Chess Explained: The Taimanov Sicilian by James Rizzitano is a smallish book purporting to explain a fairly involved Sicilian subvariation of the Sicilian Defense. The book has a good, visually appealing design, is fairly priced and seems to cover several variations.
Many advanced players are able to craft their own opening repertoire based on the games they found in their database. To my mind, there are not nearly enough games to enhance one’s memory of recurring opening patterns.
The games that are present, are not explained in a detail sufficient for a beginner. The author does not leave a single game without explanatory notes, but such notes would not be satisfactory for me. They do not explain the strategy clearly, the tactical motifs are not outlined well either.
A point can be made that a game can only be fully appreciated in all of its complexity, but if that is the view taken than to some extent, the entire purpose of writing a book dedicated to a very specific opening is nullified.
I find myself upon completing the book able to pick up a few new developments in the opening. At the same time, I have no confidence that some tactical trick ignored in this book couldn’t easily negate any such plans, because the level of understanding supplied by the author is not enough to encourage flexibility.
The chess company Gambit is known for its high quality of chess material, but the series Chess Explained, being of a lighter format than usual does not usually address the widest target market, of beginners and intermediate players too well.
I don’t know if such superficial criteria matter to improving chess players, but I am a strong B level in slow games, a very weak C level in fast games, and I benefited less from this entire book than from a analyzing a few outdated chess games by Fischer and Karpov with a similar pawn structure as the ones given rise to by the Taimanov.
With that being said, people learn from different modalities, so this book is at least inexpensive to try out, I bought it for only 5 bucks from Half Priced books in TX.