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Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch [Paperback]

John Watson
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
Price: 17.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 April 1999
It is now seventy years since Nimzowitsch wrote his monumental work My System. While it remains a fundamental work on chess strategy, the way chess positions are handled has changed greatly since Nimzowitsch's time - both refinements to existing ideas, and completely new concepts. John Watson's book fulfils the need for a thorough, profound work on the modern handling of chess positions, and how Nimzowitsch's theories - still controversial and revolutionary at the time My System was written - have been refined and used alongside classical concepts.

The first section of the book discusses how the understanding of classical themes, such as pawn majorities, the centre, and structural weaknesses, have been refined. Watson then moves on to discuss new concepts, including the willingness of modern players to accept backward pawns in return for dynamic play, the idea of a good 'bad' bishop, knights finding useful roles at the edge of the board and the exchange sacrifice idea that became prevalent with the post-war Soviet champions. This profound yet thoroughly practical work is rounded off with sections on prophylactic thinking, dynamism, modern concepts as they apply to the critical contemporary opening systems, and some thoughts on the future of chess.


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Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch + Chess Strategy in Action + My System (Chess Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications Ltd (24 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901983072
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901983074
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 17.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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From the Publisher

Gambit Publications specializes in chess and has an unrivalled reputation for originality and editorial excellence. The company is owned and staffed entirely by leading chess masters and grandmasters.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough work by a great chess master 30 Jan 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
When I first got this book I skimmed it and put it down for easier reads. The last time I picked it up I dove into some of the games, and I realized why this book is rated at five stars. In my opinion this is a work that took great dedication and a prolonged effort. IM John Watson intelligently contrasts the master strategies of the early 1900s with the practices of the modern masters. It is hard for me to believe anybody can know so much about chess. I'm glad he is willing to share his knowledge with the public.
This book contains a lot of opening theory (middle game theory too). IM Watson explains the weak points in several positions. He talks about what pieces will be good and which ones can be traded. Honestly, I skipped several of the games in this book, because I don't want to play those openings. However, for the openings I do want to play, the information given is invaluable.
This is an advanced book and the reader will have to make an effort to study the games annotated by IM Watson to improve. I'm glad I spent the time looking at the game's I've gone over, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have realize how valuable this book is.
Once you decide you already know tactics and how to use them, and you know you can't improve by reading tactics books, get this book. There are great ideas in this book, fascinating master games, ideas the author finds interesting, useful strategies for several common positions, there are open games and closed games, and easy to understand explanations.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Chess Book 23 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
REVIEW POSTED BY SEAN EVANS
Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy Gambit Publications, 1999, 272pp. by IM John Watson Review by Randy Bauer
Randy's Rating: 9.5/10
While reviewing books, I often wonder if any of them will still be considered worth reading in another fifty years. I'm relieved to report that Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy has the kind of staying power and relevance that will bear reading and re-reading in the decades to come. International Master John Watson is a serious chess theorist and author with a bevy of good books to his credit. His books exhibit a care and attention to detail that is often lacking from other popular authors. This book surpasses even Watson's previous high standards.
Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy seeks to take up where Nimzowitsch's My System left off. Nimzowitsch's book is often considered to be a seminal work that charted a new course in chess thought. Watson, who believes that modern chess thought is radically different than that of the best players of an earlier era, discusses the various issues raised by Nimzowitsch in the first part of his book, while the second explores modern methods and praxis.
The first part is particularly useful for those who are not familiar with Nimzowitsch's original work. While Watson also seeks to "update" various concepts explored by Nimzowitsch in this section, the coverage isn't nearly as deep as in the second part of the book. Indeed, the first section covers just 91 pages. It is useful, however, for laying the foundation for the balance of the book.
The second part of the book covers a variety of topics.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Chess Explained 26 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Along with the Dvoretsky series, this is the most important work written on chess strategy since Nimzowitszch's My System. I wouldn't recommend this book for a beginner because Watson's premise is that "there are no rules by which you can understand chess; you have to analyze everything concretely" and he backs this up with terriffic examples and analysis. Of course, we all use rules as shortcuts to help guide us through a position and learn exceptions to the rules as mastery of the game improves. There is a goldmine of information here. The section on Minor Pieces is particularly valuable.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the bible 24 Sep 2005
Format:Paperback
this book is the bible of chess. and like the bible it was written by a human! hehe ok i wont go there. one thing i here recurring about this book is a very strange rumour that it improves peoples games. even though watson did not write it as a training book. its more a report on the evolution of chess and how modern players handle positions. im sure it will improve peoples chess because watsons research matches his interpretation which is incredible and without a doubt he is one of the greatest chess writers of all time. i noticed a reviewer said that reading this book can be a bit of a slog. in that case they probaly dont understand the depth to which watson takes the book. its very deep and very thoughtful and if you cant understand it you will see it as a slog reading rather than the gem it is. if you cant understand it then read silmans books or a few others on basic strategy then come back to it and you will see how groundbreaking and to current knowledge how correct watsons report on chess is.
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