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Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategies (Fireside Chess Library) Paperback – November 15, 1989

4.1 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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  • Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategies (Fireside Chess Library)
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  • Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess: Basic to Advanced Strategies with America's Foremost Chess Instructor
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  • Pandolfini's Endgame Course: Basic Endgame Concepts Explained by America's Leading Chess Teacher (Fireside Chess Library)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Written for beginning and intermediate players, 'Weapons of Chess' is the first encyclopedia of chess strategies that doesn't rely on the usual baffling chess notation. There are no symbolic chess moves, no charts or sequences in chess notation: every move is explained in words.

About the Author

Bruce Pandolfini is the author of ten instructional chess books, including Bobby Fischer's Outrageous Chess Moves, Principles of the New Chess, Pandolfini's Endgame Course, Russian Chess, The ABC's of Chess, Let's Play Chess, Kasparov's Winning Chess Tactics, One-Move Chess by the Champions, Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps, and Square One. He is also editor of the distinguished anthologies The Best of Chess Life, Volumes I and II. Perhaps the most experienced chess teacher in North America and the Executive Director of the Manhattan Chess Club, Bruce Pandolfini lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Series: Fireside Chess Library
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (November 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671659723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671659721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bryan Castro on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
I got this book as part of a bundle of books I purchased. I didn't think much of it. However, I would read it every once in a while when I didn't have a board handy or wanted some "light" reading. Many of the concepts were not new to me (USCF Rating ~1700). However, I found his discussion of different elements of pawn structure to be very informative. Particularly, his detailed discussion of isolated d-pawns, backwards pawns, doubled pawns, and pawn majorities were pretty good I think.
I play many openings which garner the isolated d-pawn (both with and against it) and my study of this topic in this book really helped my play in these positions. He breaks down the isolated d-pawn into strengths, weaknesses, and what to do when you have it and when you are playing against it. These sections I think are the best in the book.
The strength of this book is its simplicity. I think it is important to know the ideas (which you can gain from this book) and to see many concrete examples from master play (which you should find in other books). If you have many books on pawn structure, you may not want this book.
I found the other sections to be not as helpful, because other books I had did a sufficient job in teaching me these concepts. However, I think this is a good book for general positional ideas, particularly in the realm of pawn structures, which is an important one in chess.
I recommend this book for players under 1500. Players over 1500 may have much of this knowledge and I would recommend Silman's The Amateur's Mind to those.
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A Kid's Review on November 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Wow! This book came as a surprize from Pandolfini - it is the best book he has written and it is good! If you are rated in the 900 to 1400 range then you will be in tune with "Weapons of Chess".

The book contains a nice touch on the "use of Pawns", isolated "d" Pawns, and Pawn structures and use. Then, the use of Bishops such as the bad Bishop, Bishop pair, Bishops of opposite colors, fianchetto, etc... The use of Rooks such as doubled rook effectivelness. After this book you might consider getting "How to Reassess your Chess" by Silman as the next step, and along with this book at this level getting "Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors" for nice games with important strategic concepts.

Bravo for Pandolfini on this one!
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Format: Paperback
Please don't be mislead by all the bad reviews. There is a simple reason why many of the readers give this book a bad review: they probably already know the material.
If you are already a 1500 player, this book will probably not help you much. If you are 1000 it will be divine inspiration. The truth is that Bruce Pandolfini _regularly_ churns out positively horrid books. This is one exception that should be read by any weak player....if you already know the material in this, you shouldn't be reading Pandolfini level books anyway.
By the way, this is one of the three books I recommend for players, the other two (in order of playing strength) are: Reassess your chess (Silman) Play/Think Like a grandmaster (Kotov).
This book is for the smart beginner after he has played a bit.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent FIRST book of chess strategy. It is similar in design to Silman's Complete Book of Chess Strategy (or rather vice-versa since Pandolfini's book came first I believe), where ideas are simply presented alphabetically in brief chapters, and it is also targeted for beginners and players well below 1400.

Differences compared to Silman's book:
1. Pandolfini emphasizes pawn structures more;
2. Silman divides his book into Opening, Middlegame, and Endgame Strategy (and a last chapter on practical matters)
3. This book is a slightly easier read than Silman's (which is also a good easy read and targeted for beginners/novices, but is probably better read after Pandolfini's, though it likely does not matter)

One thing I really enjoyed about this book is p.11 where Pandolfini lists chapters that are related and could be read together. For instance, you could read the first chapter and its sibling chapters, then read the second chapter and its sibling chpaters, then the third chapter and its sibling chapters, etc. Overall, this results in reading the book entirely approximately 3 times, good for repetition/reinforcement.

The one flaw in this book has been mentioned in other reviews...namely, the cumbersome method of verbally trying to describe a sequence of moves as opposed to the simplicity and brevity of algebraic notation...but this is forgivable.

This book will not advance a beginner's game immediately in the way that studying tactics tactics tactics will, but rather exposes the reader to a range of strategic ideas that may come up in one's games and will be read about in more detail (in more advanced books) once a basic level of tactical proficiency has been developed.

This book (along with Silman's Complete Book of Chess Strategy) is a great way for a novice to BEGIN studying strategy as a welcome diversion from primarily studying tactics and basic endgames.
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By A Customer on January 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is essentially a glossary of basic chess concepts. If you don't know what a "bad bishop" or "backward pawn" is this book will be very informative. If you do, spend your money elsewhere on more advanced books. This book will help you identify elements, but it is not much help in teaching how to use them. Good for players rated 1100 or less perhaps.
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