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This is my favorite book by Mednis, and I have several of them. If you play 1. d4, this is, in my opinion, an essential book. Mednis carefully explains the strategic underpinnings of all the major d4 openings. He deliberately does not go overboard on tactically heavy openings, because he did not wish this to be a book on tactics. For instance, there is only one game on the Benoni. But you know the irony of that? His one game makes the Benoni understandable, as does his one game in the Benko Gambit (many other games in the annotations). Many other books have purported to explain the "ideas" and "strategy" behind the openings, but I have never seen a book do this so effectively. This book far exceeds works in its genre. For instance, it must be compared to such works as: Chernev's "Logical Chess" and "Most Instructive Games," and John Nunn's recent "Understanding Chess, Move by Move." For my money (literally and figuratively), "Strategic Chess, Mastering the Closed Game," far exceeds those other works, for several reasons. Regarding "Logical Chess," most chess players consider that book an incredible learning tool for newer players. It brings chess to life for many people. However, it has several major limitations: it does not deal with modern openings; it wastes many pages worth of material reiterating the same exact thoughts; its explanations are often quite superficial; and it frustrates in its failure to really explain the more complex moves. Mednis' work shines brilliantly on all these points: it handles all major modern closed openings; it never wastes ink on redundancy; its explanations are concise, poignant, and always illuminating; and it does not shy away from tactical complexity, althought that is not the focus of the book. Regarding Chernev's "Masterpieces" and Nunn's "Understanding," I do not wish to point out flaws in either of those books (Because they are both five star books to me), but in one very crucial way, the present book by Mednis is far more important to me than those books: namely, it is focused on the closed (d4) games, so it is a singular treatise on them. In that sense, it provides a comprehensive course on the d4 openings, in a way that completely prepares you to understand and play both sides of d4 openings (there is coverage of the English, Dutch, and Torre as well. Of course, this book is not an opening treatise on any particular d4 opening, so it is not a substitute for books on one specific opening. For instance, if you are going to play the Queen's Gambit Declined, you still will want to have Marovic's "Play the Queen's Gambit" or Sadler's "Queen's Gambit Declined".) By contrast, the Chernev and Nunn books are all over the map in terms of openings. The Nunn and Chernev books contain beautifully annotated games, but the games do not go together as a cohesive whole, as they do in this Mednis book. This point significantly diminishes the value of those books to me. Those books contain snapshots of beautiful chess, and they are great books as far as they go; but this Mednis book is a living instructional course on queen pawn openings, and for that it is unique and essential. Also, the games that he has chosen to illustrate his strategic themes are very beautiful games. At under ten bucks, this Dover book is one of the best values in the whole literature of chess.