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IPau. K.er1es and AII'ex.an,der K'Oitov ITra.nslated by H. Go 'om,be,k
P · H d~ k
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Ma.ny chess-players know ,Ell hfulge varle;~y of openi III g S an'~, un d ers ta n d 'weU th e p attern o'f: en d 'glames, - but: what hapl pe 11$ in, 'th.e m:idd'le" The' dUne IJUY of u nderstan dI i n 9 tIi'M~! P rl nJlrJp I es of ml dd I e ... giun,Q pta is perhaps best Ullus~nwted by U·u~~ dearth of goo d books en the, 'mlidd'l'e' game. 'T hey can be counte d en ,the fi n gers, of' 0 ne hand t
Vet th e :D11dd1,e' game i:s a re,ai eh a II en ge tOI the p la,ye.r.., Here ~ n the il!Ji~:1 orehiestr,art i on O'f th e 'g arne ~'t1I,e player has, the chan,ce to use ,ail I h lis p teee s to earry' 0 ut hl s id eas, A II 'Il I:tl:!fN~r9 w'i m 'b 13' 'g ratef u1 te 'the grandma~s·terslll Ke.re sand K,ot.,o'Vt for thelr masted':; an al 'I s~ s of attack an d de'h!'n c,e In ·the mid tUe gla.m'81 a n d to M r G 0 ~ 01 m b e'k 'f'oll" hi s Iran sla .. , fi on and t u I ~Iy a uthe ritatl '1/ e ~ n tro d uic.Ua n,
'Of pa:rUc u lar 'i m p orta n ce ill n din f,elres tare Kotov',B complete chapter IOn. the aU_ack en the llJngl1 K'eres,ts \fIery p'elrs onal an.a~~tS is of de:fe'n ce, ;an d 'K.'o,tov~s deme n s tralwo n of th e i m [p'olr-tan ce 'oi: pa,w'n struclure: the ,good pl~ay,er' must knc,w which pa'wn p osltlons 'f a-v our wh,i.ch tYIP'ftS, of aUa ck an d die:fe n Clef Here is an ,esslen,U~1 adtHl.ioJ1 to U'M3! chess ... pl,ayelfl's
Ii brar:y' .. ,
CoW'er d,e:s~gn by Ann Usborne" based on a game R,e'jfi r-Keres, Mos CCJW. 1 '958
PENGUIN HANDBOOK.S PHI02
THE ART OF THE MIDDLE GAME
PAUL KBRBS AND ALEXANDER KOTOV
TR.ANSLATED BY H. GOLOMBEK
Paul Keres, the great Estonian chess-master, was born at Narva in 1916. He first made his mark in the international field by representing his country very successfully on first board at the Warsaw Chess Olympiad of 1935. Since then his career has been rich in victories, ranging from first prizes at SemmeringBaden in 1937 and Avro in 1938 to numerous successes in post-war years - three first places in Soviet Championships and first prize at Budapest in 1952 are the most notable. His career as a writer on chess has been equally important and he has become celebrated for his originality and capacity for thoroughness.
Alexander Kotov, one of the finest attacking players of the century, has achieved major tournament successes. He was equal first with Bronstein in the 1948 Soviet Championship, won first prize at Venice in 1950, and gained first place in the -great Interzonal Tournament at Stockholm in 1952. He is also noted for his books on chess, in particular a study of Alekhine,
Harry Golombek, one of Britain's foremost international masters, is Chess Correspondent of The Times and the Observer.
P·AUL KERES AND ALEXANDER KOTOV
THE ART OF THE MIDDLE GAME
TRANSLA TED AND EDITED BY
Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondswonh, Middlesext England Penguin Books Inc., 3300 Clipper Mill Road, Baltimore 11, Md, U.S.A.
Penguin Books Pty Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia
Konsten att ,inna i schack first published in Sweden 1961
The Art 0/ the Middle Game first published in Penguin Books 1964
Copyright © H. Golombek, 1964
Made and printed in Great Britain by
Cox & Wyman Ltd, London, Fakenham, and Reading Set in Monotype Times
This book is so1d subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise disposed of without the publisher's consent
in any form of binding or cover other than that in which
it is published
Editorial Foreword 7
:1. Planning in the Middle Game - H. Golombek 11
2. Strategy and Tactics of Attack on the King -
~.:. Alexander Kotov 30
~. - .
3. How to Defend Difficult Positions - Paul Keres 80
~4. Various Pawn' Positions in the Centre -
~.;. Alexander Kotov 125
:·S... The Art of Analysis - Paul Keres 172
Index 0/ Players 235
. Index 0/ Middle-Game Themes 238
The object of this book on the game of chess is to teach the reader how to think and how to play in the middle game. It is nOt intended as an exhaustive and exhausting 'manual on the subject. That would demand some thousands of pages and in the end, by trying to deal with too much, it might defeat the purpose of the enterprise. It would become impossible to see the wood for the trees .
. . So what we have done is picked out certain salient aspects .and, by concentrating on thC111, we have hoped to show the pro.cesses of thought by which the middle game is or should be .. 'played. That the subject is a difficult one appears from the 'comparative scarcity of books on the middle game. Books on .the openings abound; nor are works on the end game wanting, but those on the middle game can be counted on the fingers of 'one hand.
'. ~ And yet no one can deny the obvious importance of this .phase of the game, or for that matter its great interest. Here, . where we get the full orchestration of the game, the player has the
opportunity of utilizing all his pieces to carry out his ideas. Here he has the chance of carrying out fine combinations, of 'initiating attacks, and of creating defensive systems; and it is ·undoubtedly here that hitherto he has received the least help from chess writers.
. The rare authors who have in fact treated the subject have tended to run foul of two pitfalls, both of which we hope have been avoided in this book. Some, in the first, though making a genuine effort to deal with the vast practical difficulties in the middle game, bewilder themselves and their readers by an unsystematic profusion of examples. In an attempt to give as much of the whole as is humanly possible they overshoot the mark and merely make it all the more muddled than before.
THE AR T OF THE MIDDLE GAME
The second pitfall is m.ore insidious and it is not indeed confined to books on the middle game or indeed to books on chess in general. It lies in an endeavour to mask an essential poverty of 'original ideas by the use of high-flown jargon. .Into such a category there comes the talk of the conversion of command of time into command of space, or vice versa. Even the great Nimzovich, who did indeed contribute much that was valuable and original to the subject, was a considerable sinner in this respect and all too often tried to conceal the barrenness of his ideas by his undoubted combinational genius.
I (if I m.ay be allowed here to abandon the editorial 'we'· for the moment) have been fortunate in the. two great m.asters whose writings represent the bulk of the ensuing work. Neither Keres nor Kotov has been trapped by the pitfalls described above. The concentration on certain outstanding peaks of the middle game has enabled them to avoid the first, and as practis .. ing tournament players of great success and repute they have been well aware that - to use a convenient French proverb - 'one cannot pay one's way by phrases'. Hence the severely practical approach em.ployed in this book: when theories are in fact stated they are drawn uniquely from. the authors' own experiences in play. Facts have not been contorted to fit in with preconceived ideas. There are ideas in plenty but they are such as naturally arise from. the positions that occur in actual play and they are presented so as to help and not in order to m.ystify the reader.
The inttoductory chapter was not part of the original work. but was designed by me to pave the way to what follows and also to fill a curious gap in chess literature. For, though all are agreed on the vital necessity to form a plan in chess, none has tried to show how plans are to be formed. Yet that this is a vast gap which it is essential to fill is shown by the enorm.ous num.ber of gam.es lost through failure on the part of the player either to form the right plan or to appreciate what sort of plan is appropriate to a given position. How often have we not seen a player obtain an excellent position from. the opening m.erely to spoil it by indifferent or unplanned play in the middle game. Again it should be em.phasized that no attempt has been made
~ to describe all the manifold types of plan that may be conover the chess-board. However, we hope that enough
.. .: been given to .hammer in the fundamental lesson to the, __ a der.
~·-tn choosing the topics for discussion the authors . have been
" by what is most essential and occurs most often in the
~.. dle game. Since the checkmating of the King is after all the
: -.." .,. great objective in the whole game, a whole chapter by
.: . V is devoted to the study of the strategy and tactics in-
j)lved in attacking · the King. This too is fundamental for the pake--up of a good chess-player and it is fortunate for the con.i¢u,t- of this chapter that Kotov happens to be one of the great
• asters of our time of the attack on the' King. Hence the zest
,Jrth which he deals with the subject,
i-' .' ,: .
:,;F'~~ The natural corollary to attack is defence and it is with this
Problem that Keres is concerned in the chapter that follows.
However, this is no conventional treatment of an obvious sub-IQCt. Keres has deliberately chosen positions that are difficult to Wend in order to show how one can defend any position given g;." right spirit and understanding, no matter how hopeless it may seem. It is instructive to observe how such a great master 'f the attack (certainly one of the immorta1s in this respect) ever lot interested in the matter of defence. When Keres started his ~bess career he produced such a dazzling series of brilliant ~cks that some people feared his progress, though meteoric, ~.ght like the meteor end in dust and powder. But with rejnarkable self-knowledge he realized that defence was as im:lM>rtant as attack, setting himself the task of becoming a com-
,tete master. Hence in his maturity he has developed into an
Rutstanding expert in the art of defence as well as attack.
:-;>.-~ .. : This gives us the two main themes that must dominate every ~ddle game - attack and defence. But these two themes are .-t;hemselves in a way subservient to what we may term the ~.echanics of the game. More and more nowadays we are realiz~Jj.g the truth of the statement by that eighteenth-century chess pius, Philidor, 'pawns are the soul of chess'. As Kotov fdemonstrates in the chapter following, the shape and con .. ~tion of the pawns in the centre have a vital bearing on the
THB AR T OF THE MIDDLE GAME
way one has to play the middle gam.e. AIl good players realize this and if one wants to become a good player it is essential to learn which pawn positions favour which types of attack and defence.
It is the final chapter which I believe the reader will find most difficult to comprehend and yet most rewarding to study. It concerns the art of analysis and Keres, adopting as always a practical point of view, has taken the subject of analysis of adjourned games, so revealing how a master's mind works and how a chess-player should set about the task of analysing any given position. It is true, I suppose, that one can marvel at the colossal thoroughness with which Keres treats his analyses, without necessarily wishing to emulate him. And yet something of the spirit with which he approaches the game of chess will communicate itself to the reader if he is prepared to work through the examples with Keres as his guide.
As translator I had of necessity to study the authors' texts with great care and attention, and I must confess that I myself felt the benefit of them as a chess-player. It is my fervent hope and belief that the reader will derive as least as much help from this work as I did.
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