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How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess Mastery Course

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How to Reassess Your Chess is the popular step-by-step course that will create a marked improvement in anyone's game. In clear, direct language, Silman shows how to dissect a position, recognize its individual parts and ultimately find the move that conforms to the needs of that particular situation. By explaining the thought processes that go into a master's choice of move, the author presents a system of thought that makes advanced strategies seem clear, logical and at times even obvious. How the Reassess Your Chess offers invaluable knowledge and insight that cannot be found in any other book.

402 pages, Paperback

Published January 1, 1993

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Jeremy Silman

36 books59 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for P.E..
753 reviews508 followers
August 16, 2021
The Tao of Chess

Blade Runner (1982) - Ridley Scott

'in real games, your opponent will constantly try to feed you lies and you have to learn to ignore everything he says and seek your own truth in each and every position.'

'The fact is, a player that fights to the bitter end becomes feared, with even higher rated players knowing such an opponent has no respect for anyone and will take you to the brink each and every time he sits down.'

'They leap over other pieces, they prance about in a strange drunken gait, their movements make them seem almost alien compared to the other chessmen, and they can make us laugh when we see a Knight do an octopus imitation by forking the whole royal family and estate (attacking King, Queen, and both country homes/Rooks all at once). However, as any clown-wise child will tell you, there is also something scary about them. They seem docile, but behind the facade and horse-like grin is a psychopath, and nothing is safe.'

My opinion on the book:

The guy teaches you how to state the situation in any moment of a game.
And he does so efficiently, by displaying general principles illustrated by games, analysed both by praxis and computer analysis, backed with exercises, sprinkled with amusing anecdotes :)

Whatever your mastery, you can nibble crumbs of know-how and insight useful in any level of competition.

❖Opening, middle game, endgame
❖Quality sacrifice, positional sacrifice, tactics
❖King safety
❖Piece coordination
❖Space advantage
❖Superior minor piece
❖Pawn structures, holes, open files, isolated pawns, passed pawns & anti-passed-pawn strategies
❖Statics & dynamics

All themes epitomized in the keystone concept...

By far the most user-friendly well-rounded one-volume chess textbook I've read to this day!

Some chess channels on YouTube I enjoy to follow from time to time :

Game analyses & find the move:

ASMR Chess

And the studies by Leontxo García :)


Opening theory:

Krishna Prem
Hanging Pawns


Eric Rosen

Chess blitz and rapid:


Also see:

Chess methods:

Breviary of Chess
L'art de faire mat
Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

Collections of games:

Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games: Improve Your Chess by Studying the Greatest Games of All time
The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal

Soundtrack & stop-motion chess :)



Profile Image for Anthea Carson.
Author 18 books88 followers
August 21, 2012
One of the best chess books out there. The only one that I like better is another book by this same author, The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery. Silman changed the way I looked at chess positions. He added humor and analogy to how I looked at positions. I still think of terms like Running from Ghosts and the curse of the mindless king hunter when looking at a position. Those are concepts Silman introduced me to in The Amateur's Mind. This book is more about the importance of piece placement when choosing a move. Many consider this to be the chess player's bible. It is taken for granted among tournament players that they have either read this book, own this book, or are at least familiar enough with this book to understand casual references to it. Certain terms from this book have become common terms used to describe chess concepts. Jeremy Silman will go down in history as one of the greatest chess teachers that ever lived.
Profile Image for Steve.
165 reviews27 followers
December 30, 2020
[This review was written in 2005 and refers only to the THIRD edition.]
If you can only get one book to improve your game, this one is it. Examples and exercises that cover ALL phases of the game, and even if you don't buy into Silman's "thinking technique" this book will introduce you to many advanced concepts (knights vs. bishops, bishop pair, support points, etc.)

THE KEY OF COURSE IS NOT JUST TO READ THE BOOK, BUT TO SET UP POSITIONS AND FOLLOW ALONG AS SILMAN EXPLAINS THEM: EVERY SINGLE ONE, ON EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Spend a couple months with this book, commit to reading/working three pages a day or so and you will be stunned at your improvement, as I was.
Profile Image for fourtriplezed .
446 reviews93 followers
October 12, 2016
I am crap at chess. I spent a lot of money on books that I thought would at least make me competitive. Nothing worked. I think these chess books will all sit in a box gathering dust and one day I might get the urge to rejoin the local club and get butchered by 12 year olds so then may have a further look. (Generic review for all half finished chess books I will never finish
Profile Image for Joel.
110 reviews49 followers
Want to read
December 29, 2020
Silman's book does two things:

1. Introduces the major strategic elements that players should be looking for in every position (minor piece advantage, open lines, pawn structure, king safety, lead in development, etc.)

2. A systematic THOUGHT PROCESS. Namely, look for all the strategic "imbalances" (Silman's term) in the position, formulate a PLAN, find candidate moves that advance that plan, and only then calculate.

On the first matter, Silman's book is a decent introduction for beginners to these strategic concepts, but by no means the only one. Euwe's Middlegame books are probably more comprehensive and Pachman's book is excellent too. There are many other books that will talk about these concepts, some more "systematic" than others. If Silman has any advantage over those other books it's in that he 1) is friendly for beginners, and 2) organizes the "imbalances" into a nice, concise "list", so the beginner can think through each of them at a time like a checklist. At higher levels, you probably have a better judgement to be able to see with one glance which are the most important elements of any given position. But at a beginner level, he gives the player a "systematic" list to go through so they are sure they didn't miss anything.

On the second matter, having a systematic thought process is a great thing for a beginner to learn, but in truth, there are problems with sticking to Silman's. First, at beginner levels, there are other parts of the thought process that a player has to learn to become natural at. For example, scanning for checks and hanging pieces. So many authors over the ages have come up with countless systems of thought that they claim beginners should stick to and improve their rating. Some focus on preventing blunders (gothamchess's "Danger Level", or Dan Heisman's "Hope Chess" - virtually every coach has their own system with their own trademarked name), others are about calculation (who remembers Kotov's Think Like a Grandmaster), while others are focused on coming up with a strategy or positional plan. Beginners can be led to believe that one system is the "right" one, and Silman certainly gives the impression that his is the best (naturally). But in truth, no one system works for everyone, and no system works in every position. For some players, and in some positions, looking out for tactics is most important. In others, formulating a plan is important (and then there's the question: when do I know it's the right time to stop and make a plan?). Silman's book is valuable because it gives beginners a process for thinking, but at a certain point, beginners learn that there isn't just one thought process.

People who don't like Silman's book probably have a problem with either one of the two things I mentioned above. Either they think it isn't the best way to introduce strategical concepts (maybe Silman's list isn't comprehensive enough, or they think it's too difficult for beginners). Or, they don't like Silman's system of thinking.

I think Silman does a very good job on both accounts. As I mentioned, although it probably isn't the BEST or most comprehensive book on strategy (I'm partial to Euwe's), it is a pretty good one for intermediate players (maybe Winning Chess Strategies by Yasser Seirawan is best for lower-rated players, but I wouldn't know - I haven't looked at it, but it's just what I've heard). As far as giving beginners a "system", I do think that most players should be learning how to look out for blunders and tactics first, and there should also be the disclaimer that there are many thought processes and Silman's is by no means the only one, but I still think it is very helpful for players to learn how to be disciplined and for that Silman's book is as good as any.
Profile Image for Puneet Gurnani.
26 reviews2 followers
August 2, 2013
I have only just completed the 2nd chapter. My 2 cents:
1)A book on positional play/ strategy and planning.
2)if you are looking for tactics, openings or endgame you should look elsewhere
3)Silman recommends 1400-2100 rated players for this book. I would say 1700 and above. Players under 1700 I would say are more to gain by learning tactics as positional play/planning does not quite come into play when you tend to loose a pawn in a 2-3 move variation.
4)his theory of imbalances gives me a intutional view of why my game never went above the 1900-2000 mark.
5)Now i see the light beyond the horizon. When after being stuck at a position you don't know what to do next. And end up pushing wood (plastic) and waiting for an error on your opponents part.
6)know the position. let the board talk to you and plans will develop accordingly.
nice book. recommended for players above 1700. ---- my opinion
Profile Image for Veselin Nikolov.
515 reviews75 followers
October 7, 2018
A very good read. I can imagine a beginner player gaining 500-1000 ELO points by carefully reading this book. Now I know weak squares, statics vs dynamics, and a few more concepts that may or may not make me a better chess player. Looks like mastering chess requires a level of memory and dedication that's just not possible for adults.
Profile Image for Serge Pierro.
Author 1 book35 followers
August 17, 2012
Silman's great contribution to chess instruction! This is a MUST read for anyone looking to seriously improve their playing. I consider this to be one of the most important books ever written on chess strategy.
Profile Image for Murilo Andrade.
43 reviews13 followers
October 12, 2014

Amazing book. This book fits perfectly someone in the ELO rang 1500-2000. It continues Amateur's Mind ideas, going much further. Once again, Silman describes incredibly well its imbalances framework. After reading this book, you should be able to assess a big number of positions, by identifying all the described imbalances, which helps a lot when finding plans for the position.

This book is huge, but it is worthful to be read from cover to cover, specially with the very easy to read ( often humourous) style. Another great point is the number of exercises. Silman took his time choosing the exercises that fit very well the material covered in the chapters. One can solve even the highest graded problems, even being average rated.

Although I am a big fan of this book, I would say there is still a bit room for improvement (at least for my particular taste). First of all, in the middle of the imbalances talk, Silman includes a few chapters about psychology, which I found particularly unhelpful. I think most people who read this book will share my opinion. The great advances I've done after reading this book was a better understanding of middlegame strategies, and how to elaborate a plan. The second point is that there are too many variations. Once again, I think we get lost in tactics, when the focus of the book is strategy ( at least in my understanding). The third point is a shallow one. I couldn't find any pgn's to help follow the book. PGN's usually help a lot an average player like me. I think such master piece should come with a pgn link to help follow the book.

I will briefly describe the 9 parts here:

1. The Concept of imbalances

Describes the main imbalances. Superior Minor Piece. Pawn Structure. Space. Material. Control of a key file. Control of a hole/ weak square. Lead in development. Initiative. King safety. Statics vs Dynamics.

Throughout the book Silman describes them with greater detail.

2. Minor Pieces.

Here comes the knight - bishop battle Knights like central, protected squares and closed positions. Bishops like open diagonals and open position. Tall Pawn, Active/Passive Bishops. Bishops of opposite colours tend to be drawn positions, in which pawn structure and king safety are much more important than material ( one tends to sacrifice material in such positions).

Knights. Blockade passed pawns. Go to any square in the board. Like advanced support points.

Bishops. Can arrest a Knight. When you move a pawn, check your bishops! TO avoid Tall Pawns, put your bishop outside the pawn chain.

Exchange your bad pieces against the good ones of the opponent! Two Bishops > Bishop + Knight. Try to exchange the bishops in that case, and put your knight into an advanced support point ( or close the center).

3. Rooks

Probably the easiest part. Rooks like open files. Like any other imbalance, don't wait them to magically happen! Create ( or steal ) them! Once that done, you can go to the preferred places of rooks : 7th and 8th ranks.

4. Psychological Meanderings

I am not a big fan of this part. This is a big part of the book
- So what the position tells you, not what it suits you best.
- Don't enter in the opponent's game. Follow your plan. Once again, do what the position tells.
- Pay attention, specially when winning - it is more common to fall in those cases.

5. Target Consciousness

Visualize the main weakness of your opponent ( and yours) position, and go for it! Never lose track of these weaknesses, as it is probably how you will need to pursue your plan. Pay attention to weak pawns ( isolated, backward, doubled, tripled), and specially weak squares. Most amateurs go always in the hunt of opponent's monarch, when in master's games much of the struggle involves important squares (usually weak, central ones) of the board. Embrace the "inner" square.

When you are developed and your opponent's king is still in the middle, this should raise a huge neon sign in front of you. Search for ways to punish your opponent's vulnerable king. Don't allow him to castle. Open lines.

If you have an isolated pawn, without compensation, try to exchange all the rooks and queens. If your opponent has a backward pawn, trade minor pieces, and/or put a piece in front of it, so it cannot advance.

6. Static Vs Dynamics

This is a very nice chapter. Chess should be seen as a battle of two different ideologies. And there is no better example than static vs dynamics. Whereas material advantages ( tend to ) stay forever, imbalances like initiative and developed pieces are quite ephemeral, so they need to be used soon, otherwise you lose it. In general you need to cash in your dynamic plus to a static ( and durable ) one.

7. Space

Space , space space! This is a very big advantage, specially in closed positions, where you can play cat and mouse, and "do in 20 what you can do in 2".

To fight against space, use break pawns, and try to exchange a few pieces to liberate space. See what your opponent leave behind. As Fischer said, "to gain squares you need to leave squares".

Play where your pawn chain points. Avoid exchanges if you have more space.

8. Passed Pawns

It can be a static powerhouse or a dynamic gane winner. Blockade ! PAwn Majority => Passed Pawn ! Passed pawns are not always good: If the struggle is elsewhere/ pawn is bockaded/it is a weakness.

9. Other Imbalances

Imbalances in the openings: Try to study the main imbalances of each position.

That's it. I can't wait to do the exercises of the workbook companion book.

Profile Image for Corey Butler.
137 reviews10 followers
June 19, 2009
The best chess book for the intermediate player. More than any other author, Silman explains how to truly think about chess and provides the fundamental skills necessary to improve your play to the next level.
Profile Image for Finlay.
285 reviews20 followers
August 20, 2012
Liked it. Seems very good, but I don't really know how to play chess...
Profile Image for Daniel.
33 reviews
July 19, 2022
Phenomenal book for anyone interested in chess! Silman is funny, vicious, and insightful. I will now always tell myself “what a trash move how can I capitalize on this?” instead of get worried about a threat. Thank you Jeremy Silman.
17 reviews
June 9, 2022
I did every diagram move by move in a the "Studies" section of Lichess. It took me about a year (spending about 5 hours per week with this book).

Lamentably, I started out with a Chess.com rating of 1160. After completing the book I'm 1190. The author states the book is for 1400 to 2000 - -clearly probably above my level. I learned a lot, but need to work on discipline to avoid middle game blunders.
Profile Image for Corey Butler.
137 reviews10 followers
May 20, 2012
Well, it's Jeremy Silman, so of course the book is good. I think I liked the 3rd edition better though. I had more trouble getting through this one, for some reason, and I didn't like the exercises as much. I think the 3rd edition is a bit more accessible, and more broadly based. The fourth edition is more advanced and more focused on his imbalances approach to chess.
Profile Image for Steve Toyne.
15 reviews2 followers
March 2, 2012
One of the best and most instructive chess books ever written for the amateur player.
Profile Image for Stephan Renkens.
72 reviews3 followers
June 13, 2021
Overall this is really a good chess book. In parallel I've been reading the fundamental criticism of Willy Hendriks in Move First, Think Later: Sense and Nonsense in Improving Your Chess on books like Silman's (just like e.g. Oordeel & plan or Think Like A Grandmaster). Yet I think that if you take Silman's guideliness just as suggestions and not fundamental laws, then Silman's book has a lot of useful material. Personally I like the part on psychological meanderings the most, and in particular that you never must pay respect to your opponent during a game by "trusting" his or her moves, even if you are playing against the world champion. "Your opponent is not your friend, so don't trust the messages in his or her moves."
Profile Image for Jared Garretti.
68 reviews
January 19, 2023
Bless those that went through the tedium of writing these books for their time; but chess books have become obsolete and replaced with:

1. score based puzzles that explain to you in a better, fluid, format that automatically adjusts when you've proven understanding giving a linear growth path!

2. Gothamchess and all other great youtubers coaching us in real time through videos!!

3. Being able to analyze every game we and others play in an engine that tells you the mistakes you've both made when it's over!!!

How many genius potential players never got a grip on chess because they had to learn from these high difficulty learning curve books? Now, more players have an astoundingly higher chance of getting better with these tools than EVER in history. Thank god we don't have to rely on learning exclusively from these.
3 reviews
May 8, 2018
took my a while to get through the book as I'd read it only each morning while having breakfast. it really improved my chess and my breakfast experience.
I'm still a total beginner and will read the book again to pick up on additional details and reinforce the concepts.
The concept theme of imbalances is well explained and each chapter is filled with personal anecdotes and real life games to support a teaching.
veryr enjoyable!
54 reviews
February 7, 2023
I think this book says it is written for a chess player with a rating of 1200-1500. Listen well to that. I must not be anywhere near that rating because I just could not follow the book. The lessons use nomenclature to guide you through, and my understanding of nomenclature is so limited it took me too long to even understand/see the moves that I missed the lessons.

I got through the Knights chapter, and that was that.
Profile Image for Sam James.
31 reviews3 followers
December 26, 2017
I must confess I haven't 'read' this book. That is, it's not the sort you read from cover to cover (much like a lot of chess books). However, it's proven a very useful guide to understanding common themes of chess and why we think the we think over the board... though the early chapters are, in my opinion, sometimes a little too obvious.
Profile Image for Kevin McDonagh.
228 reviews42 followers
June 13, 2022
Jeremy Silman steps through a checklist of 'imbalances' like a chess player should run through in their head with illustrative games.

These games are dense and while I really enjoyed the written sections I felt stymied by the time taken to run through the actual games. This is likely just down to myself as a player.
Profile Image for Bilal.
32 reviews
January 26, 2022
I used to think I knew the basics of chess until I read this book. It's a must read for every chess player, probably the best book out there. Reading this book and practice puts you at 1000+ on chess.com.
Profile Image for Xavier.
427 reviews2 followers
January 28, 2023
I can't picture the board when the positions are being discussed. I'm not on the level to read this yet. I wish I could get a digital representation of the moves. Otherwise it's going to take me years to replicate it on a physical board. I'd rather watch YouTube to learn chess than read this
8 reviews
December 30, 2018
It didn't contain endless analysis. It was instructive and entertaining to read.
Profile Image for Linda.
99 reviews2 followers
April 7, 2020
...well I say read....the theme of imbalances is intriguing and have been 'through' the book but think it will be a book I return to again and again as I improve my game...
Profile Image for Joeri.
6 reviews
June 7, 2020
Very well written book for beginning and intermediate players. Gave me a way better understanding about positioning.
Profile Image for Rouf.
20 reviews
December 10, 2020
This book has completely changed the way I play chess. I haven't read the details of this book. I skim it. Because I always repeat the chapter.
1 review
Want to read
October 7, 2021
Hola alguien tiene este explendido libro en ideoma español??
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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