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Techniques of Positional Play: 45 Practical Methods to Gain the Upper Hand in Chess Paperback – Oct 16 2013
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This is not a book for novices. Nor is it an introduction to the principles of positional chess. This is instead an excellent primer on the development of positional chess technique.
The very first technique is an excellent example: how to use a duo of wing pawns to paralyze the enemy knight. Ten examples follow. The next technique explores other ways of dominating knights with another eight examples.
This book is an English translation and adaptation of a Russian classic from FM Anatoli Terekhin. IM Bronznik has done a very effective job of organizing the book. The forty-five techniques are presented in ten chapters:
1.Restricting the enemy pieces
2.Creating breathing space for your pieces!
3.The clash between pawn formations
4.The rook pawn - an underrated fighter
5.Techniques in the fight for an open file
6.Some aspects of piece exchanges
7.Working with the king
8.Developing and activating the pieces
9.Along the diagonals
There's also a small collection of practical exercises.
There is a brief introduction to each technique. Most are priyomes, so many also include an introductory diagram. A priyome, you ask? It's a Russian word for essential positional patterns.
For club players to improve, middlegame and endgame understanding is essential. If you work through the examples in this book with a chessboard in front of you, your chess technique is sure to be enhanced.
Strongly recommended for all advanced club and tournament players!
Each lesson begins with a brief introduction of a technique and how you use it, using simplified explanatory diagrams where appropriate. The authors then provide game fragments (or occasionally whole games) that illustrate how grandmasters such as Capablanca, Botvinnik, or Kasparov used it to good advantage. Many books provide just one or two examples and move on, but Bronznik and Terekhin present a wealth of chess material: on average, 7 illustrative game fragments per technique. They are generous with diagrams; a single diagram suffices on the shorter game fragments, but when action continues 8 or more moves they almost always include an extra diagram or two. They do a good job explaining why grandmasters use the technique, but they do not hesitate to note other tactics and ideas in a position. They illustrate the zig-zag maneuver with Capablanca v. Alekhine (Game 25 of championship match, 1927), for example, but they also point out Alekhine's prophylactic ...Rc7, note a tactical shot that Capablanca had to avoid, and explain Alekhine's refusal to trade queens (it suppressed white's e4 pawn break). My head practically explodes every time I open the book!
While the abundant game fragments provide an excellent learning experience, the authors enhance the book's value by grouping similar techniques into chapters. For example, "Some Aspects of Piece Exchanges" contain the following techniques:
* Botvinnik's prescription: exchange those pieces which are protecting entry squares
* Exchanging bishops in order to weaken a complex of squares
* The bishop zigzag: neutralising the good bishop
* Capablanca's set-up in the Karlsbad structure
* Leave the opponent with his superfluous pieces
The book concludes with a detailed table of contents and indexes by player and opening. As always with New in Chess books, the production values (clarity, margins, paper, binding) are high quality. I enthusiastically recommend this book for club players rated 1500 and up; it is the best book on positional chess I have read since I studied Nimzovich's "My System" almost 40 years ago.
The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me in exchange for my honest review. My ratings of the publisher's books have ranged from 3 stars to 5 stars.
Emmanuel Neiman,from Paris.
The book seems to have been published in Russian several years back and then translated into German in 2005. Only now in 2013 is it available in English. One wonders as to what other masterpieces they have available that haven't been translated.