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Understanding Chess Middlegames by [Nunn, John]
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Understanding Chess Middlegames Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world's leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won 'Book of the Year' awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010, Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 32290 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications (30 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008QO3KEU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #366,799 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
John Nunn has written a very interesting book and is too modest expressing in the introduction his hope that the book will be found "informative and entertaining". The book can also be interpreted as a summary of all factors relevant to the chess middle game as selected by a very knowledgeable grandmaster who has seen everything. Especially as the topics chosen by John Nunn exceed the "classical" strategy and tactics text books - this in fact is for me the main attraction of the book.
It goes without saying that those topics cannot be detailed exhaustively in just one book but nevertheless the book can be very useful for a tournament player to take a step back to reconsider what chess/the middle game is really about and to appreciate anew the beauty and complexity of chess. The 100 topics are grouped as follows: material imbalances, strategy, activity, attacking play, defensive play, pawn structure, typical central pawn formations, typical mistakes:
* Each topic is illustrated with 2 games and each selected game contains a short introduction, usually 3-5 moves/variations in more detail and very good common sense explanations and especially conclusions (we all know what computer analysis looks like). This combination of detailed variation with meaningful verbal comment is one of the highlights of the book.
* The games (most of which are not well-known) are typically from the last 5 years, mostly played by top grandmasters and contain some real gems.
* Most intriguing for me is the selection of the topics since the middle game is not nearly as well charted as the endgame or the opening.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thanks for this qualified workout. John Nunn has modeled the positions you can meet on the chess board. It is simple but extremely useful. It is a must for chess players at any level.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Huge area to cover but nevertheless well covered.
Book was full value for money, compared with others of a similar vein.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this book very much because I love to study chess!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for review, for planning your training, expanding your style 29 Dec. 2011
By Derek Grimmell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The layout of this book is similar to Nunn's Understanding Chess Endgames. After a couple of short introductory chapters, the meat is 100 fundamental issues in middlegame play. Each of the 100 points receives only two pages of coverage. Because these are middlegames rather than endgames, each point typically only has two examples, rather than the 3 or 4 in the similar endgame book. So this is no in-depth training manual. However, Dr. Nunn has done his usual good job of chossing instructive examples with multiple points. Just as important, he invested a lot of time coming up with a list of 100 fundamental issues that were genuinely a good survey of the middlegame. They are divided into several large topics: Attacking play, certain material imbalances (for example, queen versus 3 minor pieces), themes in defense, pawn structures in the middlegame. He ends with the most common types of mistakes people make during the middlegame, including critical things such as automatically accepting sacrifices, over- or underestimating an attack, and overestimating the value of the two bishops.

It's worth listing the pawn structures he points to: Isolated pawn in general; isolated queen pawn; closed Ruy Lopez; Winawer French; Scheveningen; Najdorf; Caro-Kann (also the Slav); Sämisch King's Indian; Benoni. As you can see, this is hardly a comprehensive survey of middlegame pawn structures, but the 8 covered (not including isolated pawns in general) cover a terrific amount of chess knowledge and a large majority of games played. When you consider that other sections focus on pawn chains, hanging pawns, and doubled pawns, most important pawn structures are covered.

Similarly, the chapter on the attack nods to several classic sacrifices: Bxh7+ (obviously), sacrifices on H6, g7, and f7; and several standard sacrifices in the Sicilian, as well as looking at Rook lifts, the long diagonal, attacking a fianchettoed position, and more.

Overall, this book isn't a comprehensive training manual; such a work would probably be several thousand pages long. Rather, it's a good way to check your grasp of middlegame play. If you play through each section of the book, you'll quickly identify which areas of middlegame play you need to improve on. If you see nothing new in the section on the attack, but the sections on defensive play are a revelation, that's probably a good place to focus. Any unfamiliar theme is worthy of follow-up in your own study.

I'm just hoping that Nunn will follow this up with a couple more volumes on the middlegame, as he did with the endgame. There's no hint of this yet, but hey, I can dream, can't I?
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it now! 31 Dec. 2011
By Boomer49 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the first chapter, Nunn rips apart standard, simplistic thinking that evaluates positions by formula. He takes down Euwe, a good author who certainly knew alot about of chess simply by playing Alekhine,and shows how modern analysis depends on more than one plan or formula. The examples are of modern players and positions so this is not just a reprinting of well known games played a long time ago. Although this book contains excellent examples of how to assess, evaluate then plan according to solid positional ideas, the author shows how essential it is to have a vision of the whole board and to be aware of possibilites for both sides. This book will be in the running for Book of the Year.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than pleased 31 Dec. 2011
By William Paul B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I recieved this and did my preview of it, I wanted to stop the books I were reading at the time and go through this one immediately. It is one of the best overview/review books on the middlegame I had seen. Its broken down into 100 easily digestable lessons. You don't need 2 evenings afer work to study one concept. I was exceptionally surprised just leafing through it. Better than I expected. Great layout and arrangement of material.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Middlegame Book 4 Jan. 2012
By M. Ararat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This new book by Jonh Nunn covers 100 ideas related to chess middlegames ( and some endgame positions as well) by using a very economical format.
Most of the topics are developed with two very well selected examples which make the book a quick reference. After playing a chess game you can search the middlegame feature(s) than in your opinion were more relevant in your game and compared with the example(s) in the book. Since chess is so vast your game may not match the example exactly but the book will provide a good start.

I am very please with the book content and its practical value. For example, my last rate chess game feature the Queen Vs 3 minor pieces. I searched G. Flear endgame book beyond the basics but this endgame was not covered (the author stated that this endgame occurs less than 1% so it was not covered). Fortunalety, Nunn provides two examples of battles between the Queen and 3 pieces. I founded the annotations very clear and I was able to extrapolate his advise to my game.

In summary, this book gives you a lot in return for your money.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good effort on a difficult subject 16 Oct. 2012
By Edward A. Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The middlegame is a very difficult (impossible?) subject to address in a reasonably-sized book and John Nunn does a credible job. Much of the problem comes from the nature of the middlegame itself; it has neither the self-organizing nature of the opening where a few early moves often dictate the course of the entire game nor the relative apparent simplicity of the endgame (due to the reduced number of pieces remaining) which allows easier classification (rook endgames, minor piece endgames, etc.) of the various situations. In contrast, the middle game is chaos.

This is a breadth over depth book and it will probably be of most use to advanced beginners or middle-strength players. No one book could hope to address in depth the broad range of topics that can arise in middle game positions in a reasonable number of pages. So Nunn takes a reasonable approach and chooses 100 topics in 7 major categories and provides two examples of each topic. And to illustrate the chaotic nature of the middlegame, each topic really consists of an example and a counterexample, one illustration where the application of the topic succeeds and one where it fails. Thus, the treatment of the isolated queen pawn (IQP) has one example in which the side with the IQP (White) uses the dynamic potential of the IQP to push through a win and one example where the IQP is successfully blockaded and the side without the IQP succeeds in getting good piece activity and getting the win.

Noteworthy is the clear analysis that Nunn provides with each example, pointing out a remarkable number of inaccuracies by both sides. Either the winner of the game could often have found ways to win quicker or the loser of the game missed opportunities to either delay the loss, force a draw, or even reverse the result. This is not meant to criticize the players or demean their achievement in any way, it is merely a reflection of the complex nature of middlegame positions. It is much easier to find better moves after the fact with a lot of time on one's hands and the help of a good chess engine than to find the precise required moves over the board with the clock ticking.

I'm giving the book 4 stars rather than the 5 stars that it may deserve when considering its intended audience primarily because of my own personal bias. I just can't visualize a single book addressing this broad topic that could deserve 5 stars. Certainly if the book were narrower in scope each major category and many of its topics could easily become an individual book with many more examples and different levels of difficulty and subtlety. But that would then be a completely different book and could not be compared with this book. So overall I am very satisfied with this book and would recommend it without hesitation to its intended audience.
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