Paddy Patzer's Pile of Books: Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov
We have all got lost in the Great Unkown of the Middlegame. I very well known feeling to have survived the opening phase of the game just to realize that a murky, clueless middlegame is about to start. You might survive the opening thanks to basic principles and a few memorized opening lines but in order to do well in the middlegame you need to use the mythical concepts of The Grand Plan.
So, what is a plan? How deep is a plan? We have all heard mantras along the lines that “A bad plan is better than no plan at all”. How can a bad plan be a good thing? I think that Eisenhower can help us to put plans and planning into a context:
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable”
OK, the plan might turn out to be useless because the opponent did something clever that we totally overlooked but the act of planning will be very important because the planning relies on a careful evaluation of the position.
Will the book “Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov” help the improving player to learn how to make a plan? Only to some extent! I think the book does a great job presenting a scheme for evaluating a position and the book has several fine examples of evaluated positions. However, I am not convinced that the book does help to the reader to improve the planning process. The book is full of fine games which will be of interest to coaches in search of examples but with rather condensed annotations and the light annotations do not help the beginning player to use the evaluation of the position to form a plan of action.
The book does a good job presenting how to schematically evaluate a position, which of course is a very valuable lesson and an importat step towards a plan, but the book does not in detail help the reader to learn to transform the outcome of the evaluation process into a plan.