The third and final part of a series by renowned International Grand Master Yasser Seirawan and International Master Jeremy Silman, Winning Chess Strategies is also the most difficult to devour. The book follows the same format Seirawan and Silman used in Winning Chess Tactics, taking one strategic element of chess at a time and spending an entire chapter on it. Each are explained, explored and exemplified individually to help the aspiring chess amateur develop these lines of strategic thought.
More knowledgeable chess enthusiasts will likely recognize a lot of this material. Strategic concepts like material advantage, stopping enemy counterplay, target creation and the dynamics of a successful king attack aren't exactly new concepts in chess. The amateur, however, will probably find a goldmine of interesting new ideas. The difference between a well placed bishop and a poorly placed bishop, for example, or the proper placement of powerful pieces like the queen and rooks. As usual, Seirawan's discussion of pawn use is superior.
Probably the most puzzling and arguably most helpful chapter to the amateur mind is the chapter on faulty strategies. This chapter discusses the typical mistakes and pitfalls made by amateurs trying to adopt a strategic style of play, such as attacking prematurely, complacency and "playing from the gut". This chapter was reminiscent of Silman's "The Amateur's Mind" and is probably more representative of his work rather than Seirawan's.
As with Play Winning Chess and Winning Chess Tactics, Seirawan and Silman spend a chapter discussing the strategies of the great masters. Specific games of Steinitz, Rubenstein, Capablanca, Nimzovich, Petrosian and Karpov are chosen to exemplify strategic and positional play rather than tactics, with apologies to Lasker, Alekhine, Tal and Kasparov.
Like the other two parts of the series, which I recommend reading before this one even if you're familiar with the material, I was bothered by the writing style rather than the information. Winning Chess Strategies seems to be written for children, and is sprinkled liberally with chess axioms and rules that the authors then give contradictory examples for. Every once in a while the text is interrupted by a quick positional quiz, to which the solutions only come at the end. Though the material is golden, the format and style detract significantly from the immersion. It stands in stark contrast to Silman's other work, which leads me to believe that Seirawan was the primary writer.
All in all, though, Winning Chess Strategies is a very useful piece of work that I think will greatly help the amateur chess enthusiast on the road to mastery.