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100 Chess Master Trade Secrets: From Sacrifices to Endgames Paperback – January 7, 2014
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Soltis wrote Trade Secrets to address readers' complaints from two previous books. In "Studying Chess Made Easy," Soltis said there were only a few "exact endings" (endings in which the outcome is certain if played correctly) that masters knew. He didn't say what these endings were. In "What It Takes to Become a Chess Master," Sotlis said there were certain plans (called priyomes, a Russian term) in various pawn structures that every master knew. He didn't say what these plans were. Readers of both books complained. What are the exact endings? What are the important priyomes (plans)? Soltis summarizes the aim of the book in the introduction: "The first step to becoming a master is to separate the things you COULD know from what you SHOUD know -- and from what you MUST know." He tells us what we MUST know.
The book has four chapters that can be divided into two broad categories: 1) Middlegame priyomes (mini-plans that are used in various pawn structures)--25 Key Priyomes and 25 Sacrifices. 2) Endgame knowledge--25 Endgame Techniques and 25 Exact Endgames. Soltis explains a given priyome or sacrifice or technique or exact ending with relevant examples that span a century of chess play. Game examples range from Pillsbury's games from the 1890s to modern GM games from 2012. Each priyome is clearly explained by showing examples of when the priyome can be played and when the priyome is a mistake. Studying these plans is a much more useful way of approaching opening study than simply memorizing a few variations. My opening play was certainly enhanced by looking at the various plans that occur in the openings I play. One example: I play the Sicilian Najdorf (GM Walter) Browne system of ...h6 after White plays Bg5. White has two options: retreating the Bishop or playing h4 leaving the Bishop open to capture. I never understood the "Passive Bishop Sacrifice" (Soltis' term) until I read about the priyome. Now it makes sense to me. Especially important are the endgame techniques--techniques that are relevant, useful and practical. Mastering the various techniques will definitely raise any player's endgame skill. In my opinion, the book is the best introduction to the endgame that I've seen.
Any player expert strength and below who wants to achieve master strength has to first master the material in the text. You can save literally 100s of hours of wasted study time by using Trade Secrets as your starting point for mastering chess. There is an old saying in education that is true: "Study smarter, not harder". Trade Secrets allows you to study smarter. Much smarter.
This book is for those who have alot of experience, and want to move to higher levels of understanding how to formulate plans, and "what do I do now?" I highly recommend it.