4 types of players with their strengths and weaknessesPlaying styles in chess are an important and often discussed topic. GM Dr. Karsten Müller and GM Luis Engel take up a model by GM Lars Bo Hansen based on 4 types of players – 'activists', 'pragmatics', 'theorists' and so-called 'reflectors'. Their respective strengths and weaknesses are explained based on many examples, complemented by numerous exercises to enable the reader to assign himself to one or the other category. "As part of the preparation for my opponents, I often try to research their typical player characteristics ... In this respect, it can be helpful to draw conclusions about the type of player, and thus about strengths and weaknesses, by looking at the openings they play – or to use the characteristics of certain players to infer the likelihood of which opening lines they might choose. These and numerous other considerations are presented in this book in a condensed and systematic form. The division of players into four prototypes is extremely helpful not only in terms of game preparation, but also to determine your own characteristics as a player. In addition, the book can serve as a helpful guide for amateurs and chess fans to get a more precise picture of certain players." (Excerpts from the foreword by GM Vincent Keymer)
248 Seiten, kartoniert, Joachim Beyer Verlag
Review from Professor Barry Hymer, Former CSO, Chessable, May 2022
As someone who has had a lifelong professional interest in and scepticism about the value of ‘learning styles’ approaches (or their family variants, like ‘player types’), and who has even penned a savage takedown of their value in the chess world – see https://www.chessable.com/blog/learning-styles-chess - I was intrigued to read The Human Factor in Chess by Karsten Müller and his fellow GM, Luis Engel. The title alone made me wonder if there’d be any similarities with one of my all-time favourite chessbooks – Fred Reinfeld’s The Human Side of Chess, from 1953 (Faber & Faber). There weren’t many, at least in terms of the book’s aims. Almost as prolific as Reinfeld, but with an even more consistent output in terms of quality, Müller’s stellar reputation as a chess writer and theorist needs little by way of introduction of course, and I was worried that my high regard for his work wouldn’t survive this foray into the fascinating but theoretically questionable and fundamentally untestable world of ‘learning styles’. In particular, would I encounter facile conflations of playing styles (a chessplayer’s habitual preference for playing certain types of positions – and not just won ones – and in certain types of ways) with assumptions that these are built on certain supposedly innate and immoveable qualities or predispositions? Turns out F. Scott Fitzgerald was right, and it’s quite possible to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time, and still function. At least it is in the hands of first rate minds and authors like these.
First things first. The book builds on the classification of player types introduced by Lars Bo Hansen in his book Foundations of Chess Strategy (Gambit, 2005). Though there are some divergences from the Hansen book in the attribution of individual players from chess history to certain categories, both books posit the existence of four player types: activist, theorist, reflector and pragmatic. Having acknowledged that this won’t be the only possible model, and ‘stereotyped’ or overly dogmatic thinking inevitably brings dangers with it, the suggestion is made (endorsed by Vincent Keymer in his preface) that knowledge of one’s own and one’s opponent’s typology can be helpful in terms of game preparation and self-knowledge. Strengths and weaknesses of each type are outlined, with suggestions for leveraging one’s own strengths whilst exploiting one’s opponent’s weaknesses – in a manner analogous to the old game rock, paper, scissors: eg reflectors’ mastery of prophylaxis can trump activists, who in turn can use their knowledge of sharp opening lines to discombobulate both reflectors and theorists, who in turn can aim for quiet, technical positions in order to frustrate calculation-loving pragmatists.
It’s not an exact science of course, and it’s arguable whether it’s a science at all, but it’s no less fun and fascinating for that. The argument has considerable face-validity, however thin the theoretical base and legion the players who straddle more than one type – or perhaps even none. As a rough-and-ready heuristic for conceptualising player-types I believe it is both interesting and plausible, and it provides a helpful architecture for a player’s long-term journey towards a universal playing style (a goal acknowledged as such by the authors). Who, after all, doesn’t want to have a Botvinnik-like mastery of general principles, a dash of Smyslovian harmony and a dollop of Fischerlike pragmatism combined with an Alekhinian feel for the initiative? Come to think of it, just one of those qualities would be attractive to we amateurs!
The book is stronger for the authors’ decision to keep the theoretical overview light-touch, succinct and on-point. It recognises the dynamic evolution of many players’ styles (the early styles of Steinitz, Smyslov and Tal, for instance provide few clues to their later iterations), and for the most part it avoids assertions that are overly deterministic and mystical – though there are occasional lapses such as the unreferenced assertion that when it comes to “… a feeling for harmony and coordination like that of Karpov or Carlsen, you just have it, or you don’t” (p.99). I’d put good money on the likelihood that these sublime qualities didn’t appear fully-formed, but developed cumulatively over time. (By way of evidence, there are many early games of both these legends which are distinctly lacking in these qualities as well of course many games in which they are replete).
But for me the book’s standout strength is when the authors revert to type (!) and do what they excel at: harnessing a lifetime’s love for and high-level expertise in the game in the form of carefully-harvested and well-curated positions and exercises, powerfully and lucidly structured and annotated. Typologies provide the architecture for this assemblage, and for obvious reasons examples are included which serve to support the designations of particular players to particular types. No-one investing the time in working through these exercises can fail to benefit, and derive a huge amount of pleasure en passant – whatever their own player-type! And in terms of publication quality, the occasional translation infelicity aside, the impressive accuracy and visual attractiveness of the book comes as Joachim Beyer Verlag standard.
Together with his longtime trainer Matthias Krallmann, GM Matthias Blübaum describes his path from his early youth to the title of European champion. According to his own statement, he particularly benefited from the 'Group of Princes' of the German Chess Federation, which was founded in 2008 by national youth coach IM Bernd Vökler. In this actually not so long journey of an outstanding young talent to the German top player, the reader is not only taken along, but he can also learn a lot for his own practice 'on the way' and is offered all kinds of instructive tips and tricks. In his foreword, IM Bernd Vökler writes: "...a special highlight has been achieved: Renowned endgame guru, Dr. Karsten Müller, dissects selected endgames by Matthias Blübaum ... A double delight for the reader! – In the next part, a look into the treasury of every grandmaster is granted, namely into his opening repertoire. Matthias Krallmann notes that even former world champion Alexander Khalifman once praised Matthias' complete and self-contained repertoire. – The following chapter offers some of Matthias Blübaum's games against the top stars of the scene, annotated by himself. It's mouth-watering! – At the end, the reader is once again challenged himself. The big tactics test invites you to puzzle and calculate. Matthias Krallmann and Matthias Blübaum don't offer easy reading! Typically East Westphalian, labour-intensive, exhausting, honest and straight – the portrait of the chess worker, the chess grandmaster, the chess practitioner Matthias Blübaum. You don't become number one in Germany in a sprint, but in a marathon!"304 Seiten, kartoniert, Joachim Beyer Verlag
In this book, International Grandmaster and senior FIDE trainer Thomas Luther offers something for all chess fans at amateur level. The ambitious tournament player can use it to improve his playing strength. However, not all chess fans have enough time for an extensive study of their game in general and tactics in particular. In this case, it is sufficient if the reader solves a few exercises every day, because even then he will learn a lot about this topic in the long term. Meanwhile, the pure "chess gourmet" is offered many interesting and entertaining examples and comments to enjoy the diversity of his favorite game.
The author takes the reader on a journey from the beginnings of chess many centuries ago to the present day. Throughout history, smart players have found clever moves and techniques that are still used today. In detailed texts, the author explains the developments in the respective epochs and shows corresponding interesting examples. In addition, the book contains chapters on tactics in the endgame and on all the subtleties related to the topic of stalemate. But don't worry, all this is not boring, but extremely instructive and entertaining on top of that!
In two longer series of tests, the reader can show how strong a tactician he already is – and what progress he has made after working with this book. A large number of diagrams in the text ensure that the reader is always able to find his or her way around and can largely get by without using a chessboard.
253 Seiten, kartoniert, Joachim Beyer Verlag
Averbakh: Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes
The Personal Memoir of a Soviet Chess Legend
The autobiography of an insider when chess was a vital factor in the USSR
One of the most fascinating episodes in chess history is the rise and domination of Soviet chess. It would be hard to find a better qualified authority on this period than Yuri Averbakh, who was part of the successes in the international arena and witnessed the struggles for power behind the scenes.
Averbakh won the USSR championship in 1954 ahead of aces like Kortchnoi, Petrosian and Geller and was a successful grandmaster for several decades.
In this personal memoir he looks back on his days as an active player, but also on his experiences as a quintessential insider when chess was considered a vital ingredient of life in the Soviet Union.
Centre-Stage and Behind the Scenes describes the machinations of the notorious Sports Committee and offers surprising personal views on Soviet players like Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kortchnoi, Petrosian, Tal and Spassky. Averbakh recalls his dealings with Max Euwe and Bobby Fischer, writes touching portraits of some almost-forgotten masters and offers sharp analyses of 20th century chess politics.
A unique, revealing and at times unsettling story - essential reading for anyone interested in the history of chess and the Soviet Union.
Yuri Averbakh (1922) is a distinguished Russian chess grandmaster who has enjoyed a long and varied career. He has been a top player, a journalist, an editor, an arbiter, a trainer and a long-time member of the board of the Soviet chess federation.Averbakh won the USSR championship in 1954 and was a leading Soviet grandmaster for two decades. In this personal memoir he looks back on his days as an active player, but also on his experiences as a quintessential insider when chess was considered a vital ingredient of life in the Soviet Union.Yuri Averbakh, who used to be known as the most powerful man in Soviet chess, is currently the oldest living chess grandmaster in the world.
268 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag New In Chess
Competitive chess is not only about presenting your chess knowledge and turning it into a full point or defending a position for 5 hours and then missing to claim a three-fold repetition just because you are unaware of the chess rules and their proper implementation.
Imagine that, no matter how good your coach is, he may have never dragged your attention to explaining some simple cases that could arise in a tournament game. Or worse, say you are a chess professional, but failed to study the latest changes on the laws of chess and namely this brought you to a situation where you simply lost your prize money due to the mentioned fact.
So, a natural question would be: Who this book is intended for?
First and foremost - the chess arbiters, as it is stated on the book cover. Bojovic and Suhartovic, experienced International Arbiters and FIDE lecturers, have tried to handle the matter in such a way that even the beginners may master it, and that at the same time it would be useful to any chess arbiter as well. Since the jobs of arbiters and organizers are inextricably linked, it is considered that also the organizers shall find useful information in it. In addition, it will be useful to all chess players, primarily to professionals.
In the last several decades, chess has undergone large changes. On the one hand, the number of tournaments has significantly increased, and on the other, the mass usage of computers has opened hitherto unimaginable possibilities for progress and improvement of players, but unfortunately for misuses as well. This has led to the fact that also the Laws of Chess have been changing and adapting to new circumstances. Accordingly, the demands put before the arbiters, organizers and the players themselves are getting increasingly higher. Even though all the regulations may be found in the FIDE Handbook, the authors considered that it is not enough.
“Namely, that would be as if we gave some layman a collection of laws and expected him to become a lawyer.”
The objective was to present the most important regulations (for practical application) and to explain them in the textbook form, with as much examples as possible. The matter covered is divided into three units.
The first part deals with the Laws of Chess with numerous examples and comments. The chosen examples clearly illustrate the purpose and essence of the Laws of Chess. Of course, at the same time it would be impossible to cover all the situations which could arise in a chess competition. This part contains also the Tournament Rules, which represent (mostly technical) addition to the Laws. Special attention was given to cheating in chess through history and the ways how to battle against modern cheating by means of IT.
The second part covers the systems of competition. The Dutch variation of the Swiss system was covered in detail, not only because it is used most often, but also because it has undergone important changes which are valid from 1 July 2017. Special attention was given to the tie-break criteria. The authors are aware that many arbiters consider that making of the pairings and calculation of the MB are not their job, and that the computer does that automatically. Disagreeing with such view, authors consider that the pairings and calculation of standings are solely arbiter’s responsibility, and that the computer is an aid only. Even if the opposite opinion is accepted, the arbiter must always know this matter well enough to give an explanation to a player.
The third part comprises the Rating system, the International Title Regulations and the FIDE Online Arena. Even though it’s still in its infancy, everything indicates that in the future more and more competitions will be organized online.
292 Seiten, gebunden, Verlag Chess Informant
In 2018 DeepMind published the shocking results of their chess-playing artificial intelligence software, AlphaZero. Chess players looked in disbelief and immediately wondered how AI would affect the future of chess. Less than a year later, a whole new wave of chess engines emerged that were based on using neural networks to evaluate positions in a completely new way. This book is about the extraordinary impact that AI has had on modern chess.
The games of top chess players since the end of 2018 have reflected the use of these new engines in home analysis. They have significantly developed opening theory as well as the general understanding of middlegame concepts. By analysing these games with the help of neural network engines, FIDE Master Joshua Doknjas discusses numerous exciting ideas and examines areas of chess that had previously been overlooked. With thorough explanations, questions, and exercises, this book provides fascinating material for masters and less experienced players alike.
Joshua Doknjas is a FIDE Master from Canada who has enjoyed success competing internationally. He has won seven national titles for his age and tied for 1st in the 2019 U18 North American Youth Chess Championship.
336 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Everyman Chess
Korchnoi and his Chess Grandchildren features 25 of Viktor Korchnoi’s best games from the latter stages of his glorious career. The latest game is from 2011, when Korchnoi was still potent enough to defeat Fabiano Caruana. The annotations are mainly in Korchnoi’s own words, with insightful additions from other top players and the author. Between the annotated games are numerous articles and interviews – some with Viktor, and others featuring top players talking about the great man.
Viktor Korchnoi is a legendary figure in chess, and is often considered the strongest player never to become World Champion. He was already an elite player in the 1950s and remained a formidable force well into the 21st century, capable of beating top players who were young enough to be his grandchildren.
International Master Vladimir Barsky is a respected author, journalist and coach.
384 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Quality Chess
Twenty years ago, New In Chess magazine started its own Proust Questionnaire, entitled Just Checking. In this back page column, chess players and personalities named their favourites, preferences, moods, life mottos and what not. One of the questions has always been: What was the most exciting chess game you ever saw?
Chess greats such as Anand, Shirov and Ivanchuk (and probably any other top player you can think of), authors and commentators such as Jeremy Silman, Jennifer Shahade, and Tania Sachdev nominated memorable games. This anthology presents the 45 most exciting of these most exciting games.
Besides inevitable ‘usual suspects’ like Kasparov-Topalov (Wijk aan Zee 1999) or the ‘Immortal’ Anderssen-Kieseritzky (London 1851), you’ll be treated to a wide variety of lesser-known gems. You’ll see Ding Liren revelling in an all-out attack, Ivan Saric juggling a knight and five pawns versus two rooks, and Sergei Radchenko chasing the white king all over the board.
Every game is a showcase of the richness and resourcefulness of chess.
Steve Giddins edited this selection, a job he immensely enjoyed: ‘I hope that every reader will find games here which bring a smile to their face and a lift to their heart’.
200 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag New in Chess
Gulko, Popov u.a.: The KGB plays Chess
The KGB Plays Chess is a unique book. For the first time it opens to us some of the most secret pages of the history of chess.The battles about which you will read in this book are not between chess masters sitting at the chess board, but between the powerful Soviet secret police, known as the KGB, on the one hand, and several brave individuals, on the other. Their names are famous in the chess world: Viktor Kortschnoi, Boris Spasski, Boris Gulko and Garry Kasparov became subjects of constant pressure, blackmail and persecution in the USSR. Their victories at the chess board were achieved despite this victimization.Unlike in other books, this story has two perspectives. The victim and the persecutor, the hunted and the hunter, all describe in their own words the very same events. One side is represented by the famous Russian chess players Viktor Kortschnoi and Boris Gulko. For many years they fought against a powerful system, and at the end they were triumphant. The Soviet Union collapsed and they got what they were fighting for: their freedom.
Former KGB Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Popov, who left Russia in 1996 and now lives in Canada, was one of those who had worked all his life for the KGB and was responsible for the sport sector of the USSR.It is only now for the first time that he has decided to tell the reader his story of the KGB’s involvement in Soviet Sports. This is his first book, and it is not only full of sensations, but it also dares to name names of secret KGB agents previously known only as famous chess masters, sportsmen or sport officials. Just a few short years ago a book like this would have been unimaginable. Read this book. It is not only about chess. It is about glorious victory of the great chess masters over the forces of darkness.
176 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Russell
Henebry: Chess Words of Wisdom
Do you truly want to understand chess?Chess Words of Wisdom is made up of the crucial information mined from over 400 chess books (plus hundreds of magazine articles, videos, DVDs, websites and various other sources) all condensed into this remarkably complete, and one-of-a-kind, chess book.Chess Words of Wisdom quotes, paraphrases and summarizes the teaching of hundreds of experts, masters, IMs, GMs and even a few scientists, scholars and generals.Essentially, all of the wisdom from these important sources is in this one book! Chess Words of Wisdom is a digest of hundreds of years of chess knowledge from the greatest chess minds in history. This is must-know information for the well-schooled chess player of all levels (from beginner to master). Chess Words of Wisdom is unique in that it is all text. There are no diagrams or analysis at all in the book.There is not one single game in the entire book! Instead, the book is jam-packed with essential knowledge...in plain English. If you want to learn, if you want to thoroughly understand chess, Chess Words of Wisdom is for you. Chess Words of Wisdom is about "understanding" chess. There are no frills, cartoons, or nonsense of any kind in it...just intense, cover-to-cover, concentrated chess information in the form of verbal explanation.This is an ideal textbook for chess teachers, coaches, trainers and all serious students of the game. It is for players of all strengths who are enthusiastic about understanding and mastering the game of chess.
You will learn· the principles of the opening, middlegame and endgame· how to evaluate pawn structures· how to find weaknesses and exploit them· how to attack, defend and plan· about weak squares, critical moments, mobility, intuition, activity, coordination, tension, maneuvering, style, analysis, and color complexes· how to study, practice and train· how to prepare for and compete tournaments· the psychological aspects of chess· the ideas behind dynamics, tactics, sacrifices, strategy and positional play· the causes of time-trouble and blunders· how to calculate, win a won game, and to use technique· tips for playing blitz and learning from computers· the essential ideas, tips, practical advice, and golden rules of chess· and much more!
Mike Henebry has been a chess organizer and a USCF tournament director for over 35 years. He is a former Expert and is a long time student of the Royal Game- spending many years researching the chess masters and their words of wisdom. Chess has been a passion of his for his entire adult life. He wrote this book to fill what he believed was a significant void in the literature of this extraordinary game.
534 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Russel
Kongsted: How to use Computers to improve your ChessComputers have permeated almost every facet of modern chess, yet few players know how to gain the maximum benefit from working with them. Computers function as playing partners, opening study tools, endgame oracles, tactics trainers, sources of information on opponents and searchable game databases. Kongsted provides practical advice on how to use computers in all these ways and more. He also takes a look at the history of the chess computer, and how its thinking methods have developed since the early days. The book features an investigation of human vs. machine contests, including the recent Kasparov vs. Deep Junior and Kramnik vs. Deep Fritz matches, in which honours ended even.Christian Kongsted trained as a journalist at the Danish School of Journalism, and is an experienced chess writer. His correspondence chess rating is over 2500, and his Elo rating is over 2200. He has been interested in computer chess ever since he got his first chess computer at the age of eight. 192 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Gambit, 1. Auflage 2003
The process of acquiring chess skills and gaining a deep insight into the thinking of chess masters has always been an exciting topic. What are the special skills, talents and habits that distinguish great chess players from club players has long been the subject of intense discussion. Little scientific work has been devoted to this question, and there are practically no books that would combine knowledge of psychology and the development of strategic thinking skills in a textbook of high educational value. The greatest obstacle was that most psychologists who dealt with this question were not strong chess players themselves and therefore had no direct access to the mental processes of chess at the master level. On the other hand, it is also difficult to find first-class cognitive psychologists among the chess players. Dr. Jana Krivec is a unique exception to this rule: a strong chess player, a woman grandmaster with extensive experience in competitive chess, and a university professor in the field of cognitive psychology, who devoted most of her research to understanding cognitive processes in the minds of chess players.
The book Improve Your Life by Playing a Game takes us on an exciting journey through a wide range of topics from psychology and explains these topics by putting the reader in the role of a tournament chess player. Gaining a deeper understanding of the mind of a chess player during training, playing and analysing chess games suddenly takes on a different dimension when explained through the lens of modern psychology. Even non chess players can now deeply understand the famous quote that chess is life in miniature. Throughout the book life, chess and cognitive psychology are so intimately connected that the reader is given plenty of food for thought and valuable life lessons.
All this makes this book surprisingly interesting for a very diverse audience including: • students of cognitive psychology who want to deepen their knowledge through case studies from real life • students of business administration and economics who want to develop and strengthen their strategic thinking skills • trainers and coaches in various sports (including chess, of course), who are aware that psychology plays a decisive role in every competition • chess players who want to improve their game by better understanding the role of psychology on their way to mastery.
192 Seiten, kartoniert, Verlag Thinkers Publishing
Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. It may sound quaint today, but not so long ago, computers battled humans for supremacy at the game of chess. The challenge of building a computer program capable of defeating the best of human-kind at chess was one of the original grand challenges of the fledgling field of artificial intelligence. On one side were dedicated scientists and hobbyists who invested decades of effort developing the software and hardware technology; on the other side were incredibly talented humans with only their determination and preparation to withstand the onslaught of technology.
The man versus machine battle in chess is a landmark in the history of technology. There are numerous books that document the technical aspects of this epic story. The human side is not often told. Few chess players are inclined to write about their man-machine encounters, other than annotating the games played. This book brings the two sides together. It tells the stories of many of the key scientists and chess players that participated in a 50-year research project to advance the understanding of computing technology.
From the Foreword by Vladimir Kramnik, 14th World Chess Champion"Grandmaster Karsten Müller and Professor Jonathan Schaeffer have managed to describe the fascinating history of the unequal fight of man against machine in an entertaining and instructive way. It evoked pleasant and not so pleasant memories of my own fights against the monsters. I hope that their work gives you as much pleasure as it has given me."
Jonathan Schaeffer is a Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta in Canada. For over 35 years he has been doing research in artificial intelligence using games and puzzles to demonstrate his ideas. Two of his games-related research projects have found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. He is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and is best known for using games as his experimental test bed.
Schaeffer’s scientific paper, Checkers Is Solved, was a runner-up in Science’s breakthroughs of the year for 2007, was named by Nature’s readers as the ninth Most Important Achievement of the Year, and was one of the New York Times’ “Ideas of the Year.” His published works also include One Jump Ahead: Computer Perfection at Checkers.
Schaeffer’s other game successes include Phoenix, a program that tied for first place in the 1986 World Computer Chess Championship, and Polaris, the first program to become competitive with world-class poker players.
International Grandmaster Karsten Müller is recognized as one of the world’s top endgame experts. He is the author of many books on endgames and chess tactics.
479 Seiten, kartoniert, Russell