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  Pawn Structure Chess (Chess)


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Mon Jun 19 2006 7:05AM | edited: 9:23:01 | MsgID: 4599679

I present my review of the following book:

Pawn Structure Chess (Chess)
By Andrew Soltis, Publisher:Random House Puzzles & Games

Thanks to juicy plums for spurring me into action on this review!

This book is divided into the following chapters:

Introduction: The Soul of What Game?
1. The Caro-Slav Family
2. The Slav Formation
3. The Open Sicilian-English
4. Chain Reactions
5. The e5 Chain
6. The King's Indian Complex
7. The Queen's Gambit Family and Its Relatives
8. The Panov Formation
9. Stonewalls and Other Prisons
10. The Closed Sicilian-English

Each chapter, after an introduction to the particular formation, is subdivided into sections. For example, Chapter 3. The Open Sicilian-English consists of:
A. The Scheveningen Formation
White's Options: e4-e5
White's Options: f4-f5
White's Options: g4-g5
Black's Queenside Counterplay
Black's Central Play ...d5
Black's ...e5
B. The Dragon Formation
White's f2-f4 Attack
White's f2-f3 Attack: The Rauzer Plan
White's Positional Plan: Nd5
C. Maroczy Unbound
The Maroczy Dragon
White's Middlegame Plans
Black's Counterstrategies: ...b5
Simagin's ...f5
Black's ...d5, ...Bxc3+, and ...e5 Ideas
Scheveningen Maroczy
etc, etc...
You get the idea!

Chapter 4. Chain Reactions covers the main pawn chains and counterstrategies and plans.

At the end of each chapter or subdivision there are supplemental games with a title indicating the main theme illustrated. For example, "Black breaks the Marco Hop formation with ...e6 and accepts a weak d-pawn".

The alphabetical Index is quite comprehensive.

One of this book's strong points are the author's detailed, clear and to the point explanations of the characteristics, strategies, etc. applicable to each formation with no useless material aimed at filling pages.
The book's organization also makes it ideal to use regarding access to the different structures if one wants to study without following a set order, or for reference on a particular point of interest.
The illustrative games do not have any unnecessary analysis concentrating solely on the matter being covered.
It is recommended for "intermediate to advanced" players.
I feel one needs some openings knowledge to study this book, but conversely, studying this book, will expand your understanding of the various openings and middlegame strategies.
It shows that pawn and positional play study is not only necessary but also interesting.
Oh yes, it is not overloaded with diagrams and is, of course, in algebraic notation.
My humble verdict: Great value, excellent study material, well put together, and definitely worth of going to the top of anyone's buying list! The subject covered is, in my opinion, essential for improvement.
Recommendations: use it for expanding your opening (and middlegame) knowledge of positional play.
Feedback welcome from all

Best chess wishes to all