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Neil McDonald Book: 1e4 Starting Out
Compiled by Patca63
--*--

Starting Out: 1e4! A Reliable Repertoire for the Improving Player by Neil McDonald, published in 2006 by Everyman Chess (Random House trade mark). Neil McDonald is an English grandmaster and reputable author of about 50 chess books and counting. Many a chess player has a favorite book written by McDonald!

Despite the title, this theoretically-brief 200-page book is too difficult for beginners and advanced beginners to undertake, IMHO. It is far wiser and more useful to become well-versed in the basic fundamentals and principles in chess for the opening, middlegame AND endgame before studying any specific openings-oriented book like this. Gain experience and become well-rounded in ALL three phases of the game by choosing a few general instruction books that cover chess history, moves, rules, tactics, checkmating patterns, ALL three phases of a game, and annotated games.

Safe bets for starters are books written by Kevin Wicker, B.H. Wood, P.H. Clarke, D.B. Pritchard, A.J. Gilliam, C. H. O'D. Alexander, C.J.S. Purdy, I.A. Horowitz, Fred Reinfeld, Milton L. Hanauer, Milton Finkelstein, Leonard Barden, Allen Savage, Ken Whyld, Enno Heyken, Rudolf Techner, (certain qualified chess writers who have since been imprisoned have been left off this list as well as those who have written more advanced books or topical books instead of strictly general instruction) etc. (Furthermore, do not fall for the Amazon.com trap...these ridiculous modern term papers written for school by unqualified teenagers and then given a glorious title and printed as a book for sale! Get real, classic chess books written and edited by true chess professionals listed above.) Do keep in mind that almost ANY chess book that is 200 pages long is NOT a beginners book. That's just too much information to absorb and assimilate without playing experience.

* Here's a link to Morphy Miniatures:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

* Here's a link to a simple tactics course using miniatures: http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/FTP...

Here's a good self-test... obtain the common book Teach Yourself: Win at Chess by William Hartston (any reprinted edition will do). If necessary, ask your local library to obtain a copy from another library through inter-library loan. Read this book cover-to-cover. The beginning is easy, but the information gets more in-depth later on. If it's too difficult to understand, you're simply not ready to study a specific openings book as given here. (To be fair, some of Hartston's examples of attacking combinations will be hard to see first time, even for strong local players, but you should be able to understand what the author is talking about.) Review the picture diagrams and play over the 13/18 annotated games in the back again and again until you can visualize the next move coming without having to look it up.

When you can easily comprehend Win at Chess by William Hartston, follow up by reading an annotated games book written about a king pawn attacking player like Paul Morphy, Joseph H. Blackburne, W.H. Pollock, or Rudolph Spielmann. After playing through all those annotated games of an attacking player who opens with 1.e4, it's O.K. to study a specific openings-oriented book like the one given here.

Great Short Games of the Chess Masters by Fred Reinfeld Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters (Dover Books on Chess) by Fred Reinfeld

Masters of The Chessboard - Richard Reti
Modern Ideas in Chess - Richard Reti

Starting Out: 1.e4! is better suited for eager intermediates and experienced club players well-versed in the fundamentals of chess. Perhaps experts and candidate masters wanting a second-string line in their already established king pawn repertoire might make use of a chapter or two. In chapters 2-7, this book takes the uncommon approach of teaching the Open Sicilian (1.e4 2.Nf3 3.d4). It just scratches the surface with 75 pages of information but a noble attempt at simplification for the student by the talented McDonald. Most grandmasters play the Open Sicilian -- a vast ocean of ever-changing theory, yet most authors of complete repertoire books chose the Closed Sicilian approach (refraining from 3.d4 cxd4) with the white pieces for amateurs. Technically, there's nothing wrong with either approach, but there's so much more theory to keep up with when playing the Open Sicilian. How much opening theory do you want to study the rest of your life? No study, no lasting success... be it in the classroom or chess.

In today's busy world of multiple activities and tight schedules, a youthful player (and an aging player) is probably better served to play the formulaic, time-saving King's Indian (Reversed) Attack as young Bobby Fischer did See King's Indian Attack: Move by Move by Neil McDonald. Of course, Fischer had an obsessive one track mind for chess and tackled the Open Sicilian a few years later. (The driven, unquenchable Fischer had a photographic memory, read every chess book he could get his hands on, was surrounded by other top level players for competition and advice, and could have conquered any opening he put his mind to.) Most youthful players will not push their chess career to expert or master level, much less grand master level like Fischer did. Still, each person is unique and must follow their own path. If the Open Sicilian is calling your name, by all means play it. McDonald is convinced youth should play the Open Sicilian from the beginning, in part because White quickly gets an active game.

Chapter 1 covers the double king pawn 1.e4 e5 open games in just 40 pages, finishing w/the Scotch Opening (to avoid all the Ruy Lopez theory says the author; See Ruy Lopez: Move by Move by Neil McDonald if you wish). Black can deviate on the second move with the Latvian Gambit, Elephant Gambit, Philidor Defence, or Petroff Defence covered within. This is a good way for all players -- amateurs and professionals -- to start out, so Chapter 1 is right where it should be.

Chapters 8-12 cover semi-open defenses other than the Sicilian in the last 68 pages. Also included in the back are indexes of variations and complete games. Such inclusions are the mark of a properly published book, but I wish some of the lines and variations had been extended farther out.

If the reader is serious about tackling this book as your chess opening repertoire w/the white pieces, start by photocopying the opening moves index in the back, confirm the accuracy of the index with MCO 15 by Nick de Firmian, and rehearse the index each evening until the moves come automatically. The BOLD print lines matter most when learning, but your opponent does not have to cooperate! Memorize all the BOLD print lines first and only in all chapters, then return to the top and add branches / sub variations one chapter at a time. Be absolutely positively sure you know chapter 1 by heart before you go on to the next chapter. Personally, I would skip ahead after chapter 1 to chapter 8 and save the Sicilian chapters for last (except the bold lines that you started with). Unfortunately, this book should have bolded more lines in the index, but the game examples of less common lines are certainly good.

Book reader, can you play 10 exact book moves in 10 seconds without hardly a thought? If not, keep practicing until such is recalled instantly. The common lines must become entrenched in the mind and played by hand as quick as a hiccup. (Slow down in actual tournament play as a deliberate disguise so as not to give away the fact that you are well-prepared in that line. Why alarm your future opponents from playing the line?)

Remember, no chess opening guarantees victory; there is no silver bullet to chess success, but study and consistent rehearsal will get you off to a good start and improve your chances of gaining an edge early in the middle game. This book was written by a grandmaster using grandmaster examples! So, when you lose, it's not the fault of the opening. Stick w/the opening and keep training -- don't change it.

Here are the BOLD opening lines from the index in the back that should be memorized. I have taken the liberty of including some important additional lines from the book which should have also been BOLD, IMHO.

Open Games (Double King Pawn), p. 194:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.NxNc6 bxNc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 (Scotch game)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Nxe5 Qf6 4.d4 d6 5.Nc4 fxe4 6.Be2 (Latvian Gambit; non-bold line taken from the book)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 Bd6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d4 e4 6.Ne5 (Elephant Gambit; non-bold line taken from the book)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.g3 0-0 7.Bg2 Bg4 (Philidor's Defence; non-bold line taken from the book)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 NxNc3 6.dxNc3 (Petroff's Defence; non-bold line taken from the book)

The (Open) Sicilian, p. 195:
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.a4 Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10.f4

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.BxNf6 BxNf6 11.c3

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5 (non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.0-0-0 Bb4 9.f3

Alekhine's Defence (Exchange Variation), p. 196: 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6

Caro-Kann Defence (Panov-Botvinnik Attack), p. 196: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3

Scandinavian Defences, p. 196:
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nxd5 4.d4

1.e4 d5 2.Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Be2 (Center Counter Defense; non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 (Nimzowitsch's Defence to the king pawn; non-bold variation from the book)

Pirc, Modern and Other Defences, p. 197:
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.0-0-0 Nd7 (Bold line, preferred move order p. 165)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 (Philidor's Defense by transposal; non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 0-0 6.Bh6 c6 7.h4 Qb6 8.0-0-0 (150 Attack vs. Pirc Defence; non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 a6 2.d4 b5 3.Nf3 Bb7 4.Bd3 e6 5.Qe2 c5 6.c3 (St. George/Birmingham Defence; non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.Qe2 Nc6 5.c3 e5 6.Nf3 (Owen's Defence; non-bold variation from the book)

French Defence (Tarrasch Variation), p. 197:
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ngf3 Qb6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.Nf3 Qb6 12.Qa4 Qb4 13.Qc2

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.c3 f6 7.Bb5 fxe5 8.dxe5 (Guimard Variation; non-bold variation from the book)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Be7 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 Nc6 (non-bold variation from the book)

For lines that are not bold print, Black usually varies quickly with a different second, third or fourth move. These variations can be tricky; they're just as important as the bold lines. The bold lines tend to be more common at grandmaster level, but it's joker's wild at the amateur vs. amateur level. Therefore, do learn the bold lines first and then add the non-bold branches or suffer the consequences of getting surprised by a Black counterattack that should have been studied with respect.

* Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess (Batsford 1986): Game Collection: Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

* Game Collection: Checkmate: Checkmate Patterns This link has a good, concise collection of checkmate patterns by name. The new reader may wish to consult it initially to the point of memorization.

* Here's a link to Morphy Miniatures:
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

* Here's a link to a simple tactics course using miniatures: http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/FTP...

* 23 pages of King's Gambit (over 2000 games) wins by Black! http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkmate_pattern
M Galyas vs J Bick, 2006 
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 1 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 1, page 9
G Lane vs M Wojnar, 2006 
(C40) King's Knight Opening, 20 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 3, page 14
Greco vs NN, 1620 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 14 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 4, page 15
Adams vs Kurajica, 2004 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 37 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 5, page 20
Shirov vs Klinova, 2006 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 18 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 6, page 23
N Davies vs G Wall, 2005
(C41) Philidor Defense, 27 moves, 1-0

B46
Anand vs I E Morovic-Fernandez, 2004 
(B46) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 25 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 8, page 27
Tseshkovsky vs N Giertz, 2004 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 16 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 9, page 30
Motylev vs Koneru, 2006 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 25 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 10, page 33
Karjakin vs V Malinin, 2002 
(C45) Scotch Game, 20 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 11, page 36
B Savchenko vs Kiril D Georgiev, 2006 
(C45) Scotch Game, 52 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 12, page 39
Tseshkovsky vs Morozevich, 2004 
(C45) Scotch Game, 63 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 13, page 41
Radjabov vs Karjakin, 2005 
(C45) Scotch Game, 31 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 14, page 44
Rublevsky vs J Geller, 2004 
(C45) Scotch Game, 42 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 15, page 53
K Spraggett vs J Khedkar, 2004 
(B63) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 20 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 16, page 55
Anand vs Timman, 2004 
(B67) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7, 29 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 18, page 65
E Berg vs J B Campos-Moreno, 2006
(B45) Sicilian, Taimanov, 44 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 19, page 70
Adams vs Topalov, 2006 
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 42 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 21, page 77
Anand vs Leko, 2006 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 49 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 22, page 83
Kiril D Georgiev vs C G Ward, 2005 
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 43 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 23, page 87
de Firmian vs C Bleis, 2005 
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 30 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 25, page 98
Leko vs Radjabov, 2006 
(B33) Sicilian, 45 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 26, page 100
Kasparov vs Shirov, 1994 
(B33) Sicilian, 38 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 27, page 102
Anand vs Van Wely, 2006 
(B33) Sicilian, 42 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 28, page 105
Kasparov vs Lautier, 2002 
(B32) Sicilian, 34 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 30, page 112
Sutovsky vs K Arakhamia-Grant, 2005 
(B48) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 24 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 31, page 115
Leko vs Judit Polgar, 2005 
(B48) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 25 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 32, page 116
Grischuk vs J Geller, 2004 
(B48) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 27 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 33, page 118
Ivanchuk vs Kamsky, 2006 
(B42) Sicilian, Kan, 54 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 35, page 127
Adams vs M Santo-Roman, 2004
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 31 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 36, page 130
Naiditsch vs Timman, 2002 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 58 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 40, page 144
A Timofeev vs N Eliet, 2004
(B14) Caro-Kann, Panov-Botvinnik Attack, 26 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 41, page 149
Grischuk vs C Bauer, 2005
(B01) Scandinavian, 40 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 42, page 151
Topalov vs Kamsky, 2006 
(B01) Scandinavian, 25 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 43, page 153
B Vuckovic vs S Vukanovic, 2005
(B01) Scandinavian, 18 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 44, page 154
Svidler vs A Dreev, 1997 
(B01) Scandinavian, 34 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 45, page 157
Lapshun vs R Adamson, 2004
(B01) Scandinavian, 29 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 47, page 164
K Mekhitarian vs W Arencibia Rodriguez, 2005 
(B07) Pirc, 17 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 48, page 169
Radjabov vs A Stromer, 2005 
(B00) Uncommon King's Pawn Opening, 18 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 49, page 177
M Saltaev vs A Bednorz, 1989
(C05) French, Tarrasch, 19 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 52, page 182
Kasparov vs Bareev, 2001 
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 41 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 55, page 189
Kotronias vs S Halkias, 2005
(C07) French, Tarrasch, 67 moves, 1-0

Starting Out: 1e4! by Neil McDonald, Game 56, page 190
G Vescovi vs Karpov, 2004 
(C10) French, 22 moves, 1-0

43 games

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