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Play Winning Chess

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  57 reviews
An introduction to the moves, strategies, and philosophy of chess, with clear explanations of the games fundamentals, instructive examples, question-and-answer sections, sample games, and psychological hints.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Everyman Chess (first published 1992)
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Amun (Mohamed Elbadwihi)
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"You don't have to be 7 feet tall, as quick as Carl Lewis, or as strong as Mike Tyson to play chess. All you have to do is think."

As a kid, I thought I played good chess. In reality, I only knew how the pieces moved, and I came to this realization last year, when a chess set gifted to me by my brother rekindled my love for the game. Playing a few online games convinced me that a blind pigeon could probably score better than I did, and so I set out to improve my skills.

I first discove
Ben Imrye
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short version: A fantastic beginner's guide on how to approach learning chess past how the pieces move.

Long version: Yasser breaks down the basics in terms of:
Force/material. - The value of the pieces, their main strengths/weaknesses and therefore when a trade of pieces is favourable.
Time. - How to mobilise your pieces efficiently and avoid situations where your opponent may force you to waste time.
Space. - How to evaluate how much room you have to manoeuvre your pieces, and what to do if you a
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've started and not finished a couple of beginner's chess books now - this is the first one I've finished. Seirawan expects more rigor than most do, which is good - the use of teaching algebraic notation from the very beginning and almost demanding its use is very appreciated and will pay off a great deal. Excellent blend of humor, annotation, tactics, and ideas. The best beginner's chess book I've yet seen or read. ...more
Joe Haack
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Has been my on and off lunchtime companion since the summer, in service of my (futile) goal to become better at chess. I enjoy chess because it is one of those rare activities that demand your total attention, which makes it therapeutic for me. I like how this book is organized into "4 key ideas". I am a sucker for that kind of presentation. ...more
Aug 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Rather boring; a few interesting points, but nothing that really set this book apart from other "learn chess" books ...more
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
An excellent introduction to chess. This book and Chess for Dummies are the best books I know of for those trying to acquaint themselves with the game. Strictly for the beginner.
Nathan Albright
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge-2018
This is the second book by the authors that I have written, and it suffers from a bit of a Goldilocks problem.  If the first book I read by the author was a bit too ambitious and difficult for someone whose chess ambitions are as modest as mine are at present, this book suffers from being a bit too basic.  Admittedly, I read a fair amount of books about chess [1], but this one was far easier than expected.  Admittedly, about thirty years ago this book would have been very useful, as I was at tha ...more
Mar 21, 2021 added it
Hmm. I can't deny how negatively the intro to this book landed with me. Chess, chess, chess+, awkward chess joke, chess, SEXISM, chess, chess, chess.

Did I think there was no sexism in chess? No, I did not think that. It was more, so out of left field. Yo, Yasser, why bother saying it? A non-sequitur to such a deeply abstract sport and abstract topic, where did this come from? Yuck. I guess men do this all the time where they have power and only a man could be surprised when it happens and he not
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Seirawan's book is based on the idea that winning chess is based on four principles.

Force, Time, Space and pawn structure.

Looked at from his view the game then becomes simpler than when you first think about it.

What Seirawan has done is reduce a complex game to simple fundamentals.

Force looks at focusing your resources at a single point.

Time looks at deploying your resources in a timely manner. It has to be strategic as well as timely. He illustrates this by comparing the 'berseker' style to a w
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, game
If I had not previously read Chess for Dummies then I would have been much more enlightened by Yasser Seirawan's introductory book. The former book takes its structure from this series by Seirawan, with this first volume going over the four elements of chess: force (material), time (development), space, and pawn structure. I appreciated Seirawan's writing style, which has entertaining flair to it that adds a degree of levity to the usual serious world of chess.

I also like the focus on general co
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is my second chess book to Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. Fischer’s book taught me a lot about what I’d call “chess vision” - I am much better now at seeing opportunities to mate opponents, and when I am at risk of mate. However, I finished that book disappointed, because I felt I had no idea what to do between the first move and the point where I was able to mate in 4 or less on the back rank. That’s where this book seems to help (haven’t had a ton of time to test the principles yet, so cann ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Chess is the greatest game ever created. As such it has been skill #78934658 that I decided to work on during covid. As with most games of skill your innature skill level will hit a plateau, which mine likely did about 2 decades ago. A google of top chess books showed this one to be one of the top ones to push through plateaus and learn the fundamentals of the game.

Definitely recommend this book whether you're a beginner or intermediate. It will teach you the, to steal a Dalio term, first princi
Bryan Whitehead
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Grand Master Yasser Seirawan and veteran chess writer Jeremy Silman serve up a reasonably good introduction to the game. Though this is neither the gentlest nor the most engaging basic chess book I’ve ever read, it does a reasonably good job of walking the thin line between confusing and stupid. Every once in awhile it introduces a concept or two without explaining them thoroughly. But overall beginners should find this a good starting point. The authors break chess strategy down into a simple, ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, games
A great introductory book for anyone who wants to enter the world of chess and not only that but a great book that reminds us to keep in mind the basic principles while playing chess at any level.

Although I wasn't new to chess when I read this book, it still was a lot fun and helpful reading Yasser's guide to play winning chess. This book will surely help beginners but also to players at higher level in many ways.

The Annotated games were fun to follow on the board :)

Loved my first Chess Book rea
Derrick McNealy
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've known how to play chess for almost as long as I can remember. Regardless, I never felt much better than a fresh beginner. This book has filled gaps in my chess knowledge and has renewed my interest in the game. Seirawn encourages the beginner to learn the foundations of sound play by study and practice. Learn for the masters. Learn from your own mistakes. Don't be afraid to play anyone-- even a grand master. Just enjoy the game-- even if you're playing at a serious level. ...more
Mohamed Mekkawi
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started this book 2 years ago with the intention to read all of Yasser Seirawan's series but I lost interest in the final pages (as I always do). Still , It was a very interesting read based on solid historical research on chess and it's fundamentals. I'd recommend this to beginners or passionate players. As for novice or advanced players I'd recommend further reading into Seirawan's series, as I intend to do at some point in the future..hopefully. ...more
Daniel Li
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Good, clear introduction to chess and its foundational principles. The only downside is that some of the annotations given of what the best move is may not be accurate (i.e. the author says the best move is X but modern engines like Stockfish says otherwise), so you may have to play this on Stockfish, Lichess, or yourself.

Also, the lack of diagrams makes it hard to imagine the positions - you'd either have to play it out on a physical board, or play on the computer.
Aniket Joshi
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit more elementary that what I was looking for, didn't finish the book. A bit weird that this is aimed at a beginner level, and still the reader is pre-required to be super-comfortable with algebraic notation. Wouldn't recommend to a beginner due to this reason. Material and concepts are standard, but +1 star for the witticism and historical anecdotes. ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
If Queen's Gambit sends you here, you found a great intro. The author teaches important principles, general strategy, and some basic tactics in a really straightforward and easily digestible way. It's also pretty short. For more in-depth explanations, you'll have to turn to the next books in the series, but this is a great place to get started. ...more
Chuck Eckerson
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a refreshing book! It is clear, well-written, and has lots of practical ideas about how to think about various situations in chess. I would disagree with thos reviewers who have said it is just for beginners; I can see myself referring to this book in the years to come. This is the first book I have read in the Winning Chess series and can't wait to read another one. ...more
George Manakanatas
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for beginners covering the basic movies as well as some of the core abstract concepts of the game in a fun easy to read way. Read through it on the train to and from Ghent and feel it would make a great gift for someone new to the game.
Debasish Dash
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This in an introductory, first chess book targeted to the beginner-novice player. It focuses on explaining what GM Seirawan posits to be the four primary principles of chess – Force, Time, Space and Pawn Structure.
T.A. Uner
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: t-a-uner-s-shelf
A wonderful book on chess designed for the beginner or any individual returning to the game of chess after a hiatus. I loved how the author wrote the book in clear, understandable way. I’ll probably return to this book as a reference.
Nia Nymue
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finished this some time ago but forgot to update. I picked up some good ideas from this book, but the categories are not as distinct compared to some other books I read before this one. I sometimes wonder what the terms for his categories really mean.
Sebastien  Morette
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Really for beginners, if you're 1200 or higher some of the tips are useful and informative, but sadly most of the book will be useless to you, since the concepts introduced throughout the book are sort of common knowledge for average chess players. ...more
Saikat Sengupta
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess
Beginners should read this chess book to hone their basic chess reflex.
Adam Gardell
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent book on the basic principles of chess. Highly recommended for other beginners who are looking to improve their game.
Sunny Nie
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a good review for beginners ranging from not knowing the rules of chess to having trouble getting above the rating of ~1200.
Deepak Singh Bisth
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, chess
Loved it.

It is a great book for any beginner or even an intermediate player.

I highly recommend this book and other books by the same author.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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Yasser Seirawan is an American chess grandmaster and four-time United States champion. He is a published chess author and commentator. His peak FIDE rating was 2658, which he reached in November, 2011.

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