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 Taimanov Sicilian is one of the most flexible options for Black in the Open Sicilian. Black avoids committing himself to a rigid set-up, and tailors his response once White has shown his hand. This can lead to a great variety of central structures, and the player with the better understanding of typical Sicilian themes will often emerge victorious - Taimanov positions need to be understood well in order to be played well. Many of the post-war World Champions have used the Taimanov, and amongst the current world elite, Anand has played it most frequently. This book covers the Paulsen set-up with ...Qc7 in addition to the 'pure' Taimanov with ...Nge7.
James Rizzitano is a strong international master who dominated chess in the New England region during a 14-year period from 1976 to 1989 - he won 157 out of 336 events in which he competed. His career highlights include victories over Alburt, Benjamin, Benko, Christiansen, Dlugy, I.Gurevich, and Wolff, and exciting draws with de Firmian, Larsen, Speelman, and the legendary former world champion Tal. Rizzitano has recently made a return to competitive chess.
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"I give high marks for the selected games and the quality of the annotations from start to finish. These games serve as models by which the alternative moves can be compared. These are games played by top grandmasters Anand, Timman, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, and Beliavsky to name a few. Even veteran grandmaster Mark Taimanov makes his way into the book in game five with a fine win over Igor Nataf at Cannes 1998. This game is historically important in that it is the only full game presented that was played before the 21st century! In this sense, the book really strives to stay on top of current developments in the Taimanov, while also staying consistent with the theme of finding top level examples in the Explained series. The book will provide a key benchmark for future works on the opening." - Lou Mercuri, Chess Horizons
"Rizzitano's goal, as in the other 'Chess Explained' books is: 'to enable the club and tournament player to handle both the White and Black sides of the Taimanov Sicilian with confidence. The emphasis in this volume is on describing the typical plans and strategies for each side within the context of 25 high-level annotated games - there is less focus on detailed sub-variations. The games have been selected to illustrate distinctive Taimanov Sicilian middlegame and endgame themes across a wide variety of lines.' He succeeds in this and also manages to find the space to verbally describe strategies throughout the book, while even tossing in some chess philosophy. Unlike most authors, Rizzitano indeed pays some attention to the endgame, presenting instructive and thematic examples." - IM John Watson, TWIC
"I'm really impressed with how thorough and helpful the explanations are. I'm quite sure that anyone interesting in taking up the Taimanov would learn a lot from this book - in fact, the average club player would probably be able to make do with this as his or her one and only Taimanov book." - S Evan Kreider, www.chessville.com
"Each chapter is started with a short introduction for the specific line and then lists the games contained in that chapter with some brief comments. After that are the games, 25 in total throughout the book, in which Rizzitano has selected and annotated wonderfully as to give the reader a complete view of the many possibilities of this opening. Having played both the Taimanov and Paulsen, I can confidently say that this is a great book for anyone wishing to pick up the Taimanov/Paulsen or even looking for a favorable way to play against it." - Andy May, www.nsgchess.com
"...here is something that impressed me straight off. I can tell you, as a Taimanov player myself, (it is my main weapon against 1.e4), one of the biggest questions you face is whether to play 5...Qc7 or 5...a6. Rizzitano deals with this issue straight away, explaining why a player might prefer one to the other, and its features, benefits, and drawbacks. This is a very useful approach for the player who is new to the Taimanov, and one is aready being well equipped to begin playing it in an educated and considered manner. This really did get me very enthusiastic about this book straight away. ... Care is taken not to plough in to great amounts of theory, but in saying that, alternatives and variations are given where appropriate, as well as some new ideas which I found extremely thought provoking having played the opening for probably about 6 years or so, and having made detailed studies of its games." - John Lee Shaw, www.chessgateway.com
"Once again [Rizzitano] has a winner." - IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com
"The games are well chosen and nicely annotated, and there are numerous references in the notes to other games which the diligent reader can consult if he so wishes." - Alan Sutton, En Passant
"A very impressive effort!" - John Elburg, www.chessbooks.nl
"I think Rizzitano was a good choice for this particular book not only because he played the system again upon his return to chess, but because he is a lucid writer who can say the right things and you don't feel choked with information that, at this stage, isn't all that useful." - Bob Long, www.chessco.com