My mom is going to chess classes for some years now. Am absolutely noob. She has been asked to buy a book: "Modern Chess Openings" by Walter Korn. While googling, I came to know that the author of this title is changed over edition. Till MCO12, it seems that it was completely written by Walter:

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MCO13 says "Revised by Nick De Firman, under the editorship of Walter": enter image description here

Now MCO14, 15 completely erases Walter's name from the book:

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Is the content of the book considerably changed over these editions. Which one should I prefer?

  • 2
    Just to note that Walter Korn died in 1997, therefore why he is no longer a co-author or editor. Beyond chess he also helped relocate victims of Nazi concentration camps as part of the UN relief effort.
    – user1108
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


The MCO series is styled like an encyclopedia. Just how encyclopedia's tended not to change all that much from one year to the next, the MCO series hasn't changed all that much.

I would balance price with target audience rating. If the target audience rating is high, then spend more on the latest MCO. If the target audience rating is low, save money on a second hand, older MCO.

This advice is based on the fact that at lower levels, opening theory isn't all that important, so paying a lot of money for an opening encyclopedia doesn't make much sense.

One final note is that openings come in-and-out of fashion. You may find that differences in MCO editions over time reflect more the level of popularity of an opening rather than any substantial changes to chess theory.


I bought the 11th edition in the early 1970's. They didn't have PCs then. They didn't have chess programs and computer databases of games then. Modern chess databases are much, much, much better than an old, out of date MCO. All MCOs are very out of date. Don't waste your money. Don't let your mother waste her money.

If she is seriously going to a chess class where they give this kind of advice then ask for your money back and find a better chess class. Any one where they don't recommend buying an old opening book like MCO would be a better one.

  • so basically you mean to learn it online? Any link to free, well known online database of chess plays / strategies?
    – Mahesha999
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 16:41

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