I am old. Book about rare opening from 2010. should not be too old, considering how old are chess classics. But to my surprise, I found it unusable waste of time. Games in it are older, sideline variations older some more. Even the engines and PC power that book author used in 2010 are inferior to contemporary average. Games and analysis are full of sub-optimal moves.
End of huge intro. My point is - it seems we are grounded to make our own books from positions of interest.
Engines are not powerful as you think they are.
@A_0123456 They are powerful if they can crush any human opponent (even the best).
Books and engines are sometimes overrated.
i believe with some caution, books are invaluable. of course some are not good, some lines may be outdated, but they help to think plans, teach different points of view, train your brain. engines may be useful, but make players brains not have to work and think, so, otb they may never archive optimal results. at least, they may drop a memorized perfect line. my two cents.
@Sarg0n might be right that books are overrated, but as learning method better than engine. Engine can clarify its opinion only bby showing principal variation which usually is string of moves none which you play. While book writer can offer some human understandable explanation on whys. As for most recent openin I guess following what happend on top tournamenst is best.
Assuming you have time and energy for it.
I think it depends on ones playing strenght and the nature of the opening. If you are very strong and have a tactical opening, you'll analyze yourself with engines and databases. If you are weak and have a silent opening, it's more to learn about structures and where to place pieces. For that a game from 1890 could be better than anything played in the last decade.
I found books were good when I was a beginner, Chernov’s Logical Chess move by move book was really helpful. After that I think times have changed and other resources like videos and interactive learning seem to have taken over.
I liked these books when I was at these ratings
Simple chess-Stein 1600-1900
Endgame strategy- Shereshevsky 1700-2000
Chess openings for juniors- out of print unrated to 1500.
Chess master vs chess amateur- Euwe 1600-1900
A chess book can teach you a key idea in certain position types, not just how to achieve any one of a select few "good" positions. Such as any one particular move that you may play in the queen's gambit if your opponent makes a similar mistake that could occur in a multitude of lines. Of course this isn't just for books about openings.