This major new work surveys all chess openings, providing a guide to every critical main line and featuring descriptions of the typical strategies for both sides. These commentaries will be welcomed by all club and tournament players, as they will help them to handle the middlegame positions arising from each opening better, and will equip them to find the best continuation when their opponents deviate from the standard paths.

Covers all chess openings, with verbal explanations of the ideas. This is the first book of the modern era to do this.

Sam Collins is a young International Master from Ireland who won the Irish Championship in 2002. He competed in several World and European junior championships and has represented Ireland in four Olympiads, winning a gold medal at Bled in 2002. He is also an experienced chess teacher who has lectured at the Berkeley Chess School in California.

See also Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"Anyone rated under 1700 should own this book and even higher rated players who are looking to fill in the blanks in their repertoire can benefit. It arms you with the knowledge of where to focus your resources when investing money on other opening books." - Carsten Hansen,

"There has most certainly been a need for an updating of Fine's Ideas Behind the Chess Openings and this volume is the first book of the modern era to do this. Coaches would probably like to have this title on hand as they may often have the need to explain various openings." - Lou Mercuri, Chess Horizons

"This book gives a survey of all chess openings to provide club players with a general guide to the plans for all major openings. Plans for both players are given. Players who absorb this material in this book can expect to gain a general knowledge of opening play. The book is also useful as a guide when developing your repertoire." - Paul Dunn, Australian Chess

"Collins writes and explains well throughout, aided by a generous allocation of diagrams, and indeed this is quite an enjoyable read with the author also always happy to supply his frank viewpoint. Critical lines are well-highlighted, while the samples of play supplied are generally well selected and explained. Understanding the Chess Openings should thus serve as an ideal reference work for the aspiring junior or lowly-graded club player, keen to learn many new openings and to fully understand their concepts, while those who frequently coach or help children and weaker club players may well find much good material within." - Richard Palliser,

"It is remarkable how much material Collins has managed to condense into one relatively slim volume without compromising his objective of comprehensive coverage. That is no easy task and he is to be congratulated on a job well done!" - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"There are many ways to learn chess openings but one of the best ways is to understand them and this openings book from the talented chess master from Ireland can provide with all the necessarily openings techniques that a upcoming {club} player needs to know." - John Elburg, Chess Mail

"A very useful source of opening ideas that will assist the reader to remain focused on the aims of an opening and steer the position towards a favourable middle-game. A worthwhile companion to club and tournament players." - Michael Blake, IECG Newsletter

"To create an overview of all the main openings and their ideas is not an easy task, even if you have 224 large-format pages to work with. To deal with the Catalan opening, the Winawer variation of the French, or the Najdorf variation of the Sicilian in a useful manner in only one to three pages must involve a colossal effort of synthesis. In this book, it seems to me that Collins has achieved it splendidly. The explanations are clear and lucid with just enough variations to give readers a reasonable base from which to commence using the openings." - Jean Hébert, Au Nom du Roi

"On the basis of this book, every beginner can quickly learn the plans and ideas that more often than not occur in the opening. I can recommend this book to every chess coach for lessons!" - Jerzy Konikowski, Fernschach International

" the openings are arranged by the main variations. Always, well-written explanations of opening principles and assessments of the position predominate over listing of variations. ... The strengths of Collins' book are its compact presentation of theory, topicality, and critical basis." - Schachmarkt

"If you're looking for a suitable opening repertoire and you have satisfactory knowledge of English, then this new openings compendium by Collins is just the thing for you. In it he has provided an excellent overview of all the main openings." - Dr. W Schweizer, Rochade