An attacking guide for club-players
by Andrew Burnett
£15.99 available only at www.streetfightingchess.com
Do you want to know how to get your chess book a good review?
Stick a picture of this guy on the back cover.
And then send it to a whimp like me.
So buy it - it's great. Wonderful, Super-Duper.
please save my teeth and buy two copies of this book.
OK, joke over - let's us have a look at this book.
This is for all those who do not have the time to read the full review.
Here is a quick, 'I bumped into Geoff in the street.' review.
"Hi Geoff, you look cool."
"Never mind me. Look at this chess book that has just come out."
"Wow! Geoff, nice diagrams."
"Yeah read this bit, and this bit, look at this..."
"Wow! can he get away with saying that?"
"Of course he can. This book is going to upset the chess snobs."
"Wow! It's looks great."
"Looks Great? It's fan-dabby-dooby and brillo-mungo.
Loads of great games bound together with a theme."
"A theme Geoff?"
"Yeah, Show no respect, fight like a demon and spit in their eye..."
"Wow! Geoff this is some book."
"Stop saying Wow. What are you some kind of a dog?"
(end of first review)
This will be a slightly different review because it's not a book
you are likely to see at a book stall (yet). Though I hope Andrew will
have some copies available at the coming Scottish Championship.
(Just been on the phone to Andy - yes there will be copies at the Scottish).
Why only available on the net? From what I gather publishers were
interested but Andrew (who is in the publishing game) was not too happy
at his percentage. His first book, untitled player, not an opening book etc.
So he set up his own publishing company.
I also understand that if this book is a success then a well known chess publisher
is fully prepared to take it over. This tells me that there may be a limited
number. So if you are interested (and you should be) then get in quick.
(There is a limited number and already selling before the reviews).
Right let's get started.
A good salesman will tell you 50% of any sale is getting
the customer to actually pick up the article in question.
Because the majority of you won't be able to thumb through it,
feel it or read a page or two. I'm going to do that for you.
Standard size, a nice semi-stiff glossy cover and the binding looks
very solid. It's not going to fall to pieces through use. 185 pages.
Flicking through it. Double columns, clear print and plenty of
rather nifty looking diagrams. Very pleasing to the eye.
Plenty of space (windows) on the pages that invite the reader 'in' to read.
What else do browsers do?
If you are a good player you check the Games Index to see if
any of your games are in there. (don't say you don't - I've seen you all do it).
No Games Index.
I think all chess books should have a games index.
Andrew most likely thought as his games make up 95% of the book then the index
would mention A.Burnett about 30 times.
But a list of the players and perhaps the page numbers would not
have done any harm. A possible marketing opportunity lost?.
I recall this moment:
"...I did not want this book (something on the Caro Kahn) but it has one
of my games in it - so I bought it." Richard Kynoch, Edinburgh bookstall 2006.
Lots of good points so far and 1 nit-pick.
I'll correct the nit-pick.
The games Andrew uses are games he has played against the following players:
Extra Instructive Games included and annotated.
A.Shirov - A. Cherin
J.Rowson - J.Ehlvest
P.Spacek - P.Motwani
M.Tal - B.Larsen
S.Flohr - B.Larsen
Positions from games played by:
G.Neave, K.Mayo, F.Raynor, I.Marks, C.Wilman, K.Jurkiewicz and E.Campbell.
I think we have done enough browsing.
Who is this book aimed at?
In the Introduction (some extracts follow) Andrew states this book
is primarily aimed at raising the game and results of players
graded rated between 1500-2000.
Introduction (some snippets).
Welcome to Streetfighting Chess, and what for many of you out there,
will be a journey into unchartered territory - a non-theotectical
chess book written by someone who is neither a Grandmaster, nor an
International Master, nor even a FIDE Master.
Fret not, for these title are not so important as one might think...
...a rigourous practical guide which will transform you from the chess
playing journeyman happy to simply push wood, into an aggresive (in the
chess sense only) fighter at the board...
...Whose name on the pairings will make even the strongest opponents nervous.
In short, a Streetfighter...
And with you all fired up off you go into the games. The meat of the book.
The games are tucked inside 14 chapters and each has it's own introduction.
1. The King Must Die!
2. In a Material World
3. Streetfighting Heroes #1
4. In the Beginning...
5. Middle-game Matters
6. Mind Games
7. Streetfighting Heroes #2
8. Something New, Something Old...
9. Losing it and Using it
10. Mind Games Re-visited
11. More Middle Game Matters
12. Streetfighting Heroes #3
13. The End is Nigh!
14. Walking the Walk
Test Your Streetfighting (positions for you to solve).
Those of you who do not know Andrew will now no doubt be expecting
the games to kick off with Diemer Gambits, Latvians, Morra's and other
sac a pawn and attack openings.
No. These are Street Hooligan openings (my words). OK at beating up unarmed kids
but when faced with someone who fights back they run away.
It's not until chapter 8. Something Old Something New
Andrew looks at openings. (chapter 8 is rather late to discuss openings?)
Not at all. First the reader needed convincing.
Andrew does this superbly with chapters 1-7.
Here is the full intro to Chapter 8.
"As you are doubtless aware by now, this book has deliberately
avoided investigating or promoting a theorectical approach to
For the Streetfighter there is considerably more scope for
creative play and aggressive chess, designed to cause maximum
problems away from the realms of the known.
Nevertheless, almost everyone has favourite openings where it
is necessary (or sometimes just plain fun!) to know and follow
the latest developments.
So long as club-players don't become slaves to this approach
there is essentially no harm in it (as evidenced by my own
obvious ties to the Sicilian Dragon, a real theorectical monster
if ever there was one).
This chapter looks at a few ways to solve the problems which theory,
by it's very nature, throws up, but it also highlights some of the
advantages of side-stepping the well trodden pathways by delving
into the distant past for useful weapons.
Firstly, though, time for a bit of sleuthing..."
There follows a section called The Agatha Christie Approach to Theory.
Andrew discovers a position from the Exchange Lopez that has
been assessed differently in two different publications by two
different GM's. Who is correct?
Andrew studied the position - found the correct assessement and used it
to win a fine beautifully annotated game v T.Thomson.
As I played over the games and read the well written notes
I was struck with the unique style, the controverial stance and the humour.
I liked this from the Mind Games chapter.
A.Burnett - M.Natarajan
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3
'Since I discovered how theorectically inclined most Alekhine players
tend to be, I started playing this inoffensive move just to annoy them!
Cutting great swathes of an opponents knowledge out of the
equation at move 2 can't be a bad idea.'
Same game. (Brilliant notes to this game Andy).
This position arose. White (Andy) to play.
Look at it for a while. What would you play?
Do you get it?
No of course not - You are not Streetfighters (yet!)
White is lost. Fight, kick, bite, set wee tricks, annoy and bewilder.
This is aimed at confusing the opponent. If the pawn was not on f4
then Black would never had considered taking it (Obviously!).
Black will see he cannot take the pawn (26...Qxf4 27.Nge6+).
This is his problem, there is now a small trick on the board
where once there was none. White wants to untangle his bits,
swap off and win the game.
Now there is a trap on the board... are there any more...??
"Sowing the seeds of problems where none actually exist is a handy psychological tool."
White went on to win this game.
You will have to buy the book to find out how.
So there I was enjoying the book and simply playing
over the games, actually forgetting I had to write a review...
...then suddenly I realised something...
This is Chess for Tigers in action!!.
And I mean that as a huge compliment.
(Andrew actually recommends Chess for Tigers by Simon Webb for further reading).
Tigers is a minor classic. Streetfighter is the next step up.
Andrew has read Tigers, used some of it's ideas in his games but
must have found it lacking in some departments and has surpassed it
adding some of his own conclusions from his over the board experience.
Chapter 6. 'Mind-Games' Is way beyond Tigers and is one of the
most instructive sections I have ever read in a chess book.
This is GM material - Andrew don't waste this on mere club players (joke).
And it's not heavy reading. Five well annotated games with
all the serious points puts across with traces of humour.
The Chapter ends with this statement...
'...it [psychology] is one of the least thought about aspects of chess with
regards to your average chess player, and in my opinion this is a huge mistake.
Of course it is not difficult to see why it is overlooked when we are bombarded
with over-hyped books on opening theory and computer driven assessments at
But hopefully, having read this introduction to the subject, many of you will
now see things in a different light and next time you reach out at a bookstall
your hands will automatically steer away from the latest 'opening sensation'
and drift towards a different kind of literature.'
I cannot stress enough what a joy it is to read a book on chess
written by someone who can actually write.
Brilliant games, Well written honest notes, Thought provoking comments.
The average club player will definitely learn something from this book
and enjoy every moment.
This book throws out useful tit-bits of advice on practically every page.
The club player who seems stuck in a rut is in for a right slap across the face.
But, it will be an enjoyable slap across the face.
It will sting. But when was the last time you read a chess book
that kicked the living daylights out of everything you thought you knew.
Enjoy the moment. You will soon be doing the kicking.
The real reason why any chess book should be written
must be to entertain and enlighten the reader. This book ticks all the boxes.
The down side.
The lack of an index I can live with but it is needed.
The price £15.99 will off-put a few buyers. (Chess for Tigers is £15.99).
But it's what you would spend on a good night at the pub, simply stay in one night
and have something really worthwhile to show for it.
I can see some club players not liking it. They prefer their books written
by titled players who can work a computer. There is no helping these people.
They will be victims of this book. They will lose and scream 'Swindler'.
The Streetfighter will simply smile, pocket the point and...Walk the Walk.
Very highly recommended.
£15.99 available only at www.streetfightingchess.com