After the success of his book, Understanding Chess Endgames, GM John Nunn dedicates his next one to the middlegame, an important topic that often receives less attention from chess writers.
Working on the premise that the middlegame is where chess games are decided, Nunn effectively breaks down complicated problems into bite-sized pieces. Here, he explains 100 of the most important middlegame ideas through examples from the latest top chess games. Proof of the book’s excellence is its win at the 2012 Association of Chess Professionals Book of the Year Award.
In Understanding Chess Middlegames, readers are treated to discussions on both attack play and positional play. Nunn shows and explains how to decide where to attack and the ways that an opponent’s king can be pursued. Meanwhile, he also talks about major structure issues and how the other chess pieces work with and around pawns when it comes to positional play. Nunn then discusses how to assess the circumstantial importance of some chess pieces and how to use this knowledge to work the board.
To reinforce lessons, each one is accompanied by two examples from games of modern chess complete with annotations and instructions. It also helps that both sides of the board are explained and emphasized leading to a clearer picture on how to form plans and the ways they may be foiled.
Chess enthusiasts and players who read Nunn’s book on middlegames found it to be an excellent yet concise book that’s also a great way to for advanced players to strengthen their middlegame play. However, some readers also commented how the book wasn’t as in-depth as Nunn’s other works. Still, it’s a good follow up read after Yasser Seirawan’s more beginner-friendly book Winning Chess Strategies.
About the Author
One of England’s best chess players, John Nunn is a chess grandmaster and a three-time world champion in chess problem solving. He has the distinction of holding grandmaster titles in both over the board chess and problem solving. Nunn was formerly in the world top ten (placing ninth) when his Elo rating reached 2620 in 1989.
Nunn holds a doctorate from Oxford University. His dissertation was about finite H-spaces. He is also a best-selling chess writer with numerous titles under his belt. Using his educational background in math and career in chess, he wrote authoritative books on openings, endings and compositions among other topics.