Train your Chess Pattern Recognition by Arthur Van De Oudeweetering

Book Review Of Train your Chess Pattern Recognition by Arthur Van De Oudeweetering

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Table of Contents

The ancient game of chess, which is a combination of strategy and tactics, has always been something that has fascinated me. 

When I was growing up as a teenager, I knew the rules, but I never really advanced beyond the beginner/intermediate level. 

My friends or opponents I played against online seemed to have a greater understanding of the game than I had, and I often found myself losing to them. 

It made me question what they knew that I was unaware of. 

How were they able to successfully discover the optimal moves in difficult positions? 

How were they able to recognize such concealed dangers and opportunities? How were they able to identify the patterns that established the rules for the chessboard?

I decided to seek a book that would assist me in honing my chess abilities and enhancing my comprehension of the game. 

I was fortunate enough to come across a book titled “Train Your Chess Pattern Recognition” written by Arthur Van De Oudeweetering, who is a chess trainer from the Netherlands and also holds the title of International Master. 

The book promised to give “a new supply of critical, but easy-to-remember building blocks for your chess understanding”. 

It also claimed to teach me “hundreds of instances of middlegame topics” and to test my comprehension with “an abundance of tasks”. 

I was fascinated by the title and the description, so I decided to give it a try. Moreover, what is true experience without a real trial?

The book is organized into 37 small chapters, each exploring a distinct theme or pattern in the middlegame. 

The themes cover ideas from simple ones like pins, forks, skewers, and double assaults, to more complex ones like pawn breaks, sacrifices, opposite-colored bishops, and rook lifts. 

Each chapter starts with a short introduction, followed by many illustrated examples from actual games, annotated by the author. 

Then, there are several exercises for the reader to complete, with the answers supplied at the end of the book. 

The book is meant to be read in any sequence, depending on the reader’s desire and level.

Train Your Chess Pattern Recognition : More Key Moves & Motifs in the Middlegame

This book is a sequel to the classic Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition which provides players of almost every level with a fresh supply of essential, yet easy-to-remember building blocks for their chess knowledge. By working with this book, you will be able to recognize patterns in chess more easily and quickly. 

I found the book to be extremely instructive and amusing. The author has a clear and interesting writing style, with a decent sense of humor and a love for chess. 

He discusses the concepts and principles underlying each theme and illustrates how they might be implemented in diverse scenarios. 

He also offers important ideas and recommendations on how to recognize and recall the patterns, and how to avoid typical difficulties and subtleties when they arise. 

The examples were well-picked and informative, containing games from both ancient and contemporary masters, as well as some of the author’s own games. 

Who is This Book For?

The book is intended for players of practically any level, although I would say it’s best suited for intermediate to advanced players, who already have some fundamental understanding and experience in chess.

Absolute novices may find some of the ideas and language too difficult, puzzling, or novel. 

Parts and Chapters Briefly Summarised

This 256-page book is a beast with hyperbolical terms that sound really good and ambitious to the ears. 

The book was sub-divided into 6 parts which include:

  • Typical Manoeuvers: This first part has 8 chapters with beautiful topics like ‘Ladies First, Reti’s Rifle, Alekhine’s Gun, Mysterious Rook Moves’ etc., and others.
  • Sacrificial Patterns: This second part talks about topics like ‘Don’t move! (your knight), Brutal exchange sacs, Sacrificium Universalis: g2-g4!, Weakest link’ e.t.c and others.
  • Breaking Pawn Moves: This third part with 6 chapters discusses fine concepts which include ‘Firing at the fianchetto, The Fearless break, and The Enpassante break’.
  • Material Matters: This is the fourth one. It has 5 chapters. This part asks two important questions which are: Are you lost after losing your queen? and Are your major pieces in the Twilight Zone? This chapter also discusses the Bishop’s Monopoly.
  • Play With Your Pieces! Stop the Counting:  This fifth chapter talks about several imbalances with pieces. The striking adjectives added to some chapters make it more specific.
  • Bad Patterns: This is the last part of the book which discusses nice concepts like the worst knight, buried bishops, and a nightmare pawn structure.

Who is The Writer?

Arthur Van De Oudeweetering is a Dutch author, trainer, and chess player. In 1988, he became a Fide Master, and in 2003, he became an International Master (IM). His FIDE rating as of December 2023 is 2266. 

The goal of his chess publications, “Improve Your Chess Pattern Recognition” and “Train Your Chess Pattern Recognition,” is to assist players of all skill levels in developing their knowledge and abilities. 

Additionally, he has contributed to journals and websites covering chess news, including ChessVibes,, and the New In Chess Yearbook. 

He is renowned for his love of chess, his ability to write in an understandable and captivating manner, and his knowledge of chess patterns and themes.

What I Like About This Book

This book offers a unique and brilliant approach to targeting winning structures in the middlegame. 

The author focuses on middle to endgame lines that are most likely to save a half-point or win the game altogether via piece combinations targeted in the middle game before focusing on checkmate alternatives. 

While there are many books on openings and endgame databases, very few concentrate on helping players make decisions in the middle to last phase of the game that is targeted towards a particular endgame strategy and piece combination. This book does an excellent job of filling that gap.

The board representations are conventional, neither more nor less common than in other excellent analysis works or articles, and the analysis is in-depth.

Because each chapter was short and filled with tantalizing notions, the book was never tedious to read and gave me a genuine sense of accomplishment.

What I Don’t Like About This Book

Of course, the book is not faultless. Some of the explanations could have used additional specificity or clarity. 

Second, the book’s title does not necessarily indicate that it’s about pattern recognition when interpreted textually. 

The phrase “pattern recognition” is often used in the context of machine learning to refer to the ability of a computer to identify patterns in data. 

In other words, the book’s title, “Pattern Recognition,” does not necessarily indicate that it is about pattern recognition in the context of machine learning. Instead, it refers to the recognition of patterns in a more general sense. 

Also, this is not a VISUAL shortcut to serious analysis with regular and varied structural board configurations if that’s what you were hoping for.

This is a complement to other books and study resources, not an exhaustive chess handbook. 

It concentrates on the things that are considered most significant rather than covering every facet or subject of the game.

Final Thoughts

The book is not only a superior source of knowledge, but also a tremendous source of inspiration. 

It made me want to play more chess and explore new thoughts and possibilities.

I would suggest it to everyone who shares my love and enthusiasm for this fantastic game.

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