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Chess Opening Names*

A Look into the Origins of Chess Openings

This is a surprisingly interesting book about the origins of the names of chess opening strategies. The book is divided into three main sections, depending on the origin of the opening: people, places, and stories. For the people section, he gives a little background about the person for whom an opening is named, sometimes putting the man and the moves into historical context as well. If there is a written source for the opening, that is included as well.

There is only one downside to this book. The author has chosen to use algebraic chess notation but doesn’t explain what that is and how to interpret it. Rather, he refers you to a video about it on his website. In a book where so much depends upon each individual move in the opening, I think that an explanation of this system is required for both chest novices and more experienced players who don’t know about this notation. As a visual person, too, I might have liked to have seen the chess diagram boards with arrows and/or numbers showing the move. I will admit to being a chess novice, having only played on occasion, but I do find it an interesting mental challenge. If you have an interest in chess, or even the history of the game, you might find this as engaging a read as I did.