59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1997
"The Mammoth Book of Chess" contains all aspects of modern chess playing. Chess Openings sections explain the main chess openings that, in my opinion, are superior to the legendary "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" by Reuben Fine. Solid sections on endgames provide the key endgame principles definitely enought to understand (not memorize) and play well on at least class A level endgames. For the midle games, the book explains about mating, tactics, combinations, and attack & defence. Chess strategies are demostrated throughout the book. Tactics and Combinations sections are as good as "Winning Chess Tactics" by Seirawan and Silman. Attack and Defence section blows away some of the books written on that subject.
If you are new to chess, sections such as Beginning Chess, How to Play Chess, The Chess Clock, The Basic Mates and Chess Notation will be great help. Excellent explaination on computer chess and on-line chess playing can also be found in the book. A Brief History of the World Chess Championship and Chess Demographics are absolutely fascinating.
Graham Burgess, FIDE Master and experienced chess writer, has written the book exceptionally well. From the begining to the end, the book is of pure interest and excitment. Even the glossary section teaches you many things about chess such as 'Saavedra Position' and 'Time'. I own more than 50 chess books and have read about 50 more. But if I were to own only one chess book, this one would be it.
So, such a great book must cost a fortune?
It's only $8.76!!! (Amazon price)
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2003
For the price this is an excellent introduction to Chess. Its not for absolute beginners, you should have read at least one other book on beginners Chess (Chess for Dummies is a good one) but its not for "intermediate" players or advanced players only either. If you know enough of the basics (basic endgames, algebraic notation, etc), you will get a lot out of this book. I love the puzzles, they really make you think and it feels great to get a particularly hard one right. This book will make you a better chess player, if your just starting out (with the caveat above) or have been playing awhile. I would recommend this book for beginners and intermediate players. Advanced players might like this in their library, if only to loan out to friends that are trying to get up to speed. Buy it, at this price you won't be disappointed!
78 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2010
This seems like a pretty decent book for intermediate players. Nevertheless, the Kindle edition is useless. The illustrations are so small on a reader that they are kind of hard to make out, especially if you use your phone to read, e.g. when you are waiting at your child's swim meet. Also, the problems and their solutions are in different parts of the book. I just couldn't use the Kindle edition because there is no good way to flip back and forth between sections. The board diagrams, the solutions and their discussion should be on the same page, otherwise the Kindle edition is useless. Stick to the printed edition.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 1999
_One_ great book about chess. There are two parts in this book: the first about playing and the second about other aspects of chess.
There are a lot of tactical and strategic examples throughout the first part of the book. The combination section is fun. The opening section, though not exhaustive, conveys the ideas of many openings. The attack and defense section exemplifies many common themes such as the Nd5 sacrifice and the h-pawn hack. The endgame section, like the opening section, shows many examples rather than being exhaustive.
The second part of the book talks about how famous players started to learn chess, tournaments, clock, computer chess, Internet and chess, and chess & media. Those are very interesting reading mostly because they are written in a tone that engages the reader. The appendixes have basic chess rules, explanations of chess notation (the book talks about the history of it!), basic mates, and glossary.
Overall, this book talks about many different faces of chess yet manages to be of very good quality in them.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2000
Wow! A really cool book. (Bad books do NOT become BCF's "Book of the Year.") !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's see. What do you get? A section on: beginning chess, Openings, Middlegames, Endgames, Tactics, Attack and Defence. You get a section on the chess clock, on-line chess (somewhat dated), Correspondance chess, etc. Call it potpourri unlimited. (A little of something for everybody!) In fact, there is a something of almost everything about chess in here. (500+ pages!) [Maybe a little slanted towards the British side of everything.]
Two minor criticisms: Organization could have been a little bit better. And the paper is somewhat yellowish and see-through. The book has NOT fallen apart, but the cover and binding of my book is showing wear and tear. (But its been through a lot. I used to take it to school EVERY DAY when I taught at a local school last year!! The kids just loved thumbing through it.) Many pluses, one being some of the most comphrehensive indexes I've ever seen in a chess book!
However, all this is nit-picking. Everyone I know who has bought this book has LOVED it. And the bonus? It costs about 1/3 [or less], of what the average chess book sells for!! Buy it. If you don't like it, a friend will surely take it off your hands!!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2011
I am mostly a casual player, but want to improve my game, especially the strategy part. I am only part way through this book, but I found the categorization of the various strategies and the exercises that were provided to be very useful. I have various other (older) chess books, but this is the first time I have seen this approach and I found it very effective.
This book will help even beginners, but the biggest help is going to be for intermediate level players. The author avoids a lot of "technical" sounding analysis and focuses on the basics - again, this is in the initial sections. The latter parts may be more complex, but I am yet to come to those.
The reason for 4 stars is the quality of the paper and binding. It is pretty sad - I can see this book falling apart with even a moderate amount of usage. It would be ideal to get this book in ebook form, especially if there is a way to do the exercises and challenges within the book itself.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2003
This is sort of a buffet of a chess book. There's a little of everything, and not a lot of depth in anything, but what's there is fun, though in some spots Burgess seems to be writing for everybody: there are arcane references to past games, players and techniques; there are "tests" of considerable difficulty and some of incredible ease. There's a section on how to play chess, so apparently he wants notices to pick up this book too. There are sections that address simple questions like "If I just started playing, is there any chance I can ever become a master?" which again leads one to believe the book is aimed at novices. But then a few pages later there will be position analyses with many variations and sub-variations that make my head spin (and I am an Expert-level player) plus some solutions I flat-out do not get. I wonder who the intended audience is for this book.
Most puzzling, though, is the section on computer chess. I guess this made sense when he wrote it back in 1996-97...but now the chapters read as a relic, albeit an often amusing one. He talks about the latest in computers and computer chess: 486s and Pentium IIs, and Fritz 3 and 4! (We're up to Fritz 8 now, if you're counting.) He shows strategies to defeat computers that any recent program will mow down. He gives URLs to chess sites and publishers, most of which no longer work. He gives Telnet addresses! It's kind of like using a telephone directory from 1966 to find somebody today.
But despite all the apparent griping, the book is useful, but more as a quick reference, or entertaining page-turner than as a serious study. If you really want to improve your game and you're an intermediate-level player, I recommend, for starters, Silman's "How To Reassess Your Chess," and "The Amateur's Mind," Nimzovichs "My System" and Pachman's "Modern Chess Strategy." You will have a strong foundation. (Heck, if I reread them, I'd have a stronger foundation.) This book also had some glaring typos. Some were just grammatical ("Fischer took on the hole Russian chess team" or something like that) but there are at least two moves in games I've caught that are wrong, ie, impossible from the diagrammed position. Both times I went to a computer database to find the game and see the correct move.
Still, I find most chess books to be fun at the very least, so I gave it four stars. (I'll rarely give less than that to any chess book so long as it wasn't written by Eric Schiller.) If you can get this title for cheap, it is a reasonably good book, but more as a supplement. It's not comprehensive, it's not up-to-date and it certainly won't teach a beginner very much. Seirawan's series on strategy, tactics, brilliancies, etc., from Microsoft Press is much better at that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
Some reviews of the kindle edition criticize the book due to difficulty in moving between "positions" and solutions. This is easily achieved using bookmarks, though you have to remember to place new ones and cancel the old ones as you move to a new test. It was also helpful (to me) to set the position up on a chess board which reduces the need to flip back and forward. However bookmarks are still useful when moving on to the next test (as they would be in a hard copy). I found the text well written, clear and with some humour, which lightens the otherwise necessarily "heavy" tone of a chess guide. The diagrams and moves are clear, on my 15 inch notebook computer. Although other reviewers of the kindle edition have complained about small diagrams and pieces, this can only be when trying to follow it on a phone or very small tablet. On a 10 inch tablet it would (I am sure) be fine.
As a chess player who has not looked at a board since leaving school, forty something years ago, I have found the book invaluable in helping to retrieve my knowledge of openings, positions and end games. I am hopeful that by the time I complete it, my game will have returned to adequate club standard. If I can achieve that, I will have a lot to thank it for.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
Burgess is opinionated, funny, knowledgeable, informative, and actually quite a good writer. One of the best one-volume books on a little bit of everything concerning chess. Great buy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2011
The book really is "mammoth". Measured by words or chess moves or puzzles or pages per dollar, a great value. Not for the absolute beginner, but for someone at, say, USCF "E" strength all the way up to master, a fine library addition. I liked the many thoroughly annotated games and a lot of the puzzles. There was some fluff in the back about technical rules, FIDE things and so on that could have been left out. In short, a huge value.