“Boris Gelfand gave me two wonderful books yesterday. This will not be a detailed review – I shall put it concisely: both ‘Technical Decision Making in Chess’ and ‘Decision Making in Major Piece Endings’ are not aimed at the general public. They are quite unsuitable for casual reading, for leafing through. There are no spoon-fed recipes, and wisdom is not scattered in handfuls to pick up at will.
Instead Gelfand invites the reader to plunge into the intricacies of the game. He tells of his perceptions and shares his approach. He thoroughly examines defensive methods and demonstrates what resources are inherent in seemingly simple positions, which solutions are practical and which difficulties should be avoided. The analysis is extremely honest, and given from the standpoint of a great master, though without any narcissism.
These books are meant for work. These are books that must be worked through slowly, a few pages a day, setting up the pieces and always thinking deeply. I don’t promise that reading these books will give you pleasure, but I guarantee that you will benefit greatly from studying them.”
GM Emil Sutovsky
“Technical Decision Making in Chess and Decision Making in Major Piece Endings both have the endgame as their primary focus and will provide months of serious study material. These books are the antithesis of popular tactics training, where the student tries to solve dozens of positions in one sitting. Here a few pages a day is the correct pace to carefully absorb the wisdom being offered.
One thing all four books in this series have in common is Gelfand’s belief that chess players should use their own brain and not surrender their critical judgement when working with silicon oracles. Gelfand is hardly a Luddite – nobody could be a world class player in the 21st century without using computers- but he makes valid points why an over reliance on them can develop into a crutch that prevents the student from developing the abilities they need to succeed in the world of competitive chess.
Both of these books, which belong in every serious chess player’s library, are available in beautifully produced hardcover editions… Highly Recommended.”
IM John Donaldson
“Major piece endings are real heavyweight affairs and can be very difficult to handle… As with the other three volumes in the series, this is a book which demands time and effort from the reader. However, the rewards for such diligence will be readily apparent.”
Sean Marsh, CHESS magazine
“Despite the fact that the introduction claims that this book is not an endgame primer, there are a couple of excellent chapters on theoretical endgames. They are covered from a practical point of view and Gelfand draws out the key defensive ideas by concentrating on patterns and key positions.
The penultimate chapter is a series of studies which are elegant and instructive. There is a particularly beautiful study by Darko Hlebec. Buy the book to appreciate the beauty of chess. The final chapter is a series of rook exercises which are extremely didactic. If you can solve all of these, you are a World Champion.
I heartily recommend this superb book on major piece endgames which is a labour of love and hard work. It combines practical examples with coverage of basic endgame positions.”
Richard Webb, British Chess News (full review)
“Boris Gelfand’s books stand out in many details from other works of this level. The first thing that stands out is that the players are often introduced in photographs, sometimes even matching the time of the commented game. Also a few lines on the classification of the players and the meaning of the competition are usually placed in front. In the text, Gelfand spices up his serious analyses with occasional insertions in a conversational tone.
The games selected by the author are either from his own playing practice or from his work as a coach. Both guarantee very detailed analyses and in part also critical examination of other works on the same game. In an obviously very fruitful collaboration with the Danish grandmaster Jacob Aagaard, Gelfand presents analyses that I have never seen before in such depth and detail.”
Thomas Binder, Glarean Magazin (full review)
Reaction to previous volumes in the series:
In 2015 Positional Decision Making in Chess won the ECF Book of the Year award.
“The most interesting chess book I have read in the last quarter-century.” Mikhail Shereshevsky on Positional Decision Making in Chess
“Gelfand is very good – and very honest – at explaining which decisions he could calculate and which decisions he needed to take on the basis of judgment, and how he did that… It adds up to the type of book I love… I think this book has masses to teach any strength of player.” GM Matthew Sadler, New in Chess
“The most useful decision-making chess guide I have ever read.” GM David Smerdon
“A revelation.” GM Lubomir Kavalek
“Dynamic Decision Making in Chess is a wonderful book, one of the best of its kind.” John Hartmann, Chess Life