Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Build Up Your Chess 2 by Artur Yusupov

Yusupov has turned a series of chess lessons from his chess academy into a series of books. The first book at the under-1500 Elo crowd; the second is for the 1500-1800 Elo players, and the third book will be for the 1800-2100 Elo level. I'm barely into BUYC2, but so far this book is promising to be just what the doctor ordered.

For a long time I've recognized that one of the most important exercises I should be doing is just analyzing tactical positions at a board, without moving the pieces. The first chapter of mating combinations seems to be tuned to just the right level of difficulty for my needs. However, I would also like to to check out a copy of the first volume as well, because from what I've read on the intertubes it should still be plenty challenging enough).

Unfortunately, I won't be taking this book with me on vacation because I don't want to be packing a chessboard with me. Yusupov is instructing the reader to analyze the positions over a board, write down your analysis, and play the positions out; I agree with that advice and want to use the book accordingly.

For now, I want to give an overview of the contents of the book. I intend to follow up soon with another post featuring some mating problems from the first part of Chapter 1. This is in part to give readers a feel for the level of the book, and in part because some of my mistaken analysis reveals some of my chess weaknesses.

The Table of Contents includes:

1. Mating combinations
2. General endgame principles
3. Combinations involving the back rank
4. General opening principles
5. The double attack
6. Good and bad bishops
7. Candidate moves
8. The centre
9. The pin and the discovered attack
10. Zugzwang
11. Deflection
12. The Greek gift sacrifice
13. Evaluating the position
14. Planning in chess
15. An opening repertoire for White after 1.e4 e5
16. Destroying the castled position
17. an opening repertoire against 1.e4
18. Exchanging
19. Priorities when calculating variations
20. Pawn endings 1
21. Decoying
22. Time in the opening
23. Improving the position of your pieces
24. Pawn endings 2

Plus a final test and recommended books.

Two features immediately strike the eye. The first is the large number and variety of topics, which spans opening, middegame and endgame; tactics, calculation, strategy and endgame technique. The second is the apparent randomness of the order in which the topics are introduced. The first is readily explained: it's the author's intent that, through this series of books, that a student get a well-rounded education and that any gaps in the player's knowledge be filled. As for the second issue, I suspect that there's method in the author's madness. If nothing else, given the length of each lesson (1-2 hours) it would be good to mix it up a little. Plus, some order can be seen in the progression. General opening principles are covered, then the center, then specific opening repertoires, then a discussion on the value of time in the opening.

I will be very interested in the opening material, since the author's approach to developing an opening repertoire seems to match my own. For example, "This is... only an example...You should prepare your repertoire according to your own chess tastes and style. It is very important that you should like and understand the typical positions which result from your chosen opening." I have only skimmed the future sections of the book, but I get the sense the approach taken to studying the opening is "teach a man to fish" rather than "give a man a fish".

I leave for vacation tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to working through this book when I return.


dfan said...

I love these books. However, I strongly recommend starting with volume 1. I'm rated 1800, but when I actually browsed through volume 1 in a bookstore it became clear that I should start there. It went pretty smoothly overall (12 Excellent, 7 Good, 4 Pass, 1 Fail, and an Excellent on the final test) but I certainly got a lot out of it, and it was definitely the right place to start. (My stats on volume 2 so far: 4 Excellent, 2 Good, 5 Pass, 3 Fail.)

Webmaster at Quality Chess said...

I'm rated 1800 and have worked through the first two books.

There will be a total of 9 books in the Yusupov series, not 3.

There is disagreement about what level player the books are aimed at. For example, Yusupov labels the lowest level book as U1500. Quality Chess, labels this book U2000.

Here are the Yusupov/Quality Chess intended rating numbers:
U1500 / U2000
U1800 / U2200
U2100 / U2400

The guys from my club, all rated around 2100 FIDE struggle with several sections from book 2 "Build up your Chess 2" and there are some ideas in book 1 which they don't know.

Regardless of a player's strength, I'd suggest working through all books. Skipping book 1 would leave gaps in your understanding.

Grandpatzer said...

In addition to doing the first quiz from BUYC2, I've now done the first 12 from BUYC1. My impression so far is that the first two books are pitched at the right level for me. In the first book, I've passed all the quizzes, some just barely but most with "good" or "excellent" scores (but only one perfect score iirc). I've been following the directions (set up the positions on the board and write down your analysis) and I feel that my visualization skills are getting a workout.

Anonymous said...

Good book. Not featured to please our ego.
Featured to open our eyes. That's motivating and challenging.
When i'm working or training each position, I'm not finding easy the way to solve it.
I'm not realising what am i about to change indeep me .
I just know that i'm discovering new ideas.

I think some i'll have to redo some positions to learn the inner idea.

That's a way Yussopow to teach us deep chess.