Monday, 7 November 2011

Chess Reviews: 189

The Gambit Book of Instructive Chess Puzzles
By FM Graham Burgess
160 pages

Gambit's new puzzle book takes a different approach to the norm, presenting very recent - and relatively obscure - positions which are not merely 'White to play and smash Black in two'. Instruction is the aim and this book confidently hits the target.

Graham Burgess explains the ethos of his work in the Introduction.

'The aim of this book is to help my readers make better chessboard decisions. On every single move of every chess game you will ever play, you need to make a decision. Tactical skills are vital if you are ever to make a good decision, but if you try to solve every situation with tactics, you will squander a lot of opportunities.'

'In this book, in addition to tactical exercises, I present positions that call for a calm decision, or for a good assessment based on intuition and analysis.'

I have to declare an interest here. Together with Wolff Morrow, I was a tester for this book and worked my way through 300 puzzles, providing feedback along the way. I can verify how tough some of them are and I did learn a lot from the book.

The puzzles are split into eight chapters:

Not Just for Beating Your Dad!
Putting Your Knowledge to Work
Endgame Skills
Attack, Defence and Counterattack
Leaving the Comfort Zone Behind
A Tough Day at the Office

The 300 puzzles are all from very recent games (2010/2011) and I’m sure that the vast majority of them will be new to most readers. The answers provide full explanations of what is happening, rather than just giving the basic moves.

Here are three examples to give you an idea what to expect. As usual, I won't give the answers here; you'll just have to do some work for yourself (and/or buy the book).

From the chapter on Creativity:

Vallejo Pons - Onischuk

How does White add the finishing touch to his attack?

From Leaving the Comfort Zone Behind:

Olszewski - A. Mista
Warsaw 2010

Black has four pawns for a piece, but needs to play precisely to
make the most of his far-advanced d-pawn.
The move-order is important here, so choose carefully.

From A Tough Day at the Office:

Hammer - Sethuraman
Moscow 2011

A tricky pawn ending! you must decide how to use the tempo moves
with the a-pawns, and how they affect the battle between the kings.

The book is a smaller size than normal (194 mm x 132 mm) making it easier to carry around on the way to chess matches, to enable a bit of last minute warming up.

Strong club and tournament players will find this book particularly useful.

A summary column featuring a lot more of the recent chess releases will follow here before the end of the week.

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