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  1. 10 Oct '08 14:30
    Hi,

    I'm thirty two years old, and though I played a little chess at school with friends I never really got interested in it until I found this site a couple of years ago. I decided to get as good as I could without reading any chess theory, just by trying to work everything out from first principles. I seem to have reached my ceiling just short of 1500. Now I'm looking for a book to teach me what strengths and weaknesses various popular openings have, how to understand positional advantages properly rather than just thinking one or two moves ahead, etc. Basically, a book for someone a little in advance of absolute beginner, but who has never read any chess theory.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? Preferably in print in the UK.

    Thanks in advance,
    Hamish
  2. 10 Oct '08 14:33
    Originally posted by hatfinch
    Hi,

    I'm thirty two years old, and though I played a little chess at school with friends I never really got interested in it until I found this site a couple of years ago. I decided to get as good as I could without reading any chess theory, just by trying to work everything out from first principles. I seem to have reached my ceiling just short of 1500. ...[text shortened]... anyone have any recommendations? Preferably in print in the UK.

    Thanks in advance,
    Hamish
    what type of style of play do you prefer to play, open, closed, classical, hypermodern?
  3. 10 Oct '08 14:39
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    what type of style of play do you prefer to play, open, closed, classical, hypermodern?
    I really don't know! I usually open with the queen's pawn, but I'm not married to that. I want to learn about *all* of my options. Basically a book with the broadest possible scope would be ideal -- it won't be the only chess theory book I ever get, just the first!
  4. 10 Oct '08 14:43
    Originally posted by hatfinch
    I usually open with the queen's pawn
    (By the way, the reason I usually open with the queen's pawn is simply that I tended to find a d4 opening most annoying to defend against when other people did it!)
  5. 10 Oct '08 14:49
    try Silman's books...they are best for your level I think...
  6. 10 Oct '08 15:02
    Originally posted by vipiu
    try Silman's books...they are best for your level I think...
    Yes The Amateur's Mind is best for an intermediate like yourself.
    Don't get How To Reassess Your Chess as it is slightly more advanced (or covers a wider range of ability).
    As for openings (which aren't specifically covered in The Amateur's Mind, many people have recommended Winning Chess Openings by Sierawan.
    I don't have it, but I would personally suggest finding out about the basics of the various openings by searching wikipedia, then getting opening-specific books which, if they are any good, will explain why moves are made & what is good & bad, rather than just a very vague outline with 1 or 2 example games.

    Various openings can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_chess_openings

    Just go through 1 or 2 from each section to get a feel, then research the opening in wiki; ie
    Ruy Lopez

    Then, if you like the look of Ruy Lopez as White, you could invest in a book, ie
    http://tinyurl.com/3nrd5u
  7. 10 Oct '08 15:52
    I reccomend any tactics books. Start out by working through Winning Chess Tactics. After that I reccomend http://chess.emrald.net/ until you are around 1800 to 1900... You don't really need to learn opening theory yet since you can use databases which, though you won't understand them right away, you will be able to go over your games and figure out why those are the moves to be made. That is better than a book anyway IMO.
  8. 10 Oct '08 16:52
    An early opening book that I had was called How To Think Ahead In Chess. I think it is by Reinfeld. The book is in descriptive. It was really a one of a kind opening manual. For white, they recommended a system that you could set up quite easily. 1. d4 d5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 e6 4.Nd2 c5 5.c3 followed by f4. This is the stonewall attack. Along with mere variations, there were a couple pages at the beginning that told where EACH piece goes and what it achieves. There were whole games demonstrating the opening's attacking potential. They were not just recent games with the variation. They were extremely thematic games with beautiful attacks. Against 1. e4, the book recommended the Sicilian Dragon. Again there was a nice discussion of the themes of the opening and piece placement. Against 1. d4, there was the Queen's Gambit Declined, Lasker Defense. It demonstrated the play you get from the structures.
    In the back, there were a few lesser tries like 1. ... b6 for black. It demonstrated (with an Alekhine game) how to conduct yourself against these unusual openings with logical development. It really is a great first opening manual.

    Unfortunately, it is in descriptive notation and out of print (although a used copy shouldn't be hard to find. I paid around $8 - $12 for mine).

    Another downfall is that the book doesn't cover the indian defenses vs 1. d4. It doesn't cover the Yugoslav attack vs the Dragon, which really is a lot of theory (It may not have been around when the book was written.). Also, with black vs 1. d4, the queen's pawn openings like the Colle aren't covered.

    That's what you don't get. What you do get is a pretty good idea of how to form a plan for the WHOLE GAME. Although, the openings may have to be given up eventually, the whole idea of planning out a game from beginning to end will still be there.

    I really recommend this book. In a collection of over 400 books, it is definitely one of my 25 favorites (even if only for sentimental value).
  9. 10 Oct '08 17:28
    Is there any way we can coax you into listing your top 25 books ... heck, even the top 10 would be nice. It's neat to know the path that stronger players took to become better.
  10. 10 Oct '08 18:52
    One day I may make a thread with a review of every book.
    I'll try to think of some more classics that helped me in the meantime.
  11. 10 Oct '08 19:43
    Originally posted by paulbuchmanfromfics
    One day I may make a thread with a review of every book.
    I'll try to think of some more classics that helped me in the meantime.
    you renegade, whats this, you told me not to buy anymore books, there all mince. well just to let you know, my book, winning with the modern arrived today, all the way from america, i gleefuly opened it, thought of your well intentioned and i must admit rather good and practical advice and devoured the forewood immediately! toasting your health along the way, hehe!
  12. 10 Oct '08 20:12
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    you renegade, whats this, you told me not to buy anymore books, there all mince. well just to let you know, my book, winning with the modern arrived today, all the way from america, i gleefuly opened it, thought of your well intentioned and i must admit rather good and practical advice and devoured the forewood immediately! toasting your health along the way, hehe!
    The forward to every opening book is excellent !!! It's the analysis that gets you into trouble most of the time.
  13. 10 Oct '08 20:16
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    you renegade, whats this, you told me not to buy anymore books, there all mince. well just to let you know, my book, winning with the modern arrived today, all the way from america, i gleefuly opened it, thought of your well intentioned and i must admit rather good and practical advice and devoured the forewood immediately! toasting your health along the way, hehe!
    There's a difference between quoting every johnny came lately author and buying into it and reading the absolute classics. My main point was that opening books are really a waste of time and money. I wish I had studied the endgame more than playing or researching every opening out there.
  14. 10 Oct '08 21:03
    I'd think you could get alot of useful information from Purdy's Search for Chess Perfection II.

    http://www.classicalgames.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=001847
  15. 10 Oct '08 21:05 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    my book, winning with the modern arrived today, all the way from america, i gleefuly opened it, thought of your well intentioned and i must admit rather good and practical advice and devoured the forewood immediately!
    Winning with the Modern by GM David Norwood is one of my favorite chess books. He's a very good writer, and he played the Modern exclusively (I think) for about a decade before he wrote the book. The book is also very honest (unlike most repertoire books). If a line that he recommends is looking a bit shaky for Black, he tells you that up front. This Black repertoire book isn't your usual "Black equalizes or gets an advantage in every variation" type of book. Naturally, most writers of Black repertoire books aren't so brazen that they'll say up front that all their variations equalize or lead to an advantage, but when you read their analysis that's what you'll find. If Black is slighlty worse off, Norwood will tell you so.