||Mastering the Opening, Byron Jacobs
Mastering the Middlegame, Angus Dunnington (ISBN:
Mastering the Endgame, Glenn Flear (ISBN:
144 & 176
|Price: £ 14,99
|Reviewed by: Soren
||Date: 5/2 2002
This three new books from Everyman chess covers as you can
see from the titles all aspects of chess from the opening to the
endgame! According to the backcover the books has an "Revolutionary
layout allows readers to absorb the key ideas". I don't
really know what they mean with this, but my guess is that it means
that the author throws in some remarks like "WARNING: Beware
counter-sacrifices", "TIP: The mere presence of a
rook on the seventh rank can be incredibly effective, assistance
from other attacking pieces adding to its influence" and
"NOTE: The white dark-squared bishop can be a problem piece
for White deep into the endgame (Nimzoindian)". Sometimes
it is something that you can learn from, but most of the time I
think they just gives this "advice" because the
authors had to!
Another "Revolutionary layout" could be that the
diagrams is placed together with another diagram. This means that
the diagram sometimes is on a different page that the one you are
reading - I don't think this is "Revolutionary" I
think it is confusing and personally I'm not to happy about the new
Mastering the Opening
This book deals with every major opening. I have to say that
I don't know why they decided to make this book only three month after
they published the book "Concise Chess Openings" by
Neil McDonald. The readership and the way the authors explains the theory
and what White/Black is trying to do is very close. So if you have
the above mentioned book, don't buy this one!
The openings is explained with an introduction followed by:
- What is White's Strategy?
- What is Black's Strategy?
- How Popular is it?
- Illustrative games
Lets see an example from the book, please notice that the I
included all comments to this game!
Karpov,A (2720) - Kasparov,G (2700)
World Championship Moscow 1985
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6
5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0–0 Be7 8.f4 0–0 9.Kh1 Qc7 10.a4 Nc6 11.Be3
Re8 12.Bf3 Rb8 13.Qd2 Bd7 14.Nb3 b6 15.g4 Bc8 16.g5 Nd7 17.Qf2 Bf8
18.Bg2 Bb7 19.Rad1 g6
Black is patiently defending and reorganising. Karpov,
who needed to win to regain the title, finds a way to rejuvenate his
attack. 20.Bc1 Rbc8 21.Rd3 Nb4 22.Rh3 Bg7 23.Be3 Re7
Kasparov's famous "mysterious" rook move.
With White having missed the optimum moment to thrust f4-f5, Black
forestalls it by defending f7 and planning to use the e-file should
it open up.
24.Kg1 Rce8 25.Rd1 f5 26.gxf6 Nxf6 27.Rg3 Rf7 28.Bxb6 Qb8 29.Be3 Nh5
30.Rg4 Nf6 31.Rh4 g5 32.fxg5 Ng4 33.Qd2 Nxe3 34.Qxe3 Nxc2 35.Qb6 Ba8
Having spent most of his time trying to force the
required win, Karpov now blunders.
36...Rb7 37.Qxa6 Rxb3 38.Rxe6 Rxb2 39.Qc4 Kh8 40.e5 Qa7+ 41.Kh1
Bxg2+ 42.Kxg2 Nd4+ White resigns
What can you extract from the game above? Right, almost nothing!
The comments to the section "Illustrative games" is to
superficial, and I think your better off with the book "Concise
Chess Openings" from the same publisher. For players with
an ELO up to 1600.
Mastering the Middlegame
The author explains very well in the introduction what this book
"Rather than make an overview of general rules and advice
I have concentrated on mainly positive themes, ranging from outright
attack to strong defence. In other words, the areas of the
middlegame we investigate might have positional, psychological and
attacking significance or they could feature a specific piece, but
they are all linked by common denominator that is a better
understanding of the game."
author has succeeded in writing a practical book about the
middlegame containing a lot of positions from play over the board.
The content of the book:
- 1. Attacking the King
- 2. Defending - Keep Calm!
- 3. Opening Lines
- 4. Using the Pieces
- 5. Using the Pawns
- 6. Further Ideas
- 7. Solutions to Exercises
Although the examples are good and instructive it is not clear to
me how much the student will benefit from reading this book. The
examples are nice, but the author only deals with themes like "The
Power of the d-pawn" and "The Pawn Break"
on only four pages each. This also goes for the other themes
throughout the book. This is only enough to give the reader a little
knowledge of how to deal with the different types of positions.
At the end of each chapter there is four exercises. Recommended to players up to ELO 1900.
Mastering the Endgame
The best book of the three! Glenn Flear wrote the book "Improve
your Endgame Play" last year and this one is a worthy
follow-up. In the Introduction Glenn Flear writes
"The book is self-sufficient, but it can be considered as
a follow-up to "Improve your Endgame Play", which was
published last year. Readers who read that one thoroughly (and
improved their endgame as a result!) may be interested in further
material of slightly higher level.... I like to think that readers
of all standards can benefit from the material herein...".
The content of the book:
- 1. Learn from the Masters
- 2. Principles of Rook Endgames
- 3. Theory of Rook Endgames
- 4. Pawns and Queens
- 5. Minor Pieces
- 6. Rook vs. Minor Piece
- 7. Solutions to Exercises
Glenn Flear has written an interesting and very good book for
those who have learned the basics of the endgames. It is not a book
about endgame theory, but includes many examples categorized in the
chapters you can see above. Glenn Flear's way of explaining the
different endgames is very instructive and he has included a lot of
his own games. In the Introduction to the "Principles of
Rook Endgames" he writes:
"I have selected several of my own endgames that I have
found instructive over the years.... Funnily enough, the most
memorable are often when I threw away a half-point or saved a
seemingly lost game!"
At the end of each chapter there is four exercises. Recommended to
players with ELO 1500-2100.
This new series of "Mastering the..." is both good
and bad! First of all I don't appreciate the new layout, on
the other hand the books about "Mastering the Middlegame"
and especially "Mastering the Endgame" are books you can learn
from. The book "Mastering the Opening" is not as
good as the other two, and I will instead recommend the book
"Concise Chess Openings" from the same publisher.