Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Grandmaster Preparation: Positional Play by Jacob Aagard

The Grandmaster Preparation series is designed for the ambitious. All of the books in the series are workbooks. The chapters consist of short introductions to specific themes followed by dozens of illustrative problems to solve. Positional Play is different in that it is a training plan for improving positional awareness based on three questions:

(1) Where are the weaknesses?
(2) Which is the worst-placed piece?
(3) What is your opponent’s idea?

The first chapters in the book take up these questions starting with illustrative analyses of the questions. Then there follows problems for the reader to solve. The book concludes with 150 problems and detailed solutions. The themes are mixed...no hints as to what you a looking for!  When it comes to the positional themes, the solutions are very clear and complete but there is one caveat: sometimes things that are clear to strong players aren’t to those of us with lesser abilities and on occasion the author assumes things will be equally clear to his readers also. Sometimes he leaves you to work through small tactical problems on your own...probably not all bad though! What that means is you will have to do some serious work. Recommended to players over 1800; maybe somewhat lower if you want to put in some effort.

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