Written by Max Euwe and Walter Meiden

This book is one of the classics of chess instruction for the intermediate level player (USCF rating about 1000-1600. Even though it was originally published in the 1960s with descriptive notation, the instruction itself is not dated, and the new editions in algebraic notation make the book even more accessible to today's players. The book comprises 25 games between a chess amateur, and a chess master. The amateur never makes any horrible mistakes like hanging a piece, and usually sees and defends against the one- or two-move tactical combinations that the master could do. Nevertheless, the master wins every game. How? That is what the book tries to explain.

Amateur players tend to play with a certain set of rules of thumb. Learning the chess rules of thumb (e.g. don't hang pieces, develop your pieces, castle early, watch for forks, etc.) is the first step in becoming a good chess player. However, the master not only knows the rules of thumb, but knows when to break them. This book discusses when to break the rules, at a level that the amateur player can understand. Another feature of the amateur player is that the amateur can get a strategic advantage, but not know what to do with it. The master shows how to take a strategic advantage and turn it into victory.

Each chapter of the book covers one game, and each game tends to have a different theme. Since the book is ~300 pages, that averages 12 pages per game. The book also has 128 diagrams. If you are interested in a particular opening or strategic idea, the book has an 8-page index.

A sampling of the themes:

This is the book that Jeremy Silman (Reassess Your Chess, The Amateur Mind) keeps trying to write. While those books are good, this one should be studied first.