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The Art of Planning in Chess: Move by Move (Batsford Chess Books) [Paperback]

Neil McDonald

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Book Description

29 April 2006 Batsford Chess Books
A follow-up to Neil McDonald's incredibly successful "Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking", this insightful book takes a close look at some of the most outstanding games from the last 6 years, commenting on every single move as the game unfolds. This time, however, the emphasis is on planning, and how the players plan their strategy many moves ahead. The author's detailed approach gives you a rare opportunity to really get to the nitty-gritty of what goes through grandmasters' minds as they pay. To avoid unnecessary repetition, the opening moves of each game are discussed more lightly - real discussion begins around the 10th move, which is where the planning stage really kicks in.

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The Art of Planning in Chess: Move by Move (Batsford Chess Books) + Chess: the Art of Logical Thinking: From the First Move to the Last
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About the Author

Neil McDonald is an International Grandmaster and a prolific chess author and trainer. Previous Batsford titles include Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking, The Sicilian Bb5 Revealed and The Benko Gambit Revealed. He lives in Gravesend, Kent.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
164 of 172 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good selection of games and solid analysis for advanced players 17 Sep 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
McDonald has put together a nice selection of well analyzed games for players who are well past having learned the basics of chess. I would certainly put this book on par with "Understanding Chess" by Nunn as far as the level of player it aims toward, and above the levels of players "Logical Chess" and "Unbeatable Chess Lessons" are intended for. If you are looking for a nice game collection book at you are in the 1500 - 2000 elo rating range, then "The art of planning in chess" is a good choice!
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice easy to understand collection of games 8 Sep 2006
By C. Diniz - Published on Amazon.com
This book like the authors last 'CHess: The Art of Logical Thinking' is structured around a recent game. Like his last effort McDonald provides us with no nonsense annotations that explore the various topics that makeup middlegame plans such as play along the ranks & files, play on diagonals, center breaks, etc. Each topic has its own chapter with several games to drive home the point. This may sound like nothing new but the strength of this book lays in the selection of games and the authors ability to communicate the various plans and the moves contained therein to provide a crystal clear picture of what is going on and most importantly why it is going on! This work is a must for the intermediate player as well as a good solid review work for more advanced players! A nice effort by McDonald!
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars you won't regret buying it 1 Jan 2007
By Elizabeth Zoe Vicary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i love this book. most chess books of this type, meaning the "heavy on verbal explanation, minimum of variations" aren't so interesting for people over 1600, but this one is. mcdonald uses modern games (up to 2006!) and isn't afraid to talk about more sophisticated positional ideas. not heavy duty study material, but extremely readable and useful stuff. also unusually nice font, cover, paper, typesetting.
my favorite quote: "Now all four units are grouped together in a mutually defending diamond shape."
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best way to get into studying master games 12 April 2008
By Alexander Goncharov - Published on Amazon.com
Chess is like a language, you need to see how it is used in a whole variety of situations. Complete games by masters is the best material for study using full immersion into various ideas, plans, techniques all being highly interrelated. This book helps to do it with well-commented games focusing on strategic principles. Many games are very modern and highly instructive; and the verbose style is highly attractive, especially for young players, who wants to grasp the art of studying master games on their own. Using this book, one could feel the presence of very experience coach, who knows what message an inspiring player should get from the games presented.

Of course, there are few other books with a similar approach (teaching by example in complete master games move by move), why is this book so exceptional? The engaging style of discussion, the quality of examples, and a good balance of game analysis with general commentary on strategic principles. This is ideal for player in 1200-1600 range maybe up to 1800. There is a sequel to this book by Neil Mcdonald (Chess Success: Planning After the Opening) from Batsford publisher, featuring the same high quality binding, beautiful page layout that is on par with Gambit books. Boths books are highly recommended for those who needs guidance and motivation to study master games. For those, who mastered these books, the famous book by John Nunn "Understanding Chess: Move by move" is a good next step.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - 4 Mar 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have been debating on whether or not to write a review for a few weeks now. Obviously I am giving in to writing a review. If you are like me in the sense that you have little time to focus on chess study this book is easy to read and entertaining. Most chess books will offer variation after variation and sometimes sub variations which is very frustrating and time consuming. Personally I don't care to know all these different lines. I would like to know where I should be focusing my attention. Also most books will give a lengthy variation and at the end say white is slightly better or black is clearly better. Ok thats nice but why is white slightly better? Why did white make those moves in the first place?
This book clearly explains why white or black is making certain moves, why white or black is better, and what is each side is trying to do - or should be trying to do.
A few examples:
In one game after white plays Rc1, McDonald says that white is slightly better because he was the first to claim the open c file. He then shows a plan of using the c file to infiltrate the enemy's position.
In another white takes back on g3 with the f pawn. As McDonald says we are taught to recapture toward the center. e.g. with the h pawn instead of f pawn. But we need to play the position. He then explains with words why it is ok and makes sense to recapture with the f pawn.
In a another game the prodigy Magnus Carlson gets a pretty good position against his opponent because his opponent did not play ...c5. McDonald explains why black needs to play ...c5 and gives about four possible plans for Carlson. e.g. playing against the backward c pawn on the c file, getting a knight to c5, playing d5 to gain space, or e5 to gain space and start a kingside attack. He also outlines the pros and cons to each. Then after Carlson decides on which plan to use before playing the moves right away he moves a bishop. McDonald explains why it is important to move the bishop one square first before starting his plan. Again using words not lengthy variations.
The last example I will give involves white playing h4 and then h5. Why is that? McDonald explains that you want to stop your opponent's plans. Black probably would want to play Ne7-g6-f4. By getting a pawn to h5 white prevents black's plan and may also be able to use the g6 square himself for a knight which will be anchored by h5.
So in this book McDonald clearly explains the plans and possibilities with each. It is nice that he tells us that this is what each side would like to happen and that this may be the outcome. He also shows that a long term plan could consist of a series of mini plans and THAT PLANS CAN CHANGE DEPENDING ON THE POSITION.
There is a few typos in the book which to me isn't a big deal. I gave the book 4 stars because it really has to wow me to get five stars such as Watson's books or Silman's books. If I could give it 4.5 stars I would.
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