Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
Chess Training for Post-Beginners
A Basic Course in Positional Understanding
By Yaroslav Srokovski
New In Chess, 2014
This is an excellent primer of positional play.
Twelve chapters, each devoted to a particular positional element: the open file, strong and weak squares, the passed pawn, good knight versus bad bishop (and vice versa), etc. A few classic examples, naturally, but modern games predominate. Yaroslav Srokovski’s annotations are instructive, not least because they are refreshingly objective for textbooks of this sort. He reminds us that a positional advantage – anymore than an advantage in material – doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory.
There are about 4 or 5 exercises to solve at the end of each chapter, 54 altogether, and the ‘Solutions’ section of the book is chockfull of analysis and explanation, so you’re not short-changed there. In his consideration of a few positions Srokovski is highly dependent on the analysis of others (e.g. on Kindermann for his analysis of position 115, taken from a game between van Wely and van der Werf) and I would have welcomed details of the source annotation in these cases. Otherwise, absolutely no complaints: a model textbook with a clear structure and perspicacious, idiomatic prose, for which the translator, Ian Adams, should be given great credit.
Very instructive and enjoyable.
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