Review of Mastering Checkmates By Neil McDonald 

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Table of Contents

Just like the title suggests, Mastering Checkmates is a book written by English Chess Grandmaster Neil that exhaustively talks about checkmates of every kind.

At first glance, this book looks like every other kind of checkmate manual on the market that’s usually boring and a bit hard to comprehend effectively. 

But as I opened Chapter 1 (which talks about backrank mates), I was surprised by how it was written. 

  • Chess images attached to every position 
  • Clear formatting of the algebraic chess notation 
  • Clear explanation of positions in a conversational style 

Generally, it has the feel of Half of a Century of Chess, one of my favorite books by past world champion Mikhail Botvinnik.

Here is the table of contents:

  1. Back Rank Mate
  2. The Magnificent Seventh
  3. Mating the Fleeing King
  4. Mate from the Front with Queen and Rooks
  5. Knight and Queen against the Fianchetto Position
  6. The Greek Gift and Other Queen and Knight Mates
  7. The Deadly Diagonal: Queen and Bishop Mates
  8. The Killer Pawn
  9. Rook and Minor Piece Mates
  10. Mates with the Minor Pieces
  11. Solutions to Puzzles 

This means that the book covers helpful checkmate patterns in general and is really useful for anyone who loves to play chess.

What I Love 

I love how the author implemented real games from chess tournaments and games of Grandmasters such as Judith Polgar, Garry Kasparov, Veselin Topalov, Alexei Shirov, Ivan Sokolov, Michael Adams, and Viswanathan Anand. 

The book was written in a way that I didn’t need to read Chapter 12 to understand Chapter 7. 

I could go straight to Chapter 7 and understand the discussed theme.

Another thing I love about it is that it features chess problems at the end of every chapter, with solutions at the end of the book where I can check my answers. 

It’s a wonderful book and a natural companion to the author’s “Mastering Chess Tactics”. 

Who is This For?

I believe this book is great for chess players of all levels, including beginners, club players, and even masters. 

It teaches the art of checkmating and covers many other topics as well. 

If you’re looking to learn how to launch successful checkmates and understand the positional prerequisites of launching one, then I highly recommend getting your hands on this book.

Let me know if you found this review helpful.

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