Thursday, 24 September 2009


I have just finished a really good book no make that an excellent book.
Simple chess by GM Michael Stean.
The copy i have is published by Faber & Faber about 1982is,using descriptive notation so back to the days of P-QB4.

The only fault i have with the book is the title "Simple chess" it can be misleading,the book is in fact about chess strategy.
A subject that GM Stean makes very readable and easy to follow.

The book's 6 chapters cover the main points of strategy outposts,weak pawns,open files,half open files the minority attack,black squares and white squares and finally space.

Each of the chapters uses good examples and is clearly written.
In the chapter on half open files their is a discussion on the pawn structure of the sicilian defence.

The Ruy lopez main line is discussed in the chapter on space.

What makes this a great book to me is not only the clear writing combined with excellent games and positions,but Steans own touches throughout the book.

On page 47
"black is left with hanging pieces,an undesirable alternative to hanging pawns"

on page 71 my favourite
"all the white pieces are amusingly trapped,like a bicycle wheel in a tramline,only able to go backwards and forwards"

on page 77
many people reason "if i put my pawns on the same coloured squares as my bishop i can defend them there". If you commit hara-kiri instead,you won't have to defend them at all. The two solutions are roughly equivalent,give or take the problem of cleaning the blood off the board.

This is an excellent book for players who want a no-nonsense clear introduction to chess strategy i recommend this enjoyable book.

I end this review with a line from the book that perhaps sums up chess "simple chess always requires flexibility of thought".


Nezha said...

yeah, simple chess is a very very good book. One of the few books I've read cover to cover..

highly recommended

Rolling Pawns said...

I also prefer simple explanations, be it strategy or endgame or opening.

PetrS said...

Thank you for recommendation of the book. If I would have chance to buy it, I will do.

Tommyg said...

This is a great book!! I am going to read it again after I get my tactical stuff together.

CHESSX said...

I think this books strength is its simplicity in examples used.
Some books tend to over kill with information and examples,like the book i am reading now.
Kotovs "think like a grandmaster"