Thursday 11 April 2013

Chess Reviews: 215

We conclude our Easter round up with a quick look at three more new books.

Mastering Complex Endgames
By Daniel Naroditsky
304 pages
It's over three years since I reviewed Daniel Naroditsky's Mastering Positional Chess. How time flies.

Now he is back with another impressive tome, dealing with Complex Endgames, which he defines as ''positions in which neither side can depend entirely on endgame theory and common themes in order to find ideas.''

The aim of the book is quickly revealed too. ''How does one come about finding strong moves in muddy and tricky endgames? This question obviously cannot be answered immediately. In fact, we will spend the rest of the book trying to discover why and how strong players make powerful moves.''

The endgames in question are split into the following categories:

Rook Endgames
Rook + Minor Piece(s) vs Rook + Minor Piece(s)
Queen Endgames
Queen + Minor Piece(s) vs Queen + Minor Piece(s)

The concluding chapter looks at Weaknesses, Passed Pawns, Passive vs. Active Defense, Deep Calculation and King Activity.

Game fragments and studies are used throughout the book. The author has done a very good job of explaining the key ideas and taking away some of the mystery and difficulty of these complex endings.

Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna
By Emmanuel Neiman
237 pages
FIDE Master and chess teacher Emmanuel Neiman proposes to demonstrate that there are seven key signals which can indicate the presence of a tactical blow in a position. Furthermore, by training a player's ''tactics antenna'' to pick up on these signals one should be able to ''find the killer move'' more frequently.

The book is in four parts. The first identifies the seven signals, the second teaches how to spot the relevant theme, the third looks at finding the right move and the fourth presents a ''Final Test'' to the reader.

The examples are very well chosen and include plenty of games from 2011 and 2012. The material is very accessible and will suit players of all strengths looking to ''tune their tactics antenna''. Trainers and coaches will find plenty of ideas for lesson plans too.

Soviet Middlegame Technique
By Peter Romanovsky
416 pages
This is a book with a long history. Romanovsky's original version was published in 1929 but an intended update was put on hold when the manuscript was lost during the siege of Leningrad. He started again and the revised edition finally saw the light of day in 1960, in two volumes (Planning and Combinations). Quality Chess have resurrected this classic work with a new translation and some analytical tweaks. They have also combined the two volumes to create a big and impressive work.

Thinks start of with ''Basic Concepts'' and work their way up to some really advanced material, such as ''The Interference Device in Various Combinative Schemes.''

As this is book on middlegame, the material has not become noticeably dated (as would have been the case with an opening manual, or even an endgame tome). In terms of illustrative games we are taken back in time to encounter the likes of Steinitz, Tarrasch, Alekhine and Capablanca but the lessons from the games of such giants are still just as valid and important today.

Quality Chess should be congratulated on their crisp layout and presentation, bringing this classic work to life and ready to instruct a whole new generation of chess players.

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