What positional chess book should i read next? PLEASE HELP


Yes it is. OH and another recent book thats exceptional. is the one by Gulko, Lessons with a grandmaster. Its not really meant to be a positional primer but its a lot like Silman's amateur mind but more advanced.

TonyH wrote:

Yes it is. OH and another recent book thats exceptional. is the one by Gulko, Lessons with a grandmaster. Its not really meant to be a positional primer but its a lot like Silman's amateur mind but more advanced.

Comparing Gulko to Silman is like comparing Shakespeare to Zane Gray.  I think Lessons with a Grandmaster is destined to become one of the classics.

"Lessons with a Grandmaster" sounds great. But I'm going to read Silman first. Especially since Gulko is more advanced.
On second thought...

actually Silman's 4th edition is exceptional. he approached teaching chess in a way that makes a lot more sense to me and how brains work in learning. combined with Lessons with a grandmaster are a very good learning experience. Silman provides the structure and themes gulko shows them occurring in a game.


play your own GD game without the books. Then maybe after that youll have a chance with the high rollers like me, got it?


I have read reassess your chess twice the second time i waited a few months and definitely felt like i took more away from it. I feel like it takes time for those concepts to fully sink in. I'm going to read it again soon hoping that even more gets absorbed, I'm 1625 uscf so there is NO way I fully get evertything he is saying even after twice going through it. 


I will try to tell you why Silman's book is a bad book.This of course is for the open minded and those who really want to seriously study because Silman's book(Reassess your chess 4th edition) is not offered for serious study.

I bought the book a   year ago  as more than 5 friends of mine recommended it.Sillman tries, bravely I must say . to include in a book almost every middle game concept but the result is disappointing.All of them are superficially treated and studied with examples tha are , most of the times totally unacceptable.His illustrative games , since they are extremely few , would someone expected to be the best games ever.You will be disappointed to this also.

  Some examples:

Sillman -F.R.(1539) training game!!!

Camera16-MrShlock , Internet !!!

Daniel S -Gong   , ICC!!!

Daniel S-Metapuff ,ICC!!!

Student -NN , Los Angeles 2004.

Indiana Jones-Girl Brain . ICC!!! (oh , that is really nice).

Hubbart -Abraham , ICC

NN-Teradeath , Yahoo online!!!(gets better and better)

and all these at the first 200 pages and believe me it is painfull to continue.But let's see the results.At the first 200 pages there are 2 games of Daniel S played on the Internet while only one of Capablanca!!!.There is one game of Indiana Jones but no games of Botvinik.There is one game of Teradeath on Yahoo but no games of Tal.You expect to learn chess by studying the internet games of Daniel S , Teradeath and Indiana Jones.Fine by me.

For the "doubled pawns"  he gives 3 examples!!!.One of them is the famous game of a player called "The Turkey" against computer played on Internet at 2008!!!.I wonder , he couldn't find better examples from great players?Because I can help him for his next edition if he wants to.The other 2 games are also among great players.Judge for your self:

Kennedy -Lowe         1849 and

Fullbrook -Sillman       1988

If you are expecting detailed analysis because of the few examples I will tell you that the first game has just 3 comments!!!

For the very important Backward pawn gives 2 examples only!!!

Of course I must admit that it is a very easy to read and entertaining book.You won't meet phrases like the "Eerie phenomenon of mutual delusion" on Pachman or Kotov.Or  like "Weak pawns, The sound of ripe fruit falling".

   In Pachnman you will read what you need to learn.Nothing is superficially examined and every example is carefully selected.But that makes it a very difficult book.

It's much easier to study the games of "The Turkey".


Michael: I'm also working on that book on the moment, but I disagree with your main criticism of it.

I think he chose to use amateur games from various sources for a large part of his examples because the positions are clear and unambiguous, and they illustrate the points he makes very well. I'm sure he could have found master games to illustrate his points, but I don't agree that the method he chose is inherently worse just because the overall quality of the games is much lower. An illustrative position is instructive regardless of who played the game that led to that positions.

We're not supposed to study and learn from entire games here, as this is not an annotated games collection, so just focus on the positions.

Ok, with that said I do agree with the other part of your criticism. I think Silman gives too few examples of important ideas such as isolated and backwards pawns and that he does examine some ideas a bit superficially, but if you study all the exercises carefully, you'll get much more out of the book as they give many more examples of the same ideas that are given in the chapters, and many of the exercies are very difficult and come with extensive analysis that I imagine will be useful to study.

My main gripe with the book is that I dislike his style of writing. I think it's a bit dumbed down, and he gives occasional anecdotes and random ramblings that I find completely irrelevant. I suppose this makes it more accessible to some readers, but it's annoying to me. I also don't like the fact that all of his own games that are included are wins (at least in the first two thirds of the book, unless I've missed a loss) which seems a bit egocentric to me.



I will tell you that.All of Pachman's examples are from high level chess.75% of Sillman's examples are from low level chess some of them from extremely low level chess.

4 games from someone called GirlBrain , only one  from Petrosian!!!Petrosian is considered the top blockader ever.Couldn't one of his games  find a place on the blockading chapters?Couldn't one of Botvinik's  games find a place on isolated pawn chapter?????The selection of examples is extremely careless,I think.

   Don't you wonder why there are around 50 Sillman's games on the book while at the same moment only 1 from Tal?????.

    The book should be called "The life , the thoughts and the games of Jeremy Sillman".

   An IM gave some lectures  a month ago about weak pawns.The lectures were for kids.All his examples were from high level chess games perfectly and simply explained.You can find examples in the games of the great masters but to find them and explain them to others needs hard work.In fact anyone knows that the better the player the more clear and the more easy is to explain his moves.If you want a test, study one chapter from Pachman and  then tell me what you don't understand.

I repeat ,and it's the last time I talk about this because I don't try to change anyone's mind (I don't even care), if you think that you learn by studying the games of Girl Brain ,0404it  and Indiana Jones on ICC it's fine by me.

Case closed for me.



I have to disagree with you as well. First indianajones is a GM and Girlbrain is a master. I dont care who played the games but if the games clearly show a point. One of the major problems with petrosian and high caliber games is that all of us can not play like the players that Petrosian played or like Petrosian or any GM for that matter. What we need to learn from are clear examples that show how a player uses a particular tactic, strategy, idea, plan to win in a given position.

He states in his introduction he made a dramatic change in his approach to teaching for this edition. His early editions did use the high calibre games you so want to see and he found that u2200 players could not assimilate the information because it was too refined. His examples are better or equal quality to the study of classic games as played by morphy, staunton, anderssen or other players we lawd as classic examples. you seem to get too wrapped up in the idea that players can olny learn from GM examples. I Disagree . I want to see games and examples with glaring mistakes punished ruthlessly. Watching GMs dodge and weave is NOT something that i have to face otb and the expectation that any of us can maintain the same level of technique is just hubris. You want to study something look at master vs amateur games and GM vs master games with players being out classed by 300-400 points. 


Am I the only patzer here who subscribed to the notion that under 2000 your meal should be tactics, tactics, tactics? (patzer)


You only learn to play positional chess (or tactical chess) by playing chess and paying attention to what you do in your games. Buy all the books you want. If you don't study along with your play--post mortems & opening analysis--you won't make any progress.


agreed DrSpudnik. practice is critical to improvement. 
Experience in ALL positions helps. Dont just stick to one opening. Play everything. learn as much as possible. study ONE thing then try to apply it in 10 games. review and focus. 


Study some of Jose Capablanca's games. He was a quiet positional player who would get 1 point up near the start, exchange through the mid game then exchange a pawn for a queen.