The Complete Book of Chess Strategy (Jeremy Silman).pdf - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online. Other Siles Press books by Jeremy Silman. The Complete Book of Chess Strategy (). The Amateur's Mind, 2nd Edition (). The Reassess Your Chess. Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master Views 40MB Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF Comprehensive Chess Course Volume II: From Beginner to Tournament Player in 12 Lessons (Comprehensive Chess Course).
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As an American chessplayer, it pains me to see so many of my countrymen buy dumbed-down chess books. That's what I think of Silman's books: they are not. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Silman, Jeremy. How to reassess your chess: chess mastery through chess imbalances I by Jeremy Silman. Jeremy Silman - How to Reassess Your Chess - Ebook download as PDF File . pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. An good book by Jeremy Silman, which.
Bxf3 Such a player would naturally look to the kingside first in just about any situation. Qxb3 4. The Lucena Position is the key to understanding any Rook endgame. Are we tempting fate or are we getting some sort of rush from the knowledge that we might be hammered at any moment?
At first he learned the basic rules and then, after he gained some experience, he memorized various mating patterns. Everyman was told that he should learn some endgame positions also and so, with a heavy heart, he took the time to figure out how to mate in such one-sided situations as King and Rook vs. However, he generally found endings boring and not worthy of attention.
Everyman was an attacker; he loved chasing an opponent's King across the board. To this end. Everyman reigned supreme on his block; few could put up even the tiniest resistance. His ego bursting with power, Everyman decided to extend his area of dominance-he joined a chess club. Against these new, more seasoned adversaries, Everyman could do little. He would try to attack, but his cowardly opponents would take a pawn, trade all the pieces off, and eventually win the resultant endgame.
Obviously he had gotten involved in a club of wimps-real men would never play such chicken chess! Nevertheless, his style slowly went through certain transformations.
Everyman learned to avoid weak pawns, develop all his pieces before attacking, try to avoid loss of material, etc. Everyman didn't particularly like these changes, but he liked losing to a bunch of wimps even less!
The years rolled by with Everyman memorizing a few opening variations and refining the various positional lessons he had been given by the other members. Soon Everyman was top dog in the club. His ego soared to new heights; it was time for further expansion. Everyman started to compete in tournaments. At first his results were shaky; the chess clock unnerved him and, in general, he was looked down on by the top players.
This proved to be temporary though-in a way it was a rite of initiation. As he became more familiar with the atmosphere of tournaments and as he picked up a few new strategies, Everyman started winning games with regularity. When he got his rating published he felt great pride, a class 'A' player!
More time swam by and Everyman continued to hone his skills. When not working or spending time with his family, Everyman would sit back and memorize a few more opening lines and, at times, leaf through a tedious middlegame manual. Eventually Everyman achieved an Expert ranking and try as he might he could never get beyond it. This did not have to be the case. Everyman was stuck because his foundation was rotten.
His knowledge was slipshod and incomplete. Most importantly, he never viewed the game as a. Despite mediocre learning techniques, Everyman had reached the expert level. Unfortunately, this same mediocrity was now acting as an anchor and was effectively preventing him from getting any better. The truth wasn't pretty, but unless he destroyed that rotten foundation and learned everything again from scratch he would never get over the expert hump.
Everyman's story is common. Most players reach a peak and find themselves trapped there-A prisoner of their mind's erroneous dogmas. Are you in a similar situation? Are you willing to rebuild your foundation, make a change, and reach new heights? If you are, then empty your brain of preconceived ideas, open you eyes, and prepare to be the player you always knew you could be. The purpose of this book is to offer a complete course of study to the serious student. You will be taught the basic endgames, middlegame concepts, and the true purpose of the chess openings.
You will be shown how to structure your thinking processes and how to come up with plans based on the needs of any given position. Tests, basic rules, and other recommendations will also be included. You will learn how to train yourself and be given all the tools necessary to do this. This book is written on many levels. Much very basic material is included.
Study it! Even if you feel you know it, still go over it again. Some of the material will be a bit advanced for many players. Do the best you can with it. Reread this book every six months. You will often find that the material that was once an enigma becomes crystal clear with the passage of a little time. This is not simply another tome on the middlegame! Instead I offer a method of controlled thought-we will examine many different aspects of chess, but always through the confines of that method.
Enough material is given in each chapter to get a point across. A complete explanation of each subject would take many thousands of pages.
A list of recommended literature is given at the end of this book for those who wish to delve. It is my contention that any student who seriously studies this book and continues the work schedules therein can eventually achieve a master ranking.
One pitfall must be mentioned before we finish this introduction and get into the actual lessons. Most players have developed a certain proficiency with their styles. They are skilled in their mediocrity. When you start changing the way you think about the game, you may find your results will actually get worse! Don't panic. As you master the materials in this book your downward plunge will reverse itself and you will soon find yourself at a point of understanding and achievement far beyond anything you have previously obtained.
Of course, a fall in strength is not necessary. Everyone will react differently to the information inside. One gentleman had an 'A' rating for years but had never won an 'A' section. After one lesson something 'clicked' and he won two tournaments straight, both with scores! This part of the book is an anomaly-it really should not be here!
I've struggled long and hard with the simple fact that basic endgames have nothing to do with my general theme. Why then, have I decided to include this section? In a way the answer is less a matter of reason and more a question of conscience.
Quite simply: Unfortunately I have found that players of every class have very little if any knowledge of this subject. Since the material in this section represents the building blocks of all endgames, I feel compelled to offer it here and BEG you to take the time to master it.
Your reward will be many saves from poor positions and numerous wins from endings that you never would have gone into in the past. Remember that I am only giving basic endgame material that I think you simply must know. For a deeper study of the subject, there are numerous books on the market that just explore this area of the game see the recommended reading list at the end of this book.
I will take it for granted that the student is already familiar with the basic mates such as King and Queen vs. King, King and Rook vs. King, etc. More complex and appropriate endgame considerations will be studied later see Part Thirteen: Imbalances In The Endgame.
Throughout a chess game a player hides his King away on the sidelines where it quivers in a perpetual state of fear. Of course, this is easy to understand-a state of martial law exists on the chessboard and a wandering King will be quickly executed by a vindictive Queen and her cohorts. This matriarchy exists as long as the all-powerful Queens roam.
Eventually though, all goes quiet; the warring factions have bludgeoned each other into oblivion and only the Kings and a few faithful pawns are left a remaining Knight, Bishop, or Rook may also exist, acting as small dogs that bark and snap at the King's heels.
When the board is finally cleared of hostile pieces the Kings finally become supreme. Now, safe from attack from the extinct larger pieces, the Kings are free to leave their respective bunkers and go for a stroll. At times what's left of the two male run armies give up hostilities and make peace-a draw is declared.
More often than not though, the King, so recently freed from the bullying presence of the dominating Queen, finds himself lonely. He misses his lady and goes in search of a new one. Thus the queening of a pawn becomes his sole ambition and he roams the face of the board in an effort to turn this dream into reality.
In this chapter we will strive to understand the basic movements of the King and the relation that the opposing Kings have to each other. The fight between Kings to determine which one is stronger is called the opposition diagram 1.
Both Kings would like to advance but they are placed in a way that prevents their counterpart from doing so. In this type of situation it is disadvantageous to have the move since you must then give up control of one of the critical 'X' squares and allow the enemy King to advance.
With this in mind, we can see that White to move gives Black the opposition since l. Kd3 allows Kb4, while l. Kb3 allows In both cases, Black's King is making headway into White's position.
This is called the distant opposition. The rule is: Whoever is to move when there is an odd number of squares between the Kings does not have the opposition.
The reverse is: Whoever is to move. If they continue to walk towards each other we will arrive at diagram 1 again. If it is White to move then who has the opposition? The answer is that White does since there is an even number of squares between the Kings. Thus White would play 1.
Kb2 which would leave Black on the move with an odd number of squares between the Kings. It now should not be difficult to determine who has the opposition when the Kings connect on a rank, file, or diagonal.
But what if they fail to connect altogether? Does one then need to work out difficult mathematical formulas? Let's look at diagram 4. In non-connecting situations the rule is: Move the King to a square or rectangle in which each corner is the same color.
Diagram 5 next page will illustrate this. White has just played I. The connecting points b2, b8, fS, and f2 are all dark squares and form a rectangle. After I. Kh2 White has the opposition.
Let's see if I'm telling the truth: Ke8 l Kf7 2. Kb3 gives us direct diagonal opposition 2. Kc2 Kf8 C Kd7 3. Kd3 or Kd8 3. Kd2 both give us direct connections 3. Kd2 Kg8 4. Ke2 Kh8 5. Kf2 Kh7 6. Kf3 Kh8 7. Kf4 and Black can no longer avoid a direct connection Kh7 8.
Kf5; Kg7 8. Kg5; Kg8 8. Note that each time someone moves, a new series of connection points are formed. Outflanking is a simple but useful tool to know. With it a player can make inroads into a position that were not otherwise possible.
Admittedly, this often costs the opposition but it must be remembered that the opposition is only a means to an end, not the enditselj!
A close study of diagram 6 and its correct handling will teach the student the finer points of opposition and outflanking. White to play has the opposition. His goal is to reach fS, g8 or h8 in at most seventeen moves.
Black will constantly try to stop this. The only way to take the opposition. The more direct path fails because it allows Black to take the opposition: Kc3 Kc7 3. Kd4 Kd6 4. Ke4 Ke6 and White will not get close to his targets. A fine defensive move! Now 2. White will also fail to reach his goals after 2.
Kb31 Kb7. Kh2 Heading over to the target side of the board. Kc8 Still keeping White's options to a minimum. The seemingly more active Kc7 3.
Kc3 only aids White.
Kc2 Still heading for the kingside. Instead White could try to outflank Black, but at the moment this would fail to achieve the set goal. Let's look at an example of outflanking: This process is called outflanking. After 3. Ka3 Black can take the opposition with Kc7 forming connecting points on c7, c3, a3, and a7 but White will be able to move forward.
Ka4 Kc6 5. Ka5 Kc5 6. Ka6 Kc6. White has managed to make inroads into Black's position but he will never be able to get over to the kingside. The logic for this is easy to understand: Kd8 after 3. Kc2 4. Kd2 Ke8 5. Ke2 Kf8 6. Kf2 Kg8 7. Kg2 White is now on the optimum file since his King. Kh7 but after 9. Kf4 Kh6 Kf5 Kh5 Kf6 White would be able to conquer the target square on f8.
This idea of giving up the opposition for a higher prize is a major part of outflanking. Satisfied that he has advanced one rank, White retakes the opposition. Blunders would be 9. Kf6 and 9. In both cases White will never reach his goal. Kf7 Kh7 Kf4 leads to the same type of play. Another outflanking maneuver. White once again offers Black the opposition. Kg6 And Black once again refuses to take it!
After Kf6 Kh5 Kf5 Black would clearly have the opposition but White would dance forward with Kh6 and claim hS for himself. Kg4 Grabbing the opposition again. Kh6 Or l Kf5 Kg7 Kg5 Kh7 Kf6, etc. Kg5 Kf7 Kh6 Kg8 Kg6 Kf8 Kh7 and White cannot be prevented from achieving his goal by Please study the information on the opposition and outflanking carefully. Don't let the scientific names or the strange numbers and lines in the diagrams scare you away from learning something that is both easy to understand and highly useful!
I should add that the position in diagram 6 is a fun one to show friends. They will not be able to solve it and will be amazed when you demonstrate how one King can actually be stronger than another just by understanding the basics of the opposition and outflanking. In endgames with only Kings and pawns present, the opposition takes on a huge importance. This means that if the reader has not fully grasped the material in the previous chapter, I recommend that he go back and carefully reread it.
With King and pawn vs. King the battle revolves around the queening square of the pawn. If White can gain control of this square he will queen his pawn and win the game. If not, then a draw will result. The opposition will be the means by which White succeeds or fails in his quest rook pawns form the exceptions and such situations will be studied at the end of this chapter.
Diagram 8 is an extremely common position. White is a pawn ahead and wishes to advance it to eS. Black means to prevent this and at the moment is firmly blocking its path. Nevertheless, White can force the advance of his pawn. Black's ability to draw depends on his knowledge of the opposition and his keeping control of the queening square eS. Kf2 Ke5 I have often. After 2. Kf3 Black's King is no longer blocking the pawn and must sit on the sidelines and watch it promote.
Kf3 Kf5 3. Ke3 White has the opposition and Black has to give ground. After this fine move White can only keep the opposition by playing S. Ke2 which does nothing to help advance the pawn or S.
Ke4 which is illegal. Black's plan is simple: He intends to always jump in front of the pawn when possible. For example, if Black had played Kf6 White would play S. Kf4 and take the opposition. Kf4 Else Black would go back to eS. Kf6 Once again, if Black had played Kf6 then S. Kf4 leaves Black to move and White with the opposition. After the correct Kf4 Kf6 we have the same position but with White to move-thus Black is the one who has gained the opposition.
Ke4 Temporarily taking the opposition. Ke7 Continuing to step straight back. Now White would have to play 8. KeS in order to retain the opposition. Since this is illegal, it will once again switch over to Black.
Kd5 Kd7 Obviously not Kd6 when White is allowed to come forward. Ke5 KeSI When it counts the most. Any other move would lose. For example, Kd6 Ke8 Kd7 when White has gained control of e8 and will easily queen his pawn. Kf5 Hoping for Kf6 would take the opposition and win after KeS Ke7 Always jump in front of the pawn when possible.
Ke5 KeS! Kf6 Kf8 Ke6 Stalemate and thus drawn. Get a friend to take the King and pawn while you try to save the game with the lone King. Use a chess clock and give yourself twenty seconds the player with the King and pawn can take as much time as he wants for an infinite number of moves. After a few practice sessions thought will not be necessary-your hand will know how to draw this in your sleep.
King, White's main hope to win occurs when his King is in front of the pawn. Diagram 9 illustrates this point. White to move is a draw because Black has the opposition: Kd3 Kd5 2.
Kc3 Ke4 or 2. Ke3 KeS are no better. Ke5 3. Ke3 Ke6 with an easy draw as in diagram 8. Black to move from Diagram 9 is a different story. White now has the opposition and wherever the Black King moves it will allow White's monarch to advance: Kd5 The same type of play follows KfS 2. Kd4 while Kd6 2. Kd4 Ke6 3. Ke4 Kd6 4KfS is also not difficult. Kf41 White wants to control the pawn's queening square.
The rule to follow is: Advance your King as far as possible without endangering the pawn, making sure to take the opposition at the critical moments. With the King far advanced White can take the opposition at any time because he will always have tempo moves with his pawn. Kd6 Other tries:.
Kd4 3. KfS is also good Kc5 4. Kc6 S. Ke6 Kc7 6. Kf6 6. Ke7 Kf7 7. Kd7 Ke8 8. Retaking the. Kf5 Ke7 Or Kd5 4. Kf6 4. Ke5 Kf7 5. Kd6 Kf6 6. Kd7 Kf6 8. Kd6 wastes time. KeS Else White would play 8. Kd7 with control over e8. Grabbing the opposition. Naturally 8. Kd8 with a draw. Kds 9. Kf7 White has gained control of the critical e8 square and will shortly queen his pawn.
Diagram 10 is similar to diagram 9 but here White wins irrespective of whose move it is because he has the opposition thanks to the pawn move available to him.
White to move would play 1. As a player gains more experience he will discover that a Rook pawn will often provide exceptions to rules that we normally take for granted see diagram Usually such a fine King position for White would guarantee him the win.
In this case however, Black will experience no difficulties in drawing because he cannot be flushed out of the corner. Kg6 KgS 4. Diagram 12 shows another strange Rook pawn result. Black, who has no material at all, stalemates the stronger side. Kh6 Kg8 is also a basic draw, as was seen in diagram Kf8 2. Khs Or 2. Kg6 Kg8, etc.
Kf7 3. It's clear that the opposition doesn't mean much when the only remaining pawn is a Rook pawn. White must control the queening square and avoid having his King trapped in the corner if he hopes to win.
To complete our discussion of King and pawn endgames, let's touch upon an old fashioned pawn vs. King foot race. If a King is far away from an enemy pawn, how can you tell if it will arrive in time to stop it from queening? Is it a matter of calculation? No, it's actually quite a simple process. Diagram 13 shows a quick and easy method. Create a diagonal extension from a4 to e8 and side extension a4 to e4 from the pawn. Connect up its points and make a border.
If the King is not within or on this border the pawn will promote. In the diagram 13 , Black to move draws by Ke8 or Ke7 or Ke6, all of which are on the border. White to move wins by 1. Endings with just Rooks and pawns are the most common form of endgame. The two basic positions that must be thoroughly known in Rook endings are the Lucena and Philidor positions.
The Lucena Position is the key to understanding any Rook endgame. It is the position that the stronger side strives to achieve. Diagram 14 shows the beginnings ofLucena's position. Here many beginners try things like 1. Rh8 Ra2 4. Kd8 White is not getting anywhere. Correct is 1.
Kc8 wins instantly for White. This leads us to our first major rule of Rook endgames: It is always a good idea to trap the enemy King as jar away as possible jrom the scene oj action. This rule applies to all Rook endgames.
Ke7 2. The key to this endgame this Rook maneuver, for some reason or other, is called "building a bridge". The logical 2. Kc7 fails to The point of 2. Rd4' is that White's King can now come out since it will have the Rook to block the checks. Ke6 3. Kc6 Rb2 The point of White's play is best seen after Rb4 with an immediate win.
Also good is 6. Rd5 followed by S. I should mention that Black had a trap in mind, namely 6. Rb5 Kf5 7. Rc4 followed by S. Kc7 and 9. It is clear that the defender must not allow the opponent to gain the Lucena Position. In general, don't allow the side with the extra pawn to get his King in front of his pawn. Another thing that the defending side must avoid is the dreaded passive Rook. Diagram 15 shows a typical example. Black loses because his Rook is passively placed on the back rank.
If he ever tries to move to a more active post via something like Rg1 if it was Black to move then 2. RhS would mate him. Ra7 This idea of switching over to the other side is very important because it shows that Black's Rook was not really controlling the whole back rank after all.
Kbs 2. Ra7 And not 1. KdS with a draw since White's Rook can no longer swing over to a7. Never push this pawn unless it is immediately decisive. The pawn acts as cover for your King-pushing it destroys that cover. Rbl Not completely necessary but it is always a good idea to put one's Rook on a safe square far away from the enemy King.
Now Black's King is trapped out of play. This leaves us in a King and pawn vs. Rook situation which will inevitably lead to the loss of Black's Rook. Kc7, S. Kd7 Rc2 5. KdS Rd2 7. Rb4 with a Lucena Position. Lest White get the idea that he can win any passive Rook situation, let me point out that a Knight pawn or Rook pawn form an exception to the usual rules see diagram The game is drawn because White's Rook cannot successfully Switch over to the other side of the board simply because there is no other side to go to!
For example: Ra7 l. Rg8 Rhl intending Rg8 White cannot make progress since 2. If Black For illustrative purposes mack is often considered the inferior side is in a Rook and pawn vs. Rook situation he can usually draw by avoiding a passive Rook, avoiding the Lucena Position, and making use of Philidor's defensive plan. Diagram 18 is a seemingly strong position for White, who is a pawn up with more active pieces. Nevertheless, Black draws easily by Inferior is Rgl 2. Kd6 when Ra7 leads to a hopeless passive Rook position as in diagram 18 , while Ke6 forces Black's King out of its hole.
However, even after the inferior Kd6 Black can draw by playing like a genius: Ke8 6. Ke6 Kf8! Here we come to an important rule. The reason for this is that later you may wish to check his King from the side. In that case Black would move his Rook to the a-file so that there is as much room as possible between the enemy King and his Rook.
If the Black King went to d8 and subsequently to c7 it might get in the way of the Rook's checking powers on the. Ra8 Re2 pass 9. Kd6 Kf7! And not Kc7 lO. So it's clear that Black can draw even without Why make things difficult? It's very easy after Since Black simply intends to pass with moves like Rb6, etc.
Activating the Rook only after the pawn is pushed. White now has no pawn shelter and a draw results since Rh4 Black can get an easy draw by Ke7 or he can trade Rooks and go into a dead drawn King and pawn endgame. The Pbilidor technique may seem somewhat complicated to some of you.
However, just a little work will make it easy to understand. Kotov quoting a mysterious 'chess sage. At some time or other every tournament player learns a few opening lines, some tactical ideas, and the most basic mating patterns.
As he gets better and more experienced he adds to this knowledge. However, the one thing that just about everybody has problems with is planning. From class 'E' to Master, I get blank stares when asking what plan they had in mind in a particular position. Usually their choice of plan if they have any plan at all is based on emotional rather than scientific considerations. By emotional I mean that the typical player does what he feels like doing rather than what the board wants him to do.
If you want to be successful, you have to base your plans on specific Criteria on the board, not on your mood at any given time! An example of this can almost certainly be found in a large number of your tournament games. In the thick of battle with your clock ticking, how many times have you decided that you want to mate the enemy King? The position may call for. When victory comes usually against weaker opposition you congratulate yourself on a brilliant concept.
When defeat appears a common occurrence you bemoan your fate and blame it on a particular move, your recent divorce, the noise level, the blonde across the hall, or a host of other excuses. What are the criteria that we are going to have to become aware of and how do we master their use? What, exactly, is a plan? Though every chess instructor sings the praises of planning, few authors bother to tell us what a plan is and, more importantly, how to create one.
In his excellent glossary of chess terms found in How to Open a Chess Game , Grandmaster Larry Evans avoids the problem by leaving out the word 'plan' altogether. Kotov, in his classic work, Think Like a Grandmaster; teaches us how to calculate but neglects to explain planning to be fair I must mention that Mr.
Kotov does address this question in his book Play Like a Grandmaster 3. However, his explanations tend to be over the head of the average player. Even encyclopedic texts like the Oxford Companion to Chess" tries to make 'planning' a non-existent word. In order to promise success, planning is thus always based on a diagnosis of the existing characteristics of a position; it is therefore most difficult when the position is evenly balanced, and easiest when there is only one plan to satisfy the demands of the position.
Press, New York, Batsford Ltd. To define the word 'plan' does not necessarily mean that we know how to create one in an actual game. As Golombek said, this calls for the ability to recognize the existing characteristics of a position. To successfully penetrate into the mysteries of the chess board you have to be aware of the magic word of chess:. An imbalance in chess denotes any difference in the two respective positions.
To think that the purpose of chess is solely to checkmate the opposing King is much too simplistic. The real goal of a chess game is to create an imbalance and try to build a situation in which it is favorable for you.
An understanding of this statement shows that an imbalance is not necessarily an advantage. It is simply a difference. It is the player's responsibility to turn that difference into an advantage. S Control of a key file or square files and diagonals act as pathways for your pieces, while squares act as homes. Recognizing these imbalances you will find definitions to all these terms in the Glossary at the end of this book and understanding their relationship to planning will be the main focus of this book.
If we are to use these things properly we must be able to break down our thinking in a way that allows us to dissect any particular position. Here are the stages of my thinking technique that enables us to accomplish this:. You can only play where a favorable imbalance or the possibility of creating a favorable imbalance exists.
Instead, dream up various fantasy positions, Le. If you find that your choice was not possible to implement, you must create another dream position that is easier to achieve. S Only now do you look at the moves you wish to calculate called candidate moves. The candidate moves are all the moves that lead to our dream position.
This will be discussed fully in Part Three of this book. Let's now take a look at this thinking technique in action. If it seems difficult don't panicl It just takes practice.
Nobody ever said that getting your thoughts to work in a structured way would be easy! After the opening moves l. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bg2 5. Ba3 Re8 8. Qb3 d6 9. Ne2 Na6 lO. Qc2 we get the position in diagram What should Black do? He wants to avoid simple developing moves like Be6 since they are not part of a particular plan.
To say that your plan is just to develop your pieces is a cop-out! First find a plan and then develop your forces around it! Never mindlessly develop and expect to find a plan at some later point in the game. White has the two Bishop's, but at the moment the Bishop on g2 is inactive and the Black Knight on cS is very well placedthis Knight is just as good as any Bishop. White has doubled pawns but they are not weak in this position. The c4 pawn gives White added control of the dS square while its siamese twin on c3 controls the d4 square, thus preventing Black from rushing a Knight there by The final imbalance of note is the lack of open files for the Rooks.
The only one available is the b-file, something that White can use if he so wishes. Keep in mind that we are just listing them, not Judging their respective values. Remember that you should only play where ajavorable imbalance or the possibility oj creating one exists. This is extremely important! Let's say Black loved to attack. Nothing pleased him more than mating the opponent's King.
Such a player would naturally look to the kingside first in just about any situation. In this case what factors exist on the kings ide that favor Black? The thing is, I don't entirely blame Silman for this! He knows that most US chessplayers are lazy sacks of s and don't want to study real chess. Hence the reason his books sell so well year after year. I studied Modern Chess Strategy by Pachman. It's not my favorite, but it is a good book, especially if you play the Queen's Gambit Declined or Grunfeld from either side.
My System is very tough: The truth is: Fill your library with them. Once in awhile, a western author comes out with a good middlegame textbook Another thing is, a lot of people have a phobia about Descriptive Notation. If you are serious about improving, you need to get over it. I'm not a big fan of Silman's style of thinking or writing whatsoever. I feel that he's way too positional and doesn't emphasize the tactical sequence within the given position.
Also he has a very unique style of thinking in relation to how he and the student address the problem. Most players who will read his books will find it extremely difficult to switch their style of thoght process over the board.
He claims that over time their method of thoght process should correct itself and their respective ratings should adjust accordingly. The way I see it is that if Silman's methodology of how to play chess was truly the best, then why isn't he one of the top 10 players in the world?
Or better yet why isn't he even a Grand Master? He sure has been playing tournament chess long enough. I'm reading Silman's "AM" at the moment. I think it's really, really good. People you blame Silman for not having any original ideas, and who refers you to the old classics, sounds like snobs to me. Frankly, it doesn't matter if the ideas presented are original or not, as long as they are good, and presented in a manner one can understand. Silman's "AM" is certainly easier to read than "My System".
Yes, Silman's "AM" deals more with strategy, than tactics. To me, this is exactly what makes it worth reading. Can you name strong GMs who recommend Silman's books to players seeking to improve their game?
Maybe there are some, but I cannot think of any. On the other hand, I can name dozens of players who recommend the classical literature. One recent example: My System was written in Euwe's books were written in the ss. Pachman's book was written in the s.
My 60 Memorable Games which I have not studied yet was written before Romanovsky died in the s. And, no, I don't know any GM's you recommend Silman's books.
And so what? I haven't read it, so I can't say whether it is appropriate. For rating it is usually good to work on some game strategy aspects such as early middlegame planning , so if that book covers similar topics it should be fine, and also:.
For rating it's good to work on mistake reduction and move choice abilities. I like the structure of Chess Blueprints. That made me doubt the quality of rest of the book. My System is definitely a difficult book; I and many posters have said that above. It's the reason I didn't recommend it to the OP.
Try Simple Chess by Michael Stean. What USCF rating level do you think it would be most helpful for? Is there another book you would recommend reading instead? Silman asks the question: I think you will love the book he will take your game to the next level.
Silman books are excellent and he is an excellent teacher. But in my humble opinion books are overrated and overemphasized. Here are the things to do if you really want to improve.
Play in OTB tournaments. When you sit down give it your all with total concentration.