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The Art of the Middle Game (Dover Chess) Paperback – December 1, 1989

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Chess
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486261549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486261546
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Swedish (translation)

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Customer Reviews

Text on this kind of topic is very rare.
Juran Liu
The art of middle game is an excellent treatment within its limits and a must for all players of intermediate to advanced level 1600-1800 ELO ratings.
Prasanta Roy
My gratitude to Dover for keeping the book in print.
A. Ali

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a breif review of what this book contains and how usefull it will be to various players. It is writen in descriptive notation (i.e. P-K4), which is difficult to muddle through in our modern, algebraic world, but wonderful fruits will flow from its examination.
Part one is relatively simple, concerning itself with basic planning and the attack on the king in various positions. (Another excellent book on this is 'Art of Attack in Chess' by Vladmir Vukovic in algebraic notation, which is considerably larger.)
Part two is more complex, discussing how to defend difficult positions and pawn configurations in the center. Keres' section on defence is, relatively speaking, a masterpiece and contains many ideas that are virtually indispensible. The section on pawns is also very informative though not exhaustive on the role of pawns. (Hans Kmooch's book 'Pawn Power in Chess' is certainly more in-depth concerning pawn positions that cover the entire board, but it has the special detraction of being almost incomprehensible due to its excessive complexity and needless terminology.)
Finally, part three is generally for the more advanced player. Called 'The Art of Analysis', it concerns mental computation in conjunction with written variations (particularly concerning the endgame). Not for the weak of heart, this section would probably intimidate most novices because the numerous variations often stretch to 20 moves or more. That is not to say that it isn't valuable - on the contrary, this section provides valuable study by any player of any strength, but only relatively strong players will reap the fullest benifits of its study.
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Format: Paperback
Then this is the book for you! Be prepared to do more than read this book. The ideas it plants in your chess brain are the seeds of future success. Keres, with Kotov, two great players of the past have put to paper chess lessons for the ages. Don't worry about the descriptive notation, if you can figure out 12 moves of some obscure King's Indian line then you can master an old way to record moves. Keres' section on defending difficult positions is worth the price of the book alone. Add in his section on the art of analysis and we have a true winner. Granted, adjoured games have gone the way of the wind in many cases but this is still good fertile ground for the correspondence player and for over the board tournament players because it goes into how to assess a position and the ramifications of your decision. Read the book and you will never look at one of your games the same way. Kotov's sections are good too but they are just a bonus for a book that doesn't cost much but is full of instruction and in how a great Grandmaster (Keres) thinks.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A.J. Goldsby I on February 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a chess teacher, and have been one for a long time. I have many students, both locally and hundreds on the Internet.
If there were one book you could buy as a primer to the middlegame, this would have to be it.
Virtually every reasonable topic is tackled; most standard mid-game positions are covered. Keres shows you how to attack the King: when it is caught in the center; how to attack a King, based on an open file; how to weaken the King's enemy pawn cover to initiate an attack; how to use the 2 Bishops to attack your opponent's King; how to sacrifice to expose the King ... I could go on and on, but I trust by now you get the point. The positions were carefully chosen by the author, indeed they are probably the result of the famous 'Russian School' of chess.
Some of the material is slightly dated, but as a Master and a professional chess teacher, this makes little difference.
You should already know the 20-30 basic mating positions; Keres does NOT cover them here. (See D. Kopec's book, "Practical MiddleGame Techniques," for these in detail.)
A word of warning, the book I just got (a local student purchased one copy for me and one copy for himself); is in descriptive notation. Many students are somewhat put off by this, indeed I think it is time for a good writer to bring out an algebraic edition of this book.
My experience is that the serious students who will apply themselves will definitely profit from this book. With almost no conditions! (I do NOT think the absolute beginner should tackle this book ... see my website for a list of books for each class of player. A real beginner should probably get "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, " first, and then Fred Reinfeld's, "The Complete Chess-Player.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Written in descriptive notation (wish they would update it to algebraic, but since this book is written for Intermediate or or Advanced players, this should not be a biggie) 'Art of the Middlegame' will help you formulate a 'plan'. Actually written by several top notch Grandmasters taking on certain chapters, each one teaches what they consider to be important themes (ranging from defending a difficult position to strategy and tactics in attacking the King). Books that will go along well with this are those with complete games containing good middlegames (suggested: "Unbeatable Chess lessons for Juniors", "More Unbeatable Chess" and "Understanding Chess, move by move" - for advanced players).

Conclusion: If you are rated 1500+, want to improve your ability to plan, and don't mind descriptive notation "The Art of the Middle Game" would make an excellent choice.
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