Book Review: 501 Opening Problems

Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 1 - Five Hundred and One Opening Problems
  • Authors: Richard Bozulich in collaboration with Rob van Zeijst
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: August 2002
  • Page Length: 256 pages
  • Number of Problems: 501


  • A great basic book about opening problems that utilizes proverbs as directions instead of vague statements.
  • Appropriate for 10 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for serious players.

Detailed Review

Readability - 9 / 10

The directions and explanations in this book are rather in depth for the number of problems in the book. While it may go over some players’ head if they are not familiar with opening concepts, the explanations are long enough that players of the appropriate level will understand it fully while newer players will at least get some exposure to new ideas.

Content Quality - 10 / 10

One of my favorite aspects about this book is that their directions consist of principles like “Neutralize your opponent’s thickness while establishing a base for yourself” in order to give you a better idea of how to approach the problem. There are more principles than I can count on both hands and they are applied to a number of different scenarios. As a result, this book earns a perfect score since the reader is forced to think strategically in addition to figuring out the right move.

Final Thoughts

Since this book is part of the series geared toward helping players master the basics, I have found that Five Hundred and One Opening Problems does a great job exposing the player to a lot of different opening concepts and principles. I personally wish there was a bit more structure as to helping the players truly grasp each principle before moving on to other principles, but it is a great start for any player looking to get a better understanding of the opening.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Some Important Terms and Concepts
  3. Introduction
  4. How to Use This Book
  5. 501 Opening Problems
  1. Kiseido - $21.00 (S&H not included)
  2. SmartGo Books (eBook) - $8.99 (Apple users only)

Last updated May 14th, 2013 - 5 kyu