I would like to improve my position evaluation skills. And as we all know - there are tons of tactical exercises , endgames studies, etc. But when it comes to exercises for positional evaluation - well - things are getting complicated.

So far I know these sources: - 'How to Reassess Your Chess' workbook - Aagard 'Positional Play' contains some exercises - Khmelnicky 100-exercises test book (but it contains all kinds of puzzles)

I've read Dan Heisemann idea to work with complicated middlegame position and then process it with an engine. But IMHO it lacks clear plan presentation and overall view of what is going on the board. So my question is - can anyone point me to specialised book or webpage that contain more of position evaluation exercises with long descriptive answers?

  • I don't think you can separate positional play from tactics. Even when there are no particular tactical possibilities that need to be taken into account, you need tactical vision to see there are no tactics. Mar 26, 2017 at 20:49

6 Answers 6


Three recommendations from me:

  1. Mastering chess strategy by GM Hellsten has annotated games with more than 350 positional exercises with detailed answers. He has also authored Mastering opening strategy and Mastering endgame strategy
  2. Chess strategy: move by move by IM Hunt isn't quite a puzzle book, but looks at annotated games and asks you questions as you analyse the games
  3. Practical Chess Exercises by Ray Cheng has a mix of all types of positions (tactical and positional across all phases of the game). There are a total of 600 positions with detailed explanations here

The sources you have (Reassess Your Chess and the Aagard book) are two of the best positional books out there. I would definitely recommend getting those, if you haven't already. The Reassess Your Chess book is better for really grasping the basics of positional play. The Aagard book is more advanced, and it's better if you already have a solid positional base.

Another option is going to chess.com and getting a coach... there are many Grandmasters on there giving lessons at relatively cheap prices ($30 / $40 an hour). You could maybe take 10 lessons and get them to just focus on positional exercises with you, which I think would be beneficial. Some coaches on there are renowned for improving their students' play in an area very rapidly. Although I think the two positional books I mentioned above should be good enough.


I'd recommend reading annotated games or watching videos of commented games. If you wish you can pause before the comment, do the evaluation yourself and then compare your analysis with that of the commentator. You can find plenty of commentaries of major chess tournaments for free online and also you find streams of online matches commented by the master players live.

I'd find this much more efficient than trying to make sense of an engine evaluation of a middlegame position, because the engine will not tell you anything about the position but only give you the best continuation (or whatever it thinks is the best continuation).


I believe Understanding the Sacrifice by Dunnigton is a great book on positional understanding . Here is link of the below .Understanding the Sacrifice

Even in Google you can get a free pdf of this book. I downloaded it some years back.


Ray Cheng has a good book with 600 problems to solve where the solution is often of a non-tactical nature.

There are also some good training resources on youtube. For example this channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpUUMhWg5GPD5ynP_vhnMJg

  1. "How to reassess your chess" by jeremy silman ( increased my FIDE rating by 100 in 2 months! )
  2. Books with in-depth annotated games are also very useful to study

P.S. Positional Play by Jacob Aagard is good, but the puzzle are very tricky.

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