What is the best way to improve your chess results? Memorizing an opening encyclopaedia, learning endgame theory, solving puzzle positions ... there must be an easier way. How about making the most of your existing talent? In a new and enlarged edition of a highly popular work, John Nunn helps you to do precisely that. Drawing upon more than three decades of experience, he provides advice that will help players of all standards, playing styles and temperaments to achieve improved results. His methods take into account psychological factors and are firmly based on good common sense and the objectivity that has made John Nunn one of the world's favourite writers on chess.
This new enlarged edition (published 2007) contains 45% more material than the first edition, published nine years ago. It includes a greatly expanded section on chess computers, and how their use can assist over-the-board players in opening preparation.
Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world’s leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won ‘Book of the Year’ awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010 Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions.
Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.
“High on my list of favourite chess books and also has great re-reading value. I can heartily recommend!” – David van Kerkhof, schaaksite.nl
“Grandmaster John Nunn offers practical advice on how to improve your chess results. It includes guidance on making decisions at the board, the study of opening, middlegame and endgame play, use of computers plus the selection and use of chess books. ... I found the chapters on use of computers and the selection and use of chess books of particular interest” – David Mills, Time Trouble
“Secrets of Practical Chess is a useful and unique book for any tournament player and the new section on ‘Using a Computer’ makes this edition well worth purchasing. Highly recommended.” – IM David Vigorito, Chess Life
“Because of the range of topics Nunn covers, I would classify this book as one designed to improve your overall chess abilities (as opposed to say, an openings book which focuses on just one aspect of your game). Therefore, it can be argued that studying this book will pay bigger dividends than studying just about any other kind of chess books (tactics, positional play, endgames, etc.) because Secrets of Practical Chess will help elevate your entire overall game. I think the reason why this book was so well received can be summed up in one word: Quality. Nunn’s writing is never trivial. His ideas and suggestions come from years of experience and over-the-board practice at grandmaster level.” – Michael Jeffreys, www.chessville.com
“... a training text aimed at players who are intent on improving their results. It covers a number of topics which aren’t covered well in other training books, but doesn’t cover some training topics which are well covered elsewhere. I have found that a number of topics in the book are very useful as a basis for coaching lessons for young players. The section on Using a Computer in chess training has been significantly updated a new section has been added on Chess Literature These additions have improved an already excellent book. Very highly recommended.” – Paul Dunn, Australian Chess
“ useful and perspicacious. There is a substantial amount of new material, principally on chess literature and making best use of computers. The most important part of the new book is the section on using computers, which made me feel like a complete Luddite. Nunn is obviously extremely familiar with the finer points of ChessBase and various analysis engines, and guides you towards making fuller use of them beyond basic opening work. However, the most compelling section is on ‘Limitations of Computer Analysis’ which is meticulous and compelling, and should be read by everybody who feels they are becoming over-reliant on Fritz and co, which probably means at least 90% of readers.” – GM Jonathan Rowson, New-in-Chess
“Grandmaster John Nunn, is probably one of the most well known names in chess. Not only is he highly respected for his playing achievements, but also for his writing. When opening this book, one can immediately get a feeling of why. ... His points are stated clearly and concisely, in a no nonsense manner, with the emphasis being on sound advice. The chapter on Openings is a case in point, with John explaining that in choosing openings one must first consider the kind of player he or she is – it is no good adopting the Sicilian, for example, if a quiet strategic position is preferred. The advice is supported with illustrative games, analysed and annotated by Nunn, which in itself is something of immense value to anyone wishing to approach chess better. In short, this book is a must read, and I cannot speak highly enough in praise of it. From cover to cover, you are being guided by a hugely experienced and knowledgable Grandmaster. It is a prime example of why GM Nunn is respected as he is, and has achieved what he has.” – John Lee Shaw, chessgateway.com
“...the conclusion of the review of the first edition is still valid: ‘Nunn’s Secrets of Practical Chess delivers exactly what it promises. A helpful guide for the weekend warrior. And at a reasonable price. Primarily designed for players in the 1600-2200 Elo range, most will find useful nuggets of wisdom to take with them into battle royal, with their chances of success greatly enhanced thereby.’ And, as noted above, the new material on the use of computers is terrific. ‘Nicely done, John.’ Again.” – Eugene Manchester, www.chesscafe.com
“The new material first surfaces in the chapter Using a Computer. When Nunn wrote the first edition, computers were not in standard use the way they are today and it’s not surprising that the chapter is greatly enlarged. Nunn offers a primer on how to use data bases, showing how to do basic searches, and prepare for an opponent. He then shows how to use a computer to analyze positions, pointing out its strengths and limitations. To illustrate his instruction, he gives two case studies, the first on the Najdorf Poison Pawn and the second on the Rossolimo Attack with 3...g6. ... Secrets of Practical Chess offers first-rate instruction for the amateur player. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” – IM John Donaldson, www.jeremysilman.com
“With John Nunn as a guide the only way is up.” – IM Gary Lane, Chess Moves
“If you are interested in improving your results then you are the very type of player at whom the book is aimed. It contains a wealth of helpful advice, and is very readable into the bargain.” – Alan Sutton, En Passant
“...in its most perceptive section goes to the heart of the most fundamental question in chess: how to go about choosing the right move at the board.” – John Saunders, British Chess Magazine
“Whoever hasn’t read Nunn’s book yet: run to the shop now, or order it directly via internet.” – Arne, www.chessvibes.com
“Every once in a while a book comes out that every aspiring chess player should have and this happens to be one of them. ... This book has proven itself extremely useful to me and I have learned many things from it. None of the topics included are done lazily or without great effort, making it one of the most instructive general all-around chess books out today. Just more proof of why Nunn is considered one of the top chess writers in the world!” – Andy May, www.nsgchess.com
“Occasionally a chess book appears which simply commands attention and respect – such a one is Gambit’s latest, Secrets of Practical Chess by Dr John Nunn. All aspects of how to improve for competitive games are covered, including what to look out for in the openings, as well as how to handle complex middlegames and common mistakes in the endgame. In particular I was impressed by Nunn’s advice on how to critique a chess book, and decide for yourself whether it is likely to be useful” – GM Raymond Keene, SPECTATOR
“A very instructive learning book on modern chess!” – John Elburg. chessbooks.nl
“Very Highly Recommended, probably a contender for book of the year in 2007!” – Michael Blake, IECG, www.bfcc-online.org.uk
“...an accessible guide for the club player looking to take his or her game to the next level.” – Cecil Rosner, Winnipeg Free Press
Reviews of the first edition:
“Delightfully illustrated by game and game fragments ... one of the best books for the aspiring player that I have seen” – Ivor Annetts, EN PASSANT
“The tips Nunn has in store will definitely prove helpful in improving the aspiring student’s chess results. Fans of the Latvian Gambit: watch out” – NEW IN CHESS
“Never before has Dr. John shared so much of his great chess experience for the benefit of club players” – CHESS MAGAZINE
“An invaluable primer for any player seeking to improve his competitive results ... highly recommended” – John Hurley, SUNDAY TRIBUNE
“Destined to become a classic of its kind” – Philip Trussler, WESTWARD HO
“Literally thousands of fascinating ideas and very practical tips that will greatly increase one’s knowledge and reasoning powers” – Paul Motwani, THE SCOTSMAN
“Most informative...shows how any player can improve” – Ken Bloodworth, WESTERN MORNING NEWS
“I’m sure I would have done better as a player with the benefit of Nunn’s advice on avoiding time pressure” – Leonard Barden, THE GUARDIAN
“It is still the likes of Dr John ‘The Swot’ Nunn who produce the finest works... his latest offering is no exception” – David Norwood, DAILY TELEGRAPH
“An extremely sensible and pragmatic book from one of the World’s most popular writers” – Adam Raoof, CEEFAX
“Teaches how to correct bad habits...the remedies come in very useful, clear-cut writing” – Lubosh Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST
“Yet another winner...an excellent book” – Patrick Foley, BUSINESS DAY (South Africa)
“Identifies a number of typical problems facing the competitive player and offers many pragmatic tips on how to overcome them.” – Jon Levitt, OXFORD TODAY
“Nunn carries out a crushing demolition job...the Latvian now looks like a forced loss” – Douglas Bryson, SCOTTISH CHESS
“Reading such intelligent writing on chess is very enjoyable” – Jonathan Tait, BCCA
“The author’s clever use of practical examples and advice make the book almost effortless to read.” – Bernard Milligan, SOUTHERN REPORTER
“First rate instruction for the amateur player. Highly recommended.” – INSIDE CHESS Magazine.
“The author explains who you can dramatically improve your chess results...highly recommended” – George Koltanowski, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“Unique, eye-opening stuff. Nunn’s Secrets of Practical Chess delivers exactly what it promises.” – Hanon Russell, CHESS CAFE WEB SITE
“Vintage Nunn” – John Watson, TWIC
“I have about 15 of Nunn’s books and none have ever disappointed me. I thoroughly recommend this book, especially to any player who...wants to know how to set about improving” – Luke McShane, SUNDAY EXPRESS
Gambit books by John Nunn: 1001 Deadly Checkmates, Endgame Challenge, Grandmaster Chess Move by Move, Grandmaster Secrets: Winning Quickly at Chess, John Nunn’s Best Games, John Nunn’s Chess Course, John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book NEW EDITION, Learn Chess,Learn Chess Tactics, Nunn’s Chess Endings volume 1, Nunn’s Chess Endings volume 2, Secrets of Grandmaster Chess, Secrets of Pawnless Endings, Secrets of Practical Chess NEW EDITION, Secrets of Rook Endings, Solving in Style, Understanding Chess Endgames, Understanding Chess Middlegames,Understanding Chess Move by Move, Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion (with Vishy Anand).