Everyone loses chess games occasionally, but all too often we lose a game due to moves that, deep down, we knew were flawed. Why do we commit these chess-board sins? Are they the result of general misconceptions about chess and how it should be played? And how can we recognize the warning signs better? In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, Jonathan Rowson investigates, in his inimitable style, the main reasons why chess-players sometimes go horribly astray, focusing on the underlying psychological pitfalls: thinking (unnecessary or erroneous); blinking (missing opportunities; lack of resolution); wanting (too much concern with the result of the game); materialism (lack of attention to non-material factors); egoism (insufficient awareness of the opponent and his ideas); perfectionism (running short of time, trying too hard); looseness ("losing the plot", drifting, poor concentration).
Jonathan Rowson became Scotland's third grandmaster in late 1999, within months of graduating from Oxford University. He was runner-up in the 1997 European Junior Championship, Scottish Champion in 1999, 2001 and 2004, winner of the Canadian Open in 2000, winner of the Hastings Premier 2003/2004, and British Champion in 2004 and 2005. In 2006, he won the British Championship for an extraordinary third year in succession.
Gambit books by Jonathan Rowson: Understanding the Grünfeld, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, and Chess for Zebras.
Download a pdf file with a sample from the book.
"A thought provoking insight into the erroneous thought-processes of Grandmasters and amateurs alike" - GM David Norwood, DAILY TELEGRAPH
"Overall, the book is written in an engaging, conversational, highly readable and occasionally digressive prose style that is very appealing; Rowson is a chess writer who can actually write." - Paul Kane, www.compulsivereader.com/html/
"Whenever two large groups argue over a subject so intensely, that subject MUST be interesting and thought provoking... The Seven Deadly Chess Sins is a fascinating, original, insightful work by the most promising young chess writer out there. It's well worth owning (in fact, I consider it a MUST own!), and contains a bounty of knowledge that will improve your game at the cellular level if the Zen gene is a dominant one in you...Quite simply, THE SEVEN DEADLY CHESS SINS is one of the best chessbooks to come out in many, many years." - Jeremy Silman, SILMAN REVIEWS
"Jonathan Rowson is to be congratulated on producing a book of such intellectual depth... I have now identified my sins and hopefully I will now become a better player." - Alan Sutton, EN PASSANT
"He has broken ranks by writing about playing chess as it actually is rather than it ought to be and should be greatly commended for this. This is a book which, in contrast to the vast majority of its brethren, I will continue to visit and revisit" - GM Jon Speelman, THE INDEPENDENT
"Jonathan Rowson's psychological and philosophical musings called "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins" makes splendid reading and certainly helps those chessplayers who think too much during the games, or miss opportunities, or are too greedy, or don't pay attention to material, or refuse to see another human across the chessboard, or try to be too perfect or drift while concentrating. Or all of the above" - GM Lubosh Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST
"...easily the leading book on chess psychology, by far the most useful one, very possibly a classic..." - John Watson, TWIC
"... could well prove to be a leading contender for chess book of the year and may prove the most original work of its genre since Nimzowitsch's 'My System' appeared more than 70 years ago" - J J Walsh, IRISH TIMES
"Thought provoking and interesting" - Alan Borwell, SCOTTISH CORRESPONDENCE CHESS
"Sensational. A most thought-provoking work which looks at the psychological aspects of troublesome chess... we have doubled our usual order" - Bob Long, CHESSCO
"Rowson himself notes that the book can be viewed as intense or evangelical. I found it absorbing. Bob Long at Chessco expects this title to be so popular he wrote on his web-site that he's ordering 50 at a time" - Mark Donlan, CHESS HORIZONS
"Throughout the writing and the chosen examples, one is struck by the originality of the work. This is not your typical middlegame book that tosses out typical rules or concepts, illustrates them with cut-and-dried examples that can be found in other similar works, and then repeats the concept ad nauseum. Instead we get quotes from the likes of Kierkegaard, Simon and Garfunkel, Seneca, Oscar Wilde, Deng Ming Dao, William Blake, and the fictional character Yoda - as well as better known chess practitioners like Kasparov, Larsen, Korchnoi, Miles, and Hodgson.......a feast of chess philosophy" - Randy Bauer, RANDY'S REVIEWS
"GM Jonathan Rowson's The Seven Deadly Chess Sins shows how a much deeper understanding of oneself can help enormously to eliminate certain common causes of error" - GM Paul Motwani, THE SCOTSMAN
"The examples are very well chosen and do emphasise well, in a way which readers can easily empathise with, as to how a certain sin can easily lead to ruin in a game or as to how useful a certain remedy is" - Richard Palliser, BCF CHESS MOVES
"This book is on a similar level to Alex Yermolinsky's The Road to Chess Improvement... surely destined to be a best seller" - Danny Gormally, WEEKEND CHESS MAGAZINE
"Having read a couple of chess psychology books I can safely say this one really strikes a chord... a brilliant book" - Monroe Morrison, OPEN FILE
"I found the writing very personal and easy to read. If you read this book from cover to cover you will learn a lot about yourself and, hopefully, will improve your chess at the same time. Very Highly Recommended." - Paul Dunn, AUSTRALIAN CHESS FORUM
"GM Rowson offers homely tips mixed with philosophic musings... a stimulating read" - Leonard Barden, EVENING STANDARD
"The book is written in a pleasantly entertaining manner, so that one can describe this well-worth-reading book as an all-round success." - Schachmarkt
"You need no previous knowledge of psychology to profit from this book. I recommend the book to players over 1750." - Helmut Conrady, Rochade
"...contains a huge quantity of original insight. Rowson's style is refreshingly wordy - a few pages here and there without a chessboard in sight makes the book interesting to read without a chessboard in hand. That said, there are plenty of real examples to emphasise the validity of his theories. Rowson has pinpointed a lot of problems I have experienced without realising it and his suggested remedies are extremely useful. Highly recommended..." - GM Luke McShane, SUNDAY EXPRESS