Review: How To Think Ahead In Chess
Last month I picked up How To Think Ahead In Chess: The methods and techniques of planning your entire game by I.A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld, from the Fireside Chess Library. I got it at a decent price and the title and back cover text made is sound like a good book. It is geared toward the player that is “more than a beginner but less than an expert.” Right up my chess alley.
I have read through the whole book and have been playing the openings presented there in a large number of my casual games, though I haven’t yet sat down to deeply study it. At this point I feel the name of the book is a bit of a misnomer. Initially I thought the book might go into some details on methods to help calculate multiple moves ahead, which it did not. The method provided, while not what I was expecting, is very useful even it if doesn’t do what I thought it would.
For more of the review, click below.
The basic premise is that the player should concentrate on learning three openings, at least for the level of player the book is geared to; one when playing as white, one in reply to d4 and one in reply to e4 when playing as black. While I won’t go into the specific openings presented in the book, I will say that the general idea seems sound. Find openings you want to play that meet the above criteria, learn the goals of the openings, such as controlling certain squares or putting pressure on certain areas, and keep those goals in mind when transitioning out of the opening into the middle game or if the opponent’s play causes deviations. Strive to learn those three openings and possible transpositions of those openings very well, which should make it easier to think ahead to what the position should look like.
Games are presented in descriptive notation, though I don’t know if newer editions have been changed to algebraic or not. I didn’t have a problem with it but thought I would mention it in case you prefer one notation over another.
The games presented for each variation did not seem to have the best examples of opposing game play. I have been playing around with the variations in casual play and haven’t done too poorly with them but against stronger opponents than the example games, they don’t hold up as well. Further study and play will help, but I had hoped the games presented would have been stronger. So, I can’t really say if the openings provided are really the best three openings to concentrate on at this point.
All said, the book is decent and I feel that I learned from it and it has something to offer lower level players. In addition, being an older book means you can get it for a pretty good price. Overall I give it 3 out of 5 passed pawns.