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Understanding Chess Middlegames


I am one of many. I am an amateur chess player trying to improve, but I have limited time because of, well, life and stuff. If you can identify with this description, then this site is for you. On the site I post book reviews, game analyses and tips for chess improvement and training. I am also proud to be a founding member of the #chesspunks community.




Understanding Chess Middlegames



Following on from his successful Understanding Chess Endgames, John Nunn turns his attention to the middlegame - the phase of the chess battle where most games are decided, yet the one that has received the least systematic treatment from chess writers. With the outstanding clarity for which he is famous, Nunn breaks down complex problems into bite-sized pieces.In the case of attacking play, we are shown how to decide where to attack, and the specific methods that can be used to pursue the enemy king.Positional play is described in terms of the major structural issues, and how the pieces work around and with the pawns. Nunn explains how to assess when certain pieces are better than others, and how we can make use of this understanding at the board. Readers will never be short of a plan, whatever type of position arises.


Each lesson features two inspiring examples from modern chess, annotated honestly and with a keen focus on the main instructive points. Both sides' ideas are emphasized, so we get a clear picture of the ways to disrupt typical plans as well as how to form them.


Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world's leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won 'Book of the Year' awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010, Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions.WINNER: Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) Book of the Year 2012


In the case of attacking play, we are shown how to decidewhere to attack, and the specific methods that can be used to pursue the enemyking. Positional play is described in terms of the major structural issues, andhow the pieces work around and with the pawns. Nunn explains how to assess whencertain pieces are better than others, and how we can make use of thisunderstanding at the board. Readers will never be short of a plan, whatevertype of position arises.


In order to understand how to play middle-games well it is important to have a deep positional understanding. In order to improve your positional understanding, we suggest you sign up for our comprehensive training course.


Following on from his successful Understanding Chess Endgames, John Nunn turns his attention to the middlegame - the phase of the chess battle where most games are decided, yet the one that has received the least systematic treatment from chess writers. With the outstanding clarity for which he is famous, Nunn breaks down complex problems into bite-sized pieces. In the case of attacking play, we are shown how to decide where to attack, and the specific methods that can be used to pursue the enemy king. Positional play is described in terms of the major structural issues, and how the pieces work around and with the pawns. Nunn explains how to assess when certain pieces are better than others, and how we can make use of this understanding at the board. Readers will never be short of a plan, whatever type of position arises. Each lesson features two inspiring examples from modern chess, annotated honestly and with a keen focus on the main instructive points. Both sides' ideas are emphasized, so we get a clear picture of the ways to disrupt typical plans as well as how to form them.


John Nunn (b. 1955) has had a distinguished chess career. He won the European Junior Championship in 1975, gained the Grandmaster title in 1978 and was British champion in 1980. In 1989 he finished sixth in the inaugural World Cup and at that time was ranked in the world top 10. He has achieved many tournament successes, gaining four individual gold medals in Chess Olympiads and winning the prestigious Wijk aan Zee tournament in 1982, 1990 and 1991. Today he is still active in Senior Chess, playing top board for the England 65+ team in their 2022 World Championship victory, and winning the 2022 British 65+ Championship with a 100% score. In November 2022 he achieved one of his greatest successes in winning the World 65+ Championship.


He has also been successful in chess problem-solving competitions, which gave him his second grandmaster title in 2004. He won the World Championship in problem-solving in 2004, 2007 and 2010, and has the won the British problem-solving championship 10 times.


As well as being a strong player and solver, Nunn is regarded as one of the best contemporary authors of chess books, winning the English Chess Federation (formerly British Chess Federation) Book of the Year award three times.


Rebounding from defeat last year, the Deep Blue supercomputer has won a signal victory over chess champion Garry Kasparov - showing how far it has come, but also how far it still has to go to achieve its enormous potential.


Mr. Kasparov's performance also highlighted strengths and weaknesses, from the amazing ingenuity of the mind to the pitfalls of erroneous thinking that bedevil humans - both on and off the chessboard. The news from this match is good, showing that man-machine interfacing can have salutary effects for the advance of human as well as artificial intelligence.


This substantial shift toward conceptual understanding made Deep Blue far stronger than it was last year. Its subtle handling of the complexities of Game 2 led to a strategic masterpiece comparable to the greatest performances of any human chess master. Its tenacious, resourceful defensive maneuvers in Games 3, 4, and 5 also showed a sophisticated awareness of the positional nuances that lie at the heart of chess.


Kasparov also showed signs of growth from last year, clearly prodded by lessons that he learned from his first match with Deep Blue. While his career has been built on tactical sharpness, his understanding that he could not outpunch Deep Blue led him to rely more on strategic judgment than sharp, direct attacks. As a result, the world champion's amazing chess powers have broadened even further. Indeed, Kasparov himself is one of the most devoted users of computers for analysis and match preparation.


Despite Deep Blue's magnificent advances in conceptual logic, the human player outshone the intelligent machine as a strategist. In Game 1, Kasparov's profound understanding of the nature of position allowed him to make a sacrifice, which could not be recovered, but which gave him a winning advantage. In Games 3, 4, and 5, Kasparov outplayed Deep Blue each time, with the machine clearly on the defensive and in trouble. In these games all of Deep Blue's quantitative computing power proved of little moment.


First, it must be recognized that the adversaries are both man-machine teams - with one sending a man to the board. With this in mind, future matches of this sort must allow for adjournments, as is the practice in professional chess. This would allow the human a reasonable time for rest and introspection, and afford him the opportunity to consult advisers - human and machine - before returning to finish a particular game.


Beyond the chessboard, "Blue 2" affirms the rising importance of the qualitative aspects of high-performance computing relative to brute-force calculating speed. In practice, this means directing research funding to more conceptual projects. If, for instance, path-breaking new military efficiencies are to be realized in an era of budgetary constraint, their seeds will have to be sowed in studies that blend insights with number-crunching.


Finally, this latest chess match should foster the realization that a profound, and yet harmonious, relationship between humans and intelligent machines is emerging. As the computer spurs ever-greater human creativity and insight, humans, in turn, can help their thinking machines begin to contemplate the sublime. 041b061a72


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