Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Subscriber duecer
    anybody seen my
    03 Aug '07 15:16
    After reading numerous blogs and threads, I see some people are convinced that the only way to become a good p[layer is by reading books, and memorizing the opening moves of grand masters.

    Is there antone out there who has become a decent player without reading a book? I've never read one, and I flirt with round with a 1300 rating (not decent).
  2. 03 Aug '07 15:33
    I don't think books are absolutely necessary. You could buy a bunch of DVDs and take lessons from a chess instructor. It's just that for most people, books are a convenient and inexpensive way to learn chess.

    I think I remember reading an interview with Hikaru Nakamura in which he said that he hasn't read many chess books. But he might be the exception to the rule.
  3. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    03 Aug '07 15:36
    Originally posted by duecer
    After reading numerous blogs and threads, I see some people are convinced that the only way to become a good p[layer is by reading books, and memorizing the opening moves of grand masters.

    Is there antone out there who has become a decent player without reading a book? I've never read one, and I flirt with round with a 1300 rating (not decent).
    Yes, it is possible, there's someone at my chess club who plays quite well without the benefit of ever having read a chess book. Books can actually be quite damaging as you can end up thinking pedantically - your opponent makes some move which doesn't fit with your book learnt conception of how to open a game and you try to punish it, when the move is perfectly reasonable, and can end up losing without really understanding why. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy a book, they can help as well, but they don't represent a short cut. The best way to improve at chess is to play stronger players.
  4. 03 Aug '07 15:57 / 1 edit
    The commerce naturally has an interest in making you belive you need books to become a better player. But, I have a friend who hit 2000 without really studying any books, for example.

    Becoming a master is of course a different matter.. at that point, I am convinced you need books. There are many positions where you simply do not have time to figure out the truth about them over the board in a comptetion. This is something an IM told me once, and he displayed one of those concepts for me.

    For the regular player, I think books can accelerate learning. I, for one, learned most what I know from books. Another great source is of course other players. Being in a club, speaking, chatting, relaxing, socializaing and playing with other players will also make you stronger, if you have an interest in chess.
  5. 03 Aug '07 16:12
    I'll probably get criticized for this, but I believe getting a big-oh book on openings is a good idea. Beginners don't have a clue about what to do with their pieces at the start of a game. DO NOT try to memorize openings 10 moves deep, just familiarize yourself with the first few moves of a good cross section of popular openings. and know what a Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, etc., look like.
    And get a book or two on tactics, strategy, and end game study. Know how to draw with king versus king-pawn, create a passed pawn, yada-yada-yada. There are books which give you easy, simple tips on what to do in situations that take forever to figure out by yourself OTB, if you figure them out at all.
    Then play A LOT. Fast games, long games, games against weaker players, games against stronger players.
  6. 03 Aug '07 16:18
    Of course you need books!

    You don't need books on the opening, those CAN be damaging. But how else are you going to learn basic endgame stuff and Middlegame strategy? Come up with them on your own?!

    Those people who get to about 2000 without books mainly do it with Tactics but that can only get you to a certain point and you'll lack depth in your games.

    This is a ridiculous thread and you're only fooling people!
  7. 03 Aug '07 16:32
    Originally posted by MoneyMaker7
    ...But how else are you going to learn basic endgame stuff and Middlegame strategy? Come up with them on your own?!
    1. The internet.
    2. Chess CDs or DVDs.
    3. A chess coach or instructor.
    4. Post-mortem analysis from stonger players.

    Any other ridiculous questions?
  8. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    03 Aug '07 16:40 / 1 edit
    I seriously doubt people study the books seriously enough to give them anything but superficial knowledge, which is almost useless in a real game. at best they'll give you some vague ideas, which you most likely misunderstand. I'll vote 'no' for book knowledge, and a big 'yes' for actual training. books are mostly procrastination and entertainment.

    playing chess is a skill. you can't develop a skill by reading about it.
  9. 03 Aug '07 16:49
    I believe chess books are a great learning aid. However, I also believe that after about 1500, just playing alone isn't enough.
  10. 03 Aug '07 16:50 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by Mad Rook
    I think I remember reading an interview with Hikaru Nakamura in which he said that he hasn't read many chess books. But he might be the exception to the rule.
    Nakamura's stepfather is Sunil Weeramantry, a FIDE master and famous chess coach. So I'm sure he had no problem getting endless hours of free, high quality, one on one coaching.

    For those of us who are less fortunate, I think chess books can be a valuable resource.

    On the other hand, just because you might happen to have a book about chess in your possession doesn't automatically mean you're going to get better. Obviously, the better the book and the more time and effort you put in to making the best use out of it, the more you'll get out of it.

    One good way of reading any chess book is to cover up each move in the book, decide what move you'd make and why, and only then look at the move given in the book. Unless you're a grandmaster, your moves will differ from what's in the book more often than not. So, when they do, try to figure out why. If you've chosen a book appropriate to your level, it will explain or at least provide a variation for many of the moves you missed. But if it doesn't, and after thinking about the move for a while, you still don't understand why it was made, make a note of it and ask a stronger player when you get the chance. Or put the position in to a computer, try your move instead of the text move, and see what happens.

    Anyway, speaking of Sunil Weeramantry, I can recommend a book of his called "Best Lessons of a Chess Coach". It's written in a very accessible manner, with lots of commentary on each move, in the style of Chernev's "Logical Chess Move by Move" and Nunn's "Understanding Chess Move by Move", though Weeramantry's book is probably too advanced for a 1300 player. Starting with Chernev's book is probably a better idea.
  11. 03 Aug '07 16:51
    Originally posted by duecer
    After reading numerous blogs and threads, I see some people are convinced that the only way to become a good p[layer is by reading books, and memorizing the opening moves of grand masters.

    Is there antone out there who has become a decent player without reading a book? I've never read one, and I flirt with round with a 1300 rating (not decent).
    No you don't. Ask Nakamura....my favorite line was when asked who his favorite player of the past he likes to study, he said none, it was useless going over old games. Also, Lasker said "I never read a chess book until I was a master." It's all about hard work imo.
  12. 03 Aug '07 16:54
    Originally posted by synesis
    Nakamura's stepfather is Sunil Weeramantry, a FIDE master and famous chess coach. So I'm sure he had no problem getting endless hours of free, high quality, one on one coaching.
    Yep, I did know that. I just didn't think to mention it.
  13. 03 Aug '07 16:55
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I seriously doubt people study the books seriously enough to give them anything but superficial knowledge, which is almost useless in a real game. at best they'll give you some vague ideas, which you most likely misunderstand. I'll vote 'no' for book knowledge, and a big 'yes' for actual training. books are mostly procrastination and entertainment.

    playing chess is a skill. you can't develop a skill by reading about it.
    I'm sorry, but I must disagree, chess is a skill, but you certainly can improve by reading (studying) about it.
    I had a person at the club who thought he was GOOD, because he had a luke-warm 1600 FIDE rating, we got into a endgame, my king against his king + pawn. I had just read Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals where he spells out the drawing technique, and this so-called experienced player could not believe that i had a drawing resource. We played the position back three or four times, until I finally said "HEY...Chess Fundamentals, by Capa, it's a draw".
    He was a jerk.
  14. 03 Aug '07 17:54
    Unless a person is a prodigy with an unexplained natural ability for the game (like Capa or Reshevsky) you have to have learned what you know from some source. Ideally from a player with the ability to teach. If nobody is available to give you instruction or answer your questions then books are the next best choice. Like anything else they have to be studied. Most people read or skim through a book playing over the examples and convince themselves they are studying. Sam the Sham didn’t just “know” it was a draw…he learned it by actually studying the examples.
  15. 03 Aug '07 18:04
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I seriously doubt people study the books seriously enough to give them anything but superficial knowledge, which is almost useless in a real game. at best they'll give you some vague ideas, which you most likely misunderstand. I'll vote 'no' for book knowledge, and a big 'yes' for actual training. books are mostly procrastination and entertainment.

    playing chess is a skill. you can't develop a skill by reading about it.
    That is the most noobish post I've ever seen.