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Elements of Positional Evaluation by Heisman

  • #1

    Has anyone read this book by Dan Heisman?  Is it a positional chess book anyone 1300-1450 could grasp and benefit from?


  • #2

    The newest edition was just released.  Haven't read it or anything by Heisman except a few articles that didn't resonate with me, but would like to hear anyone's opinion also and give him another chance since he has such a good reputation as a writer/teacher.    

    On his website, he puts it under "Intermediate" (USCF 1300-1650) books, along with The Amateur's Mind and Chernev's Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played, among others.  He also describes it as "superexpanded fourth edition".

    How that translates to online rating beats me as I have seen Elos that differ from on-line rating anywhere from 200-850 points.  

    I am guessing that if one plays fast and doesn't think much, it more closely approximates their OTB rating whereas if one makes good use of all the time between on-line moves to thoroughly analyze a position, the difference between OTB and online ratings would be larger due to the OTB time contstraints. 

  • #3

    Thanks, dannyhume. I don't believe this book is for me!


  • #4
    I read an earlier version perhaps a decade ago. Brilliant in its explanation of how we measure the relative power of pieces. Heisman demonstrates when we say that a queen is worth nine pawns, a rook five, and bishops and knights three, it is because of the number of squares it can reach on an open board. A piece's value is a direct function of its mobility. But it's only an average relative value because elements of the position, most notably pawn structure, affect mobility. So pieces have a dynamic value dependent upon position as well as their average value. And this is a subtlety we all must come to understand. But that edition at least wasn't terribly useful as a primer of positional evaluation. Perhaps the new one is. It was, as I recall, more of a metatheory of the value of pieces.
  • #5

    Look for the chessimo app for your rating range.

  • #6
    Ha! 7 years later I am posting again in this thread, but this time I have read the book, though that was still probably roughly 5 years ago. I pretty much agree with a rambling 3-star review on Amazon by Mike’s Brother... the book is interesting, but perhaps not so great for a player’s improvement. Maybe I would feel differently if I read it again now since with more OTB playing experience I am more emotionally investing in the thinking process.
  • #7
    stwils wrote:

    Has anyone read this book by Dan Heisman?  Is it a positional chess book anyone 1300-1450 could grasp and benefit from?


    Yes and Yes.  It is an excellent book targeted to the novice-intermediate level player...explanations are very clear and detailed....easily understood by the target audience...

  • #8

    Dan Heisman knows how to 'talk chess' or maybe Babbel with chess.He might get a special prize for that if there is any competition.


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