I am looking for a book to help me with strategic concepts, how to exploit small advantages in the long term and long term plans in general. I would like it to have as much exercises as possible. What would be a good book for this?

I am rated around 1800.

  • Thank you for specifying your rating! It is often hard to give good recommendations without knowing that information.
    – dfan
    Nov 16, 2015 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


There are two new and well received books in that direction:

At least the latter contains 50 exercises as well.

Strategic Play by Aagaard is very close to your specifications, it contains a lot of exercises and is pretty much about 'the long plan'. Unfortunately it's extremely difficult. (I gave my book away to a friend, who is close to his last GM-norm).

Positional Play is much easier, but still tough for an 1800 player. And of course the focus is more on correct piece placement and the like.

And Techniques of Positional Play is supposed to be quite good as well.


I give Mastering Chess Strategy by Johan Hellsten my highest recommendation. He breaks up middlegame strategy into about 30 topics and surveys each with some well-chosen examples and lots of exercises (382 in total). He also tends to annotate all the way from the example position to the end of the game (or until the situation has clarified) so you get a sense of how the strategic plan worked in practice. I think 1800 is certainly in the target range of the book, though if anyone else is reading this I would recommend it all the way up to 2200 (I learned a lot as a 2000).

  • Thanks, I've started reading this one and seems a very good book so far, I hope to learn a lot from it.
    – S -
    Nov 19, 2015 at 17:04

I strongly recommend you to buy a copy of

  • Judgement and Planning in Chess by Max Euwe

It was recommended by my coach while I was an intermediate. It is definitely a classic work on middle game. The author provide analysis on frequent endgame positions that one must aim at achieving while he is still in the middle game.

Second book would be

  • Attack and Defence by Mark Dvoretsky.

I am sure a player at your level must have heard of him, the star Russian Coach, many of his students are among the cream. This book, if you study seriously will equip you with various tools on how to think efficiently during a game (which is very important). There are numerous exercises which the author used to train his students.

Some chess trainers advocates studying as many positions as possible for a particular theme in the middle game. I recommend you to study these two books, going through each theme one at a time, carefully absorbing the ways to carry out a plan.

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