Samuel Reshevsky is the ideal person to write a book on positional play because that was exactly the way he played: positionally. Reshevsky preferred to crush his opponents slowly, like a python, rather than to win with a blaze of tactics. Reshevsky was capable of great tactics, but felt it easier and more secure just to win by the slow build-up, gaining small advantages and then waiting for the opponent to throw himself on the sword with a brash counter-attack.
The disadvantage is this takes a long time and most of the games in this book are long, but that makes them more instructive. A game won by sharp tactics does not teach much, unless that exact tactic arises again. The slow build-up that Reshevsky specialized in can be repeated again and again to bring home the point every time.
Reshevsky goes through positional values, such as open files, avoidance of doubled pawns, consequences of weak pawns, bad bishops, unsupported pawn chains, blockade vs. breakthrough, using minority attacks, passed pawns in the middle game and rooks behind passed pawns. In each of these cases, he uses a top level grandmaster game to illustrate it, showing how the greatest players use these motifs to win their games at the highest levels.
About the Author(s)
Samuel Reshevsky was born on November 26, 1911. Most chess players reach their peak at age 30. It was Reshevsky's misfortune that he reached his peak during the World War II years. He played in the World Championship tournament in 1948 and in the Candidates Tournament in Zurich 1953. In both events there were rumors and reports of collusion by the Soviets to prevent Reshevsky from winning the world championship which he probably would have won in a fair contest. Fischer is quoted as saying that Reshevsky was the strongest player in the world and would have easily defeated World Champion Botvinnik in a match at that time. However, Reshevsky never got the chance. There is no doubt at all that Reshevsky was the strongest USA player. He won the US championship seven times, in 1936, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1946 and 1969.