Chess Explained is a new series of books about chess openings. They are not theoretical works in the traditional sense, but more a series of lessons from a chess expert with extensive over-the-board experience with an opening. You will gain an understanding of the opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

The Classical Sicilian is one of the most popular and respected systems of the Sicilian, and has been used frequently by players such as Anand, Kramnik and Shirov. Black develops his pieces more quickly than in many Sicilian systems, and intricate piece-play often results. The Classical Sicilian arises after the moves 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6. White’s most popular and critical response is the Richter-Rauzer Attack, and recent years have seen a diversification in the plans for both sides in this perennially popular line. Against White’s alternatives to the Rauzer, Yermolinsky covers lines that retain the independent significance of the Classical move-order, such as 6 Bc4 Qb6 - a line in which he is a leading specialist.

Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky is one of the strongest players in the United States. He was US Champion in 1996, and won the US Open Championship in 1995 and 1997. His credentials as a teacher are no less impressive. He assisted Irina Levitina in her bid for the Women’s World Championship in 1982-4, while his former pupils include several top-class grandmasters and a US Junior Champion. His previous book for Gambit, The Road to Chess Improvement, won the USCF Cramer Award for best instructional book.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

“Yermo’s book represents a good way to get to grips with this sound and interesting opening system.” - Phil Adams, 3Cs website

“In conclusion, Alex Yermolinsky has done well to write a book that is both an excellent up-to-date opening survey and very instructional. Recommended.” PHL Hughes, Chess Post

“Anyone that plays the Open Sicilian as White, or the Classical Sicilian as Black, should buy this book. There is always something to learn from someone like Yermolinsky, who has played the opening his entire life. Even Scheveningen and Najdorf players can benefit from reading this book, as the pawn structures are similar. This title shows excellent potential for this new series by Gambit, and I eagerly anticipate future volumes.” - Carsten Hansen,

“Yermolinsky uses the approach of offering real explanation rather than heavy theory. It works. At the end, the reader will have enjoyed some recent, well-played games and gained an understanding of how the opening evolves into the middle game.” – Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg Free Press

“Yermolinsky is a fine writer of chess instruction, and has played the opening in question for 30 years, so he is the ideal person for the job. Highly recommended; I look forward to seeing more titles in the same format.” - Steve Giddins, British Chess Magazine

“Conclusion: A must openings book!”- John Elburg, Chess Mail,

“American GM Alex Yermolinsky is the highly respected author of the inaugural book in the series, and given that he has had around 30 years of personal experience in playing the Classical Sicilian, he is an ideal person to produce very well-informed, lucid writings on his chosen subject matter.” - GM Paul Motwani, The Scotsman