Ziyatdinov, Rashid/ Dyson, Peter/ GM-RAM
Essential Grandmaster Chess Knowledge
(Thinker´s Press, Davenport 2000)
Paperback, 151 Seiten
in englischer Sprache
This book is about the language of chess. More specifically, this book is about the essential building blocks of chess. In a logical scientific approach to chess one must first master the basic building blocks and from there begin to build a personalized "vocabulary" which will be the foundation for mastery.
In Russian chess folklore it is said that there are 300 positions which comprise the most important knowledge an aspiring player must acquire. About two-thirds of them are from the endgame and the remaining third are from the middlegame. However, no one knows what all these positions are as the opinions of top players and trainers vary regarding which ones make up the magical 300.
In this book are 253 unique positions; the remaining 47 are left to the reader who can complete the collection with those most meaningful to him. In addition there are 59 games every developing master would be advised to know.
Do you know what amazes me in the thinking of all strong players? They do not think about a position by counting moves, like "I will play here, he will play there, and I will...", etc. Instead, the strong player sees a few reasonable moves immediately, from which he will pick one, often without considering variations. He does this with the same ease with which we pick words when speaking. How is he able to do that? How is it possible?
The answer is that all the calculation he is doing is happening automatically - he doesn't even realize it. We can make an analogy to the RAM memory of computers. When using information in its RAM memory, a computer works more than 100 times faster than when using information from its hard drive. In people, this can be termed our tacit knowledge. Someone once defined tacit knowledge as "we know more than we can tell" - a useful definition for our purposes.
This interpretation will help us to study chess and to prepare ourselves for chess competitions. We must acquire the tacit knowledge that will help us make all calculations automatically. That is, we want to know what must be done, even if we have not thought about why it is so. There is a simple method for acquiring such knowledge, and people begin to use this method when they are between one and two years old. At that age, when we start to speak, we repeat many times the words we are hearing from other people. For chess it is important to know which "words" we have to repeat many times - and this book offers them to you. For example, my own experience shows that when I understood all about endings of Rook and one (yes, only one) pawn against Rook, this understanding increased my strength greatly. In this sense, chess is a language and this book provides the reader with these most important "words." The more of them you know, the less you will need to calculate.
What you know about chess is more important than how much you know about chess. It is possible to spend tremendous amounts of time studying chess, yet see only slight improvement in your strength. My research has led me to identify what I consider to be the essential knowledge of a Grandmaster. The positions around which this knowledge is based are provided in this book. Preparing yourself by this method of learning the essential knowledge - such that it becomes second nature - will enable you to focus more energy on expressing your personal style through chess, and less energy on the mechanics of moves and combinations. Once you understand the positions in this book, your chess pieces will have new powers and meaning.
The good news for aspiring Grandmasters is that the work that must be done if you want to be strong player has a start and a finish. Everyone, on glancing through this book, can judge the amount of time needed to go from start to finish-that is, to learn and understand the essential positions. My opinion is that if you memorize all of them, you will be a 2600 level player. Even a 2500 level player does not know all of them cold. They can find the solution, but only after studying the position.
The second important part of your chess preparation is memorizing classical games. They will teach you the strategy of chess. For example, Grandmaster Lev Psakhis became threefold champion of Russia. (Those who play serious chess understand the significance of this accomplishment.) He had memorized all the games of Bobby Fischer. To be World Champion-at the level of Alekhine and Kasparov-you must know cold 1,000 of the most important games of top players. But even if you know only a few, that will help very much to increase the level of your playing strength.
The method of preparation I have described requires a lot of hard work, but if you want to become a strong player, you must do it.
Rashid Ziyatdinov, January 1998
Foreword (GM Gregory Serper) ..... 5
Author's Preface ..... 7
Co-Author's Preface ..... 9
Introduction: The Language of Chess ..... 11
How to Use this Book ..... 14
Practical Chess Strategy and The Art of War ..... 15
Essential Endgame Knowledge ..... 20
It's All Up to the Pawns and the King ..... 25
Rook Endings ..... 33
Queen Endings ..... 43
Minor Pieces with a Major Attitude ..... 47
Rooks Versus Minor Pieces ..... 67
Fortress: When Large Forces Can't Beat Small Forces ..... 73
Essential Middlegame Knowledge ..... 77
Middlegame Positions ..... 79
Classical Games ..... 120
Essential Opening Strategy ..... 137
The Economics of Chess as a Career ..... 139
Recommended References ..... 141
For the Endgame Aficionado (Don Aldrich) ..... 142
Supplemental Notes by Book's Owner ..... 145
Colophon ..... 149
About the Authors ..... 150