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  1. 15 Nov '12 11:46 / 2 edits
    Steve Giddins, the chess author and blogger, is a jerk. However his blog often contains interesting chess news hidden amongst the bile, so I check it once a week or so.

    Anyway, he has written a review of a new book by the British International Master, Jonathan Hawkins. The book is called called "Amateur to IM" and I intend to buy it as soon as it's available because Hawkins improved from "strong club player" sort of strength (which is what I am now) to one of the best players in the country (I'd favour only Adams and Short in a head-to-head contest against him) at a relatively late age, i.e. about 20.

    I am a little older than Hawkins (OK, old enough to be his father) but I'm hoping that he will be able to describe how to study chess effectively, rather than, to quote Giddins, "... open the book, play through the moves on a set, and nod sagely at the annotations, and assure themselves that they now understand and would in future play such moves themselves".

    Here is a link to Giddins' review:
    http://stevegiddinschessblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/an-inspiring-story.html
  2. 15 Nov '12 12:08
    Originally posted by Fat Lady
    Steve Giddins, the chess author and blogger, is a jerk. However his blog often contains interesting chess news hidden amongst the bile, so I check it once a week or so.

    Anyway, he has written a review of a new book by the British International Master, Jonathan Hawkins. The book is called called "Amateur to IM" and I intend to buy it as soon as it's avail ...[text shortened]... ' review:
    http://stevegiddinschessblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/an-inspiring-story.html
    It appears to me to be the difference between knowing and being able to put that
    knowledge into practice. One may read and assimilate on how to handle an IQP
    position, but to actually put the knowledge into practice is a different thing entirely. I
    guess fattened lady that when one reaches your level 2000+ that the endgame is more
    often than not where its decided and it appears to make sense to study it in depth. It
    looks really interesting and i agree that dude Steve Giddins looks like he needs to feel
    his bum.
  3. 15 Nov '12 12:30 / 1 edit
    we should question everything
  4. Standard member hedonist
    peacedog's keeper
    15 Nov '12 13:57
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    It appears to me to be the difference between knowing and being able to put that
    knowledge into practice.
    That seems to be what its all about. I've been reading and playing chess for over 20 years now and with the help of a computer program I could most likely come across as a strong player on the internet. I have a good, all round education in chess theory. But can I put it into practice? No.

    Its a bit like in real life. I studied mechanical engineering in my younger days. I could waffle on for hours about the physics behind the refrigeration cycle, but I would struggle to change the plug on said refrigerator. 🙁
  5. 15 Nov '12 15:37
    Hi Fat Lady

    Agree when SG sticks to chess he's OK.

    It's the same as anything. If you really want something and are prepared
    to do the hard work then it will happen.
    The lad Hawkins has obviously put his nose to the grindstone to become a
    very good player.

    It's the hard work bit that scares most people off.
    I wonder how many will buy the book and do the "reading and nodding" bit
    without actually getting a board out.

    I'll give this one a miss. I do not need yet another unread book telling me
    how to improve. I don't have the inclination, I don't think I can and I don't
    think I want to. I'm happy being me.
    Getting a grade of up to 2500 would mean taking the game (and myself)
    far too seriously.

    Currently going through Saidy's; Battle of Chess Ideas. (pub 1972).
    So I'm catching up with modern litarature. 🙂

    Not a bad book - now up to Reshevsky 'The Spirit of Survival.'
    It had me going to another book: Reshevsky's best games to see a win of
    his not in the Battle of Chess Idea. I'm going to blog it.
  6. Standard member vivify
    rain
    15 Nov '12 17:32
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Getting a grade of up to 2500 would mean taking the game (and myself)
    far too seriously.
    This is an interesting statement. I think it was Kasparov who said that chess is "mental torchure". At the amateur level, this kind of dedication could ruin the simple enjoyment of it.
  7. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    15 Nov '12 17:33
    I have a feeling this is an excellent book that as GP stated, simply won't be read beyond the nod and turn method.

    One of the reasons its so hard to improve beyond your base strength is that to identify and treat one's weaknesses requires not just hard work, but also being able to hunt down suitable study material. Even when you work with a coach/trainer unless they are extremely good, they most likely will make up stuff on the fly most lessons and while you can bask in their sheer chess strength, it doesn't always translate to meaningful improvement.

    I'm guessing Hawkins focused on the endgame in this book? walk around an weekend chess tournament and after a certain rating level you will see almost every game is well into the late endgame either trying to convert an advantage or probing for a weakness.
    Once you get to about 2000 you probably can manage 3-4 move combinations and have an opening repertoire (albeit most likely constructed from random sources and without any unifying idea in mind). The next couple hundred points are real struggle for almost everyone and after you get beat about 25 times from an even position because your endgames sucks.. well.. there ya go.'
  8. 15 Nov '12 19:04
    How many of us will have a motivation to work on our chess so hard, like Hawkins did?
  9. 15 Nov '12 19:14 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Pacifique
    How many of us will have a motivation to work on our chess so hard, like Hawkins did?
    there are certain things that we can deduce from the statement,

    1. extensive self analysis is probably the best way to improve (how many of us are
    willing to spend an hour on a single move never mind the recommended three hours
    on a single move let alone fill reams of notebooks)

    I conducted an experiment, i had a kitchen timer which i set to half an hour and simply
    looked at the positions and tried to find the best move for the full duration, rather than
    the usual 45 seconds to a minute and i was playing better chess than I had ever done,
    managing to beat even a few 1800-2000 rated players in correspondence which was
    unheard of for me.
  10. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    15 Nov '12 22:25 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Hi Fat Lady

    Agree when SG sticks to chess he's OK.

    It's the same as anything. If you really want something and are prepared
    to do the hard work then it will happen.
    The lad Hawkins has obviously put his nose to the grindstone to become a
    very good player.

    It's the hard work bit that scares most people off.
    I wonder how many will buy the boo ames to see a win of
    his not in the Battle of Chess Idea. I'm going to blog it.
    The body builder says "NO PAIN NO GAIN". I have never been ready to endure the pain. Also it is necessary to keep to a schedule, deny yourself certain foods, take many nutrition suppliments, and sometime even use anabolic steroids to become a champion.

    Some people are able to tell you how they did something. However, will it work for everyone? It reminds me of all the weight loss books.