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Chess opening book

Chess opening book refers either to a book on chess openings, or to a database of chess openings used by chess programs.



Opening books, which discuss chess openings, are by far the most common type of literature on Chess play. These describe many major lines, like Sicilian Defence, Ruy Lopez, and Queen's Gambit, as well many minor variations of the main lines.

There are several types of opening manuals:

  1. Manuals dealing with one specific opening - Often these manuals have highly optimistic titles, like Black to Play and Win with 1...g6 (Andrew Soltis), but some are more modest: Starting out: the King's Indian (Joe Gallagher). In general, these books are the most accessible to the general reader, and cover the most material for individual opening systems.
  2. Manuals giving a system or repertoire - These manuals discuss two or more opening systems, often related by similar tactical themes, pawn structures, or strategic aims. The aim is generally to get the player to the middle game with a playable position without too much trouble, no matter what the opposing player does.
  3. Manuals giving general opening advice and guidance - Possibly the most famous example of this type of manual (in English) is Reuben Fine's The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings. This type of book does not analyze any opening system to much depth, but teaches the ideas that will help its reader understand opening play.
  4. Encyclopedic manuals that aim to be comprehensive - These manuals, from the five volume Encyclopedia of Chess Openings to the single volume works like Nunn's Chess Openings and Modern Chess Openings by Nick de Firmian and Walter Korn aim to cover as many opening systems as possible at the expense of understanding the ideas behind the opening. Usually, at the end of a sequence of moves provided in a theory table, the reader is told that one side stands slightly better than the other. However no information is given on what that assessment is based on or how to proceed in the game.
  5. DVD demonstrating the openings - These DVDs are the modern idea of describing the main ideas and themes of the openings. Those are explained by strong masters, using video to explain as a teacher does the principles.


"Opening book" is also used to describe the database of openings given to Computer chess programs. Such programs are quite significantly enhanced through the provision of an electronic version of an opening book. This eliminates the need for the program to calculate the best lines during approximately the first ten moves of the game, where the positions are extremely open-ended and thus computationally expensive to evaluate. As a result it places the computer in a stronger position using considerably less resources than if it had to calculate the moves itself.

Modern chess engines are designed to be controlled by a graphical user interface such as Winboard, ChessBase or Arena through the Universal Chess Interface protocol or Chess Engine Communication Protocol. In this case the opening book may often be specified in the GUI and then the GUI makes the moves from the opening book on behalf of the engine when the occasion arises.

Opening books used by computers are often in a binary undocumented or PGN format. Examples are ChessBase's .ctg format or Pgn Format and Arena's .abk format. One notable exception is the Polyglot book format which is fully documented and which is being implemented in an increasing number of programs.

General chess opening books

These books cover a wide variety of chess openings. They are in English, except that the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings has no text but instead uses universal symbols to annotate moves and ideas that can be understood in many languages (see Punctuation (chess)).

See also

fr:Biblioth que d'ouvertures ru:

Source: Wikipedia | The above article is available under the GNU FDL. | Edit this article

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