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I am looking for a great chess book for learning how to evaluate positions. Perhaps this is an acquired thing, but I think that there must be some book out there for this. I am looking to acquire the ability to read a position and make a determination of the pluses and minuses and determine what needs to be done. Perhaps this isn't something that can be put in one book.
A real good book on pawn theory is highly desired as well. Any help please? Thanks.
As far as pawn theory goes Hans Kmoch and Andy Soltis wrote highly-acclaimed books on the subject. I've read Kmoch's book and some players criticize it because he uses a lot of clumsy "propietary" chess terms that no one else has ever used before or after him. I've read that Soltis' book is better, but it aint cheaper at amazon. Read the reviews there on both books and see what you think.
Seriously, that depends on where you are currently as a player. Chess players progress in stages. Before anyone disagrees and says there is one correct way to evaluate positions, consider that Reinfeld might work for a 1200....Silman for a 1600 and Dvoretsky for a 2100. They are all going to essentially point you in the right direction, but books by each will speak to a certain level of player best.
May I ask what your current rating is and how long you have been playing?
I am looking to acquire the ability to read a position and make a determination of the pluses and minuses and determine what needs to be done.
Join the club...
I agree that Soltis and Kmoch were great; for me the golden age of chess in terms of intellectual rigor was the 1950s to 70s.
At any rate, neither Soltis nor Kmoch are really for players who are just starting out.
On the topic; The Art of Chess Analysis by Timman; Kotov's books had a lot of rigor in terms of teaching chess analysis; these days GM John Nunn is highly regarded on that topic. I took a lesson with Sergey Kudrin who highly recommended Nunn's books.
When I was studying with master Filip Frankel he would start students out on Reinfeld's 1001 Chess Combinations and then progress to ECO's Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations--he said you would be a master if you went through that book.
So everyone who's ever read that book is a master?...hm.
If you were able to go through ECO's Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations thoroughly, and had a sufficient mind/intellect to digest it you might improve to expert and master, if you had the stuff to succeed at openings and got into tactical postions where you would be able to apply it...A lot of iffs.
Grandmasters also consider physical conditioning critical for chess tournaments.
It will cost you....
No one "reads" that book...it's just diagrams and solutions. But, if you really understand that vast majority, sure, one could be a master. Chess programs have long been at that level on tactics alone with fairly rudimentary positional abilities.
At a new or improving level, don't worry about "evaluating positions" at all. Kmoch and Soltis are both good on pawns, but way over your level right now.
You need tactics, tactics, tactics. Virtually every game you play is decided on some fairly basic tactic - one that either you or the opponent saw or missed. You aren't losing games because you misjudged a position.
At your level, Silman's basic advice is enough: if your position seems to be pointing to one side or the other, you will probably be best to play on that side. But even that is pointless if the first move of your new plan hangs a Knight for nothing.
Yeah, you "could" be...just as I thought...
If you check out the power chess series by Nigel Davies...that is essentially all the books do; present positions, ask you for your evaluations, which you can then check against the GM's answers.
Yeah, there's lot of stuff out there like that (and always has been)...
When I was new I knew all about pluses and minuses... except what the hell to do with them and why they weren't totally arbitrary
I was clueless on what move to make once and a stronger player suggested I try to exploit his doubled pawns to which I responded "if I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be rated 1100!"
This is what a positional book would read like to a new player. The author is going to assume a certain level of ability.
Really what you need as a beginner is to work on fundamental skills. Things like visualizing your intended move. Noticing all the new squares your opponent's last move affected. Basic tactical patterns. And actually looking at tactics helps you practice all of this in one. Just be sure you're not guessing when you solve a tactical puzzle... which means your confident that you have a good reply for your opponent's most annoying response.
Which is another basic skill to learn... don't calculate moves for your opponent that help you! All you need to know about evaluating a position is to keep your pieces mobile (thus the importance of the center) and keep your king safe. Oh, and I guess the different classifications of pawns, e.g. chains, isolated, backward, islands, etc.
No book leaps to mind, apart from Maybe Dvoretsky's book on positional play, but have you considered a short course specifically on developing your evaluation skills? For example, http://blog.chess.com/Rakhmanator/online-training-understanding is great value
Ah yes, Dvoretsky's books. Reminds me of the time I picked up Rudin's "Principles of Mathematical Analysis" for a 4th grader working on his multiplication tables.
I think his mom sold it at a garage sale without him ever reading it... too bad.
And actually, if we're talking about Dvoretsky's Analytical Manual, I made a very appropriate comparison
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