This book series is about that central question: what matters in the opening? What plans are on hand? Which (hidden) concepts are concealed in the current position that has arisen just after the opening? Volume 1 in a new series by Herman Grooten covers Ruy Lopez and Italian Structures.
This book series is about that central question: what matters in the opening? What plans are on hand? Which (hidden) concepts are concealed in the current position that has arisen just after the opening? Volume 2 in a new series by Herman Grooten covers Queen’s Gambit Structures.
After the first two volumes of the series had been produced (the first about Ruy Lopez and Italian structures after 1.e4 e5, the second about Queen’s Gambit structures after 1.d4 d5), it was time for me to consider the third volume. Since the Sicilian is such a popular opening among club players, the choice was virtually automatic and resulted in the book you now hold. It was, however, clear from early on that such a nuanced and wide-ranging opening could never fit in a single volume. That is why the series will continue with more Sicilian books after this one. As my former teacher, the late Huub van Dongen, once said: “There is more literature about the Najdorf variation alone than about the Middle Ages!” And, you know, maybe he’s right. The complexities of the Sicilian are such that it is quite the job to explain them in the style I established with the first two volumes on more classical openings. Each Sicilian variation has quite specific characteristics and deserves separate treatment. But in placing the systems in books I tried to group together those that are most similar to each other. Hence, the Dragon does not go with the Sveshnikov; in the present book you will find the Najdorf and Scheveningen variations, which are altogether more similar to each other and even have some overlap.
The first volume dealt with the Najdorf and Scheveningen variations, and it is now time to pay attention to three other extremely popular systems: the Taimanov, Kan and Richter-Rauzer variations. After careful consideration within the Thinkers Publishing team, we decided that it made sense to group these variations together. In particular, the first two are closely related and share the feature that, in both cases, Black plays ...e7-e6 and ...a7-a6 at an early stage. They typically have the idea of retaining more options for their king’s bishop by postponing ...d7-d6 (or even omitting it entirely.) The bishop may go to b4 or c5 in different lines. The Richter-Rauzer is, in theory, just one of the possible developments from a Classical Sicilian. We have already dealt with a few games that started with the Classical and where Black shortly played ...e7-e6; and 6.Bc4 (the Sozin variation) was rightly treated within the Scheveningen pages. However, it is clear that White’s most popular counter, the Richter-Rauzer variation (6.Bg5) deserves separate attention.
Aron Nimzowitsch wrote that studying the middlegame in chess means studying typical positions. Typical positions means typical pawn structures, and studying pawn structures means studying strategy. Middlegame strategy literature is rather poor. We have worked hard trying to provide the best possible material with different colleagues: Isolani Strategy by Alexander Beliavsky/Adrian Mikhalchishin/Oleg Stetsko, Hanging Pawns by Adrian Mikhalchishin, and The Center by Adrian Mikhalchishin/Georg Mohr. Other important books were written by Sergey Shipov, with his two-volume The Complete Hedgehog, and Ivan Sokolov, with his series Chess Middlegame Strategies.
So, here is another try at researching typical plans. The authors, both long-term chess trainers, decided to research ideas that are important in the Maroczy structure for both sides. The Maroczy structure was played by such greats as Bobby Fischer, Tigran Petrosian, Bent Larsen and many others. We would like to present this topic in a slightly different way. Chess players and also trainers usually do not think as deeply as they should in order to achieve better results. We would like to present ideas for both White and Black and this book is written without any bias as to colour.
Are you struggling with your chess development? While dedicating hours and hours on improving your craft, your rating simply does not want to move upwards? Spending loads of money on chess books and DVDs, but feeling no real improvement at all? No worries – the book that you are holding in your hands might represent a game changer!
Years of coaching experience as well as independent research has allowed the author to identify the key skills that will enhance the progress of just about any player rated between 1600 and 2500. Becoming a strong chess thinker is namely not only reserved exclusively for elite players, but actually constitutes the cornerstone of chess training, being no less important than memorising opening theory, acquiring middlegame knowledge or practising endgames.
By studying this book, you will:
– learn how to universally deal with any position you might encounter in your games, even if you happen to see it for the first time in your life,
– have the opportunity to solve 90 unique, hand-picked puzzles, extensively annotated and peculiarly organised for the Readers’ optimal learning effect,
– gain access to more than 300 pages of original grandmaster thoughts and advice, leaving you awestruck and hungry for more afterwards!
While the theory is far from being exhausted and still developing, Grandmaster Milos Pavlovic made a strong case and found new alternatives to battle White’s setups.
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.