Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
100 Chess Master Trade Secrets: From Sacrifices to Endgames
by Andrew Soltis
This instructive book covers a wide range of topics, and is sure to make you a better player. Soltis sets out 100 key items of information, the sorts of things it is necessary or at least highly useful to know, if you want to progress. The first chapter presents 25 middle-game stratagems, such as the minority attack; the second examines 25 aspects of good endgame play (e.g. domination, building a fortress). Next, there’s a chapter covering standard sacrifices like …Rxc3 in the Sicilian. Finally, a chapter devoted to theoretical endings (e.g. the Lucena and Philidor positions). Each chapter ends with a short set of exercises.
What holds your attention, even when some of this might be familiar fare, is Soltis’s knack of annotating a chess position. He does it in such a way that he tells a story, making each player’s intentions clear. Triumph and disappointment is there for all to see. This is his main strength as a writer, in my opinion: he is adept at bringing out the drama inherent in a game.
Most of the positions, where appropriate, are fairly recent. As no-nonsense handbooks go, this is an excellent example of the genre. An essential arsenal of chess concepts and techniques.
About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org