Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

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John Upham
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Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby John Upham » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:13 pm

One thing I quite often ask players over ECF200 is which book(s) influence them most during their chess development.

One that regularly crops up as being required reading is "Pawn Power in Chess" by Hans Kmoch.

Have you read this book and did it influence you? :?:
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Paul Bielby
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Paul Bielby » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:28 pm

I am, of course well below 200 now, but 40 years ago I was >200 for a year or so. I certainly read "Pawn Power in Chess" and found it both valuably informative and - possibly more important - eminently readable. However the book from which I learnt most, given to me on my 14th birthday, was Golombek's "Capablanca's 100 best games". Again very readable, enough analysis, but not too much, and Capa's games in themselves are very instructive. And then there was Bronstein's book on the 1953 candidates tournament.

All, perhaps, a bit old fashioned these days but I would rate all three as being an effective, painless and indeed very enjoyable way of improving your chess!

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:02 pm

More than one person has claimed they were put off by Kmoch's jargon, FWIW......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Richard James
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Richard James » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:37 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:More than one person has claimed they were put off by Kmoch's jargon, FWIW......


Indeed, but if you can get past Kmoch's jargon it's an excellent book.

CliveHill
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby CliveHill » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:11 pm

I particularly liked his comparison between typical Spanish and typical Benoni positions. Not much use in the days when 4 .Bxc6 was all the rage ... but that's life!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:07 am

Kmoch's book was excellent. Polugayevsky's Grandmaster Performance and Preparation were really good - I recall sitting there with about 6 pocket sets following the sub-variations. Bronstein's Candidates 53 book etc. What you don't seem to get nowadays are books like X's 100 Best Games, properly annotated with commentary. I don't want a database dump variation, terminating in +=. I want "Even more vigorous is..." or "I could tell from the look on Smyslov's face that he knew he was busted."
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Richard Bates
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Richard Bates » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:56 pm

I nominate Nottingham 1936, Zurich 1953 and Endgame Strategy by Shereshevsky.

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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Paul McKeown » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:19 pm

I second those that suggested Nottingham 1936, Zurich 1953, Endgame Strategy by Shereshevsky, Polugayevsky's Grandmaster Performance and Grandmaster Preparation and would add a small list of my own favourites:

- Euwe, Analysen van A.V.R.O.'s wereld-schaak-tournooi
- Euwe and Kmoch, Groningen 1946. Het Staunton Wereldschaaktoernooi
- John Watson, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy
- John Watson, Chess Strategy in Action
- Korchnoi, My Best Games, (2 vols)
- Yermolinsky, The Road to Chess Improvement
- Jeremy James and William Hartston, The Master Games, Books One and Two
- Hartston, Teach Yourself Better Chess
- Müller and Lamprecht, Fundamental Chess Endgames
- Nunn, Tactical Chess Endgames
- Richter, Kombinationen

If you want a book on pawn structures, try
- Mikhalchishin, Srokowski, Braslavsky, Isolated Pawn, 1994

The translation is awful, the production format is abysmal, but the chess content is 100%. Strangely my openings these days don't lead me into many IQP positions, but I love them when they do arise and - due mainly to this book - I play them with confidence, if perhaps with less competence! There was also a similar book on hanging pawns.

Much lauded books that I have read and loathe include:
- Play/Think/Prepare/Talk Stakhanovite Crap like a Grandmaster, Kotov
- Mein Sytem/My System, Die Praxis meines Systems/Chess Praxis by Nimzowitsch

Pawn Power in Chess falls into a third category, that of books that I have not read but dislike regardless. It has always sounded dreadfully Linnaean in its approach!

An interesting question is what good general opening books there are. Years ago I would have said Estrin and Panov, Comprehensive Chess Openings was good for beginning players, or Euwe's De opening (7 vols), but they are dated. I remember seeing good reviews for a new two volume work on a openings, can't remember who wrote it. For exemplary works on how monographs on specific openings should be written, anything by John Cox.

As for authors, I would recommend anything by Euwe, Botvinnik, Tartakower, Korchnoi, John Watson, Hans Ree (for young players or simple reading pleasure). Amatzia Avni for relaxation and a creative approach.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:09 pm

Kotov's "like a Grandmaster" books aren't *that* bad, IMO. But there is little doubt "Play" is much superior to "Think" as it is much less dogmatic :wink:

If you really want "crap" though - albeit hilariously so - the Kotov/Yudovich "Soviet School of Chess" is much recommended :lol: :lol:
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Paul McKeown
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Paul McKeown » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:45 pm

Forgot to include anything by Tal, who was also a fabulous writer.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Pawn Power in Chess by Hans Kmoch

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:02 pm

Yes, disarmingly honest - more so than many top players!
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)


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