The Complete Chess Swindler
Winner of the ECF Book of the Year 2020
'What lifts the book above the ordinary is Smerdon’s quality of writing and his enthusiasm for chess, its players, and the chess world. An outstanding Book of the Year 2020, which combines insightful discussion of a previously unexplored subject with good writing and great entertainment throughout. Ideal for these difficult times.' -- Ray Edwards & Sean Marsh, 29th September 2020, ECF Book of the Year Jury
Chess is a cruel game. We all know that feeling when your position has gone awry and everything seems hopeless. You feel like resigning. But don’t give up! This is precisely the moment to switch to swindle mode.
Master the art of provoking errors and you will be able to turn the tables and escape with a draw – or sometimes even steal the full point!
Swindling is a skill that can be trained. In this book, David Smerdon shows how you can use tricks from psychology to marshal hidden resources and exploit your opponent’s biases.
In a lost position, your best practical chance often lies not in what the computer recommends, but in playing your opponent.
With an abundance of eye-popping examples and training exercises, Smerdon identifies the four best friends of every chess swindler: your opponent’s impatience, their hubris, their fear, and their need to stay in control.
You’ll also learn about such cunning swindling motifs as the Trojan Horse, the Decoy Trap, the Berserk Attack, and ‘Window-Ledging’.
So, come and join the Swindlers’ Club, become a great escape artist and dramatically improve your results. In this instructive and highly entertaining guide, Smerdon shows you how.
David Smerdon is an Australian chess grandmaster and behavioural economist. In 2015 he published the highly successful chess opening book Smerdon’s Scandinavian.
“It’s not just entertaining, it’s highly instructive as well. Well-structured and didactic, the human psychology of swindling is broken down into very clear themes. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It fills a real gap in chess literature.” -- GM Daniel King, author of Sultan Khan
“An absorbing read that will provide inspiration for any player who wants to start the great escape when losing. An enjoyable way to discover the secrets of rescuing bad positions.” -- IM Gary Lane, Chess Moves Magazine
“This is quite a chunky book but it reads like a charm.” -- GM Matthew Sadler, author of Game Changer
“The book shines with terrific examples and explanations. I have to recommend it to every chess friend, because the next lost position may come sooner than expected!” -- IM Dirk Schuh
“A manual of how to use your chances in a lost position as effectively as possible.” -- IM Jeroen Bosch, Schaakmagazine
“Thoroughly instructive and extremely entertaining.” -- Sean Marsh, CHESS Magazine
“Smerdon is the first to treat the subject of swindling in a logical and systematic manner, but it is his choice of examples, well-known and obscure, that make the book shine.” -- GM Ian Rogers, The Byron Shire Echo
“A thrilling guide to this netherworld of not-quite-resignable positions. Throughout the book, Smerdon takes care to emphasize that the best practical chance in a bad position may well differ from the numerically ‘best’ move favoured by chess engines.” -- GM Luke McShane, The Spectator
“I really can’t imagine any reader not falling in love with this book. Not only will it help you to find swindles in your own games: it will also help you to avoid being swindled yourself.” -- Richard James, British Chess News
“This witty, thought-provoking and highly readable book should help you pick up (wonderfully undeserved!?) half and full points when you find yourself in one of those lousy positions that we all end up in at one time or another.” -- Ian Marks, Chess Scotland