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Grandmaster Chess Strategy


Authors: Guido Kern & Jurgen Kaufeld

Publisher: New In Chess – 2011 – 224 pages

When a certain trainer writes a book about strategy, the reader is expecting some standard material stuff, like how to control the center, or importance of space in the presence of bishops, or attacking themes against the opponents’ king, or.. But, when TWO trainers write a book about strategy, and focus on a grandmaster techniques, and the central subject is : ULF ANDERSSON, then this must make your eyes blink and immediately make the order of the book without hesitation. And I didn’t regret it.

The authors adopted a very original approach in analyzing Andersson’s games. They made the book a strategic one, not a biographical one. Just look at the chapters headers and you will understand what I mean:

Chapter 1: Playing against two weaknesses

Chapter 2: An advantage in space

Chapter 3: Control of the D-file

Chapter 4: Prophylaxis

Chapter 5: Playing against the isolated pawn

Chapter 6: The bishop pair

Chapter 7: An original exchange of bishop for knight

Chapter 8: Fighting against the Hedgehog

Chapter 9: The positional Exchange sacrifice

Chapter 10: The positional Queen sacrifice

Chapter 11: The art of defence

Chapter 12: The Catalan Endgame

Chapter 13: Rook Endings

Chapter 14: Rook and Minor piece

Chapter 15: Minor piece endings

Can you point out to one of the chapters’ titles listed above that doesn’t interest you? No way. It was a strange feeling that once I finished a chapter’s games, I was eager to start reading and following the analysis and the test-quiz positions of the next one. My personal preference was chapters: 1, 4, 8 and 9, though that after reading them carefully, you will get a lot of information of what distinguish Ulf Andersson’s level of play from other grandmasters.

In every game, the authors pointed out to the critical moment(s) by putting a diagram, asking the reader his opinion. In this way, the reader is, not only enjoying the game, but also improving his positional and tactical skills. It is a very clever idea and improved way to combine 2 different approaches into a single book: a biography of 80 games of the hyper-solid  the Swedish grandmaster Andersson, and classifying those games into strategic themes.

It is also worth to mention that the games of each chapter are listed in a chronological order; this gave the authors the opportunity to show some up-to-date ideas or improved variations in the opening of the game under discussion. Also the explanations of ideas behind Andersson’s moves are very clear. You got the feeling that you are studying in a specialized Russian chess book.

Highly recommended.

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