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The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess : Improve Your Results Now! Paperback – July 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

Review

‘One of the finest instructive opening books I've ever seen.’
Award-winning author Jeremy Silman reviewing John Emms’s Easy Guide to the Nimzo-Indian.

‘A beautiful integration of instruction and concrete analysis.’
Award-winning author Jeremy Silman reviewing John Emms’s Easy Guide to the Nimzo-Indian.

From the Back Cover

Are you making the most of your chess talent? Do you always perform to the best of your ability? Do your results match up with your understanding of the game? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then read on!

In The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess, Grandmaster and experienced tournament player John Emms reveals the secrets of how to maximize your potential and improve your results. Drawing upon his own over-the-board experiences, Emms tackles the all-important aspects of practical play: concentration and behaviour at the chessboard; playing for a win or a draw; winning good positions and saving difficult ones; handling time trouble; avoiding silly mistakes; understanding your strengths and weaknesses; building an opening repertoire; using chess computers and software; preparing for opponents; understanding and utilizing the finer points of the rules; and much more besides. Read this book and play every game with the confidence that you really can give it your best shot.

*A comprehensive guide to practical play

*Ideal for ambitious players

*Written by a battle-hardened expert

John Emms is one of the UK’s leading Grandmasters and has captained the English Team at two Chess Olympiads. He’s an experienced coach who has worked with many top players, including World Championship finalist Michael Adams. He’s also a highly respected writer; previous works for Everyman Chess include The Scandinavian and the best-selling Starting Out: The Sicilian.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess; 1st edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857444124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857444124
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,627,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joe on March 1, 2008
This book deals with the practical aspects of tournament play other than actual knowledge of chess theory. Some of the topics include building an opening repertiore, clock management, draw offers, avoiding blunders, and the like. In my view, the only other author to effectively address these issues of "practical matters" is Jeremy Silman in both The Amateur's Mind and The Complete Book of Chess Strategy, both must reads in my opinion.

I picked up Survival Guide on a whim to help with the practical aspect of my game, since I'm told I play above my current rating of USCF 1715. A typical tourney for me will be to draw or beat an expert and then lose to a 1450 player, so nerves and other mental errors rather than chess knowledge is a problem for me, but it's getting better. Emms offers some great advice and his written prose is excellent. For example, he says when playing a lower rated player that it's typical for the game to be a long haul and that you may have to wait many moves for him to make a mistake and that patience is crucial, rather than try to smash him out of the opening.

The reason I took a star away is that virtually all of the examples are GM games featuring difficult positions that most class and expert players would have a hard time with. For example, Emms states on p. 11 to always check to see what new possibilities are available. Well, that's great, but knowing that you should look for something and having the GM calculating skills to actually see an incredible move are two different things! I would have liked Emms to use simpler, pragmatic positions that typical class players can relate to. In conclusion, the book is a great read with excellent written text, but many of the examples are very advanced. If you are making many errors due to mental mistakes rather than gaps in your chess knowledge, I recommend this book.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Newell VINE VOICE on August 14, 2007
John Emms is an excellent chess writer; I have many of his books. He does not tend toward the spectacular or hyperbolic (he's not Eric Schiller, for instance), or even the overly exciting. So I suspect he did not choose this extravagant book title.

I would hardly call this a survival guide. Instead, I would call it an improvement guide (making the second part of the title at least mostly correct, although "now" is quite soon). Mr. Emms presents some basic but easily overlooked principles ("check every move" is one) and illustrates them with games and examples, often from his own play. He is up-front about his own losses and how he drew lessons from them, and this is perhaps the best of the book. It's something we can all relate to and begin to do on our own, with much beneficial effect.

There's a lot here about staying focused in the heat of the battle and especially about recovering focus and concentration after making an error, something most of us mortals do more than we might like in tournament games. There are further chapters about preparation, but these come into play, I think, when we have first learned the more basic lessons of the earlier chapters.

I'm about to play in a 3-day event. Having just read this book, will my results improve "now"? We shall see. But I do intend to take some of those principles ("check every move") as a mantra, and I suspect that will be a good thing. I can certainly recommend this book. It's interesting, engaging, and ultimately, I think, it's useful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fermin on August 11, 2008
In this book, John Emms talks about his experiences at competitive chess. The book is filled with advises, anecdotes and samples. The only drawback I see is that for advanced user and above there isn't nothing new, maybe only something to learn from the provided games.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Norberto Martel Gutierrez on October 14, 2008
Verified Purchase
John Emms, share his practical game, and what he is thinking during the game.
This is not a book , to increase you skills, nothing about that, if you expect puzzles or position with this book, find this theme in other book, more closer to develoment tactical skills.

How does the book work?
This book gives a lot of games about Jonh Emms, he approach and what he was thinking during the game, and personal focus about what the opponetn could be planning.
He went along game and commented the ideas, this help a lot to understant the position and the player.

There is a several tips, how a draw offers can be used as tactical weapon, and how to deal with bad position.

This book focus on psyco preparation, if you play many chess tournaments, this book will prepared you, if you are a beginer, his bool could help but if your planning to pparticipated in oficial games.

Intermediate player maybe there are some recomendation, can be helpful.

I give four because some games are very extended comments. just for that,
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 4, 2007
Grandmaster and experienced tournament player John Emms reveals how to unlock one's full chess potential in The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess, a guide covering all aspects of practical play. Chapters cover maintaining concentration, behaviour at the chessboard, when and how to play for a win versus a draw, how to save a difficult position as well as how to win from a good position, dealing with time trouble, avoiding blunders, understanding one's own strengths and weaknesses, assembling an opening repertoire, using chess computers and software, and much more. Diagrams and sample games illustrate the points covered in this solid, hard-hitting guide, invaluable for prospective tournament chess players and highly recommended for anyone seeking to improve their skills.
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