In this volume 1 Watson explains the fundamentals and basic ideas of 1.e4. Openings covered: Giuoco Piano, Two Knights Defence, Philidor Defence, Ruy Lopez,King's Gambit, Silcilian Defence, Caro-Kann Defence, French Defence, and Pirc Defence.
Watson begins with fundamental ideas that apply to all openings then moves to concepts that one needs to improve, beginning with the correct conduct of the openings. Watson explains the ideas and strategies behind specific openings and, more importantly, he explains principles that enable one to play any type of open position. One of the best early opening books that was similar in structure was Fine’s Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, but Watson has expanded on Fine’s work. Extremely helpful is Watson’s lavish use of game fragments and complete annotated games to illustrate his points. In short Watson emphasizes understanding rather than memorization. Recommended for 1400 and up.