Chess

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The Independent Culture
AS MENTIONED briefly on Saturday, after a fairly short but meteoric career, grandmaster Matthew Sadler has carried out his threat - or rather his promise to himself - to forgo professional chess on reaching his 25th birthday (a shame, but quite understandable given the perennial disorganisation of international chess activity), in favour of a "proper job".

Matthew moved to Amsterdam a couple of months ago, where he is working for a computer company helping people in both English and French - a task for which, judging by the cool, calm and accessible way he imparts chess information both in person and in print, he is more than well suited.

The author of several respected chess books already, Matthew had a couple in the pipeline when he made his move: one on the Queen's Gambit Declined which hasn't come out yet, though he did kindly let me see part of the excellent manuscript (on disk) before a Bundesliga match last season; and, the subject of today's review, Tips for Young Players (Everyman Chess, pounds 9.99) which has just been published.

Sadler has divided the material into 10 chapters of roughly equal length, each with a clear statement of the ground to be covered and a concise summary at the end; the latter preceded in most of the chapters by exercises (to which there are solutions in the final 10 of the 160 pages).

There's a huge amount to impart and each section of the game - opening, middlegame and endgame - is treated in more than one chapter, with general principles paramount in the first five and a more practical approach taking precedence in the next four; while the final chapter on "Training and Thoughts for the Future" gives guidance on more general aspects of improving your play.

Although I've never written a book aimed at this market, I've browsed through a fair few in my time and rate this one very highly, particularly with regard to its excellent organisation, intelligent simplification - you can't tell the whole truth but Sadler is always careful to stay true to the spirit of the position; and sometimes quite challenging but always lucidly explained examples.

This game receives attention throughout the book, with Sadler making special reference among many other points to the fact that the exchange on e5 was good for him since the pawn weakness on e5 is more than compensated for by his attack; the fine 11 g4! opening the g file; and his refusal to take a mere exchange with 15 Bh6 g6 16 Bxf8.

At the end, Black resigned in view of the unstoppable 21 Rxg6+ with mayhem.

White: Matthew Sadler

Black: K Ellis

Queen's Pawn Opening

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