Book Reviews,  Chess

The Science of Strategy

After the last Grenke Chess Tournament I have analysed my games and among many others, I have detected two problematic areas to improve:

The first one was on pawn structures and the latter on calculation of variations. As it is sometimes best to return to the beginning, I have read Hans Kmoch’s Pawn Power in Chess, which is very elementary in context, but highly advanced in technique. When it comes to calculation of variations, I have realised that the problem not only lies on the lack of knowledge, but also in the way we think. So I have applied the principles of behavioural finance to chess through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow. Lastly, I have just finished Alexander Kotov’s valuable book of The Science of Strategy. Through these three books I can say that I have enhanced my understanding considerably, but I am aware that it takes time to apply it smoothly. You can click on the relevant links for my reviews. 

The Science of Strategy

Alexander KOTOV [1]

Before I present the book, it is apt to introduce the author in brief.

Kotov is a Soviet Champion and two times a Candidate for the World Championship title. And twice an Olympiad team gold medalist in 1952 and 1954. I think, his misfortune (or luck according to some) was living in the same era with Botvinnik, Smyslov, Bronstein, Keres and Geller, who were also his teammates at the legendary Olympic Team.

For his book I had many things to write here, but in the preface of his book the first sentence explains the purpose of the book so clear, therefore I quote his words instead directly:

“The creative potential of a chess player depends to a significant degree on his analytical powers, his ability to discern the most important nuances of a position and evaluate them correctly.”

He starts with the pawn’s strength and weakness, then continuous with the attack in the centre and on the queenside. The book has six other chapters in general on evaluation of a position and taking appropriate measures at the right time. His narrative is pretty comprehensive and the games he picked up are fitting the theme perfectly.

Different from a novel, this kind of applied knowledge takes time to finish reading the book, but I can surely say that it worths to it in the end.

I wish you a pleasant reading.

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 29.02.2020

[1]  Alexander KOTOV, Quality Chess UK Ltd., Glasgow, United Kingdom, First edition 2019.

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