26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I bought this book facing the fact there really wasn't a general book telling me about the english opening. This book gives fairly balanced guidelines for both white and black about different english systems, many other books on market concentrate on specific lines. Although I'm still reading it and playing games with board, I guarantee you won't waste your money if you get a copy. I'm a 1500 player so I can't really say about the lines and if they are a little bit out-dated (as some reviews tell you), but I think for me this is just a good book. I like the idea that you can learn a solid opening and yet the opponent is not always so happy to face 1.c4. The layout of the book is not the most pleasant to my eyes (single column), but as a bonus you got plenty of space to write your own thoughts. There are a lot of guidelines along the journey, telling sometimes very general and useful things. I like the annotations of the selected games, and it's nice to study those playing the moves with board. This book is somewhat bigger than in other Starting Out -series, so you'll find here a lot to study.
Nice book indeed.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
If you are looking for a new opening (as white), and are thinking about the English, then this is the perfect book for you. It covers the fundamentals of almost all main variations in a clear and concise way. Instead of a lot of lines, you will find strategic ideas and motives founded on the current position. This helps a lot, because even if you actually don't get the book's lines on the board, you can find what to do.
Moreover, the majority of the illustrative examples (illustrative indeed) are Grand Master's games (Karpov, Kasparov, Anand, etc.) with no stupid dumb blunders (but instructive positional ones). You can easily spend a lot of time reading this book.
Now, maybe this is a bad book if you are already familiar with the English opening and want to improve your game. In that case, you need an English Opening Repertoire Book (with specific variations, and a lot of lines and analysis!). This book only covers the `sharpest' lines in each variation.
5 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book covers some lines of the English. That's all. Although other reviewers have claimed it to be a "comprehensive guide to the English" that isn't true. First, this book is very thin. Seeing all the transpositions in the English, which McDonald mentions without telling anything about them, it makes more sense to make a longer book dealing with positional ideas in all sections of the English. Speaking of positional ideas, this is where McDonald does a good job. In the first 3 chapters McDonald explains about the Symmetrical English, giving lines, well-annotated illustrative games (Andersson-Seirawan is particularly good), and well-written summaries of plans for white and black. After this, however, McDonald loses his interest. If the rest of the book had been like the first 3 chapters, it would be 100 pages longer and I would have given it 5 stars. However, after writing extensively on transpositions and almost every move white or black can play in the Symmetrical English, in the later sections McDonald gives critical lines as merely possible, and gives 1 measly illustrative game for each section of the Nimzo-English, even for some of the sharpest and most complicated lines. After seeing white demolish black readers with barely any of the annotations McDonald is most famed for, readers are left wondering if this line isn't simply a forced win. McDonald seems to imply that black has chances, without describing what they are. After mentioning some lines (1.c4 f5 and 1.c4 c6) he goes on to the next chapter assuming he has covered them without so much as a single illustrative game. Maybe I am being a bit harsh. McDonald has produced a fine book, but it is not in the league of his other works.
Erik C. Knudsen
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I own several of the "Starting Out" books and they do a nice job of laying out the basics and then analyzing some of the more important games for a given opening system. I think these books are excellent in terms of building an understanding instead of getting bogged down with tons and tons of analysis.
The hardest part of the English Opening is dealing with the transpositional possibilities. You can walk into lines of the King's Indian, Queen's gambit declined, certain variations of the Sicilian Dragon and so on. Other books (or software) recommend 1 c4 and then 2 g3 no matter what Black plays. This book really focuses on the Main Lines (usually the second move is Nc3 or Nf3).
I wish the book had more coverage of the Mikenas system because I think most players on the black side won't be very prepared for it.
Overall you get what you pay for here and this can be said about the "Starting Out" series in general. In one book you get some exposure to many of the major systems. The downside is that if you want more in depth coverage, you may need to augment this book with others. Still if one takes the time to just play over the games (don't worry about reviewing all of the side lines in detail) I think you'll come away with some understanding of where the pieces go and you'll have some idea of the basic plans for this opening.
16 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a fine introductory chess book about the English opening, with excellent explanations of what each side is trying to accomplish in a variety of positions. And yes, one could even use it as a repertoire book for White, I suppose. But I would use more than just this book for that, and I'll explain why.
After you open 1 c4 let's say Black replies e6. The best reply for White is probably 2 Nc3, so you try it. But Black plays 2...d5. Now what? Well, I think you'd be best off with 3 d4, settling for the White side of a Queen's Gambit Declined. Depending on what Black does, you may get to a Tartakower (after 3...Nf6 4 Nf3 Be7), or a Tarrasch (3...c5 4 cxd5 exd5), or a Semi-Tarrasch (3...Nf6 4 Nf3 c5), or a von Hennig-Schara Gambit (3...c5 4 cxd5 cxd4 [I call this the "Trash Gambit" for short]), or a Ragozin (3...Nf6 4 Nf3 Bb4), or a Semi-Slav (3...Nf6 4 Nf3 4...c6). None of these are in this book.
Given that we ought to know how to play some 1 d4 openings for White to do justice to 1 c4, let's see what other transpositions we might come up with:
1 c4 Nc6 2 d4. Let Black play that Chigorin Defence, which is not in this book.
1 d4 d6 2 Nc3. Sure, Black may play 2...e5, which is even discussed in this book, but we're probably headed for the White side of a King's Indian, which is not.
1 c4 b6 2 d4. As McDonald says, this is a good line, but further discussion of it is outside the scope of this book.
1 c4 f5 2 d4. Let Black play the Dutch, which is, of course, not in this book.
1 c4 c6. Here, I advise 2 e4 d5 3 exd5 Nf6! 4 d4. The idea is to try to get the White side of an isolated queen pawn attack (also reachable from the Nimzo-Indian, the Semi-Tarrasch, or the Queen's Gambit Accepted), via the Panov against the Caro-Kann. Black typically plays 3...cxd5, allowing White to postpone playing d4, and giving Black fewer options in the Panov. If Black does play 3...Nf6, White ought not take the pawn but continue with the Panov. White also needs to be prepared for 2...e5, which often transposes into an Old Indian. Of course, none of this is in the book.
1 c4 g6 2 e4 is the Averbach against the Modern, or maybe the White side of a King's Indian, neither of which are in this book.
1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 g6 3 e4 will get us into a King's Indian as well. McDonald recommends this move order for those of us who want to do that.
Well, what is in the book? Mostly lines involving 1 c4 c5 and 1 c4 e5.
1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nf3 Nc6 is our bread and butter, and it is a big focus of the book. I learned quite a bit about this line in the book (in particular, I've learned why the move I've been playing here, 4 d3, is probably not as good as I thought). But even here, Black can play 3...d6, after which we'll be in a King's Indian or Old Indian, neither of which are in the book. Worse, Black can play 3...e4 4 Ng5 b5, the infamous Bellon Gambit. That really ought to be in this book, but it isn't. White's best move is 5 d3 here.
1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nc6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 e6 6 g3 is in the book; it's a good line for White. But in this line, if Black plays 5...g6, that leads to a Maroczy Bind, and that's considered a Sicilian Defence, so it is not in this book.
1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 c5 3 g3 e6 4 Nf3! b6 5 Bg2 Bb7 6 d4 cxd4 7 Qxd4 Be7 8 0-0 d6 transposes us into another main focus of the book, the Hedgehog. It's a good defence for Black, but I do not like it because Black always seems to be just one minor error away from getting mated on the Kingside. McDonald gives us a good example where this indeed happens, as well as some other examples where Black does much better.
1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 cxd5 Nxd5 (inviting a Grunfeld) 4 g3 g6 is in this book (generally, it leads to a Dragon Reversed). But 4...e6 leads back to a Tarrasch defence, which isn't in the book.
1 c4 e6 2 Nc3 Nf6 (or 1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 e6) is indeed in the book, and it is another important line. I used to play 3 Nf3 here, but this book has convinced me that 3 e4 (the Mikenas) is a better idea.
In any case, there's plenty of good material in this book, and I highly recommend it.