Chess Books – New Releases

In this round-up of recently published chess books we look at:

  • Axel Smith’s opening book, e3 Poison;
  • A full-repertoire book for Black by the team at Everyman Chess;
  • From the same camp, an endgame book by Cyrus Lakdawala, whose work I can recommend highly; and
  • A tactics book with explanations, examples and tests.


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e3 Poison
When Axel Smith was chasing his final Grandmaster norm, he decided he needed a change in his White opening repertoire. Instead of his usual approach of memorizing many concrete moves to try to force an advantage, he would focus on pawn structures and typical plans. The result was a repertoire based on a set-up with the moves d4, Nf3, c4 and e3. It helped Axel Smith to the GM title, and led to the creation of e3 Poison.

This repertoire can be played using many different move orders, and Smith explains their pros and cons. The reader will not have to memorize many moves, but hard work is still essential to understand the themes, so many exercises are provided to test the reader. Smith shows that a practical repertoire can also be a grandmaster repertoire – it is all about understanding the positional themes and plans.
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How to play against 1d4 and 1e4
Czech Benoni and 1 d4 c5 repertoires for Black Explains key positional and tactical ideas for both sides Ideal for improvers, club players and tournament players. An easy-to-learn defence against 1 e4 Provides solutions to all of White's options Written by a world-renowned expert on the French Ideal for improvers, club players and tournament players
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First Steps: Fundamental Endings
Few players spend much time studying endgames and this is almost certainly a mistake. Making a poor move in the opening might leave you with a slightly uncomfortable position. Making a poor move in the endgame can transform a win into a draw, or even a loss.

In this book, Cyrus Lakdawala analyses all the fundamental endgame positions and carefully explains the methods needed to win the favourable ones and draw the unfavourable ones.

First Steps is a new series and is ideal for improving players who want simple and straightforward explanations. First Steps emphasizes:
* the basic principles
* the basic strategies
* the key tricks and traps
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Extreme Chess Tactics
This book features both composed studies and real-game positions. Composed positions distil tactics into their purest form: nothing irrelevant is present on the board. We can focus purely on the key ideas, which makes them an ideal learning tool. As one of the world’s greatest experts on chess composition, Yochanan Afek is the perfect man to select the best studies for this purpose. In over-the-board chess (in which Afek is also highly accomplished), the tactical ideas tend to be less complex, but they may prove harder to identify – unless they are already familiar to you. Afek provides a perfect example in his introduction, where the stunning final move of the 2016 world championship could not possibly have been missed by those familiar with an earlier game. All the real-game positions in this book are taken from games by world champions (male or female).

Following the structure of John Nunn’s best-selling Learn Chess Tactics, in each chapter a theme is introduced and a number of examples are explained. Then the reader immediately gets to use this knowledge in a series of carefully selected exercises.
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Available for Amazon Prime