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shakhmat 71 ( +1 | -1 )
Are my books outdated??? I just returned to the game after 25 years....

I still have my old library:
Comprehensive Chess Openings (Estrin and Panov);
Chess Openings: Theory and Practice, and Modern Ideas in the Chess Openings (Horowitz);
Attack and Counterattack in Chess, and Modern Chess Strategy (Lasker);
My System (Nimzowitsch);
How to Think Ahead in Chess (Horowitz and Reinfeld).

Are any of these outdated -- especially concerning the opening lines? (I would guess that the PRINCIPLES in books like My System and Modern Chess Strategy are pretty timeless, right?)

What is the best out there today for general guides to the openings? Or are they all now so specific that you have to get monographs on each line?


bucklehead 81 ( +1 | -1 )
Wow! I have "Chess Openings: Theory and Practice" sitting next to me on my desk right now...I have something of a sentimental weakness for the thing, despite the fact that the cover has been ripped off and my son has begun doodling on the ramining half of the first TOC page. Wow. But I don't use the book for any real analysis anymore, though at my level I suspect that hardly matters. But there have been significant developments in the opening over the past few decades, like the rehabilitation of the Scotch; and some systems such as the Benko are still relatively new (and "Chess Openings" was published somewhere in the n 60s, I believe).

As we speak, my young son has just ripped it in half. Poor old spine. Now it's a rare, two-volume collector's item.

It all probably depends on what you play. My black standby is the Petrov, and few of the lines I play are represented in there.
ccmcacollister 307 ( +1 | -1 )
I'm with Bucklehead about depends what you play. When I played the Dragon back in the early 90's it was having about 3 improvements, or new ideas anyway, come up before you would eve finish one postal game. So like several a year. And variations could be completely overturned in assessment. So if you tried to play a Dragon (either side)
from the info in those books, I'd venture to day you would die a quick Chess death in that game ... unless you can find 40+ years of improvements during the course of a game!
Yet I still play at least one idea from Estrin in a different opening and perhaps more than i know of.
Some might say, an opening book is obsolete as soon as your opponent buys it! :)
There is a tale about a certain IM from the midwest USA; that he would win a tournament, sell his trophy and use that to buy the newest informant, review all his lines in it, get rid of it, win another tournament , buy newer informant ... Seems like a sound procedure, and i suppose being over 2500 must help }8-)
When it comes down to it, I would think that it really does depend upon what openings you are going to play, to what philosophy, and against whom ?
If you play the sharpest openings, to the end of attaining winning advantage from them, or meeting GM's ... of course you need much more recent materials I'd think.
But if your goal is to leave the opening with a solid & playable middle-game, many of the ages old ideas are just fine. I know of one opening right now that hardly anyone has played since the 19th and early 20th century ... the theory on it just about guarantees white advantage, certainly no worse than equality, yet no one is playing it now! Tho whites obtained wins and favorable positions against the likes of Pillsbury, & some equally famous I can dredge up right now (I havent looked at it ina year either ! :) Just out of style. You may find some real goodies in what you have there ... shakhmat tho honestly, yes they are fairly ancient texts. Yet sometimes the best "NEW" idea is simply something so old that no one remembers it ! A nice old line can often score you big points. Besides that, the texts may well have value as collectibles now! :)
In my personal situation, I quit playing for 6 years or so and found my openings had left me behind and become in need of major overhaul to be able to continue to compete with them at an Expert-Plus level. (Which I have not done, and am not doing:) But my prior philosophy had been to play very sharply in sharp & tactical openings & rarely having games more than 40 some moves. If that is what you have in mind ... IMO one had to see informants, even back then. And there may be more to see now ... the way some tournaments
publish out the games right after. But we're talking about being an opening specialist here. Thats really not best approach for most, as many here will tell you, unless you really just love openings.
loreta 41 ( +1 | -1 )
olders Hi shakhmat,
I'd returned after 15 years break - and still use old books. In principles, they work. But for openings, I check some lines against chess libraries. Some variations are forgotten [sometimes without reason - and you could surprise "modern" theory], some are new. So the best thing is a mix of them - if you look into creatively.
fmgaijin 40 ( +1 | -1 )
Kasparov & Fischer . . . . . . are both noted for going back to "old" openings and either reviving unrefuted lines or improving on them. (For example, Kasparov's Scotch & Evans Gambit, Fischer's Nh3 in the 2 N's & 3.Bc4 in the KGA.) I personally have won games with opening variations in lines of the QGD right out of the 19th C that do not appear in "opening" books (or even most databases) anymore but show up in old game collections and remain perfectly playable.
bananaman1 12 ( +1 | -1 )
My System is a very good book still used today. It has been recomended that I buy
it so it's definately not outdated.
More: Chess
calmrolfe 40 ( +1 | -1 )
My System If you think that Nimzowitsch's "My System" is getting a bit long in the tooth then you might consider buying the modern update of this classic, it is called "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy" and is compiled by John Watson. He re-evaluates My System and demonstrates how thinking about chess positions has changed since Nimzowitsch's day. It is an interesting and thought provoking read.

Kind regards,

Cal Rolfe
ccmcacollister 64 ( +1 | -1 )
It sounds good ! I think I'll buy that book, calmrolfe ! I didnt know it existed but would like to read it now since, putting in an ad for IM John Watson, I think he is a very capable
Chess author !
(maybe Great...I refrain from that word only as I was a little disappointed with Play The French #3, as compared to his Play The French #1, which seemed phenomenal to me and many others. But no doubt was a "hard act to follow", as they say.)
But he certainly remains one of my favorite ones. I am definately going to look into it at least. Thanks from here for that info.
shakhmat 25 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks! I appreciate all of your thoughts on my library-- and the current "state of the game"! I'll look for the Watson book...

I just got Waitzkin's "Attacking Chess" and Lane's "Guide to Attacking Chess" and Bronstein's "The Modern Chess Self-Tutor"...

Any thoughts on these?