The standard line that you hear about this book is that it is excellent despite it's odd jargon. This book is aimed at a player who is already familiar with more basic ideas in chess such as tactics. I have talked with one person who was rated 1800 and his rating jumped to over 2000 almost overnight after reading this book.Here's the truth about this book. This book will give you a firm grasp of how to play the pawns in chess, and it will give you ideas about what your plan should be based on the pawn structure. The bad reviews that other people have given this book is because they weren't serious about digging into this book and finding the treasures that are in this book. Having said that, that is the main drawback of this book. It is a little bit advanced. If you are a beginner you would be MUCH better off buying a book about tactics and doing tactical problems.The other knock on this book is that Kmoch invents some of his own names for variuos themes (such as calling doubled pawns 'twins') which was a little bit annoying to me, but it isn't too bad once you get used to it.Overall this is a very good book. It's not an easy read, but if you are past the basics in chess, but not yet a master, and you seriously want to improve your chess, then get this book, sit down, dig through the material, and STUDY this book. If you study this book and really understand what it's saying about pawn play, it will improve your game dramatically. I know exactly how some of the other posters here feel, because I felt that way the first time I read this book.Read more ›
Very clear presentation of the elements of pawn play in all aspects of the game. Excellent, clear examples from real games with insightful analysis but without the dozens of variations that make for dense print, heavy reading and constant resetting of the pieces. Individual chapters on pawns and knights, pawns and bishops, pawns and rooks, as well as treatment of good and bad bishops, knights vs bishops, etc. Great illustrative game excerpts with just the subject pieces and also in combination with other pieces.Explores how the pawn structure provides the basis for the standard themes in each type of position and how it should influence planning and strategy in the handling of the middlegame resulting from various openings. Gems of wisdom regarding when the pawn structure is favorable to each piece, how the pieces relate to the structure, and initiating changes in the pawn structure are scattered throughout the text.This is a great reference for any player, but probably of most value to those with a fair or better command of piece play and tactics and an established repertoire of openings who want to raise their games a notch, or more - club and tournament players who are moving up past 1500 and beyond.This is an older book presented in descriptive rather than algebraic notation and Kmoch uses a unique terminology, but neither fact should be an issue for anyone with the brain power to perform chess analysis.
First, I have to get something off my chest: why do people have trouble with descriptive notation? It takes like what, 45 seconds to learn? Chess players are normally pretty smart people, and they have trouble learning descriptive notation? Perhaps chess isn't for you if you have trouble with that. Maybe take up basket weaving, which is very challenging in its own right, but does not use language. This book is one of a treasured few that makes my "desert island" list. I often felt before reading this book that chess was like a foreign language to me. I heard with envy that Reti said about Capablanca that "chess was his mother tongue." I wanted that so badly, but I still felt, no matter how much I studied, that I was missing something essential about chess. This book, Pawn Power in Chess, changed that for me. The more I study this book (which has been off and on for about 5 years), the more I learn about chess, and the more I "feel" chess on an intuitive level. Kmoch uses the device of creating his own vocabulary to bring concepts to life for you, and I always found this useful, though some readers do not like it. The examples are brilliantly annotated and selected. My only complaint about this book is that I wish it were ten times longer. I wish Kmoch had written about all of the openings, explaining them in light of the principles he sets out in this book. A major part of this book is the incredible conviction that he brings to his work. He brings enthusiasm, which is key, but many writers (Motwani, Silman, Seirawan, Alburt, Watson, Yermolinsky) bring enthusiasm. That in itself is not enough. Great conviction is also required. This is what impressed Petrosian so much about Nimzowitsch: the almost religious conviction with which Nimzo presented his ideas, his system.Read more ›
This is an excellent book for players of the game at all levels. The first 2 chapters alone are worth the price of the book. These concentrate on the basis of all pawn operations from not only a practical but also a tactical standpoint. From there you learn the effects that the pawn structure can have on your minor pieces and rooks in detail with wonderful examples from masters games such as Alekhine and Capablanca. Then comes the unexpected when you learn how to use such tactics as "sweeping and sealing" & "the center fork trick". This book leaves no stone unturned and can only have a positive effects on the games of players at all levels.