Cover of Power Chess With Pieces by Jan Timman

Book Review Of Power Chess With Pieces by Jan Timman

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Table of Contents

Chess is a game of strategy, tactics, and calculation. 

It’s also a game of beauty, creativity, and art. 

One of the most fascinating aspects of chess is the interaction between the minor pieces: the bishops, and the knights. 

They may seem equal in value, but they have very different characteristics and potential. 

Sometimes, a bishop can dominate a knight, or vice versa. Sometimes, a pair of bishops can unleash a deadly attack, or a pair of knights can weave a magical web. 

How can we understand and appreciate the subtleties and nuances of these pieces, and how can we use them to our advantage?

In the book, Power Chess with Pieces: The Ultimate Guide to the Bishop Pair & Strong Knights, Jan Timman, shares his insights and experiences on this topic. 

He deals with themes such as the strong knight against the bad bishop, the dominant bishop pair, and the imbalance of minor pieces. 

He illustrates his points with numerous examples from his games and those of other chess masters, such as Euwe, Botvinnik, Fischer, Kasparov, Karpov, Polgar, and others. 

He follows in the footsteps of his teachers Max Euwe and Mikhail Botvinnik, who taught him the importance of a lucid style and a practical approach. 

This book is not a typical chess manual that teaches general principles or rules.

Rather, it is a collection of instructive and entertaining games that demonstrate the power and potential of the minor pieces in different situations.

Before we go into the actual content of this book, let’s know the author of the book.

About Jan Timman

From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, Jan Timman, a Dutch chess grandmaster, was among the top players in the world. 

In 1993, he was a contender for the world title and a nine-time Dutch champion. 

In addition, he is a prolific writer on chess, having authored several books on the game that cover a wide range of subjects including openings, endgames, tactics, strategy, biography, and history. 

Among his books are:

Art of Chess Analysis: A timeless work that divulges the methods used by grandmasters to assess and analyze chess situations. 

Together with Timman’s evaluations of his greatest matches and research, the book offers insights into the psychology and intuition of chess.

Timman’s Titans: An intimate and historical narrative of Timman’s interactions with the world champion chess players, ranging from Botvinnik to Carlsen. 

In addition to Timman’s personal games and tales, the book includes his evaluation of the winners’ advantages and disadvantages.

The Longest Game: An in-depth analysis of the five thrilling world chess championship encounters between Kasparov and Karpov between 1984 and 1990. 

Along with Timman’s analysis and observations of every game, the book also includes the match’s history and drama.

Now, let’s get right into what this book has to offer.

Power Chess With Pieces: The Ultimate Guide to the Bishop Pair & Strong Knights

Jan Timman, a former world championship candidate, discusses chess strategies in his book. He talks about the middlegame and uses examples from his own rich chess career to explain themes like “strong knight against bishop” and “the dominant bishop pair”. 

Every Chapter Summarised 

The book is a 224-page work with 5 chapters in it and 28 instructional chess games with very deep and outstanding analysis. The positions treated were full of depth.

Chapter 1 talks about the power of the knight with 12 games deeply analyzed and explained in about 80 pages.

Chapter 2 went on to talk about the knight as an endgame piece and how to approach knight endgames.

Chapter 3 had ten strong games that were analyzed and used to explain the dominance of the bishop pair.

Chapter 4 talks about the domination of the pair of knights with three solid examples.

Chapter 5 talks about the domination of the bishop and knight with concrete examples arising from three games.

Who Should Read This Book?

The book is not suggested for novices or casual players, since it demands a certain degree of chess knowledge and ability to comprehend the complexities and nuances of the small pieces. 

The book is ideal for intermediate to advanced players who wish to develop their knowledge and mastery of the minor pieces in chess. 

Beginners may find the book too sophisticated or difficult to understand and could benefit better from a more methodical and theoretical approach to chess study.

The Problems That This Book Resolves

The book addresses some of the common problems that chess players face in the middlegame, such as:

– How to deal with the imbalance of minor pieces, such as a strong knight against a bishop, etc.

– How to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of the minor pieces, and how to handle the complex and dynamic positions that arise from them.

– How to improve one’s understanding and appreciation of the subtleties and nuances of the minor pieces, which are often overlooked or misunderstood by many players.

– How to learn from the examples and experiences of the author and other chess masters, who demonstrated the power and potential of the minor pieces in different situations.

Advantages Of This Book 

Some of the benefits of the book ‘Power Chess with Pieces’ by Jan Timman are:

– It analyses the complexities and nuances of the small pieces in chess, notably the bishops and the knights, which are typically disregarded or misunderstood by many players.

– It provides the ideas and experiences of the author, on issues such as the bishop pair, the powerful knight, the terrible bishop, and the imbalance of small pieces.

– It illustrates the arguments with many instances from the author’s own games and those of other chess champions.

– It features clear language and a practical approach, following the traditions of the author’s coaches Max Euwe and Mikhail Botvinnik.

– It is a compilation of instructional and enjoyable games that illustrate the strength and potential of the minor pieces in diverse scenarios.

– It is suited for intermediate to expert players who wish to develop their knowledge and enjoyment of the small pieces in chess.

– It will expand your chess knowledge and pleasure, and make you a better and more innovative chess player.

Negative Features Of This Book 

Some probable downsides of the book are:

– The book is not a normal chess guidebook that covers broad ideas or rules. Rather, it is a collection of instructional and amusing games that illustrate the strength and potential of the minor pieces in varied scenarios. 

This may not appeal to certain readers who prefer a more methodical and academic approach to chess instruction.

– Beginners or casual players could find the book too complex or difficult to understand.

– The book is quite pricey and hard to obtain since it’s out of print and has a limited amount of copies available. 

The paperback version is $199.00 on Amazon subtracting a delivery fee of over $100 (depending on location), while the cheapest second-hand copy is $230.00. 

The book may not be worth the money for certain readers, particularly if they can find equal or better materials online or elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

If you can afford it, you should consider buying this book as it’s one of the few books that talks extensively about the minor pieces alone.

Despite the pricing, the research done on this book, I would say was a heartfelt one. Kudos to the author.

Indeed, no boring moments in this book as the literature part of this book with the diagrams, aided a high level of interaction with the reader.

That’s all. Kindly let me know if you found this review helpful. 

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