Fred Cramer Award for Best Book. His pupils include the 1997 World Junior Champion, Tal Shaked.

Gambit books by Watson: The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, Chess Strategy in Action, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 1 and Mastering the Chess Openings volume 2.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"Suitable for players with a wide range of experience ... Watson doesn't attempt to cover all openings, but covers a limited number to ensure they are covered in greater depth. A fine general opening treatise - very highly recommended" - Paul Dunn, Australian Chess

"Even though volume one mostly deals with 1 e4 and volume two deals with 1 d4, the books nonetheless represent one body of work that should best be enjoyed together, and they are written by one of the finest authors of the last several decades. ... To say that these books are about opening strategies or opening theory would be a disservice to the importance of the material covered in them. ... I found his chosen examples excellent and his commentary instructive and very enlightening. Whether you are an inexperienced improving player or a seasoned tournament player, you will learn loads from studying these books. His discussions of pawn structures and their interconnected strategies are worth the price of both books. Even I feel as though my game has improved after having studied both volumes at length. ... The books convey an understanding of the opening that even specialized opening works do not provide. ... I highly recommend the two volumes of Mastering the Chess Openings to anyone who truly wants to improve their understanding of the openings and of chess in general. - Carsten Hansen, www.chesscafe.com

"In his introduction, Watson states that his approach to the book (as it was in volume 1) has been to start from the ground and work upwards. He certainly does just that, beginning by explaining the fundamental differences between 1.e4 and 1.d4. Some basic yet important principles and nuances, that can take many players a long time and many games to realise, (and some never do!), are explained within a couple of pages. Already, the reader is being primed to greater understand the elements of his or her repertoire. Watson then moves on to the more 'meaty' part of the book. ... It is authoratively and pleasantly written, which makes reading it not only productive but also very enjoyable. I applaud it, as I did its older sibling, and eagerly await Watson's next offering! Any chance of a flank edition volume 3 John?" - John Lee Shaw, www.chessgateway.com

"...it is clear that Watson digs deeper in this book than only on the vital concepts of modern play! Conclusion: Buy it for the highly instructive explanations from John Watson!" - John Elburg, chessbooks.nl

"If you read my reviews regularly you will be aware of how highly I rate John Watson as both a writer and communicator. He has the happy knack of being able to get to the very essence of his subject matter, and present it in a clear and logical manner, something which can not be said of many other chess authors today. Though relatively more expensive than many, these two volumes alone are as useful and informative as a dozen dedicated opening monographs and figure very highly on my recommended reading list for all aspiring players." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Although Watson leaves out a few openings (a6 slav for example), what he does cover, he does well. Explaining the first moves of the openings and then showing top level games and some other possible ideas from that position. Just like the first volume, he does a nice job of explaining the openings and giving the reader a good feel for the position. If you liked the first volume or are just wishing to learn more about the d4 games in general, this is an excellent choice." - Andy May, nsgchess.com

"One of the strongest chapters in Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 2 is the one on the Queen's Gambit Declined. I particularly liked Watson's treatment of the Exchange variation which he divides into the Carlsbad ( Nf3) and Modern (Nge2) variations. Not so long ago White either castled short and played for a minority attack with b4-b5 or castled long and went for a kingside attack. Today add the plan of playing in the center with e3-e4 - sometimes in conjunction with b4 ( see Kasparov-Short from their 1993 World Championship match) and prophylactic moves like a3 and h3." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com