Chess is 99% tactics. This celebrated observation is not only true for beginners, but also for club players (Elo 1500 – 2000). If you want to win more games, nothing works better than training your combination skills.
There are two types of books on tactics: those that introduce the concepts followed by some examples, and workbooks that contain lots of exercises. FIDE Master Frank Erwich has done both: he explains all the key tactical ideas AND provides an enormous amount of exercises for each different theme.
Erwich has created a complete tactics book for ambitious club and tournament players. He takes you to the next level of identifying weak spots in the position of your opponent, recognizing patterns of combinations, visualizing tricks and calculating effectively. Erwich has also included a new and important element: tests that will improve your defensive skills.
1001 Chess Exercises for Club Players is not a freewheeling collection of puzzles. It serves as a course text book, because only the most didactically productive exercises are featured. Every chapter starts with easy examples, but don’t worry: the level of difficulty will steadily increase.
My aim in this book is to show that the Delayed Benoni is equally as attractive as its cousin, the Modern Benoni. For some reason – perhaps because “Modern” sounds more exciting than “Delayed”? – my favorite Benoni has been neglected for years, receiving scant coverage in chess publications.
The advantage of “our” Benoni is based on a waiting approach. Black would like to choose a perfect moment to play ...e6xd5, waiting for White to adopt some piece setup that turns out to be inconvenient for him after this exchange. At the same time, we would like to avoid some dangerous or deeply explored variations like the Flick-Knife (a.k.a Taimanov) or systems where White can place his bishop on the optimal f4-square.
A lot of variations in this book can also be useful for King’s Indian players, as a main or alternative way to play. My own journey in the world of the Delayed Benoni started when I was a King’s Indian kind of guy!
Grandmaster Johan Hellsten is convinced that mastering chess strategy - just like chess tactics - requires practice, practice and yet more practice!
This outstanding book is a product of his many years' work as a full-time chess teacher, and is specifically designed as part of a structured training programme to improve strategic thinking. It focuses on a wide range of key subjects and provides a basic foundation for strategic play. Furthermore, in addition to the many examples, there's an abundance of carefully selected exercises which allow readers to monitor their progress and put into practice what they have just learned. Following such a course is an ideal way for players of all standards to improve. Although designed mainly for students, this book is also an excellent resource for chess teachers and trainers.
– An essential course in chess strategy
– Contains over 400 pages of Grandmaster advice
– Includes more than 350 training exercises
This work is a follow-up to my first book “Unconventional Approaches to Modern Chess – Rare Ideas for Black” which was published in February 2019. This time, I am flipping the board and exploring offbeat opening ideas from White’s perspective. The structure of the book has remained basically the same as before, except that I merged Part III (Showing Ambitions) and Part IV (Early Surprises) into one combined chapter Ambitions & Surprises.
Part I explores sidelines in several mainstream openings. This is the most in-depth chapter of the book in terms of opening analysis. Part II presents two systems that are quite universal in nature and can be used against more than one opening. Part III gives a broad overview of a variety of aggressive lines taken from GM-level games.
As I stated in the previous book, I’m a big believer in the practical approach to chess. In order to win, you don’t need to find the best move in every position. It is neither possible nor necessary. To win a game, it is enough to be just a little bit better than your opponent. To make this happen, especially when facing a strong player, you must force your opponent to solve practical problems. You must get them into a position where the cost of a potential mistake is much higher than usual.
If there is no room for your opponent to make a mistake, then they are unlikely to make it. It is your job to give them plenty of opportunity to go wrong. As Mikhail Tal famously put it, “You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one.”
This book aims to expose you to a variety of opening ideas that can help you to achieve this goal. I hope you find reading it beneficial in your future endeavors at the chess board.
Van Delft has created a unique thematic structure for all types of positional sacrifices. He shows the early historical examples, explains which long-term goals are typical for each fundamental theme and presents lots of instructive modern examples. He then concentrates on those sacrifices that have become standard features of positional play. Solving the exercises he has added will further enhance your skills.
Playing a positional sacrifice will always require courage. Merijn van Delft takes you by the hand and not only teaches the essential technical know-how, he also helps you to recognize the opportunities when to take the plunge. Mastering Positional Sacrifices is bound to become a modern-day classic.
In Magnus Wins With White Grandmaster Zenon Franco deeply analyses 32 of Magnus Carlsen’s most instructive games where he wins with the white pieces. This book is written in “move by move” style, a good training tool containing exercises and tests. This format is a great platform for studying chess, improving both skills and knowledge, as the reader is continually challenged to find the best moves and the author provides answers to probing questions throughout.
Most of the games are taken from Magnus’s recent career, including one from 2020 and eight from 2019. His opponents are nearly all super-grandmasters, and they include former world champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, as well as Wesley So, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Boris Gelfand, and, naturally, Anish Giri. In the majority of these games, Magnus demonstrates his ability to outplay his opponents in the middlegame by simply making stronger moves and applying constant pressure that eventually forces the opponent to crack and play weaker moves. In some games, however, this takes place in the endgame. A second book, Magnus Wins With Black, is forthcoming.
Imagine you are a club player who has been given the opportunity to talk at length with a famous grandmaster. How would you make the most of this opportunity?
Club players are unaware of the subtleties in Grandmaster chess. Great players can analyze chess at a depth that is unfathomable to amateurs. However, having reached such a high level can make it difficult to understand what is lacking in the mind of the amateur.
Lessons with a Grandmaster bridges this gap between grandmaster and amateur through a series of conversations between teacher, the renowned Grandmaster Boris Gulko, and student Dr. Joel R. Sneed, a professor of psychology and amateur chess player. The lessons are based on Gulko's own battles against fellow grandmasters, and there is particular focus on strategy, tactics and the role of psychology in chess competition.
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.
The Pirc is more of a counterattack than a defence: Black allows his opponent to occupy the centre and provokes a confrontation, trusting in the power of the g7-bishop and the dynamic potential in his position. It is the perfect weapon for players who demand to play for a win with the black pieces.
Let me share here how I have made my choices for this second volume. Ten years ago, I would sometimes even play the Petroff against people who had games with 3.Nd2 in the database. I actually thought that the Petroff gave me better winning chances! You might have a similar story. 3.Nd2 gives White a very nice pawn structure so it is difficult to get a grip on the position as Black. For many years I have tried moves like 3...Nf6 from the GM Repertoire book or the more drawish 3...c5 and 4...Qxd5 line. It has taken me a lot of time to find the variation against 3.Nd2 which best fits my playing style. After trying virtually every possibility, there is only one satisfactory variation for me – the isolated pawn!
The reason why I had left this option at the bottom of my list initially is because there was a firm belief at the time that Black was worse in these isolated pawn positions. On the flipside, players on the white side have usually studied the lines after 3...Nf6 or 4...Qxd5 in much greater depth. This is one reason why people often mix up their theory as White. Typically they assume they are already better, so why would they need to remember any subtle details? The whole point of 3.Nd2 is to be microscopically better. Fortunately, this can all be easily neutralized with good opening knowledge.
Whilst studying most of the existing literature, I have noticed that there is hardly any recent analysis on the systems with 3...c5 and 4...exd5. Still, many authors who have been covering them from White’s perspective have a lot of respect for the variations and hardly achieve anything against them. When I started to play with the isolated pawn myself, my results against 3.Nd2 became better. My score against 3.Nd2 is actually better than my score against 3.Nc3 now. I have noticed that in correspondence chess, these isolated pawn lines are favored by black quite often. That is when I realized that this small advantage was just a prejudice.
I have to admit, the positions are slightly harder to play for Black. However, that is probably also true for the other lines against 3.Nd2. It just takes some time to become familiar with all the possibilities and ensuing middlegames. But once you finally master the isolated pawn structure, it will serve you well and equip you with a wide selection of tools with which you can outplay your opponent. My original plan for this book was to cover 3.Nd2 as well as all the other options besides 3.Nc3, but I believe it is much more important to focus on showing as many examples as possible of how to play with different versions of the French isolated pawn. All the material in this book is designed for you to be able to pick your favorite line in the 3...c5, 4...exd5 system. Consequently there will be a third volume in this series, covering the rest of White’s options against the French.
The author presents a full opening repertory for the club player, which is analysed in six volumes. In the books you will find many novelties for both sides, with a full move-to-move presentation. Furthermore, the reader will get access to middlegame strategies, endgame techniques and common tactical motifs, which are patterning the proposed variations.
In the first volume the openings of the Slav Defence, the Gruenfeld Defence and the Blumenfeld Gambit are presented.
Nikolaos Ntirlis provides a top-class repertoire for Black after 1.d4 d5 with the Queen’s Gambit Declined. In addition to the classical QGD, Ntirlis offers a complete repertoire against the Catalan, London System, Torre and all other significant alternatives from move 2 onwards.