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Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 3 [Kindle Edition]

John Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

"Watson is an icon in chess publishing ... There is nothing to be compared to the approach presented in this book." - IM Frank Zeller, Schachwelt

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.

"Those interested in the English opening, should consult John Watson's new book Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 3. Watson expertly guides the reader through the tricky English roads, scattering some pretty gems along the way." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

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.

"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,

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.

"The publication of this series is a bellwether event in chess publishing, and all players should avail themselves of the opportunity to read these books." - Mark Donlan, Chess Horizons

International Master John Watson is one of the world's most respected writers on chess. His groundbreaking four-volume work on the English Opening 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. His former pupils include the 1997 World Junior Champion, Tal Shaked.

"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

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9658 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications (16 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #375,107 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. 14 May 2009
By T
Combined with Volumes 1 and 2 this book give you such an insight into openings. If you only think of openings as a series of moves to memorise buy this book( and the others in the series) they will open your eyes to the beauty behind the chess openings. They will also give you enough knowledge and understanding of openings to keep you safe in tournaments.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional value for the price - In depth explanation of the current state of the English Opening, its strategy and tactics 17 Mar. 2009
By R. Beale - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been out of chess for about ten years and so I thought I'd make a comeback and learn the English opening. I bought four different books on the subject. I had intended to use Watson's book to give me a good understanding of the strategy and then use the other books to work out a repertoire. But the more I studied all the books, the more I ended up using Watson's almost exclusively.

This book is enormous, it gives an excellent survey of the current state of the English, it is full of the authors analysis and suggestions, and has great explanations of the strategy and tactics.

I had played the English a long time ago when I was a C-player (I'm 2281 now, or was when I last played) and I had a pet line, a temporary pawn sacrifice that I liked (I had got it from Nigel Povah's book on the English, written in the 80s). It was the first thing I looked up in Watson's book to see what he said. Although it is a real sideline, Watson analyzes it in detail showing why it doesn't give white an advantage. In addition to the standard 'refutation' of this line, he gave two different suggestions of his own for playing against the line. This is typical of the whole book.

The book is in a large format, about 10" tall, and thick - 351 pages.
The book has 12 chapters. It starts out with an introduction followed by an in depth discussion about viewing the English as a reversed Sicilian. This is quite interesting and a recurring theme in the book. White would always like to have on of the better Sicilian lines but with a tempo up. The following ten chapters each discuss various English systems in detail. The opening is explained using individual games which includes a great deal of discussion and analysis. Every game includes a great deal of discussion of both White and Black's plans and tactical ideas (the book isn't written from either sides perspective).

I highly recommend "Mastering the Chess Openings 3" For anyone who is interested in the English Opening as either White or Black, or someone who just wants chess strategy explained at an advanced level.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Watson 6 Mar. 2009
By K. J. Case - Published on
John Watson continues to write original and thoughtful works about chess theory and openings. His third volume of Mastering the Chess Openings discusses the English Opening. I must confess that I have not read the entire work; however, the material that I have read presents some new ideas and themes about this complex opening. I highly recommend Chapter 1,Introduction, Chapter 2, Reversing the Sicilian, and Chapter 3, Introduction to 2.Nc3: Black Plays Flexibly. I especially enjoyed the sections on the Improved Alekhine-Sicilian in Chapter 1 and The Ultra-Flexible 2..d6 in Chapter 2. This particular section. pages 45 through 63, is fantastic!! The move 2..d6 contains a lot of potential poison!! I am looking forward to reading the rest of this ground-breaking work.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Buying Twice! 22 Oct. 2010
By Wallace H. Hannum - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Watson wrote THE series on the English Opening back in the 1970's and early 1980's. It was four books and around 800 pages, but its still considered a classic.
To this day, people still refer to those books when they want to learn how to play the English. I know that I did.
However...theory moves on, of course, and so some of the lines are outdated or simply not relevant any more.
Here comes Watson to the rescue!

This book is a large 350 pages filled with brilliant analysis and lucid explanatory prose.
I simply love this book. Its like taking a college course on 1.c4 with an excellent professor to guide you.

Watson covers a lot of minor deviations and early stuff in order to ground the reader as to WHY they're not considered best.
This helps you understand WHY the main lines represent the critical tries. Once you understand that, you can keep up with the latest trends thanks to a solid foundation.

To make a long story short:
I recently lost this book when I moved, and when I found out it missing...I ordered it AGAIN from
Its so good, its worth buying twice.
Get it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Opening Book 6 July 2010
By D. Connell - Published on
This is an exceptional examination of the English Opening by a great chess writer. I read the introductions in the bookstore, and the author's explanation of how the English is like and unlike the Sicilian, and how the extra tempo can sometimes be disadvantageous due to how it reveals information to the black player, and I had to have it.

The book is very deep, and yet very readable. Large portions of the book are readable without an analysis board handy.

If you wish to play the English, buy this book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Coverage of the English Opening, 1. c4 4 Jun. 2012
By Matt Morgan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It took joining a local chess club and repeatedly getting clobbered right out of the opening to realize that in order to stand much of a chance I needed to invest more time in the study of opening theory. I already have a copy of MCO but it is heavy on spewing out moves, light on explanation and has more than a few typos that sometimes make following the variations difficult. I researched books on opening theory and finally settled on Watson's Mastering the Chess Openings series. This is a somewhat more costly resource than many of the others available (four volumes instead of a single book) but it's a worthwhile investment.

Volume 3 of the series is different than the others in that it really addresses one single opening system - 1. c4, the English Opening. I like to play this opening frequently when I have the white pieces and I thought I knew this opening fairly well. It turns out I only knew a very small fragment of it.

The variants of the English Opening (and related topics) that this volume covers includes:

- Reversed Sicilian
- 2. Nc3
- 2..Nf6 and g3 Systems
- Four Knights Variation
- Three Knights and Closed English
- Pure Symmetrical Variation
- Main Lines with 2. Nf3 and d4
- Asymmetrical Variations
- The Hedgehog Variation
- Mikenas Attack and Nimzo-English
- King's Indian Variations

For a single opening system, that's a tremendous amount of coverage! As with his other books, Watson does more than just list a variation and rattle off a set of moves without explanation - he explains the ideas behind the moves and the overall goal of each variation, followed up with example games and annotations. This makes it easier to actually understand what is going on during the opening instead of just providing mindless memorization.

Watson's writing style is very clear and approachable. He neither talks down to his readership nor does he assume that everyone has a doctorate in chess.

This is a superb series on chess openings which will leave the reader with a much clearer understanding of not just the moves involved in the openings but also an understanding of the purpose and goals of any given opening and variation covered. Although the cost of the series is more than that of a single volume it is well worth it.
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