“How to Reassess Your Chess,” by Jeremy Silman, is split into many chapters, but the central part concerns the imbalances. They include piece activity, pawn structure, space, material, key files/squares, lead-in development, and initiative. These are the most critical points in a chess game because they are valuable in the opening, middle, and end games. For example, if there is a weak square, try to get the outpost, or if there is a backward pawn, use all the pieces and attack like you can’t stop. No matter what the position is, there are always some imbalances. This helps people better make plans and helps prevent random moves. Silman emphasized that there is no need for a “grand plan” because all anyone needs are the basic imbalances to understand the position.


 This book also has an impact on many games. It helps fill in the cracks in chess. It explains things that people already know but with a deeper understanding. Even if you’re a grandmaster, you can still learn a thing or two. Silman also explains that using the engine can’t always aid anyone into becoming better because we aren’t learning from it. In other words, chess engines can sometimes be a crutch because it does the learning for us instead of us doing the learning. Instead of analyzing your games immediately with an engine, he says you could put them in a study, annotate the moves, and explain why you played them. Then, check with the engine for more improvements. This method is more helpful and makes one learn from one’s mistakes more constructively.


Although Silman’s book isn’t entirely about attacking, parts of it can still help with that aspect in chess. Using the imbalances can lead to different paths, and no matter your style, they can aid you. He clarifies that even if there aren’t any imbalances, anyone can create them. See a sound pawn structure and try to attack it. Once there are some imbalances, take advantage of them, but if the position isn’t clear of where to attack, he states that people should look at the position carefully and see which side has more space. He also stresses that if you are winning, you shouldn’t just be overconfident and lazy. Keep on looking for more imbalances and making new plans. Silman explains that this happens to everyone. The position can go from winning to losing in a matter of seconds. Instead of being overconfident, keep concentrating and continue pushing through the game. 


“How to Reassess Your Chess,” by Jeremy Silman, is a great addition to playing and analyzing games. Each position is like a puzzle—complicated but also easy if the tactical themes are remembered. Although a bit wordy, it is worth it to read about the different topics covered in this book. They teach important aspects of the game of chess and show how to actually understand the position better.