All editions credit authorship to Paul van der Sterren. This book was originally published in three volumes in 1988, in the Dutch language. The English version was first printed in 2009 by Gambit Publications. Fundamental Chess Openings (FCO) is generally not recommended for beginners but for experienced club players and tournament competitors, and that can be important if you’re looking for a book to give as a gift.
Brief Review of the Chess Book
FCO covers a wide range of chess openings, similar to Modern Chess Openings (MCO) except that FCO appears much more devoted to explaining the purposes of the various lines, for example (in two different parts of the book):
[Queen’s Gambit Accepted] Two other moves, 3 e3 and 3 Nc3, were considered less accurate for a very long time because they allow the bold response 3 … e5. The position after, say, 3 e3 e5 4 dxe5 Qxd1+ 5 Kxd1 Be6 is indeed fine for Black, but recent practice has shown that White can do much better: 4 Bxc4! exd4 5 exd4 (or 3 Nc3 e5 4 e3! exd4 5 exd4) when the resulting middlegame with an isolated pawn on d4 is perfectly playable for White.
[Bogo-Indian] This is a very popular variation, illustrative of the fact that the Bogo-Indian is really all about subtle positional judgment. Lovers of wild tactical complications will not feel at ease here (at least not in the opening stage of the game) and for this reason many players use the Bogo as an occasional weapon, hoping to unbalance an opponent who they think might feel uncomfortable in this type of purely positional play.
One Amazon customer reviewer said:
FCO is by far the best general chess opening book. Reading this book you will get:
A historical perspective of chess opening evolution.
A clear understanding of each opening and variation covered in the book.
A very nice reading, even it is possible to follow most of the content without a chess board.
479 pages (although Amazon says “448”) – Paperback, about 10 inches by 7 inches
ISBN-13: 978-1906454135 (English)
On Nov 17, 2015, this was ranked #30 best-selling book on Amazon in the sub-category “Puzzles & Games > Chess”
It was the best of books; it was the worst of books. For average chess beginners or the lower-intermediate-level players, how can this book simultaneously be the best and the worst, this bestseller on the royal game: How to Beat Your Dad at Chess? It’s complicated. [review of the book How to Beat Your Dad at Chess]
Before September of 2015, very few chess book reviews mentioned the nearly-identical positions (NIP) method of instruction in the royal game. Beat That Kid in Chess was then published, perhaps the first chess book every written that systematically uses NIP in helping beginners grasp the essence of simple chess tactics.
What is the chess-playing skill of the gift recipient, when you’re to give a chess book as a gift? That’s a big question needing an answer.