Planning is of crucial importance in chess and yet this is an area that has not been well discussed or explained to ambitious players who wish to improve. A very well known saying in chess is “Better a bad plan than no plan at all”. Playing without a plan – effectively staggering from one move to the next – is a recipe for disaster. It is essential to have some kind of idea of what you are trying to achieve and how to go about it.
However, planning is not a straightforward matter. A good plan might be very short, lasting just two or three moves. Another plan might require almost an entire game to implement. A plan can be highly ambitious and complex or somewhat modest and simple. In chess, as in life, circumstances can change quickly and when they do, new plans are needed. How is a player expected to juggle all these different concepts while dealing with the immediate problems posed by the opponent’s most recent move?
In this book, grandmaster and experienced author Zenón Franco explains planning in detail. He organises material in terms of: typical structures, advantage in space, manoeuvring play, simplification and, finally attack and defence. Using games played by elite players he explains how plans are formed and carried out in these different scenarios.
Play Winning Chess is an enthusiastic introduction to chess that will transform you into a veritable gladiator of the chessboard. Seirawan begins by explaining piece movement, chess notation, the rules of play and basic tactics. His examples, question-and-answer sections, psychological hints, and lively sample games help you learn strategies and play aggressively while having fun. Discovering how to engage in clever attacks and subtle defenses will take you beyond the thrill of competition into the realm of creative art. Play Winning Chess is exuberant and conversational, enlivened by personal anecdotes and fascinating historical details.
600 Positions to Improve Your Calculation and Judgment.
Chess puzzle books are undoubtedly popular – and with good reason. Solving chess puzzles helps to sharpen a player’s tactical and combinational skills. This ability is absolutely fundamental for chess development. You won’t get better at tennis until you can consistently hit the ball with accuracy and you won’t get better at chess until you improve your ability to calculate. It is that simple and there are no shortcuts.
Many puzzle books take a far too simplistic approach and offer endless positions where the solution is nearly always along the lines of: queen takes something check, king takes queen, check, check and a pretty mate. Aesthetically pleasing perhaps but of minimal use for actual improvement as the patterns are so familiar. Practical Chess Puzzles avoids this pitfall. The positions chosen are far more like those that actually appear on the board during the vast majority of games. Furthermore, at all stages, the puzzles are ranked, enabling the student to gauge progress and identify and correct weaknesses.
The Vienna variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined is a complex and fascinating system arising after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.Bg5 dxc4.
This counterattacking weapon has become increasingly popular over the last decade and is frequently seen in games played at the highest level. Many games featuring elite players such as Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand and Lev Aronian have started out in this variation.
In this QGD/Nimzo-Indian hybrid play can become extremely sharp very quickly and an in-depth knowledge of the theory is essential. Black will often grab material, but will suffer from a lack of development and an exposed king. This variation will suit well-prepared players who have good tactical awareness and relish hand-to-hand combat.
Matthew Sadler is one of the UK's strongest ever players. He became a grandmaster at 19, won the British Championship twice and, amongst other amazing achievements, made a gold medal winning score of 10.5/13 on board four for England in the 1996 chess Olympiad.
In 2000 Matthew quit full-time chess. However, he re-emerged ten years later in 2010 to play a rapidplay tournament in Wageningen, Holland which he promptly won with 7/7. In 2011 he played in strong international events at Barcelona and Oslo and won them with the Fischer-like scores of 8.5/10 and 8/9 respectively. After a decade away from the game, these results are simply astounding.
Matthew's extraordinary ability at chess stems not simply from natural talent but is based on a brilliant aptitude for preparing to play. He understands exactly what needs to be studied and how to go about it. In this book he recounts how he organised the preparation for his 'comeback' and from his results the success of this method is self-evident. In this book Matthew shares his secrets and reveals how to:
– Incorporate unorthodox openings into your repertoire;
– Study middlegame situations;
– Understand what is important in the endgame.
The Chigorin Defence (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6) is a dynamic and provocative response to White’s 1.d4. Rather than set out a defensive stall with systems based on moves such as ...e6 and ...c6, Black prefers to initiative immediate piece play in the centre. The benefits of this strategy are that Black’s queenside pieces, which are often difficult to develop in the Queen’s Gambit, participate in the struggle at once. The queen’s knight emerges immediately onto an active square and the path is left free for the c8-bishop to develop freely. Naturally there are also drawbacks as Black will not find it easy to establish a foothold in the centre in the early play.
The Chigorin is a perfect counterattacking weapon and will appeal to players who like to throw opponents onto their own resources at an early stage. Jimmy Liew identifies and analyses the precise moments when specific theoretical knowledge is required and also discussed plans and strategies in the quieter variations.
Chess players are known to be obsessed by openings. However, world champions have recommended that up-and-coming players should actually begin by studying the endgame first. This is because only by studying simplified positions can one fully develop an understanding of how chess pieces work - both in isolation and with each other. It is also the endgame where the true depth and subtlety of chess is revealed.
In this instructive and entertaining book, renowned endgame expert Steve Giddins selects 50 of the finest examples of endgame play in the history of chess. Giddins examines each example in great detail and uses them to demonstrate the essential principles of high-quality endgame play. This book is full of essential guidelines and tips which all players should follow if they want to become a successful endgame player.
– 50 examples of brilliant endgame play;
– Examines key endgame strategies;
– Ideal for players of all levels.
Grandmaster Simon Williams has played the Classical Dutch for over twenty years. It remains his favourite opening and has featured in some of his greatest individual results, including a win over World Championship finalist Boris Gelfand.
In this book, Williams examines the Classical Dutch in great depth. He also presents a complete repertoire for Black with the Dutch Defence, which is based on his own repertoire he has used successfully at grandmaster level for many years. As well as presenting the latest theory and revealing his new ideas in the key lines, Williams highlights the main tactical and strategic ideas for both sides and covers important issues such as move orders. Each chapter includes a series of tests at the end, so that readers are able to assess how well they have understood the main concepts. This books tells you everything you need to know about successfully playing the Classical Dutch.
The King's Indian Attack is a very popular system of development for White, which can be used against many defences. It's easy to learn and play, and is based on understanding ideas rather than move memorization. The King's Indian Attack usually involves a deliberate and sustained attack on the black king, which often proves to be highly effective and difficult to defend against. In this book Grandmaster Neil McDonald examines in depth the many variations of the King's Indian Attack. He outlines White's most promising options and Black's best defences, and provides answers to all the key questions.
The Queen's Gambit Declined is one of the central pillars of chess opening theory. Virtually every world champion has played the opening with both the white and black pieces and it is a great favourite at all levels in chess. The reason for its enduring popularity is that it is rich in the classic strategic themes. Either side can end up with an isolated d-pawn, White can pursue a queenside initiative while Black counters on the other wing or White can attempt to build a powerful centre that Black hopes to undermine.
The Move by Move series provides an ideal format for the keen chessplayer to improve their game. While reading you are continually challenged to answer probing questions – a method that greatly encourages the learning and practising of vital skills just as much as the traditional assimilation of chess knowledge. Carefully selected questions and answers are designed to keep you actively involved and allow you to monitor your progress as you learn. This is an excellent way to study chess while providing the best possible chance to retain what has been learnt.
Combinations are the central element in chess; they make the game so magical and captivating. The beautiful point of sacrificing a queen, the strongest piece, in order to checkmate with a lowly pawn brings a smile of joy to all chess lovers. Virtually all chess games possess a combination, either one hidden in the shadows of analysis carefully avoided or one that provides a decisive blow.
Winning Chess Combinations is a unique work that doesn't merely repeat the wonderfully rich and vast numbers of combinations, asking readers to solve a particular diagrammed position; it is a work that is far more realistic. A combination involves a sacrifice upsetting the balance of forces, but will it work or tragically boomerang? The reader is invited to solve this critical question by identifying the advantages that a specific position holds which might make the combination successful.
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.