Item description for Creative Chess Strategy by Alfonso Romero & Roberto Alvarez...
In a groundbreaking work, a Spanish grandmaster explains how creativity can be used to overcome technical obstacles on the chessboard.
Once they have obtained an advantage, too many players make the mistake of assuming that the exploitation of this advantge will just be a matter of technique, requiring accuracy, but little imagination. Romero shows, by examining the play of the great chess champions, that the opposite is often the case: sometimes it is the paradoxical solution that works, whereas the mechanical method would fritter away the hard-earned advantage.
By following Romero in his investigation of the many outstanding practical examples in this book, readers will inevitably increase their understanding of chess strategy in general and fine-tune their instinct for sensing those critical moments when non-standard solutions are necessary.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Creative Chess Strategy?
Creative subject, wonderful book Feb 20, 2005
There are two magnificent instructional chess books in my library that I return to time and again. One is Lessons in Chess Strategy by Valeri Beim, a masterful, entertaining and logical writer. The other book devotes haphazard amounts of space to quite a wide variety of middlegame situations, is less structured, even eclectic at times. That book is Creative Chess Strategy. The author, Spanish Grandmaster Alfonso Romero, has chosen to cover a most interesting topic - situations where an advantage in position is best exploited by creative rather than technical means. Such situations are quite common, though easily overlooked if playing on auto-pilot. The path to victory is not always "just a matter of technique" and a player who chooses a routine course may often find his advantage fritters away. Romero chooses the game Kramnik-Malaniuk, Moscow 2004, to illustrate "activity v material." Kramnik has a comfortable edge out of the opening (a Dutch Defense), and yet chooses to make a bold positional sacrifice of two pawns. Romero's point is that a world champion knows an advantage must be aggressively exploited in certain positions, even if the compensation for the sacrifice is not concrete. Romero's book hops about from opening to opening and theme to theme, and I found it a joy to delve into at random. Open one page to witness the late legendary Boleslavsky sacrificing a pawn to plant a knight unopposed on the d5 square. That original game was played in 1956; now every grandmaster will know the concept. A few pages on there is Dolmatov sacrificing an exchange for positional compensation in the French Defense. Most of the games given are exciting, fresh examples that I was unfamiliar with. Buy this fabulous book - you will read and reread it.
Good follow-up for Chernev's Most Instructive Chess Games... Feb 17, 2004
My chess tactics is weak; therefore I'm often banking on my experience with positional chess. Chernev's Most Instructive Chess Game ... is always my favorite. It taught me a lot about positional chess. One thing about Chernev's book, I could not understand its arrangement, not in chronological order, not in any particular themes, it's hard to remember (as a checklist during a game for: what can I do at this stage? what to do next if he exchanges his bishop for my outpost knight? etc.) Then I bought Nunn's Move-by-Move. Nunn's book is good and difficult. First his book is arranged in order of opening, middlegame and endgame; very nice. Second it's good because Nunn selected games of the "heavy-weight" players in the last 20 years or so. At this level the GMs try to carry out his plan while disrupting opponent's plan, so their plays are at very high level and sometimes very deceptive. That makes the book great and difficult (for my level). Then one day I had to choose between Romero's Creative Chess Strategy and Marovic's Secrets of Positional Chess to buy. It's a hard choice because the words Secrets and Positional sounded so attractive. Now I am glad that I bought Romero's book. Together with other reviewers here and my own recollections, Marovic's book is more difficult and has many unfinished games. With comments like: +/=, =/=, -/=, at my level, it's like giving me the key (? ;-)) to space shuttle and ask me to fight around the earth a few rounds, bring it home safely and don't forget to look out the window to enjoy the view of the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall and Pyramid, and of course I have to pay for the trip and never have a flight training before. (I will buy Marovic's when I can understand it.) Romero's theme arrangement is rather logical. The first three chapters are about Pawn structure, Space and Center; even it's hard to which order the Pawn Structure (more modern than other two) should appear. The next 4 chapters are about Bishop-pair, Blockade, IQP, and Control of Squares. Should the chapters about Blockade and IQP be chapters 4 and 5? Are they related to Pawn and Space? Not very clear because in the IQP chapter it mentions about the B-pair again and the Knight-pair (haven't read about this often since the games of Tchigorin and Reshevsky). And chapter 8 is about Attacking a Weak Center. Chapters 10 and 11 are about exchanging pieces and sacrifice. I think they should come after chapters 9 (Open and Semi-open files) and 12 (Knight-outpost and Rook-Knight Coordination). Exchange is when we want to improve our piece positions or to remove opponent's favorable pieces before or during an attack or defense; sacrifice is the last resort to achieve that goal, a minus in materials could spell disaster in a long run. Why doesn't chapter 13 (Dead Bishop) follow the B-pair chapter? Why is chapter 14 (Lack of Communication) away from chapters of Center and Blockade? Then after that is a chapter (15) about Attacking without Rules when a desperate win is needed or intuition suggests. At last, a chapter about positions where depending of taste, experience and skills, the GMs created. In those the normal considerations of mortal/low-level players like us fail to appreciate. Whichever side we take, we would lose to a player with 200-points higher. Above is my personal opinion about Romero's book. He has very good reason to arrange it that way. I just hope I could create a checklist of what to do during the course of the game stage-by-stage. Romero's is more logical than Chernev's, better for my level than Nunn's. It has lots of explanation which is very helpful, better than a bunch of variations and ended with +, -, =, which are comprehensible to me. Correction: it's a 5 star book.