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Out of Production

The Most Valuable Skills in Chess

159 pages, paperback, Gambit, 1. edition 2009.

Incl. 7% Tax, excl. Shipping Cost

This product is not available any more, neither at the manufacturer/publisher nor at Schach Niggemann, and it is not possible for us to order this article otherwise.

Assuming no knowledge of chess beyond the rules, Maurice Ashley guides you on an inspirational journey through the world of chess tactics. He brings the pieces to life by examining their fundamental characteristics, and shows how their powers can be put to use to win pieces or give checkmate - the building-blocks upon which all chess skills are based.

Ashley writes: "the approach is unique because it is basically me: the way I teach, the way I talk about chess, the way I think. You'll find my love for martial arts in these pages, as well as my ridiculous love for sports, story-telling and teaching." But his approach is not just entertaining: teams under Ashley's guidance have won six national junior championships. His charismatic teaching methods are the stuff of legend - and are to be the subject of a movie. This book makes his ideas and material available to all: teachers and students alike.

He has been called the Tiger Woods of chess. In 1999, Maurice Ashley became the first African-American to qualify for the elite Grandmaster title, an achievement that was widely reported in the international media, including Time magazine, USA Today , New York Times , Sports Illustrated and The Times (London). Ashley is one of the highest-profile figures in American chess, and has commentated on the game for ESPN and Channel Four Television (UK). He sees chess as playing a role in helping at-risk youth, and has coached a number of junior teams to victory in national championships, most famously the Raging Rooks of Harlem, whose achievement is planned to be the subject of a feature film. In 2003 he was named Grandmaster of the Year by the US Chess Federation.


When I was first asked to do a beginner's book, I felt a bit uneasy. It seemed to me that I had nothing to add to the numerous quality books already in print. Just to slap my name and grandmaster title onto the same old rehashed material seemed boring, and in some way, a bit dishonest. It took a long time for the ideas you now hold in your hands to hit me over the head and insist that they be written. I can't say that all the material is entirely orig­inal, but the approach is unique because it is basically me: the way I teach, the way I talk about chess, the way I think. You'll also find in these pages my ridiculous love for sports, story-telling and teaching.

But most of all, you'll find my love for chess. Writing this book for beginners forced me to look very closely at little things about the game. This process led to pleasurable discov­eries. My friends seemed bewildered when I called them up in delightful amazement to tell them how I had just discovered for the first time that a nearby king can only attack a bishop from one square. I could hear them thinking, "Maurice, you're a grandmaster. Surely there's some complicated opening variation you should be studying."

Yes, maybe. But chess is built on those tiny observations that grandmasters not only love to notice but find a way to use magically in their games. Hundreds, if not thousands, of trivial-sounding realizations add up to grand awareness and sudden insight. Compli­cated moves and ideas come from a thorough understanding of the simple ones. It's no wonder that the great Cuban World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca, whose style seemed as effortless as stroking a cat, insisted that students first study the endgame. Forget about memorizing openings, he insisted, for they go out of fashion fairly quickly. But the intrin­sic properties of the pieces won't change for as long as we have chess as we know it.

This book is a primer on tactics that goes from the basic to the complex. Part 1 covers the basic skills every chess-player should have at his or her fingertips. Each position is meant to serve a long-term purpose. Make sure you understand each diagram before going on to the next. And, when you are all done, I hope you go through it once more. Trust me: it pays to refresh your fundamentals. Eventually you'll see that the crazy jungle of tactical ideas is not so crazy after all.

The second part of the book covers five of the greatest games ever played. More than just entertainment, they are meant to teach you how the basic skills you learnt in Part 1 come together to make real works of art. Do not be fooled by the years in which these games were played. Works of art, like the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo, are timeless.

At the beginning of any new journey, there is a sense of anticipation and excitement. I hope that's why you came to chess, and why you picked up this book. It is my wish that I'll be able to enhance those feelings, and open a door to a world of wonder that I experience continually whenever I look at a chessboard. And I hope, most of all, that this book is an inspiring first step on the thousand-mile journey that is chess.

Language English
Author Ashley, Maurice
Publisher Gambit
Edition 1.
Medium Book
Weight 300 g
Width 17.2 cm
Height 24.6 cm
Pages 159
ISBN-13 9781904600879
Year of Publication 2009
Binding paperback

005 Symbols


Part 1:The Basic Skills

0071 The Hunters

007 Long-Range Pieces

007 The Queen

010 The Rook

014 The Bishop

016 Short-Range Pieces

016 The Knight

022 The King

026 The Pawn

029 Exercises

0312 Crowd Control 031 Liberty or Death

036 A Tale of Two Positions

038 Exercises

0403 Float Like a Butterfly

041 The Landmine Exercise

047 Give-Away Chess

048 Exercises

050 4Dollars and Sense

050 Up or Down

051 Table of Values

053 Cinderella

057 The Officers

060 Exercises

0625 Wall Street

062 Fair Trades

066 Bad Trades

067 Proper Sequencing

071 Exercises

0736 Homeland Security 073 The TRIP Method of Defence

073 Take

074 Run

077 Interpose

079 Protect

091 Exercises

0927 Regicide

092 The Bear Hug

095 Quad Mates

097 Back-Rank Mate

101 Exercises

Part 2: The Fabulous Five: The Skills in Action

104 Paul Morphy - Duke of Brunswick / Count Isouard, Paris 1858

112 Wilhelm Steinitz - Curt von Bardeleben, Hastings 1895

121 Mikhail Botvinnik - Milan Vidmar, Nottingham 1936

126 Donald Byrne - Robert Fischer, New York 1956

133 Bent Larsen - Boris Spassky, Belgrade 1970

138Solutions to Exercises




158Index of Games

"The Most Valuable Skills in Chess“ von GM Maurice Ashley behandelt, wie es der Titel schon sagt, die wichtigsten Kenntnisse, die man im Schach besitzen kann. Diese Basics werden in mehrere Kapiteln unterteilt, angefangen von der Kenntnis über die wichtigsten Felder für die Figuren (z.B. die Läufer haben auf d4, d5, e4, e5 die größte Aktivität) über typische Mattbilder (z.B. ersticktes Matt) bis hin zu lehrreichen Meisterpartien. GM Ashley pflegt einen lockeren Schreibstil und so wird die Lektüre niemals langweilig, im Gegenteil, "Float like a Butterfly“ oder "Homeland Security“ sind nur einige der Kapitelüberschriften und machen Lust auf mehr. Der Leser wird auch nicht gleich überfordert sondern behutsam wird der Level gesteigert, unmerklich aber beständig werden Aufgaben anspruchsvoller und tragen so zu einem motivierenden Lese- und Trainingsvergnügen bei. Bei Schachbüchern kann dieser Aspekt nicht deutlich genug hervorgehoben werden! Oft besteht nämlich die Gefahr darin, dass der Autor in bestimmt guter aber letztendlich unglücklicher Absicht seine Leserschaft unter- oder überfordert. Maurice Ashley gelingt der Spagat zwischen Plauderei und ernsthaftem Training hervorragend, die Beispiele sind klasse gewählt und die Erklärungen und Hinweise brauchbar und verständlich.

Für wen ist das Buch zu empfehlen?

Für Anfänger die bereits wissen, wie die Figuren ziehen und die vielleicht schon ein paar Turnierpartien bestreitet haben. Darauf aufbauend kann dieses Buch wertvolle Kenntnisse vermitteln die den Lernenden einen großen Schritt weiterbringen. Die fünf kommentierten Meisterpartien am Schluss werden für die angesprochene Zielgruppe sicherlich genügend Inspiration für die eigene schachliche Entwicklung bieten. Meiner Meinung nach hätten es ruhig etwas mehr solcher Partien sein können, vielleicht auch in einer bestimmten thematischen Einordnung.

Eine der Partien im Buch ist ein alter Bekannter für erfahrene Spieler, doch auch hier, über 100 Jahre danach, lassen sich immer noch Überraschungen finden:

\s3 Steinitz - Von Bardeleben [C54]

Hastings, 1895

1.e4 e5 2.Sf3 Sc6 3.Lc4 Lc5 4.c3 Sf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Lb4+ 7.Sc3 d5 8.exd5 Sxd5 9.0-0 Le6 10.Lg5 Le7 11.Lxd5 Lxd5 12.Sxd5 Dxd5 13.Lxe7 Sxe7 14.Te1 f6 15.De2

[15.Da4+! c6 (15...Kf7! 90 Jahre lang haben Theoretiker vergeblich versucht, einen klaren Gewinn in dieser Variante nachzuweisen. Erst viel später, genauer gesagt am 23.November 1983 im Schlafwagen des D-Zuges Moskau-Murmansk entdeckte GM Efim Geller den genialen Lösungszug 16.Se5+! 16.Se5+ fxe5 17.Txe5 Dd6 18.Dc4+ Kf8 19.Tae1 Sg8 20.Td5 Dc6 21.Db4+ Kf7 22.Tc5 Dd6 23.Dc4+ Kf8 24.Txc7+-) 16.Db4+-]

15...Dd7 16.Tac1 c6

[16...Kf7! ist genauer und danach fällt es Weiß deutlich schwerer, Vorteil nachzuweisen.]

17.d5 cxd5 18.Sd4 Kf7 19.Se6 Thc8 20.Dg4 g6 21.Sg5+ Ke8 22.Txe7+ Kf8 23.Tf7+ Kg8 24.Tg7+ Kh8 25.Txh7+ Kg8 26.Tg7+ Kh8 27.Dh4+ Kxg7 28.Dh7+ Kf8 29.Dh8+ Ke7 30.Dg7+ Ke8 31.Dg8+ Ke7 32.Df7+ Kd8 33.Df8+ De8 34.Sf7+ Kd7 35.Dd6# 1-0


Tolles Buch über die Basics im Schach und ihre praktische Anwendung. Empfehlenswert!

Mit freundlicher Genehmigung

Martin Rieger,

September 2009

The Most Valuable Skills in Chess