100 Master Trade Secrets

Andrew Soltis

Reviewer: John Donaldson
216 pages

Grandmaster Andrew Soltis has written somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty chess books over the last forty years on all aspects of the game. Remarkably all of them are worth reading, outdated opening books excepted. His latest offering, 100 Chess Master Trade Secrets is no exception.

100 Chess Master Trade Secrets is in many ways a companion volume to an earlier work by Soltis, Studying Chess Made Easy. That book sketched out a plan for improvement while the present work supplies the specifics.

The main content is divided as follows:
•Twenty Five Key Priyomes
•Twenty Five Must-Know Endgame Techniques
•Twenty Five Crucial Sacrifices
•Twenty Five Exact Endings
•Quiz Answers (33 total)

A priyome (pronounced “pree-YOHM”) is the Russian word for a reoccurring positional pattern or typical maneuver and it is Soltis contention that a mastery of a relatively small number of them are the key to mastery. Practicality is the watchword here and the reader will not find how to win the ending of two knights versus pawn or draw rook plus f- and h-pawn versus rook. Instead the author focuses on concepts that will occur again and again. Themes like putting a rook behind passed pawns and the importance of checking distance in rook endings are emphasized. Players over 2200 may think this quite basic but watch the games in the amateur section (below 2200) of any tournament and you will discover that Soltis has a good idea of what his target audience needs.

Players rated between 1600 and 2200 will find a great deal of useful material in this book.