• Chess Opening Names

  • The Fascinating & Entertaining History Behind the First Few Moves
  • By: Nathan Rose
  • Narrated by: Nathan Rose
  • Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (57 ratings)

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Chess Opening Names

By: Nathan Rose
Narrated by: Nathan Rose
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Publisher's Summary

The people, places, and stories behind the chess openings and their names: When we play chess, the first few moves define the game. You probably know the names already: the Sicilian Defense, the Ruy Lopez, the French Defense, the Caro-Kann, the Benoni, the London System, the Scandinavian Defense and so on. But most chess players don't know WHY the openings are called what they are.

In this entertaining audiobook, best-selling author Nathan Rose lays out the origins of over 50 standard chess openings and their names. The tales are often deeply connected to the lives of the leading chess grandmasters, the historical events taking place at the time, and the critical chess world championship contests. All these stories are collected together in this, the first audiobook dedicated to uncovering them.

The names of the chess openings tell the history of chess: You will meet larger-than-life characters such as Bobby Fischer, Aron Nimzowitsch, Alexander Alekhine, Frank Marshall, Siegbert Tarrasch, Wilhelm Steinitz, and Paul Morphy. Some of these men won their fame in the chess world championship, while some gained wider renown for reasons other than their ability to play chess. You will be agog at Paul Morphy's stunning conquest of Europe and subsequent disappearance, the outrageous antics of Aron Nimzowitsch upon losing a game, and the eccentric names Alexander Alekhine gave his cats.

You will also travel through the places and events that defined chess in the early years. As David Shenk showed in The Immortal Game, the history of chess has often mirrored the history of society. There's the 1972 world chess championship that pitted the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky against America's irascible Bobby Fischer in the Match of the Century; the 1939 chess olympiad in Argentina which coincided with the outbreak of World War II; and the unveiling of the "Mechanical Turk" chess-playing contraption in 18th-century Vienna.

Impress your friends with superior opening knowledge - without the tedious study! 

Knowing the history of chess will prove your cleverness even more effectively than winning over the board. Once you have listened to this audiobook, you can speak of your temptation to play the Sicilian Defense, but instead play Alekhine's Defense. Then, you can explain the origins of the names to your opponent. Even if you lose the game, your opponent will still be impressed! 

Enjoy this capitvating romp through the names of the first few moves. This audiobook is brisk, enjoyable addition to any chess player's library. Prepare to be surprised, amazed, amused and informed. 

©2018 Stonepine Publishing (P)2018 Stonepine Publishing

Featured Article: The Best Chess Audiobooks


If you've been following popular culture, you know that one of the most popular shows of the last year is The Queen's Gambit, which debuted on Netflix in October of 2020. Adapted from the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, the stylish miniseries starring Anya Taylor-Joy is about the life of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon. Due to the popularity of the show, the gaming industry saw an unprecedented interest in chess; sales of books about chess and chess boards skyrocketed! Whether you are a theory nerd or hungry for a lesson in the game’s history, these chess-related listens are a great opener.

What listeners say about Chess Opening Names

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I learned a lot about openings and chess history!

I found this book very informative and it added a lot of context to the mysterious and often amusing background of chess openings.

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Great for anyone!

I would recommend this to anyone, chess enthusiast, player or historian, even new players to the game. This book really goes into so much detail about how chess has evolved with the world over time and paints a brilliant picture of the players, the time periods, and everything that transpired into naming so many well openings, and even the pronunciation of their names in some cases.

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Gets better as it progresses

The narrator takes a bit of getting used to when compared to other books out there. But as the book progresses he grew on me and became quite endearing and the content is very good though not as in depth as some may want but it has quite a bit of breadth which makes that understandable. Looking forward to more.

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Exactly what I'd hoped for...

Really enjoyed the history this provided. Openings could've been read slower. Voice made me sleepy.

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only one thing missing!!

These are great stories, ebook really needs a table of contents included to make navigation a possibility.

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learn the chess history. not just names and moves.

excellent! technical and historical treats throughout. I loved learning about the lives of the players who gave these openings their names.

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  • Darren M.
  • 02-20-19

Fun book but quirky narration

It’s perfectly listenable but the author is not a natural narrator and has a very odd pronunciation at times, which can be jarring and distracting. Words like ‘debut’ and ‘eccentric’ are particularly mangled.

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  • Larry Reacher
  • 02-09-19

Nice book, worth a listen

I enjoyed the stories around the openings, Narrator was ok. A difficult job as many opening have many ways of pronouncing them, so might not be impressed by that. Overall a great listen, on the short side, just under 4 hours. But a chess player will love this..