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35 votes
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Why can white not mate in this position from Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess (frame 73)?

The bishop on c2 can be moved to h7 to block the check.
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33 votes

How to improve from ~1200?

@Arka Mukherjee, I find most players under 2100 weak tactically, so at 1200, you are certainly weaker than you understand you are. I do not say that to be mean, but just as a very logical person, who ...
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33 votes

Stockfish is considering a move in a book by GM Mihail Marin as a blunder

Mihail Marin simply missed that 1.Ng6 is winning, even faster than 1.Qg6. During opening analysis, and even during a game, sometimes when you find a satisfying continuation you forget to follow Lasker'...
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30 votes
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Did Bobby Fischer actually write "Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess"?

Basically, no. It was co-authored by Stuart Margulies and Don Mosenfelder, and while Fischer may have contributed a little, it is generally accepted that he just lent his name to the project. Soltis,...
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25 votes
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Trading queens in the opening

There is not opening that usually paves the way for a queen trade. There are plenty of specific lines that allow for it, but it takes cooperation from your opponent. The first line that comes to mind ...
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19 votes

What is the Dorfman method in chess?

This is not a book review, nor is it an opinionated account of the method. I've never really used this method per se, but have read/heard about it, so hopefully my rough summary here doesn't do ...
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  • 11.8k
17 votes
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How useful is a 40-year-old chess book?

This depends on a lot of things, but most importantly: your playing level and the topic. For example, if it is an opening book, it heavily depends on the opening. Some opening variations which are ...
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  • 23.8k
14 votes
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Why are opening books so popular?

I think there are number of reasons why these are so popular: It is easy to start learning openings. You can read about ideas and memorize some lines. It is not so easy to learn middle game or end ...
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13 votes
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Studying Chess for the Ambitious Intermediate

First of all, there is no method that will just make you half an Elo point stronger each and every day. Chess improvement usually happens in leaps and bounds with long phases of seeming stagnation in ...
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12 votes

How to improve from ~1200?

Your first task should be to get better at tactics. It's one thing to understand what a pin is and why it works, for example, but it's quite another to be able to spot the circumstances under which it'...
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  • 5,164
11 votes

How respectable is the CM title?

There are, of course, some players who have been given the title in perfectly "respectable" circumstances like reaching a certain rating or reaching 50% in an Olympiad. However, try this. Go to the ...
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  • 74.6k
11 votes

Which of these two endgame books?

Since you are a 1400, Silman's book is the way to go. His book will give you the solid endgame foundation that you need. Only once you read his book up to "Endgames for Class A" should you get the ...
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  • 491
11 votes
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Failing to understand a pin from a tactics book

To me one move was clear - Nxd5 But after 1...cxd5 2.Rc7, although the knight is pinned for a move, Black can easily unpin it by moving the queen to d6, d8, e6, or e8. In fact, the knight ...
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11 votes
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Books on opening theory organized around tactical/strategic motives, not opening lines

You might be looking for two separate, but related types of books. First, and I have an extensive library, I could find no books that do not organize the openings somewhat by sub-variation. The ...
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  • 31.9k
11 votes

What is the Dorfman method in chess?

"The Method in Chess" is a regressive scale of factors that you can use to evaluate a position. Here they are in order: King safety, which is more important than all the others combined. Material, ...
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10 votes
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What book should I refer to to begin learning chess?

Learn Chess by John Nunn. A highly respected chess author. Do not be put off by the title! Silman's Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman. A modern classic, improvement in the endgame will improve ...
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  • 2,219
10 votes

How to improve from ~1200?

at 1200 I strongly believe You are wrong about all your core assumptions about your understandings; or if you really have those strategic/positional understandings you must start to do tactics - at ...
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  • 1,090
9 votes

What are the mistakes committed by players who take many years to become an expert?

I can think of three mistakes that a lot of class players who think they're working on their chess make: They read chess books. In particular they buy lots of them and then skim them, or study / try ...
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  • 25.8k
9 votes
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Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual vs Fundamental Chess Endings

They are both great, I agree that you should get both. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual is perhaps more instructive since it has slightly more explanatory text and tries to organize the material around ...
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9 votes

How to proceed with the book "Pawn Structure Chess" by Andrew Soltis?

I'm not familiar with the book itself, but for learning pawn structures it isn't important to memorize every single thing. The key is to understand the general ideas behind each structure. E.g.: what ...
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8 votes

Why do people study openings?

"Why don't people open with more randomness, in a sort of pieces scattered to the wind style? Surely opponents won't be expecting it and games will be played anew for both players." Many people do ...
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  • 7,388
8 votes

How useful is a 40-year-old chess book?

Well, Aaron Nimzowitsch wrote a book called "My System" in the late 1920's, and it's still worth reading today, so just because a book is old doesn't mean it's bad. It's hard to say whether a book ...
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  • 7,322
8 votes
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How to improve my early endgame / late middlegame?

It sounds like you are looking for strategic guidelines in non-theoretical endgames. Then a modern classic is Endgame Strategy by Mikhail Shereshevsky. Strong players tend to like this book, which ...
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8 votes
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What was the first "Opening Repertoire" book?

1939: White to Play and Win by Weaver Adams. Adams believed that 1.P-K4 (1.e4) wins by force. In this book he presents his recommendations for White against the various Black defenses. For example, ...
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  • 3,226
8 votes
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How much should I rely on an external board or diagram when reading a chess book?

I can copy the diagram on a board or simply on my computer (and do not move the pieces), but I wonder whether I should. It is very much worth while setting up a board and following the game on the ...
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  • 74.6k
7 votes

Did any authors ever try to adopt Hans Kmoch's pawn structure terminology?

I was asking myself who else tried to use Kmoch's terminology; I never find in my books other authors using most of his terms (only some of them). I am probably the only guy who thinks that the ...
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7 votes
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Where can I start to learn?

I believe it helps to focus more on enjoying the game rather than learning. If you enjoy the game, you learn a lot in the process. So, my advice would be to enjoy your chess. Find players that are ...
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  • 9,215
7 votes

What are books about the French Defence which feature a Black repertoire that tends to lead to solid/positional/closed/slow/quiet/strategic positions?

There are several excellent books covering the French Defense. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid complications, despite how much you want to, there are going to be complications, just because you play ...
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  • 2,219
7 votes

Is there a site that provides (legal) online access to free chess books?

Open Chess Books is a site that aims to “republish classic chess books, with all diagrams transformed in animated boards, and release them for free.” They only have two books at the moment (Modern ...
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  • 1,847
7 votes

Best books on middlegame strategy?

The two books by John Watson about strategy. These themes are considered from a historical viewpoint usually in contrast to the way they are presented in textbooks. Even if you find a favorite ...
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