Category: Chess books

A review of Mattison’s Chess Endgame Studies by T. G. Whitworth

There are pawn endings and positions displaying diverse forms of material imbalance, with a particular favourite it seems being where a lone knight and advanced pawn(s) battle against rook and king (the king’s presence being important because certain key variations will often give the opportunity for a winning fork). Invariably the positions, which could very easily have arisen from practical play, contain some startling resource.

A review of Jon Speelman’s Chess Puzzle Book

It is an excellent package overall and would make an ideal complement to an elementary textbook on tactics. You could think of it as being a kind of missing workbook. By diligently attempting to solve each position you will undoubtedly increase your tactical skill.

A review of Sveshnikov vs. the Anti-Sicilians: A Complete Repertoire for Black by Evgeny Sveshnikov

Some 75 theoretically significant games are presented in full, with many featuring Sveshnikov. There are 36 exercises, involving positional and strategic questions as well as tactical puzzles, with full solutions to follow. Apart from one chapter – there are far better ways to meet the Morra than to adopt the remedies given here, in my view – I found Sveshnikov’s analyses impressive.

A review of The 3…Qd8 Scandinavian: Simple and Strong by Daniel Lowinger

Daniel Lowinger makes a good case for an intriguing line of the Scandinavian (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8), a favourite of GMs Josif Dorfman, Nikola Djukic and David Garcia. He argues that White’s knight is, or may easily become, misplaced on c3 and will probably have to move later. Therefore the loss of time involved in retreating the queen to its original square will be recuperated.

Chess Training for Post-Beginners A Basic Course in Positional Understanding by Yaroslav Srokovski

Twelve chapters, each devoted to a particular positional element: the open file, strong and weak squares, the passed pawn, good knight versus bad bishop (and vice versa), etc. A few classic examples, naturally, but modern games predominate. Yaroslav Srokovski’s annotations are instructive, not least because they are refreshingly objective for textbooks of this sort.

A review of Mikhail Botvinnik The Life and Games of a World Chess Champion by Andrew Soltis

We learn many things about him that we did not know but might well have guessed. For example, that he did his own ironing and was a demon declutterer. He had no qualms about throwing things away if he hadn’t used them for a period of years, reasoning that he didn’t really need them. ‘He couldn’t abide disorder,’ says his daughter. ‘His home had to be clean and everything in its place.’

A review of The Benko Gambit: Move by Move by Junior Tay

The Benko Gambit gives Black early pressure on the queenside and an initiative that often persists well into the endgame, a practical advantage being that Black’s position is generally easier to play. On the whole, the investment of a pawn represents good value.

A review of 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate by Fred Reinfeld and Bruce Alberston

Fred Reinfeld’s venerable book, consisting of 1001 checkmate puzzles arranged by theme, has been edited and recast into algebraic notation by Bruce Albertson. Themes include the queen sacrifice, discovered check and double check, and pawn promotion; and only the last chapter, a collection of composed problems, seems out of place. What you have got otherwise are positions taken from actual games that are of, at most, a medium level of difficulty.