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Understanding Your Chess Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904600077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904600077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,134,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Rizzitano is a strong international master who dominated chess in teh New England region during a 14-year period from 1976 to 1989 - he won 157 out of 336 events in which he competed. His career highlights include victories over Alburt, Benjamin, Benko, Christiansen, Dlugy, I. Gurevich and Wolff, and exciting draws with de Firmian, Larsen, Speelman, and the legendary former world champion Tal.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book contains some very instructive commentary and analysis. International Master James Rizzitano was a legend on the American Swiss-System chess tour during the 1980's. I saw him play in the US Open in Boston and at a couple World Opens in Philadelphia during the late 1980's and he was simply a ferocious, fearless player. His playing style can best be described as a cross between the Latvian attacking player Alexei Shirov and the Swedish endgame expert Ulf Andersson. I think he started out as a straight-ahead go-for-the-throat attacking player and evolved into a more positional style; the book contains some real strategic masterpieces. The book contains some great notes and instructional material; it is 192 oversized pages with very little white space, so it is really around 300+ pages of a typically sized book. I was unable to put this book down once I began reading it; the lessons and stories are very well-written and I enjoyed the games tremendously. Some of the world's best players are in here along with most of the top United States players of the past 20 years or so. I strongly recommend this book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is outstanding! I am a Class A player (sometimes an Expert!) and Rizzitano's lessons really hit home. The prose is extremely well-written, the game selection and chess notes are fantastic, and there has been incredible attention to detail. The fundamental theme of Understanding Your Chess is that it is important to analyze your own games in order to improve. Some of the innovative features I really like about this book are: 1) The games are grouped together by various themes and ordered chronologically - a clear connection is drawn between games, including ones that demonstrate a different lesson. Also, the 64 complete games which comprise the main body of the book are given interesting titles (similar to Bobby Fischer's classic My 60 Memorable Games) to help the reader remember the themes. 2) The USCF ratings of the players are given so that you can see how Rizzitano (and some of his opponents) improved over time; the rating span is an 800 point range from 1800 to his peak of around 2600. I have never seen a book in which a strong player gives some of his games when he was relatively low-rated and pinpoints his weaknesses - the book is very compelling. 3) The notes are outstanding; Rizzitano typically explains the important themes to look for within the variations. 4) The notes are honest; there are many places where Rizzitano admits that he overlooked a certain move or couldn't calculate a variation correctly. In conclusion, a fantastic book.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Wise on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I must say I completely agree with avig avig. This book's title is totally misleading.I have a ton of game collection books by and about world class G.M.s and other types of game collections books as well. I no longer buy this type of book. The only reason I bought this one was because of the title! It turns out this book is just a collection of Rizzitano's games. Good games by a IM who was probably strong enough to be a GM. But basically just a collection of his games. Which I did not need. I feel cheated.If the book had been titled as "Rizzitano's Best Games" or some such I would not have bought it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By V. M. Kenkre on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fine collection of Rizzitano's games against opponents of all levels including grandmasters we have all heard about. The annotations by Rizzitano are helpful and the book is enjoyable overall. The author writes well. However, the title of the book raises hopes that are not fulfilled. I did not find in the book any discussion about how to understand my chess except in an obvious sense. Others such as Yusupov and Kaidanov, the former in a book and the latter in a video, have elsewhere promised and delivered more in this quarter. Nevertheless I do recommend the book.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By avig on February 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Every aspiring chess player is always on the lookout for that book which is going to help them take their game forward to the next level. When I saw the title "Understanding Your Chess" that's exactly what I thought this book would do. I was deeply disappointed! Firstly, the title is completely misleading. This book has nothing to do with understanding YOUR chess. It has something to do with understanding the author's chess (even that done poorly) but does nothing to guide the reader in how to approach understanding their own chess, analyzing and finding ways to improve their chess. Secondly, even though the author might be a strong chess player, and has played some good chess, his commentary is very uninspiring and lacks any insights which could be defined as helping to understand the chess better. I got the impression that IM Rizzitano has a lot of passion for chess and has a good sense of humor but there are hundreds of other chess players out there that also have those qualities and don't go out and write a book.
Once again, what really annoyed me with this book is it's false title. I think chess players must be the easiest crowd to lure into buying books they think will improve their game. This, in my opinion, is deffinately not one of them!
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