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Whenever I receive a book on the Sicilian to review I will give you my "two pennys' worth" here!

Recent books are often discussed in some considerable detail on our excellent Open Sicilians Forum, so this should be your first port of call!

Dangerous Weapons: The Sicilian by John Emms & Richard Palliser. 304 pp (Everyman Chess) £14.99. *****/5.

A new book offering a selection of unusual lines that are both surprising and ambitious, to frighten your opponents!

All the lines chosen here are Open Sicilians (thus leaving room for an Anti-Sicilians DW, perhaps?), there are 14 chapters, each one covering one of the suggested lines, eight seem to be for White and six for Black.

It is the sort of book I like, a lot with lots of fresh ideas and analysis, and even if you're unlikely to want to play all these lines there is a very good chance that you will find a few 'weapons' here to slip into your own repertoire with good chances of success.

The book is written to the high standard that we expect from the authors (and I'm not just saying that because they also work here!), it is very 'user-friendly' with nifty little 'Dangerous Weapon', 'Beware', 'Roll the Dice' and 'Tricky Transposition' icons scattered about to make sure the reader doesn't miss any key points.

Highly recommended.

Starting Out: The Sicilian by John Emms. 176 pp (Everyman Chess) £12.99. *****/5.

This is another in the popular beginner's series, introducing all the main Sicilians to the uninitiated, the opening moves, plans and strategies using thematic illustrative games.

It is unlikely to interest a subscriber to this site, I suppose, but will certainly be useful to the vast majority of players.

The Sveshnikov Reloaded by Dorian Rogozenko. 341 pp (Quality Chess). *****/5.

The Sveshnikov is as popular as ever, especially at the highest levels, where it has the reputation of being one of the few really correct openings that give Black serious winning possibilities.

This great new book is written by a strong GM who is also a big expert on the line, and has an excellent personal score with it, so he knows what he is talking about! He quite clearly explains the main ideas, which variations are best, and it is obvious that he has studied them well and put plenty of thought into them.

The book is fairly large, clearly typeset, and pleasant to browse through. Each chapter (there are 34 of them!) starts with the opening moves of the variation, splits into the most important lines and then leads to the most important sub-variations illustrated by complete games.

Whilst this is not a repertoire book as such, there is a slight Black bias of course (after all, most readers will be wanting to play this as Black), for instance in the Bishop Sacrifice chapter it looks at Black's best move, 12...Ra4, and states: "Other moves offer White real chances to fight for the advantage and will therefore be omitted from the book." Naturally, if you want to play it as White this won't be so helpful, although to be fair space is always going to be a problem for such a popular and theoretical line, and the author has to draw the line somewhere.

The book is pretty much up-to-date (there are many references to 2005 games), and I have already found it very useful - you will still need to subscribe to to catch future developments though!

The book is aimed at serious club players, but if you are surfing this site then I guess you probably already fit into that category!

Experts vs The Sicilian by Peter Wells, Peter Nielsen, Thomas Luther, Mikhail Golubev, et al. 288 pp (Quality Chess). ****/5.

This is a very important White repertoire book, very much in the style of Beating the Sicilian, except that each Variation is covered by a different writer.

This has the advantage of pitting, say, Raetsky, who also wrote a repertoire book recommending this line for Black, against the Four Knights, and Peter Wells, who wrote the important Richter-Rauzer book, against the Classical (no points for guessing his proposal for White!) However, this does mean that the book is fairly uneven, in many respects, as each 'Expert' has his own distinct writing style, and his own way of doing things. Some of the authors have found a nice balance between the explanation of the typical plans and actual analytical content, others less so.

All in all I found the book interesting to peruse and good fun to read - I refer to it quite a lot when doing my updates! The book is fairly advanced, and a fairly high level of opening understanding is assumed - still, if you are a subscriber to I guess it is understood that you already fit into this category!

On a negative note I thought more could have been done with the layout: I sometimes got very confused looking thorough the brackets within brackets in the notes - either they should have used some different type of bracket (like square ones) for notes within notes, or they should have taken more care with the layout, and avoided this altogether.

Further, one of the obvious problems with very topical lines is that they quickly get past their 'sell by date', so I do wonder how long some of these particular recommendations will be valid? Maybe until Experts vs The Sicilian 2 comes out ...!

In conclusion, Experts vs The Sicilian is an excellent repertoire book against the Sicilian Defence and is well worth the money. You can use it as the basis for an entire White repertoire, or, better still, you can 'cherry pick' the lines you like, to fill any gaps in your current repertoire.

Easy Guide to the Najdorf by Tony Kosten. (Everyman). ******/5

What can I say? A brilliant repertoire book for Black! :)

Well, OK so I am a bit biased, but I still use my recommendations myself, so I obviously believe in them!