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The Survival Guide to Competitive Chess (2007) - Chess Reviews


In this book, English GM John Emms uses his own games to sift through a range of subjects useful for the average tournament player. Emms even admits that it is surprising how many mistakes he makes in comparison to his rating. He also details some strategies he uses in his games, e.g. the interesting CEM (check every move) strategy, which is useful in certain tactical calculations. He even delves in bluffing and using poker faces. I found this book a pleasant read and easily understandable. I was able to read the whole book without a chess set, which was an additional bonus (especially for lazy people like me), although some players may not be able to do this. The book has a refreshing cover design (I enjoyed it very much) and the small size means it's easy to carry around whenever you feel like reading. Emms has remarkable insights and the ability to communicate it effectively.

This book can be compared to GM John Nunn's Secrets of Practical Chess, which I haven't finished reading yet. One major advantage of this book is its compact size, allowing you to take it around with you.

"I guess some could argue that grandmasters generally make good 'grandmaster-type' moves and also bad 'grandmaster-type' mistakes, but I'm not sure this is necessarily the case. Look through these pages and you'll soon notice that many games are riddled with moves you could hardly call 'grandmasterly'!" John Emms, International Grandmaster and prolific chess author

This is a well-written and engaging book, which all competitive players should learn a lot from. Emms' writing is entertaining, as usual, and he doesn't mind poking fun at himself. I have a lot of enthusiasm for this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended, especially for improving players (and players who have not made progress for a long time and who need to reassess, which Emms directly targets).

Note: This is an old review, written before I read GM John Nunn's book on a similar topic. Click here to go to the review of Nunn's Secrets of Practical Chess (New Enlarged Edition), which gives comparisons to Emms' Survival Guide to Competitive Chess.

To purchase products, I recommend Wholesale Chess. They provide the highest quality chess products at the lowest prices (especially for US and Canadian players). They even offer to match prices with other chess websites! Even though I live overseas, this is where I choose to purchase chess goods.

For chess opening training and repertoire maintenance, I highly recommend the software I use, Chess Openings Wizard. This software was approved by Grandmaster Peter Svidler (FIDE rating 2744 as of January 2010) many years ago.


Posted by Proabffmm on Saturday, April 18, 2009.


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