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Pump Up Your Rating by Axel Smith


Digital Version Available from Forward Chess (read more)

Any man in the street knows how to increase his physical strength, but among most chess players confusion reigns when it comes to improving their playing strength. Axel Smith's training methods have guided his friends, teammates and pupils to grandmaster norms and titles. Hard work will be required, but Axel Smith knows how you can Pump Up Your Rating.

Every area of chess is covered - opening preparation, through middlegame play, to endgame technique. Smith delves into both the technical and psychological sides of chess, and shows how best to practise and improve.

International Master Axel Smith from Sweden has had great success as a coach. Using his methods on himself, in the space of two years he boosted his rating from 2093 to 2458. He is now closing in on the Grandmaster title.

ISBN: 978-1-907982-73-6 - 376 pages - Published 27 September 2013

ChessCafe Book of the Year 2013

The author has started a blog in which he shares some of his experiences as a chess coach and discusses the progress of his pupils - Pump Up Your Rating blog


"In a year where chess fans have been blessed with a multitude of great books [...] International Master Axel Smith might well have written the best among them.

Smith’s Pump Up Your Rating is, in truth, two books in one. The first half of the book is an advanced course in chess strategy and thinking. The second is a tested and thoughtful guide to chess training and improvement. Were either half sold on their own, they would be worth your purchase. As things stand, this book is a must-buy for the improving chess player and – especially – for the player who isn’t improving, but would like to."

John Hartmann (full review)

"Overall, this is a fun and original work written with a lot of soul [...] some thought-provoking suggestions and guidance,some inspiration, and some interesting positions with interesting reflections upon them."

IM John Cox, CHESS magazine

"Pump Up Your Rating is very well-written. The explanations are lucid and clear. Axel Smith imparts plenty of useful advice in a very detailed manner...

Smith rightly endorses active learning, and vividly describes how and when he discovered various 'laws' that govern certain positions. Presenting his findings he transfers his gut-feeling into a verbal framework that we can all share.

My assessment of this product: 5/6"

Amatzia Avni, ChessCafe (full review)

"Despite its, well, silly title, it’s actually an extremely interesting and thoughtful treatise by the Swedish coach and International Master.

Each of the book’s chapters features a theme (for example on exchanging, calculation, and how to analyze your own games) and a ‘model player’ (Ulf Andersson for exchanges, Hans Tikkanen for calculation). By showing concrete examples, Smith mostly offers his student ‘tools’, or ‘thinking techniques’ to improve their skills."

Arne Moll, Chessvibes (full review)

"Pump Up Your Rating is both a grocery store and a specialty business. This work covers virtually the whole range of what affects the success of a tournament player, and within individual subjects is very specific...

Any player who works in a continuous and concentrated way with this book will undoubtedly raise his skill level."

Uwe Bekemann, www.bdf-fernschachbund.de

"The title Pump Up Your Rating suggests that this book is written especially for rating fetishists. However, it mainly offers the reader an enjoyable way to better chess...

It is very good to use for chess lessons at every level. And if after study your rating does indeed go up, then that is of course a bonus."

Bab Wilders, Nederlands Dagblad

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