MASTERING THE CHESS OPENINGS volume 3 (John Watson) - $54.95
352 pages (248 mm by 172 mm).

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.

In this highly-acclaimed and popular series, John Watson helps chess-players achieve a more holistic and insightful view of the openings. He explains not only the ideas and strategies behind specific openings, but also the interconnections of chess openings taken as a whole. By presenting the common threads that underlie opening play, Watson provides a permanent basis for playing openings of any type.

This third volume focuses on the English Opening while also drawing together many threads from the first two books in a wide-ranging discussion of general opening topics. Particularly in the context of reversed and analogous forms of standard structures, we understand why certain ideas work and others don't, and experience the concept of 'Cross-Pollination' at work in even more varied forms than seen in the first two volumes.

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. He reviews chess books for The Week in Chess and hosts a weekly radio show on the Internet Chess Club.

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, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 2, Mastering the Chess Openings volume 3.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"I've learned a lot from it - especially how much I don't know about chess yet. One of the reasons is that Watson gives a lot of practical advice that tells a lot about grandmaster practice as well. This is often the difference between Watson and other authors: Watson is not afraid to mention things that may be painfully obvious to insiders, but can be real eye openers to club players. ... This book is not only essential for chess players who already play the English Opening, but can be a source of new inspiration for people who, like me, have always looked at it with a mixture of wonder, bewilderment and horror." - Arne Moll,

"Regular readers of my reviews will know how highly I regard John Watson as a chess writer. He has that rare ability to get to the heart of the matter and not only to identify what is important and what is not, but also to communicate this intelligibly to his readership. He says in his introduction that his intention is to provide material that will be useful both to relatively inexperienced players and to those with more experience, something which is not easy to achieve. As usual, though, he has climbed the pinnacle and risen to heights that others fail to reach." - Alan Sutton, En Passant

Martin Rieger,"The writer had one straightforward and at the same time difficult ambition: that the reader should, after reading this book, understand the opening. Did he succeed? Yes, absolutely!" - Martin Rieger,

"This volume can be read separate from the other two in this series; however, I recommend reading all three books. They will truly take your game to the next level and help you understand the opening phase so much better, as well as help minimize the risk of starting the game out from an inferior position. Those who play the English Opening should buy this book without out any hesitation. This book is a modern classic. It is genuinely instructive and provides numerous examples of original analysis and improvements over existing theory." - Carsten Hansen,

"...epic work" - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"...a thorough work that is impressive for quality of production and value for money." - Bernard Cafferty, BCM

"Very instructive! Collect them all!" - John Elburg,

"In terms of the 'Royal Game', one could hardly wish for a better start to 2009 than is provided by Gambit and one of the world's best chess authors. I am referring to IM John Watson's Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 3, which focuses primarily on lines that stem from the English Opening, 1 c4. Watson is truly on home territory there, covering topics on which he is a renowned expert. His deep knowledge, understanding, and flair for writing really shine through in what is surely destined to become a best-seller." - GM Paul Motwani, The Scotsman

"Fans of Watson's two earlier works in the series are certain to be pleased with his latest effort. While theory has built up on 1.c4 it is nowhere near as voluminous as for 1.e4 and 1.d4, enabling Watson to offer more complete coverage. The present covers 1.c4 e5, 1.c4 c5 and 1.c4 Nf6. The only variation I could find that was not covered but normally is in a work on the English was the Double Fianchetto line in the Symmetrical English (1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.Nc3 g6) which is no doubt intended for the fourth and final volume in this series on the Reti and various other flank openings. ... definitely must reading for anyone rated 2000 on up who has any interest in the English or modern chess. Highly Recommended" - IM John Donaldson, Chess Today

"Reading IM Watson's prose reveals one of his great writing strengths; getting the reader to think, and often rethink, even for positions and variations in which one's knowledge seemed complete. His works are never dry and always inspiring. ... There's a very good index of variations, complete with way marking diagrams, which needs to be thorough for the English Opening due to the large number of early transpositions. ... this fine overview will appeal to anyone looking to discover the inside story of a powerful and important opening. Those who already play the English will enjoy this new book too. Mastering an opening can take a long time; this book will provide a plethora of help and inspiration along the way. In my opinion, this is the best volume in the series (so far)." - Sean Marsh, Marsh Towers