One of the most challenging tasks in a chess game is to find the correct strategy. It is far easy to attack too randomly, to miss a vital opportunity, or even choose the wrong plan altogether. These are all mistakes frequently seen by even quite strong players.
Your Chess Battle Plan focuses on how Magnus Carlsen and other great masters decide on the best strategy in a position and then find the right ways to implement it. Clear advice shows you how to hone in on the most relevant features of a position in order to decide what your general plan needs to be. Factors that are addressed include when to exchange pieces, when to make long-range manoeuvres, when to offer sacrifices and how to identify and focus on key squares. Your Chess Battle Plan will get you thinking along the right strategic lines and using your pieces and pawns in a much more efficient and skilful manner.
Pattern recognition is perhaps the single most important thing in Chess. This is true in all three phases of the game and it applies to both positional and tactical themes. The book you hold in your hands provides a sufficiently comprehensive overview of the latter. The main goal of this book is aimed at improving pattern recognition and tactical vision, while also treating the reader with nice combinations.
There are two parts to this book. The first 17 chapters elaborate on the most important motifs in practical chess. The remaining 8 chapters showcase the art of attack and defense. Certain motifs feel like they belong together and the order of the chapters in which they are discussed reflects that. All 25 chapters of this book begin with an introduction which is always designed to clearly illustrate the motif or theme at hand. Most but not all of the games here are classics. All the introductions are followed by training puzzles in order to reinforce pattern recognition and learning for what has been discussed beforehand.
It has to be emphasized that motifs in chess are interwoven and it is the rarest occasion in practical games that only one motif is present. Often, even a single move features multiple motifs and the one we are studying depends on which aspect of the move we are looking at. It was not an easy feat to sort the puzzles appropriately. Therefore, the approach I took when assorting the puzzles was to decide which theme or motif best characterizes the tactic. The total number of training puzzles is 365, one for every day of the calendar year. All of them are from real games and most from Grandmaster practice. This should give the book more practical value. In some of the games the player found the solution, while in others the combination was missed.
With the training puzzles I put a lot of emphasis on being original. This means that during my research I mostly collected puzzles from recent games while also incorporating tactics from my own practice. There are a number of combinations from my friends’ games as well that I am immensely grateful they shared with me.
I chose to write a book on advanced rook endings as I simply did not wish to write another book that would be like the many already available. I have done my best to present analysis and articles I have written over the past 10–15 years. This work has been presented in my daily coaching sessions, seminars, workshops, etc. The material has helped a lot of trainees to develop into quite strong players gaining international titles and championships.
The endgame is the moment of truth. It is the phase of the game where we will try to reap the seeds of our effort regardless of whether that is the full point of victory or the half point of the draw. The significance of errors increases in the endgame as the opportunities for correcting them are few.
Mark Dvoretsky makes a general quote: Rook activity is the cornerstone in the evaluation and play of rook endgames. This activity may take diverse forms: from attacking the enemy pawns, to the support of one’s own passed pawns, to the interdiction or pursuit of the enemy king. There are indeed times when the rook must remain passive and implement purely defensive functions. But even then, one must stubbornly seek out any possibility of activating the rook, not even stopping at sacrificing pawns, or making your own king’s position worse.
Which opening does better in practice: the wild, “unsound” and “refuted” Latvian Gambit (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f5) or the solid Philidor Defence (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6)?
As James Schuyler points out, referring to the definitive Megabase, the Latvian Gambit scores higher.
How can such a discredited opening (and the same story is repeated with other “unsound” openings) do so well? The point is that playing like this throws the opponent off balance, makes them anxious and induces mistakes.
Even the very best players recognise the value of discomforting the opponent. Historically, Emanuel Lasker was the master of this approach and his modern day equivalent is world champion Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen frequently employs offbeat openings and his opponents invariably fail to counter them correctly.
This is the key theme of this book. Schuyler covers all phases of the game and discusses other vital subjects such as harassment, material imbalance, time management, surprise moves, unusual ideas, provocative play, manoeuvres and recovering from bad positions.
To guide your thinking during a game, you should be able to fall back on a reservoir of typical ideas and methods. That is exactly what this book offers, with Zlotnik’s legendary study material about the middlegame, modernized, greatly extended and published in the English language for the first time.
Accessible to a wide range of players, it grants access to a body of instructive material of unparalleled quality, collected during a lifetime of training and coaching chess. A large collection of carefully chosen exercises will help you drill what you have learned.
Written by one of the world’s most prominent chesscoaches, the former director of the legendary Chess Department of the INEF College in Moscow