"If you want to reach the heights, you should study the entire history of chess. I can't give any clear logical explanation for it, but I think it is absolutely essential to soak up the whole of chess history."
- VLADIMIR KRAMNIK
In this book Lars Bo Hansen shows how chess understanding has evolved and explains how and why a study of the great champions of the past and present will significantly improve your chess.
Although modern chess is a highly concrete game where calculation is paramount and principles often appear to take a back seat, Hansen argues that the principles have become implicit at top level: "you cannot win games only by following Steinitz's or Nimzowitsch's principles, but you will certainly lose games if you don't know these principles!"
Hansen shows that pattern recognition - one of the most vital aspects of chess mastery - is built up highly effectively by studying historic games, and cites many examples which will immediately form part of your armoury. Building upon the structure of his acclaimed work How Chess Games are Won and Lost, Hansen also argues that the transitions opening-to-middlegame and middlegame-to-endgame are best understood by studying the games of the great champions.
Throughout the book, the emphasis is firmly on improving your chess, and equipping you to improve your chess further by studying on your own. At the same time, you will enjoy a feast of the most instructive chess games of all time - both classical and modern.
The final chapter discusses the future development of chess style.