The Chess Files
The answers are out there.
By Jim Eade
There is no single answer to the question: What do you do after you’ve learned the basics? I will assume that learning the basics includes becoming proficient at basic tactics, such as forks and pins. Indeed, I maintain that you should do tactical drills until you’re seeing knight forks in your sleep. Then what?
You’re really trying to develop a positional or strategic understanding of chess at this point. My first column on this subject recommended Aaron Nimzowitsch’s book “My System.” Published in the first part of the 20th century, it quickly became and remained a classic work in the field.
Today, I am recommending a book from the mid-part of the 20th century: Larry Evans’ “New Ideas in Chess.” Putting aside his bad habit of using words such as “New” or “Modern” in some of his titles, which had the unfortunate consequence of dating his works, Evans was a four time U.S. Champion and an excellent writer. His explanations of difficult concepts are clear and concise.
He begins with a light, but interesting, examination of the evolution of chess up to the time of his writing. He then turns his attention to what he considers the elements of chess: Pawn Structure, Force, Space and Time. He concludes with chapters on problems taken from actual play, his approach to chess openings, and one called “Summing Up.”
Any book first published in 1958, and still in print today, has to have something going for it. This one does. Anyone who studies this fairly thin book cannot fail to come away with a deeper understanding of the game.
Evans taught about the importance of converting advantages in one element into an advantage in another. The following example illustrates the conversion of an advantage in Space into an advantage in Force.
Solution: 1.e6 fxe 2. Qxe6+ Rf7 3. Nc7 Nf8 4. Rxd8 Bxe6 5. Rxa8 Rxf4 6. Nxe6 1-0
As always, you can send your chess questions directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.