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Understanding Chess Middlegames Paperback – January 10, 2012


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Understanding Chess Middlegames + Understanding Chess Endgames + FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications; annotated edition edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906454272
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906454272
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The book is very well written, and laid out.
Deep Blue
This new book by Jonh Nunn covers 100 ideas related to chess middlegames ( and some endgame positions as well) by using a very economical format.
M. Ararat
The layout of this book is similar to Nunn's Understanding Chess Endgames.
Derek Grimmell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Derek Grimmell on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The layout of this book is similar to Nunn's Understanding Chess Endgames. After a couple of short introductory chapters, the meat is 100 fundamental issues in middlegame play. Each of the 100 points receives only two pages of coverage. Because these are middlegames rather than endgames, each point typically only has two examples, rather than the 3 or 4 in the similar endgame book. So this is no in-depth training manual. However, Dr. Nunn has done his usual good job of chossing instructive examples with multiple points. Just as important, he invested a lot of time coming up with a list of 100 fundamental issues that were genuinely a good survey of the middlegame. They are divided into several large topics: Attacking play, certain material imbalances (for example, queen versus 3 minor pieces), themes in defense, pawn structures in the middlegame. He ends with the most common types of mistakes people make during the middlegame, including critical things such as automatically accepting sacrifices, over- or underestimating an attack, and overestimating the value of the two bishops.

It's worth listing the pawn structures he points to: Isolated pawn in general; isolated queen pawn; closed Ruy Lopez; Winawer French; Scheveningen; Najdorf; Caro-Kann (also the Slav); Sämisch King's Indian; Benoni. As you can see, this is hardly a comprehensive survey of middlegame pawn structures, but the 8 covered (not including isolated pawns in general) cover a terrific amount of chess knowledge and a large majority of games played. When you consider that other sections focus on pawn chains, hanging pawns, and doubled pawns, most important pawn structures are covered.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Boomer49 on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the first chapter, Nunn rips apart standard, simplistic thinking that evaluates positions by formula. He takes down Euwe, a good author who certainly knew alot about of chess simply by playing Alekhine,and shows how modern analysis depends on more than one plan or formula. The examples are of modern players and positions so this is not just a reprinting of well known games played a long time ago. Although this book contains excellent examples of how to assess, evaluate then plan according to solid positional ideas, the author shows how essential it is to have a vision of the whole board and to be aware of possibilites for both sides. This book will be in the running for Book of the Year.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By William Paul B. on December 31, 2011
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When I recieved this and did my preview of it, I wanted to stop the books I were reading at the time and go through this one immediately. It is one of the best overview/review books on the middlegame I had seen. Its broken down into 100 easily digestable lessons. You don't need 2 evenings afer work to study one concept. I was exceptionally surprised just leafing through it. Better than I expected. Great layout and arrangement of material.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Ararat on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This new book by Jonh Nunn covers 100 ideas related to chess middlegames ( and some endgame positions as well) by using a very economical format.
Most of the topics are developed with two very well selected examples which make the book a quick reference. After playing a chess game you can search the middlegame feature(s) than in your opinion were more relevant in your game and compared with the example(s) in the book. Since chess is so vast your game may not match the example exactly but the book will provide a good start.

I am very please with the book content and its practical value. For example, my last rate chess game feature the Queen Vs 3 minor pieces. I searched G. Flear endgame book beyond the basics but this endgame was not covered (the author stated that this endgame occurs less than 1% so it was not covered). Fortunalety, Nunn provides two examples of battles between the Queen and 3 pieces. I founded the annotations very clear and I was able to extrapolate his advise to my game.

In summary, this book gives you a lot in return for your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Tobias on May 6, 2013
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Even knowing English GM Nunn to be a wonderful chess author, this book exceeded my expectations. Nunn has done a remarkable job of covering well the vast sea that is the middlegame in just over 200 pages. In 100 topics, with 2 pages devoted to each, a wealth of middlegame instruction is clearly and logically explained. Expected topics like Attack, Defense, Pawn Structure are covered. All these are covered with very well chosen and annotated examples. Where the book goes beyond 'standard' for me is when he covers topics like Typical Mistakes (eg 'Missing a Tactical Defense', 'Lack of Alertness', 'Quitting'), and Activity (eg, 'The Curse of Passivity'). There is extensive coverage of how to play with various material imbalances (a topic that often separates strong players from their weaker opponents, and thus one worth learning). Does this book replace such immortal tomes as Nimzovich's 'My System'? Probably not. But I would definitely start with Nunn, as it does not have the quirks and distortions of emphasis that Nimzo is infamous for. Highly recommended. ADDENDUM: I should point out that this is not a middlegame primer, but is geared for more advanced players, from around 1600 or so USCF right up to master strength. Lower rated players would be much better served by studying more basic middlegame material such as Seirawan's 'Winning Chess Strategies' and go through some basic games collections like Giddins' '50 Essential Chess Lessons' before tackling this book.
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