SOS allows amateurs to play the opening like a pro without spending nearly all their free time studying stuffy theory. Readers of this series can ignore large areas of the ever expanding chess opening theory, because they can concentrate on these very early deviations (usually before move six!) from the regular lines in main stream openings. Ideal for club players with a basic knowledge of openings, who have not enough time to keep up with the latest fashions. An online reviewer provided more detail: there are 17 different articles on openings ranging from the Trompowsky to the Alekhine’s to the Bird’s Defence. Dimitri Reinderman has coverage of the Cinema Variation of the Trompowsky. This one seems like a pretty good choice since it’s an offbeat reply to what is already a somewhat marginal opening (and one I used to employ regularly). The position looks pretty wild and Reinderman claims it’s only been played 48 times, mostly by unrated and low rated players. Perfect for an SOS! A quick glance suggests his (and Fritz’s!) analysis is sound and I’d be willing to give it a punt. Now Glenn Flears Bird’s Defence According to Bird is a keeper. The other two got quick glances, but the Dutch: Preparing the Staunton Gambit article is one right up my theoretical alley. I’ve played the Staunton Gambit a good deal as I consider the Dutch defence the one opening I really go nuts against. I throw all considerations of theoretical soundness out the window and just go for the jugular. So can this new SoS line enter the rotation? It looks a little quiet with 1 d4 f5 and now 2 f3 but I mean why prepare e4 with f3 when I can just throw away a pawn straight away? But, it makes a good deal of sense and if my opponent lets me get in e4, I’ll have a great game. Bosch is right to go straight to lines that prevent e4, as otherwise black just seems to be rolling over. Well it looks like after 2…Nf6 we sacrifice a pawn anyways with 3.e4. I like it! White has quick development and with the file open I’ve got hopes for a miniature and a relaxing stroll around the tournament hall. Looks like I’ll be giving this one a try. When it comes to opening play, nothing really captures the magic of chess like Secrets of Opening Surprises. How do they keep finding this stuff? Every volume must leave Bosch biting his nails more and more nervously as he wonders how he’ll be able to keep up with fresh articles. Or chess is really just that endlessly magical. Either way, make sure to check out this series from New in Chess. Softback, 144 pages.