on 23 November 2006
This book is a well written and easy to follow. The ideas are well explained and Soltis selects examples that clearly demonstrate the point he is making.
Various thinking methods are discussed including Kotov's famous tree of analysis, Soltis reviews each and gives pros and cons. He explains when to calculate and when not, cues to select candidate moves, how to save time and when to use intuition.
I like this book a lot as Soltis doesn't preach too much, but explains the tools to help you select moves and thinking techniques.
There are plenty of diagrams at key points and the lines of analysis are long enough to make his point, but not ridiculously deep, as to lose most readers.
on 27 September 2005
One of the biggest problems I've faced when playing chess is knowing what to play. There have been times when I've sat staring at the board, just wondering what on earth I should be doing. Well - those days are gone!! It is a well-known fact that, the better a player is, the less time he has to spend thinking about his moves, and Andrew Soltis's excellent book shows why. He covers topics such as how much calculation is needed in a given position. To an amateur, it may seem strange to say that a player doesn't need to calculate, yet many top players, not least ex-World Champion Karpov, have had great results with this method. Another excellent tip is how to select potential moves - what are called candidate moves. Candidate cues are triggers that suggest moves; he also explains how to narrow the situation down to just a few such candidates. He explains how some players, such as former World Champion Petrosian, confused their opponents by giving them too many moves to choose from. He suggests ways to choose a move, such as to attack an opponent's undefended piece, or to improve the position of your own worst-placed piece.
This book is a good example of the modern trend in chess books to have plenty of text: not too long ago, chess books had no text at all, but plenty of dense analysis with symbols to show the state of the game. This approach was to allow non-English speakers to follow the books, but these books were hardly reader-friendly. More recently, however, text has made a welcome return, which allows the writer to explain clearly and precisely what the aims of the moves are.
Soltis is clear but never simplistic, and his book contains a wealth of information which can only help the interested amateur to improve his play.