International Master John Watson is one of the world's most respected writers on chess. In 1999, his Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy won 'Chess Book of the Year' awards in the USA and the UK. He reviews chess books for The Week in Chess and hosts a weekly radio show on the Internet Chess Club. As a trainer, he has worked with many talented pupils, including Tal Shaked.
Reviews - What do customers think about Chess Strategy in Action?
Another ground-breaking work - easily 5 stars Feb 20, 2005
As an amateur enthusiast who plays chess only for enjoyment (I do not even possess a current rating) I feel almost itimidated in trying to review this book. However, as there are many other amateur players out there, I thought it would be worth sharing my views on why this is such a great work. The first thing to note, of course, is that this book is a sequel to the multi-award-winning SECRETS OF MODERN CHESS STRATEGY. If you haven't read that book, you should - not because it is essential to the understanding of this one (it isn't) but because it is a phenomenal book. In CHESS STRATEGY IN ACTION John Watson expands on many subjects he covered in his first book. The new material is always put in context by Watson before he elaborates. In his first book Watson advocated his theory of "rule-independence." He demonstrated how the modern day greats will sometimes break all established convention regarding general rules on how best to play certain positions. In this successor, the theory is fleshed out with the help of numerous examples from the games of Anand, Kasparov, Ivanchuk, Bareev, Topalov etc. So do the old general principles, handed down over generations, still apply? Only sometimes! Watson has the rare ability to sift great games and find themes overlooked by other commentators. Thus he is able to show how and why the current chess elite can sometimes violate the golden rules that we were all brought up on. I must admit that I am a big fan of all of the Gambit books on chess strategy, which all cover different areas even though the book titles can seem a bit similar. I found CREATIVE CHESS STRATEGY (by Spanish GM Alfonso Romero) to also contain many excellent examples of rule-independence. Whether or not you subscribe to the complete Watson philosophy, the material is rich in content, splndidly written and packed with games - the index reveals around three hundred players are represented. Like Watson's first book, CHESS STRATEGY IN ACTION is a modern-day classic.
Inspiring Chess Book Nov 12, 2004
This is one of the chessbooks that can inspire you to play differently. I already had that experience once with Watson's book on the Chigorin Defence which indeed taught me that "offbeat" does not have to be bad.
In this new book Watson reduces his philosophical considerations somehow, which does the reading very good. Still, he does not let us get away without the insight that Adolf Albin who lived from 1847 - 1920 (!) "was not a modern player" (by the way, the Albin Counter Gambit is a positional pawn sacrifice in the modern spirit, which unfortunately happens to be weak). But that is bearable.
The examples are excellently chosen and there are real "eye-openers" among them. (I was particularly struck by one strategy - an early black attack with g5! against a castled white kingside which has been weakened by h3: Haven't I seen this before? Indeed, in my edition of Tarrasch's "Das Schachspiel", the old German teacher recommended for Black not to castle and instead to attack with g5 in case White castles and plays h3 prematurely in the Giuco Piano! This info just for you folks who think that they could not play chess in the old times.)
If you are looking for an entertaining and instructive game collection, this one is for you!
Somewhat difficult to understand Jul 12, 2004
I think this book had some very good pointers. However, for an advanced beginner, or lower end intermediate player the way it explains things is difficult to understand in several areas. If you are advanced this book would be good, but it doesn't make it clear in the advertizing that this book is for advanced players only.
Wonderful Jun 25, 2004
Another wonderful book from John Watson. For players beyond rank beginners, the better you are, the more you'll appreciate Mr. Watson. His work makes one proud to be a chess player.
Another towering achievement Apr 28, 2004
This is the follow up to John Watson's Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy, rightly hailed as a pioneering work when it appeared. Chess Strategy in Action is, quite simply, another classic. It contains more complete games than the original, and fills in gaps (for example covering concepts like positional pawn sacrifices and doubled pawns. Watson's premise behind both books is the same: the top grandmasters of today are extremely flexible and undogmatic in their thinking. Watson's presentation is rich with discussion and explanation. The deep examination of the move selection process is the key to learning from this book. Superb!