Boost Your Chess 1

The Fundamentals

Artur Yusupov

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Quality Chess
263 pages

Artur Yusupov was a very strong Grandmaster in his prime. Back in 1989 he was ranked third in the world and narrowly missed defeating Anatoly Karpov when the latter was still near the peak of his legendary powers. These days Yusupov doesn t play so much preferring to spend his time teaching and writing. The latter may well be where the Russian-German GM makes his most lasting contribution.

The past few years Quality Chess published a three volume series called BUILD UP YOUR CHESS. Now he has two new three-volume series in the pipeline: BOOST YOUR CHESS and CHESS EVOLUTION. The aim of these nine books is take the student from the club level to master strength.

The most recent book published, number four in the series, is BOOST YOUR CHESS 1: THE FUNDAMENTALS. Like the first three volumes in this series, this work is designed for self-study.

The subject matter covered is as follows:

1 The windmill 8
2 Pawn weaknesses 16
3 Back rank combinations 26
4 Exploiting weaknesses 34
5 The 7th rank 46
6 Fortresses 56
7 The pawn wedge 66
8 Opening traps 76
9 The use of traps 86
10 Stalemate combinations 96
11 The semi-open file 106
12 Mate with bishop and knight 118
13 Combinations involving files 128
14 Outposts 140
15 Combinations involving diagonals 152
16 Elementary endgames 160
17 Combinations with knights 170
18 The principles behind mobilization 180
19 Perpetual check 190
20 Mate in two moves 200
21 Combinations with the major pieces 208
22 Coordination of the pieces 218
23 Combinations with knights 2 228
24 Zugzwang 238
Final test 246
Index of composers 256
Index of games 257
Recommended books 265

What I wrote about the three-volume trilogy BUILD UP YOUR CHESS holds true here as well. Yusupov uses his 24 chapters to systematically cover the basics, albeit at a more complex level. Tactics, openings, fundamental endgames, calculation of variations and the rudiments of positional chess are all addressed. Each chapter starts with the introduction of a theme followed by progressively more difficult examples and finally exercises to solve with detailed solutions. Such an approach has been seen before but never done as well.

One might ask why it is necessary to have such a high rated Grandmaster write a book for less-advanced players? The answer is that Yusupov offers the rare combination of tremendous chess knowledge and the ability and desire to share it. BOOST YOUR CHESS 1: THE FUNDAMENTALS is not a random collection of positions tossed together but carefully chosen ones that methodically build the student’s knowledge from exercise to exercise.

I see three target audiences for this book. The first is for club players. Yusupov in his introduction says the book is aimed at players below 1800 but this needs some fine-tuning. National ratings very from country to country, but using United States Chess Federation ratings there is plenty of material of interest for those rated up to 2000 and in some cases to 2200.

Yusupov mentions in the introduction that players benefit greatly from having a trainer and his book is intended as a replacement and not a substitute for one. That may be true, but many chess trainers from around the world will find BOOST YOUR CHESS 1: THE FUNDAMENTALS a very helpful guide in structuring their teaching.

The third group this book may appeal to is the one-time player who finds that because of work and or family they simply don t have time to compete in tournaments anymore but still love the game and would like to learn more about it. This series is perfect for such an individual.

Highly Recommended