There’s nothing new about the idea of chess opening repertoire suggestions: repertoire books have been around forever. Back in the day, when I was still developing my own opening repertoire, I loved repertoire books. Now, mind you, I never bought a repertoire book and just followed it blindly cover to cover; I would examine the openings presented in the book and decide on a case-by case basis whether or not to adopt them. But it was pretty rare for me to read a repertoire book and not come away with something useful.
What seems to be all the rage these days, though, are opening repertoire DVDs. It’s almost as though chess software and video developers have suddenly wised up to the market for such products. “Hey, instead of yet another disk on some obscure variation, let’s do something for the club players!”
Nice idea, and we’ve seen some major software releases recently as a result. We looked at ChessBase’s suggested repertoire for older players a few posts back, as well as another ChessBase repertoire disk back in November. Now ChessBase has released another entry in what’s become a fine series of opening repertoire software titles:
The full title of the disk is 1.e4 Repertoire: Grandmaster Lines Explained for Club Players. I’m not pointing that out because I’m a completist weenie (well, I am, but that’s beside the point), but to emphasize some important points: the words explained and club players.
They sum up the important things you need to know about this DVD. Irish IM Sam Collins is not just suggesting a White 1.e4 repertoire, he suggesting one with the club (or weekend tournament) player in mind and he’s explaining the important ideas behind each opening he suggests. It isn’t just “Play this variation against the Sicilian”; rather it’s “Play this line against the Sicilian and here’s why…”. That’s a huge difference in my book and it’s what sets this DVD apart from a lot of the other repertoire products out there (especially older repertoire books, which often take the tack “Just memorize this — you don’t need to know why”).
Here’s IM Collins explaining his philosophy behind 1.e4 Repertoire:
The idea of making your opponent uncomfortable (I usually resort to a tack on his chair) is nothing new: Emanuel Lasker was exercising a brand of “sports psychology” a century ago. But this DVD is a rare example of this idea being made easily accessible to the club-level player, and that alone makes 1.e4 Repertoire worth a look. It’s not a “gimmicky” DVD though; the suggested openings are solid lines which belong in the arsenal of every weekend tournanent player — and that’s the real reason why you owe it to yourself to give 1.e4 Repertoire: Grandmaster Lines Explained for Club Players from ChessCentral some serious consideration.
Have fun! — Steve