Andrei Volokitin is one of a rare breed of players: he achieved a ranking in the world's top 20 while still a teenager, playing dynamic and often brilliant chess. Although we cannot all aspire to emulate his achievements, there is much that we can learn from his training methods, his games and his general approach to chess. These topics are the subject of this book, written in collaboration with his trainer. The core material of the book is 369 positions where the reader is given a task or asked a question. These tasks resemble those that players regularly face over the board, and are especially useful from a training viewpoint. Sometimes we are told we need to find a combination, but often the task is simply to decide on a move. It is for us to determine whether to play quietly or stake everything on a sacrificial attack! The examples are all from recent years, and so even the most zealous reader of chess literature will have seen few of them previously. Many of the positions are from Volokitin's own games, so we get the 'inside story' on some truly spectacular chess. We are also presented with fine examples from Grabinsky's training files, carefully collected and graded over the years for their instructive merit. The commentaries and detailed solutions explain the key issues in each position, and also convey the authors' philosophy of chess and their love for the game.
"Perfect Your Chess is one of the best chess books that has come into my hands in recent years." - Martin Rieger, www.freechess.info
Grandmaster Andrei Volokitin was born in 1986 in Lvov. In 2004, he won the Ukrainian Championship and was a member of the team that won the Chess Olympiad in Calvia. In the January 2005 rating list he was, at age 18, placed in the world's top 20 for the first time. He has won many prizes in junior championships and major international events.
International Master Vladimir Grabinsky is the coach of the Ukrainian youth team. In addition to Volokitin, his pupils include several other players who have achieved international titles at an early age.
"I had the opportunity to ask 21-year-old GM Valery Aveskulov, how it was that the Ukraine produced so many great young talents. I had already factored in a tradition of excellence, government and private support, and an economically challenging environment in which being a chess professional did not look so bad, but Valery added one more key ingredient - good coaching. One of the best he said was IM Grabinsky of Lvov and then rattled off a list of teenage IMs and GMs over 2500 on a rapid course toward 2600. Perfect Your Chess is geared towards this level and many of the young talents Aveskulov mentioned have gone through this material which relies on the games of Volokitin and others." - IM John Donaldson
"The volume is a workbook in the best sense. Ambitious players, who don't shrink from hard work, will find new and deeper insights, which will enrich their own play." - Richard Brömel, Rochade Europa
"Make no mistake, these are non-trivial positions. After moving from the FM to the IM level positions, Keti [Arakhamia-Grant, IM] suggested it was like the change from a pleasant walk in the springtime to starting to climb a mountain in winter. I'm not going to ask when she reaches the GM level puzzles. Some examples are extraordinarily beautiful just for the enjoyment of playing through so this book is strongly recommended to all." - Jonathan Grant, Scottish Chess