Beating Unusual Chess Openings

Richard Palliser

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Everyman Chess
223 pages

A book that’s a few years old but still worth purchasing is IM Richard Palliser’s Beating Unusual Chess Openings. Titles of books can mean different things, and in this case unusual can be defined as all first moves except 1.e4 and 1.d4. Everything else from the English to the Grob (1.g4) is to be found in this volume.

A particular concern of Palliser’s is that a player’s opening choices mesh, particularly against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 (angling for 2.c4). Clearly, if one met 1.Nf3 with 1…c5 but didn’’t play the Sicilian that would be unfortunate (since White could reply 2.e4). Likewise, if one defended the English with 1…e5 but replied to 1.Nf3 with 1…Nf6 and after 2.c4 looked around blankly, that would also not be good. Palliser suggest several repertoires based on …c5, or …Nf6/g6 or …Nf6/e6. Some of his suggestions are novel and certain to attract attention like 1.f4 d6 2.Nf3 Bg4 which I couldn’t find anywhere in IM Tim Taylor’s excellent book on the Bird.