All of a sudden my strategical framework is enhanced by 45%. From 22 to 32 topics to take into consideration. When you are consciously building your framework, you have a reference to compare new information with. The book of Horowitz presented 10 quite new topics which I had never heard of before. All new topics concern pawn play. This is the missing link to turn the Polar Bear into a powerful weapon! There is no way I could have devised this on my own.
The book Pawn Count Chess is fairly underrated. The reason for this is, I think, that it is written by someone who wasn't of masterlevel, allthough the book obviously was approved by Horowitz, who signed it as co-author. Horowitz was an international master. Allthough his play was of grandmaster level to nowadays standards he was never granted the title of grandmaster.
For us mere amateurs the fact that the book is written by a non-master act as a recommendation! The main author, Mott-Smith, is capable to bridge the pedagocial gap that usually exists between grandmaster and amateur. The book doesn't contain irrelevant material and doesn't focus on exceptions. It explains the heart of the matter and the summaries at the end of each chapter hit the nail on the head.
His idea behind the counting method is simply put that 3 positional advantages is worth a pawn. Of course you can wait until some grandmaster will frown upon this idea saying, "yeah, but sometimes an advantage is worth 0.1 of a pawn and sometimes it is worth 0.4 of a pawn. It depends on the position" These objections are well met by the additional information that the book provides. It tells you when to count and when not. I think that the method quite suffices for amateurs. It provides a framework, and of course you will learn in practice when an advantage or disadvantage is worth counting and when not.
I'm very surprised that the book contains 10 new topics I had never heard of or if I had I never used it in my games. All new topics are about pawn play. I'm surprised that books about strategy like the ones of Euwe, Seirawan and Aagaard don't talk about it. That PCT had no problems that adressed these topics. Maybe these books and software did cover the 10 new topics. But in that case I must have forgotten it the moment I encountered it. Due to lack of a framework of course:)
I have read the following books about pawnstructure and pawn play: Pawn Structure Chess of Soltis, Winning pawn Structures of Baburin and Understanding pawn play in Chess by Marovic. Pawn Count Chess does a much better job to explain the basics of pawn play, not bound or limited to specific openings, the endgame or the isolani.
What I have learned as quite new:
- What kind of occupation of the center can you count as an advantage and under what conditions is this advantage useless?
- When does the pawnpush to the 5th rank count as an advantage and what conditions are needed? What is the effect of the structure this van pawn is imbedded in? (chain/salient/reverse salient). When can you count an extra bonus for the van pawn?
- When is a pawn storm on one of the wings considered to be an advantage?
- What is a hanging phalanx and when to count it as a disadvantage?
- Offside pawn majority.
- Crippled wing majority.
- Weak square complex.
- Move x only improves the position of my bishop counts as 1.
- Move y gives me space advantage plus it chases away an important defender counts as 2