I have Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch, but I can hardly understand what he is trying to convey in the book. Maybe this has to do with my level of play or maybe it has to do with the way Kmoch writes. I do not have Soltis' book, so I was curious to know if anyone has read it and if it is similar to Kmoch's book?

3 Answers 3


I haven't read either but here's an excerpt from Dan Heisman's Novice Nook #17

A "break" move is a pawn move that “breaks up” an opponent's (fixed) pawn chain by attacking the opponent's pawns with that pawn. In his classic work Pawn Power in Chess, Hans Kmoch calls this move a liberation lever. Don’t be put off by Kmoch’s arcane nomenclature – Pawn Power is a great book for players in the 1300-1900 rating range.

[edit] Current world champion Viswanathan Anand also mentioned the book in this interview.

Hope this helps for something... I'm also thinking of buying one of these two books.

  • Kmoch's book is fascinating, but I've never seen a chess book written as a religious tract before!
    – postmortes
    May 22, 2020 at 7:58

“Pawn Structure Chess” by Andrew Soltis is reasonably clearly written and should be not too hard to understand. I enjoyed it when I was rated about 1900-2000.


Very different those two books. Soltis' is a basic book which explains the "plans" on different openings according to their respective pawn structures.

Kmoch's book, however, is a masterpiece. It's a much more difficult and serious book in terms of the knowledge it provides. The terminology is not difficult or convoluted, as many people claim online. If you're an adult you will get it pretty easily.

Also, the concepts are not only clear and helpful, but also didactically perfectly selected. You should read it and find out for yourself what I mean. It's brilliance comes in how methodically Kmoch studies the different types of pawn structures and formations. This is NOT a book centered on opening pawn structures per se. It's a proper study of the PAWN as a central piece in how chess is played properly.

The meat of the boom focuses on how pawn structures and formations studies in the first part interact with the minor pieces and the Rooks. These are the golden chapters of the book which will positively impact your overall understanding of chess. This is definitively not a book for the lazy or the bare-bones beginner simply because those are not ready for the wisdom imparted by Kmoch.

Note of advice: To learn chess properly one has to be patient and stay away from "Winning with..." or "Play this and quickly win..." type of books. Focus on the classics: Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals, or Nimzowitsch's My System, or Euwe's The Middlegame (2 vols.), or Fischer's My Most Memorable 60 Games, or Pachman's Complete Chess Strategy (3 vols.) and his other two on tactics, or Averbakh's Chess Tactics for Advanced Players.

These are the classics which will teach you elements and concepts in the abstract, and by phases (opening, middlegame and endgame), and which will make you jump to a competitive level (ELO 1900+) from where you could later on work more intensively on an opening repertoire, refined endgame technique, etc.

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