Chess Explained books provide an understanding of an 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.

Belying its solid classical appearance, the Semi-Slav is one of Black's most aggressive responses when White opens with the queen's pawn. The Meran is its traditional main line, and often leads to chaotic positions of immense strategic and tactical richness. This is territory where the player who is better prepared and has a superior 'feel' for the nuances will typically emerge victorious, even against a stronger opponent. Vera draws upon decades of personal experience to explain the underlying logic of the Meran and related lines, and to pick out the key features of positions that to the untrained eye might appear random and unfathomable. In addition to discussing all major lines after 5 e3, Vera also covers many subtle issues of move-order, which are of great importance when trying to steer the game into the desired channels.

Reinaldo Vera comes from Cuba and has been a grandmaster since 1988. He has won the Cuban Championship on two occasions and was a member of the Cuban national team for more than two decades. Vera graduated from Havana University, and has written for many chess magazines, including New in Chess, Jaque and Peon de Rey. He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer, and the coach of the Cuban team.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

Gambit books by Vera: Chess Explained: the Meran Semi-Slav; Chess Explained: the Nimzo-Indian.

"A lovely book... in 25 games Vera reveals how Black, in response to 1 d4, can immediately force chaotic positions. As well as variations Vera offers many insights... devoting much attention also to the subtle differences of various move-orders" - Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

"Throughout, Vera manages to at least give a short comment upon almost every line of which a player needs to be aware (particularly as Black), an impressive feat that is facilitated by his use of games from the last few years. ... I can't tell you how important the issue of move orders is for both sides of this opening. Vera's exposition clarifies issues that confound many Slav players. ... Vera manages to give a remarkable amount of verbal guidance while introducing and annotating 25 illustrative games. ... Vera has done an outstanding job, and I strongly recommend this book for the average player up to master" - IM John Watson, TWIC

"... [Vera] has been a very active participant in the debates on the Meran since the early 1980's, having played it from both sides. To me this is a strong point in favor of the book." - Bill McGeary,

"What he offers is honesty! I like that. It means to me you can trust the rest of the book because he is honest about his own contribution." - Bob Long,

"Given that these lines are highly topical and constantly played at top level it is amazing that the author is able to make the overall presentation so digestible for the average reader, by explaining all the fundamentals, and the strategic and tactical elements that are needed to implement these variations. While you will not know all the theory in the various lines, this book ably provides the reader with all the knowledge he or she needs in order to understand the theory and the essential aspects of the positions that arise during play. This book is excellent. ... You will learn more than just the variations covered, but also about chess in general, because this book is a fountain of knowledge and it is so accessible that it is a shame not to take advantage of it." - Carsten Hansen,

"... a very neat work ... well worth buying" - Martin Rieger,

"These books provide 25 well annotated, up to date model games which you can use to guide you when learning the openings. Excellent introduction to these openings for intermediate players." - Paul Dunn, Australian Chess

"...a great selection of important model games from black's point of view." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"One extra feature in this book... is a short final chapter dealing with move order. As with so many opening systems the move order is very flexible in the first few moves, and the author examines various move orders, explaining the nuances of each, and pointing out possible transpositions to other openings" - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Vera is a great expert on the Meran who played it for many years before it reached its present level of popularity and it shows in his ability to understand what is most significant and what can be left out ... for a wide range of players from 1800 to Grandmaster it will be most helpful ... Highly Recommended." - IM John Donaldson,

"This is a good explanation of the variations, written by an acknowledged expert." - Steve Giddins, BCM