Tag Archives: thinkingsquares

Book review: Pearls of Azerbaijan by Djakhangir Agaragimov

The book of the 2016’s Olympiad, “Pearls of Azerbaijan” contains a selection of tactics for chess players of all strength who want to improve their tactical vision.

The author, Grandmaster Djakhangir Agaragimov, had the idea of creating this book while going through the games of the Azerbaijani players who he noticed created many combinational motifs in their play. Out of all those games, he decided to select the most beautiful and sparkling ones and put them in this volume just in time for the start of the 42nd Chess Olympiad that was celebrated in Baku.

The reader can find all types of tactics, as the book is structured in three levels of difficulty – easy, medium and hard. The first part of the exercises are very useful for lower rated players who want to train their ability to immediately spot basic tactical motifs. Not much calculation is required here, although there are situation when you’ll have to rely on your intuition.… Read more

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Book review: Positional Decision-Making by Boris Gelfand

We often get questions about the books we recommend reading and studying, so we have decided to make a list of the ones we read and liked a lot. It has been a while since this book has been released (the second one is out for some time as well), but it is a great read and we will start our list with it.

The author, Boris Gelfand, needs no further introduction, as he has been a top player for many years. His play is methodical and very instructive, hence many of his games are on our list of “model games”. It was even better to play through them while reading the book, while reading his own thoughts and comments on the moves.

This takes me to the first thing I liked at this book, and this is the honesty of the author when speaking about his own games and giving sidelines.… Read more

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Spanish Team Championship – Division de Honor

The highest league of the Spanish Team Championship, Division de Honor, took place from 26th of September to 2nd of October in Monzon. The event is famous for the number of strong players it reunites and this year’s edition was no exception.

The tournament venue, Monzon, is a small city in the province of Aragon, very close to the location of another famous tournament we have been writing a lot about, Benasque. An imposing fortress built on top of a hill greets the travelers from a distance, indicating the way to their destination. The Castle of Monzon was built during the tenth century, when the city was still under Muslim occupation. Later on, it was captured by Aragonese forces and in 1143 passed to the Templars, who added more walls and chambers to the castle. King James I of Aragon lived here under Templar protection during his childhood. After the dissolution of the Templars, the castle was captured by the army of James II of Aragon and it continued to maintain garrisons until the nineteenth century.… Read more

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A Tal masterpiece

One thing I have noticed nowadays is the lack of interest in the classics. The more (new) books I read the more I value the games from the past, previous the computer boom that has turned chess (for some) into +2 / -1 / = evaluations. It’s a pity because there is a considerable amount of great games that I’m sure new generations have not seen and probably won’t see at all.

Fortunately, the legacy of the legends is available for anyone interested in chess history. Looking back in the past is  like breathing fresh air to me; it reminds me that chess can be played in a simple, logical way without worrying about Mr. Komodo and Mr. Houdini saying: 0.20 / -0.18 etc.

Here is one example – one of my favorite games by Mikhail Tal. When I analyzed it with my computer, the engines weren’t so thrilled about Tal’s play.… Read more

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