Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White

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Gambit, 2005 - Games - 255 pages
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Jonathan Rowson, author of the highly acclaimed Seven Deadly Chess Sins, investigates three questions important to all chess-players:
1) Why is it so difficult, especially for adult players, to improve?
2) What kinds of mental attitudes are needed to find good moves in different phases of the game?
3) Is White's alleged first-move advantage a myth, and does it make a difference whether you are playing Black or White?
In a strikingly original work, Rowson makes use of his academic background in philosophy and psychology to answer these questions in an entertaining and instructive way. This book assists all players in their efforts to improve, and provides fresh insights into the opening and early middlegame.

Rowson presents many new ideas on how Black should best combat White's early initiative, and make use of the extra information that he gains as a result of moving second. For instance, he shows that in some cases a situation he calls 'Zugzwang Lite' can arise, where White finds himself lacking any constructive moves. He also takes a close look at the theories of two players who, in differing styles, have specialized in championing Black's cause: Mihai Suba and Andras Adorjan. Readers are also equipped with a 'mental toolkit' that will enable them to handle many typical over-the-board situations with greater success, and avoid a variety of psychological pitfalls.

Chess for Zebras offers fresh insights into human idiosyncrasies in all phases of the game. The depth and breadth of this book will therefore help players to appreciate chess at a more profound level, and make steps towards sustained and significant improvement.


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About the author (2005)


Jonathan Rowson is an accomplished Grandmaster and Scotland's strongest ever player. In 2002 he shared first at the World Open, in 2004 he won the Hastings Premier and the British Championship, and in 2005 he successfully defended his British title. In 2006, he won the British Championship for an extraordinary third year in succession. He is also a prolific and successful chess writer.

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