Aims of the Book
I did not intend in any way for this to be an exhaustive theoretical manual.
My aim was always just to start the ball rolling and help the reader to think about chess in a different and more coherent way. Everything we learn we will try to understand to the level where it can be used in a practical game.
- I wanted to show that chess is an interesting game which is definitely not played out; there are often countless possibilities in even the most innocent looking position (take the Aronian – Bacrot game I discuss later, for example).
- I wanted to teach good principles in the endgame and (although it was not my primary goal) to show some important theoretical endgames. Some of the theoretical endgames in the book are not essential knowledge, but I saw no reason to dumb anything down if they were relevant to the analysis.
- I also wanted to spark the reader’s interest in analysis and investigation of chess positions. Always search for the truth, and never pass something by without understanding it.
I should say a few words about the structure of the book and how best to use it:
- It is split into two main parts. The first half is quite lightweight, and focuses on some thinking techniques, principles and some essential theoretical endgames. The second half is quite deep and involves analysis and discussion of some very specific types of endgame. There is also a short section of exercises.
- Most chapters have a ‘Theoretical Notes’ section at the end. Any theoretical endgames or particularly interesting variations which cropped up in the main lessons and required further coverage are discussed there.
When playing over the annotated games (or game fragments) the primary goal is to retain the patterns and ideas, and the secondary goal is to use the arising positions to hone your analytical skills. Memorizing the game, move by move, is not something you need to consciously try to do. Once you understand the moves and ideas this will happen automatically. To this end I would recommend playing over the games quite rapidly in order to digest the main points. Later, upon completion of the chapter in question, you can look at the games and side variations in more detail.
|Jonathan playing Peter Wells at the 2011 British Championship|