Traditionally, chess games have been divided into three stages - opening, middlegame and endgame - and general principles presented for how to handle each stage. All chess-players will be well aware that these principles all too frequently fail to help in their selection of the best move.

In this important work, Lars Bo Hansen, grandmaster and professional educator, presents chess as a game of five phases, and explains the do's and don'ts in each: * the opening * the transition to the early middlegame * the middlegame * strategic endgames * technical endgames *

With a wealth of examples from both his own practice and that of his colleagues, Hansen discusses the typical mistakes and pitfalls, and shows how to handle the subtleties unique to each stage. He also advises on how to work on your chess in each aspect of the game. Of special value is his explanation of how to study typical middlegames, and that middlegame preparation - a neglected area for most players - is both possible and necessary.

Lars Bo Hansen is a well-known grandmaster from Denmark. He has won the Danish Championship on two occasions, and represented his country in four olympiads, winning a bronze medal for his individual performance in 1990. His many tournament victories include first prize in the strong Copenhagen Open in both 1997 and 2000. Away from the board, he teaches and lectures on business studies, with a particular focus on marketing, organization and strategy.

Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.

"...contains good, fresh examples, and the writing is instructive and fluent, making the book easy to understand. Because of the many diagrams the book could be read without a board and pieces. Hansen's recommendations appear straightforward, and when you read them through, you immediately want to test your new-found skills in practice - and what could be a better recommendation for a book than that?" - Marko Tauriainen, Suomen Shakki

"Hansen illustrates the five stages of a chess game with insight and clarity" - Bill Whited,

"I buy chess books in hopes of finding a treasure - the improvement of my chess game. With each book I usually find a clue that gets me closer to the treasure of a better understanding and better results. If I'm lucky, I find a couple clues-which I can understand and incorporate into my game. But with How Chess Games are Won and Lost, I found an easy to read map of almost all the clues that promises to significantly improve my entire game. As stated in the first line of the Introduction, this is truly 'a book about chess improvement.' It is jam-packed with clues, suggestions, examples, directions, and instructions - everything you need to get to a higher level (and maybe more) of chess. It is a treasure map for those wanting direction in self training." - George S Eichorn, The Chess Reports no. 87 2009

"...will improve the chess strength of any amateur if he takes good heed of the various pieces of advice of the extremely competent Danish GM Lars Bo Hansen" - Dr W Schweizer, Rochade Europa

"...recommended for the ambitious and experienced player" - Uwe Bekemann,

"Very rarely is so much good advice packed into one book. Hansen considers the lessons to be learned from the way his opening repertoire evolved, pawn structures, advice on swindling, defending, when to seek counterplay, tactics, technical endgames and how to use computers to analyse. This amongst many other ideas. What was particularly impressive to me was the 25 pages of discussion on how to play Queen's Gambit Exchange structures from the point of view of Black and White. Really good stuff. This may be for the advanced player (1800+), but it's a real treasure trove of ideas. It is very rare that one volume can contain such a wide breath of information over the whole spectrum of chess ideas without sacrificing depth. A true 'desert island' chess book." - Munroe Morrison, Open File

"This book is written by a strong Danish Grandmaster and discusses how you can improve your play by focused study. It does this by explaining what you need to study for each of the five stages of the game: opening, transition from opening to middlegame, middlegame, transition from middlegame to endgame, and finally the endgame. He breaks the book up into these sections because how you study each of these parts of the game is completely different. He finishes the book with a section on practical tips. Hansen uses examples from his own games and from games of the strongest players to explain techniques of study. He states that in Denmark there are not many chess coaches and so for him to improve required him to work alone on his own game. This book documents his experiences in detail. He uses recommendations from other books and discusses them, adopting what he believes works and he points out mistakes he has made in his own process of improvement. This book is an important tool for both players and coaches. Very Highly Recommended." - Paul Dunn, Australasian Chess

"Here you will find typical pitfalls and mistakes and how to handle them. He also examines the subject of middlegame preparation, an area terribly neglected by most of us. This strong Grandmaster from Denmark uses many examples from his own play and writes lucidly and logically." - Carl Portman, Defence Focus

"There are many excellent chess books on the market. For the serious chess student, it's not always easy to choose between them. Sometimes, it's worth picking up a book by an author you don't know yet. You may be pleasantly surprised. ... plenty of inspiring games and analysis, a highly structured and coherent overview of the most important themes in chess with good and often very recent examples, from a serious author who knows what he's doing. Highly recommended." - Arne Moll,

"...stands apart from the vast array of new chess books seemingly published every few minutes now. Whereas most books are strictly limited to a single phase of the game - typically openings, endgames or tactics, here Hansen takes a more holistic approach to the game as a whole. But rather than dividing a chess game into the typical three portions of opening, middlegame and endgame, the author carefully examines what he describes as the five stages of the game. This approach is reflected in his chapter divisions:
Ch. 1: The Opening
Ch. 2: Transition from Opening to Middlegame
Ch. 3: The Middlegame
Ch. 4: Transition from Middlegame to Endgame
Ch. 5: Technical Endgames
Ch. 6: Practical Tips.
... well-written, entertaining and informative book. I had not previously read anything by Lars Bo Hansen, but I'm quite impressed with the clarity of his writing. For any player trying to better grasp the intricacies of the five components of a chess game, this book is a breath of fresh air." - Steve Goldberg,

"...a delightful modern chess manual." - GM Lubomir Kavalek, Washington Post

"The time-factor in modern chess is one of many interesting topics that are discussed" - GM Paul Motwani, The Scotsman

" impressively organised and well thought-out book which flows beautifully and provides eminently sensible advice on how to work on your game. ... A great many books have crossed this reviewer’s desk this year but this is one of the very best. Highly recommended" - John Saunders, British Chess Magazine

"All together there is more text than moves and that makes a learning book superb! ... This book truly helps you to become a chess master!" - John Elburg,

"Hansen ... while drawing very much on his own experiences, makes the autobiographical aspect subsidiary to his main purpose, which is to provide the reader with a recipe of practical suggestions by which he can improve his play. ... At the end of the day, as in all walks of life, time, effort and motivation are key factors, but these three elements, allied to the guidelines and suggestions set out in the book are a good basis for ensuring future success. It's up to you now!" - Alan Sutton, En Passant

"Readers will find an abundance of entertainment and instruction in this excellent book." - Sean Marsh, Marsh Towers

Gambit books by Lars Bo Hansen: Foundations of Chess Strategy, Secrets of Endgame Strategy, How Chess Games are Won and Lost, Improve Your Chess - by Learning from the Champions.