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  1. Subscriber 64squaresofpain On Vacation
    The drunk knight
    17 Dec '17 14:20
    Every year people ask me what I want for Christmas,
    and every year I usually just reply "I dunno" because I'm either
    a) happy enough with my life to not want anything additional, or
    b) quite unimaginative and dull
    looking at my games, this is most likely!


    However this year my reply has been extended somewhat to:
    "I dunno... how about a chess book?"

    So far I've already received one from my lovely lass in America:
    "The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games" (new edition with 125 games)
    --by Graham Burgess, Dr John Nunn and John Emms

    The games are listed in date order,
    I'm only on game 4 right now but can already see how beneficial the book will be for me.

    The book has a scoring system for the games,
    with only 3 out of the 125 listed having a "perfect score" of 15/15 (each author voting 5/5).

    The top 3 games according to this voting system:
    Botvinnik - Capablanca, AVRO, Rotterdam 1938
    Karpov - Kasparov, World Ch. (game 16), Moscow 1985
    Kasparov - Topalov, Wijk aan Zee, 1999

    I know both the Kasparov games, but not sure I've ever seen the first one...

    Anyway, who else is getting a chess book for Christmas?
  2. 17 Dec '17 15:01 / 2 edits
    I got one for birthday when I was a kid, one from Dimitrije Bjelica for beginners, but my grandmother thought it will spoil me and that I wasted too much time on chess, so she had stolen it and either threw it into the garbage or gave it to someone, I never found out.
  3. 17 Dec '17 15:20
    Asking for a chess book has been a dismal failure over the years.
    I have ended up with some awful crap including doublers.

    Once! in 1979 my sister bought me 'Chess Struggle in Practice.'
    which was a great success and had me posted missing over the Festive period.

    Now I just ask for book tokens.
  4. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    17 Dec '17 17:25
    My wish list this year is for GM Jonathan Rowson's two books Chess for Zebras and The Seven Deadly Chess Sins.

    I already have them electronically via the Gambit Chess app, but they are so good that I want to get the paper copies. Books are still easier to thumb through after reading than tablets IMO.

    The books are superb,
  5. 17 Dec '17 21:39
    Originally posted by @paul-leggett
    My wish list this year is for GM Jonathan Rowson's two books Chess for Zebras and The Seven Deadly Chess Sins.

    I already have them electronically via the Gambit Chess app, but they are so good that I want to get the paper copies. Books are still easier to thumb through after reading than tablets IMO.

    The books are superb,
    How would you compare either of these books with SIlman's "Amateur's Mind..."?
  6. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    17 Dec '17 23:21
    Originally posted by @vandervelde
    How would you compare either of these books with SIlman's "Amateur's Mind..."?
    I would say they are separate "circles" that only overlap a small bit.

    Silman focuses on the amateur's incomplete or misinterpreted understanding of the game, while Rowson focuses on a player's incomplete or misinterpreted understanding of themselves in the context of the game.

    Silman is black and white compared to Rowson's color. I don't mean to suggest that one is better than the other, as they have different objectives and achieve them superlatively, but the intent, scope, and range are definitely different.

    I can only add that Rowson has led me to believe that the way we describe a game, the way we annotate it in words and symbols, and even the idea of a narrative for a game is deeply flawed, and recognizing and understanding these flaws (holes, misconceptions, cliches, oversimplifications, static-descriptions-of-fundamentally-dynamic situations, assumptions implicit or explicit) is the beginning of understanding the game better.

    I am not doing justice to his work, and I feel bad about it. He is well worth reading in my opinion.
  7. 18 Dec '17 00:49
    Not too fond o0f 'The Seven Deadly Chess Sins." that went wooosh!
    right over my head. But Zebras is a must have book for an up and coming
    player. Too late for me. Wish it was written in 70's.

    My review here:

    http://textualities.net/geoff-chandler/chess-for-zebras
  8. 18 Dec '17 15:27
    Originally posted by @paul-leggett
    I would say they are separate "circles" that only overlap a small bit.

    Silman focuses on the amateur's incomplete or misinterpreted understanding of the game, while Rowson focuses on a player's incomplete or misinterpreted understanding of themselves in the context of the game.

    Silman is black and white compared to Rowson's color. I don ...[text shortened]... not doing justice to his work, and I feel bad about it. He is well worth reading in my opinion.
    I'll put the books on my plan-list.
    I suspect the Dead Sins resembles a bit Watson's Secrets Of Modern Strategy in a sense that it's not so practical and that author wanted to show off with his insights and cleverness. Watson's book was awarded but it was not written with such great style (
    look who's talking! - I hear some RHP members say
    ) - he repeats same syntagma in a row in same paragraph and the same page. Possible the sign of eagerness of the inspiration.

    The good thing in Watson's book is that it may change the attitude of an expert.

    And in a review of Rowson's book I read--> "he's writing about the difference between knowledge and skill!"

    And here I would say that for skill one still needs to get some lessons from a good coach.

    From Watson's book I found most amusing his disavowing of Alekhine's comments of Sicilian Defense and fianchetto, and most useful are small games of Suba.

    But this paragraph I wanted to quote here-->

    ....
    Description versus reality

    Before entering into discussions of specific rules and principles, I should make a simple distinction which applies to my notes as welle as anyone else’s. One must always keep in mind the diffrence between a description of play and the play otself. For all I will say about rejecting rules, it is still true that we must use them as tools when annonating a game. Thus, for example, there is no substitute for saying something like “and Black stands better because of his two bishops and White’s backward pawn on the open d-file”. One simply has to bear in mind that such a statement has an implied subtext, for example: “ Black stands better because, although there are many cases of two bishops being inferior, this is not one of them, since the knights in this particular position have no useful putposts and White can’t play the pawn-break that might force a transformation of the pawn structure leading to the creation of an outpost )or he could do so, but at the cost of allowing a strong attack againts his king)...” and so forth.
    . . .
    I think that there is a great danger here for the student. He or she will pick up a book of annotated games by some world-class player ans assume from such generali descirpitons that “this is the way the great players think”. In reality, most players are uncomcerned with giving exact descriptions of their thought/processes; it is much easier to characterize a position genrally, with hindsight, and ignore the gory details.”
    ... end of quote

    Those words from Watson's book healed my wounds. I always envied the comments of Gligoric. for example, like "with this move White finishes development, puts more amount of pressure on field f7, gives free post for Rook, and protect his King".
    Everything is perfect.
    When I play, I struggle from to move, and when I try to employ general strategy, I usual overlook a tree in front of my nose.

    In aftermath-analysis with my OTB opponents, I often get irritated by theirs conviction in their comments.
    "I prefer this since my hedgehog position doesn't allow you to come near me!" says one who defetaed me as Black in English opening.
    "And had you played this, I would changed my finachetted bishop your Knight on c3 and played Qa5 and you'r doomed!"

    So confident and with a diabolic smile.And it sounds "skilled", you know.

    When I checked later his moves on my netbook, it turned out he was wrong.
    well, I am waiting for him on next OTB tournament in that position!

    We could have met on Malta Open in November, but after 3 Maltese opens in a row, I passed this one (I couldn't afford it). Maybe next November. I see he took part this year again.
  9. 18 Dec '17 15:43
    A few Christmases ago I asked for an endgame book. I got 200 brilliant endgames by Irving Chernev. I open the book (not knowing what it was) and see this position.



    Not what I expected(or asked for), but I can't say that I was disappointed with the book. It was quite enjoyable.
  10. 19 Dec '17 03:02 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by @64squaresofpain
    Every year people ask me what I want for Christmas,
    and every year I usually just reply "I dunno" because I'm either
    a) happy enough with my life to not want anything additional, or
    b) quite unimaginative and dull [hidden]looking at my games, this is most likely![/hidden]

    However this year my reply has been extended somewhat to:
    "I dunno... h ...[text shortened]... re I've ever seen the first one...

    Anyway, who else is getting a chess book for Christmas?
    With all the chess instructional material on Youtube and massive game databases on the internet, why would you want to own books? Try just using the computer now, going over the moves with your chess set. It's just as effective, and cheaper.
  11. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    19 Dec '17 07:46
    I gave myself "Reti, Move by Move," by Thomas Engqvist. Dunno yet whether the book is any good (Engqvist has published several "NN, Move by Move" books). I love Reti's style, so any book with several of Reti's games annotated will be fun for me.
  12. 19 Dec '17 10:07
    Originally posted by @mchill
    With all the chess instructional material on Youtube and massive game databases on the internet, why would you want to own books? Try just using the computer now, going over the moves with your chess set. It's just as effective, and cheaper.
    Computers tell you how many centipawns one move is worth more than another, but not why, or how you would find it over the board, or how much harder the follow-up to the 'superior' is to find thsn the inferior one.
  13. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    20 Dec '17 17:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @mchill
    With all the chess instructional material on Youtube and massive game databases on the internet, why would you want to own books? Try just using the computer now, going over the moves with your chess set. It's just as effective, and cheaper.
    I use chessbase regularly, and have electronic forms of chess all out of proportion to what I need, but I do not reach the conclusion in this post. There are so many implicit assumptions in it that are questionable that one could start anywhere.

    Nevertheless, I will start with a funny one. During Hurricane Irma here in Florida, my books prevailed because they were immune to power outages as long as I had sunlight, and they never needed recharging. They were also more portable than my computer, and the content came with it's own delivery system, whereas my Gambit, Everyman, and Forward Chess apps all required me to buy a computer, a tablet, or a phone up front.

    At least tablets are OK with stands, but not great. Using a board with a laptop or desktop can be problematic at times.

    In my certainly-disputable opinion, they all have their uses, which is why I use all of them. Other player's results will vary depending on resources, learning styles, entertainment preferences, and a host of other reasons.

    In any event, I think the question is an honest one, and I gave it a thumbs up for adding depth to the discussion!
  14. 20 Dec '17 19:36
    Originally posted by @mchill
    With all the chess instructional material on Youtube and massive game databases on the internet, why would you want to own books? Try just using the computer now, going over the moves with your chess set. It's just as effective, and cheaper.
    Books still have value for the same reason that chess coaches still have value....chess is a skill game that demands understanding and technique, not just memorisation of lines. Some YouTube chess videos are excellent, but many are substandard and missing key or even the most critical lines, etc. Databases are very useful as well but only if you're able to understand why the lines with high winning percentages are winning, and what to do if your opponent, who most likely isn't a superG, varies from theory.

    The value of opening books has definitely been mitigated in the internet age as new theory comes out rapidly and the book may be out of date in some respects before it is even published. However, there is still value in a good opening book as it can explain critical lines and teach an often overlooked these days but vital concept.....UNDERSTANDING. In the old days before the popular internet, you would routinely see guys at the chess clubs with old informants or other such books plastered with handwritten analysis penned all over it such that it looked like the work of a graffiti artist. Yet this was excellent as it was a visceral extension of your own mind and you interacted with it and made it your personal reference that was pertinent to the lines you played. Obviously databases offer much more resources and make it much easier to keep things up to date, but only if the person has the ability to ulitlize those resources effectively. Too many club level players these days can't get beyond the level of class player even with all these wonderful modern resources becasue they never develop the skill of playing chess.
  15. 21 Dec '17 10:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by @unfriendlygiant
    Books still have value for the same reason that chess coaches still have value....chess is a skill game that demands understanding and technique, not just memorisation of lines. Some YouTube chess videos are excellent, but many are substandard and missing key or even the most critical lines, etc. Databases are very useful as well but only if you're ...[text shortened]... with all these wonderful modern resources becasue they never develop the skill of playing chess.
    In the old days before the popular internet, you would routinely see guys at the chess clubs with old informants or other such books plastered with handwritten analysis penned all over it such that it looked like the work of a graffiti artist. Yet this was excellent as it was a visceral extension of your own mind and you interacted with it and made it your personal reference that was pertinent to the lines you played.



    Yes, I know. Back in the 80's and 90's I used to be one of the guy's at the chess club with 2-3 old Informants in my briefcase w/ handwritten analysis in them, I even used a 3X5 card box to keep game collections of openings I favored. They helped, up to a point, but study as I may, my rating was roughly the same as it is now. Maybe I'm just too cheap to open up my wallet.