Four Exercises from Panchenko's Mastering Chess Middlegames

Four Exercises from Panchenko's Mastering Chess Middlegames

May 8, 2017, 4:12 PM |

Last summer I managed to get my hands on Alexander Panchenko's book "Mastering Chess Middlegames". And after almost a year, I finally managed to pull myself together and start working with it. This post is about sharing the experience I got from it. Basically I am writing also a short review on the book.

Firstly, what discouraged me from working with it earlier was my own laziness - the positions seemed fairly difficult and time-consuming. And indeed - Panchenko recommends to use 3-4 hours for 4-6 exercises he gives. Besides exercises, the book consists of annotated positions and positions to play out. There are many different paragraphs in the book, addressing different topics such as "Defence", "Prophylaxis" and "Realizing an Advantage" etc.


Why Panchenko's book? 

From my own experience, I know that sometimes I should bring myself out of my comfort zone in order to make progress - be it studying endgames, or prepping against the Torre, or whatnot. Panchenko's book does exactly that. Also, right now I am trying to put emphasis on defence and prophylaxis, and the book offers positions relevant to these aspects.


However, there was one funny thing, what I noticed: while the name of the book is "Mastering Chess Middlegames", some of the exercises could be studies, or endgames, or almost anything. That is not necessarily a bad thing, just curious.


What am I trying to do in this post is to give you all a chance to solve the four puzzles I took on today. I wrote about my thoughts and also gave the solutions in my blog post here:


Here are the four puzzles! Good luck - everyone is welcome to share their ideas in the comments.



I had great fun with all of the positions. The first three I went over fairly quickly, having in mind to return to them later. But then came the fourth and I got stuck with it (it needed a concrete answer). I struggled with it well over an hour! Overall, I liked the experience and I will definitely do this again. I definitely need to work on harder puzzles now and then, and the positions were instructive.