I am pleased to present the fourth book in the series based on material from the Dvoretsky-Yusupov school for talented young players. For those who are not familiar with the previous volumes (Secrets of Chess Training, Secrets of Opening Preparation and Secrets of Endgame Technique), I should explain that we held several thematic sessions of the school, devoted to the most important directions of chess improvement. We did not have sufficient time to pass on all the necessary specific knowledge, and indeed, this could not have happened - the process of chess development is practically without limit. We set ourselves the aim of disclosing the deficiencies in the pupils' play, helping them to eliminate them, demonstrating the most effective ways of studying chess, and acquainting them with the most general mechanisms, ideas and methods of playing. All the books in this series are based on this approach, the one before you being no exception. It is devoted to the improvement of positional mastery.
Even adults sometimes naively believe in the existence of some mysterious key to rapid success. The authors of many books happily exploit this delusion, asserting that they know of such a single correct way - new, original, and also hitherto secret. In fact there are many ways to the goal, but not one of them is easy. You need to master various methods of working on chess, and skilfully combine them depending on your tastes and individual traits, strength and style of play. I hope that the present book, like the previous ones, will help you to do this.
In the first and second parts of the book the authors acquaint the readers with various aspects of positional play, approaches to the development of positional mastery, and methods of looking for positional solutions. You will see that sometimes it even makes sense to consider one and the same problem in different ways - like, for example, the conceptions of play on opposite wings in the lectures of Artur Yusupov and Alexey Kosikov.
Among the ideas developed in my own lectures, I advise you to pay particular attention to the topic 'Prophylactic thinking'. Why this topic is exceptionally important for the over-the-board player is something you will understand after reading the corresponding lecture.
Chess is a practical skill. Here theory alone is insufficient - purposeful training work is also necessary (a very important principle of effective work on chess!). The program of each session of the school invariably included not only lectures, but also training exercises. You will find a description of these exercises in the first and third parts of the book.
The session of the school, on which the material in the given book is based, was held in early 1992. Among those who took part in it were the talented young masters (soon to become grandmasters) Vladimir Kramnik and Igor Khenkin. They not only attended many classes, but also themselves read a lecture. At first sight their lecture seems to be purely about the opening. However, while explaining the theory of certain variations of the Dutch Defence, at the same time Kramnik and Khenkin expressed their understanding of the situations arising here, and the inherent strategic ideas. This is how modern players master typical positions, characteristic of the openings they employ. Another approach to the study of typical middlegame positions is employed in my lecture, included in the same third part of the book.
The fourth part is devoted to the purely practical implementation of various principles of positional play. In it an analysis is given of some strategically complicated games, played in top-level events. Here too it is interesting to compare the ways of thinking and the approaches to the taking of decisions of such outstanding grandmasters as Artur Yusupov and Evgeny Bareev.
Incidentally, I should mention that Yusupov, who in 1991 took up residence in Germany, was unfortunately unable to take part in the final sessions of the school. His lectures were written later - when the book was being prepared for publication. This factor allowed Artur to make use of games played two or three years later, and in particular, two brilliant wins by Viswanathan Anand over Gata Kamsky in the Final Candidates Match, and some impressive games played by Yusupov himself at a tournament in Switzerland in 1994.
As for Bareev's material - this is indeed a lecture given at the school. It made a strong impression on the pupils, not only through its purely chess virtues, but also its unusual presentation - ironic, at times even caustic. In my view, such a manner of delivery, fully reflecting the character of the grandmaster, was an embellishment to the lecture. It could be perceived as being offensive only by a person totally lacking a sense of humour.
After all, Bareev's irony is not at all malicious, and in addition it is directed not only at his opponents or listeners, but also at himself.
Many years ago I saw a cartoon in which a grandmother was saying to a little boy: 'And now, grandson, let's repeat some words which you should never say.' I remembered it, when I looked through the traditional concluding material by Yusupov, analysing fragments from games played by pupils of the school. On this occasion the grandmaster focused his attention on instructive positional mistakes made by the young players. In chess teaching such an approach is quite appropriate. Not without reason do they say: 'Learn from your mistakes.' In conclusion I have given several opinions expressed by legendary chess players, emphasising the exceptional importance, for any player, of the problems considered in the book:
A sensible plan makes heroes of us all; the absence of a plan makes us faint-hearted fools. (Em.Lasker)
Contrary to general opinion, generated by ignorance, Morphy's main strength was not his combinative gift, but his positional play and general style. After all, a combination can be carried out only when the position permits it. (J.R.Capablanca)
The ability to evaluate a position is just as necessary as the ability to calculate variations. (M.Botvinnik)
Endeavour to memorise as few variations as possible! Positional feeling should become your release from the slavery of 'variations'. And therefore: try to develop your positional feeling, (A.Nimzowitsch)
006 Preface (Mark Dvoretsky)
PART I METHODS OF IMPROVING IN POSITIONAL PLAY
008 The Improvement of Positional Mastery (Mark Dvoretsky)
027 Prophylactic Thinking (Mark Dvoretsky)
057 A Novelty is born (Max DIugy)
061 Positional Exercises (Mark Dvoretsky)
PART II WAYS OF LOOKING FOR POSITIONAL SOLUTIONS
071 Manoeuvring (Artur Yusupov)
084 How to draw up a Plan (Alexey Kosikov)
098 Sensing the Tempo (Alexey Kosikov)
113 Transformation of a Position (Mark Dvoretsky)
PART III TYPICAL POSITIONS
130 Opposite-Colour Bishops in the Middlegame (Mark Dvoretsky)
157 You can't get by without a Combination! (Mark Dvoretsky)
162 Modern Interpretation of the Dutch Defence (Igor Khenkin, Vladimir Kramnik)
PART IV COMPLICATED STRATEGY IN PRACTICE
183 Crux of the Position (Artur Yusupov)
194 Strategy in Grandmaster Games (Evgeny Bareev)
216 Whose Strategy will triumph? (Mark Dvoretsky)
230 From Games by Pupils of the School (Artur Yusupov)
238 Index of Players and Analysts
240 Index of Openings