In this book, the first to focus on these issues, Steve Giddins provides common-sense guidance on one of the perennial problems facing chess-players. He tackles questions such as: whether to play main lines, offbeat openings or 'universal' systems; how to avoid being 'move-ordered'; how to use computers; if and when to depart from or change your repertoire. Giddins argues that from novice to grandmaster, a player's basic task when choosing a repertoire is the same: he needs to select openings that suit his playing style and that he can play with confidence. The repertoire should not require more memory work and study than he is capable of, or has time for. The book is rounded off with a look at the use of 'role models' and an investigation of the repertoires of leading players past and present.

Steve Giddins is a FIDE Master from England who plays regularly in international events and has frequently contributed to the British Chess Magazine.

Gambit books by Steve Giddins: 101 Chess Opening Traps, 101 Chess Endgame Tips, How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire, 50 Essential Chess Lessons, 50 Ways to Win at Chess, 101 Chess Questions Answered.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"The present book is one of the most useful and interesting books that have been written in English on the opening in recent years. I think that most players who are rated from 1200 up to around 2200 (and possible even higher) will be able to benefit a lot from the advice and examples given by Giddins throughout this book." - Carsten Hansen, Chess Café website

"This book is a truly pleasurable romp through the eccentricities and changing landscape of contemporary openings. It's a light work and probably won't revolutionise your game; but some of Giddins' insights will surprise you and I wholeheartedly recommend his book." - John Watson, TWIC

"I wish I had been able to read this book when, as a 'promising junior', my reaction to a loss was usually to blame my opening choice and learn yet another new line, so that I ended up with an inconsistent repertoire of dubious sidelines. As Giddins says: 'young and ambitious players should be prepared to get stuck into main-line openings early in their careers. There is no point wasting one's formative years on an unsound or dubious opening, which one will be forced to jettison as soon as one starts meeting strong opposition on a regular basis.' This is typical of the common-sense advice throughout the book. ... Well-written and spiced with relevant examples - including analysis of a few grandmasters' repertoires - this book will be of practical help to most players." - James Vigus, BCM

"It is fascinating reading that could benefit any tournament player." - Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

" a common-sense book for the amateur player. Naturally, it is more suited to OTB than correspondence players.... ....this is a book which will be very useful to players below the 2200 watershed and everyone will find some good advice if they play OTB events..." - Tim Harding, Chess Mail

"...[Giddins] shares some of the lessons learned in covering such diverse subjects as mainline openings versus offbeat, understanding typical positions versus learning variations, why reversed openings are never as good as they're cracked up to be, how to make the most of computers and when to change your repertoire. Much of the book is at a sophisticated level but nevertheless easily comprehensible. The chapter on move orders is particularly valuable...." - Tim Spanton, Weekend Chess

" of the real gems is in his last chapter when about eight top GMs' opening repertoires are covered. You'll be able to see what they played, how their repertoires evolved and why studying any GM's repertoire is a great way to help your chess." - Michael Stevenson, NZ Chess

"The author relates how he reached master strength with an unsystematic study program and found himself unable to progress further with a repertoire of junk openings. Unclear on how to address his problems, Giddins was saved when business called him to Moscow and he started working in his sparetime with Russian IM Igor Belov. The latter, raised in a no-nonsense chess environment, immediately set him straight with solid advice which forms the basis for this book." - John Donaldson

"I can recommend this book unreservedly to anyone who is serious about improving. I think the advice he gives is excellent, and the examples he uses are appropriate and clear. I won't even attempt to paraphrase - you need to read this book. ... This book is packed with good advice and interesting examples. It is ideal for the ambitious amateur player or junior, for whom a study of this book will dispel a lot of myths and prevent a lot of time and effort being wasted." **** Phil Adams, 3Cs website

" of the best instruction books I've read in recent years for improving players." - Leonard Barden, Evening Standard

"This work is full of sensible advice and especially those club players who lack access to a coach or to the advice of a strong player will find much in it which can easily be put to practical use." - Richard Palliser

"When the name Steve Giddins appeared, my first thought was, "Who the hell is this?" In fact, I must admit that I didn't even take a peek at his HOW TO BUILD YOUR CHESS OPENING REPERTOIRE for a couple weeks, convinced that it had to be another useless waste of paper. However, the fact that it was a Gambit Publications' book forced me to reconsider (they almost always put out excellent material), and so I finally read it during walks with my cat. As a result, another name has been added to my "worthwhile chess author" list. HOW TO BUILD YOUR CHESS OPENING REPERTOIRE is, to be blunt, an excellent book. It's about a subject that many players always agonize over, it's well thought out, it forces us to think, and it adds a dollop of humor here and there that makes reading this book a very enjoyable experience." - Jeremy Silman

"A book like this might have saved me a lot of heart-ache" - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"After reading this, every chess-player will be able to organise his opening repertoire without problems. Well worth buying by weaker players and of course by chess trainers." - Jerzy Konikowski, Fernschach International

" excellent book and a general guide. He relates what he learnt in a chess school, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various openings, and gives the reader useful advice. Giddins answers questions which other books don't deal with." - KARL