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

Only Chess Forum

  1. 20 Jul '11 05:09
    What did you get out of the book? How did you approach reading the book?

    thanks
  2. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    20 Jul '11 07:31
    Originally posted by vishyanand
    What did you get out of the book? How did you approach reading the book?

    thanks
    Yes, I have read the book, loaned it to a friend, then released it into the universe along with a large number of other chess books that I felt unnecessary to keep.

    Without attempting a full on review I would say the book is an easy read. It explains how masters have developed what are regarded as positional themes through the twentieth century. It was clearly written with straightforward examples. He looks at the exchange sacrifice, isolated queens pawns, and how masters have explored and developed some opening variations. His explanations regarding the need to keep a certain number of minor pieces on the board if you have an IQP were useful to me as I had not read this anywhere else before, or so clearly put, and my repertoire against the Nimzo and QGA often went that way.

    As always you learn more if you play out the examples rather than just read the text but now that I have reached the age where it is much easier to forget things than remember I cannot be sure how much else from the book has stuck.

    Underlying the whole book is the idea that concrete variations trump positional themes, dynamic advantages trump static ones, and that opening ideas are developed tactically to circumvent defences developed by opponents. Thus the Na6's, Nh5's and so on are brought into play once all the "normal" moves have been tried.

    This is summarized in his notions of "rule independence" or something like that, where players have stopped blindly following the positional rules of the 1920s.

    What he doesn't say, and what I think is now the case looking at the modern game at top level OTB and ICCF correspondence, is that modern players spend an awful lot of time using computer engines to help justify tactically almost any move that carries a much higher "strategical risk" than say Tarrasch or Nimzovitch would have taken, and which the OTB player has to prepare, memorize and take into the tournament hall.
  3. 24 Jul '11 21:19
    I've heard a lot of lower-rated folks that's its hard for weaker players to get a lot out of. I suspect this may be true for players who aren't very familiar with positional play in general, and Nimzovich's principles in particular, because Watson's book is sort of an extension of these.

    Watson's book as kind of a collections of exceptions to the conventional wisdom. Its very interesting if you know the "conventional wisdom", but I suspect you have a rather tough time figuring out what he's talking about if you don't.
  4. 24 Jul '11 21:45
    Its similar to my system
  5. 24 Jul '11 22:45
    Reading these 'advanced' books can screw up weaker players
    who have been convinced and ill advised that there is more to chess
    than what there actually is.

    By coincidence I was talking to an OTB 1200 player today who played
    in a recent under 1400 tournament.
    I saw his game and in this position (he was White.)


    He did not play 9.Nxe4 when he has Nxf7+ and if he wants Nxc6+?

    "Why?" I asked.

    These were his exact words.

    "I've been reading my Nimzovitch and thought it was more important to double his pawns."

    The game went 9.Bg5 Bd6 10.h3 h6 11.Bxf6+ gxf6


    if anything I prefer Black. (the game was drawn).

    Then he adds, "My allegro grade is 300 points better than my normal grade."

    Conclussion:
    If he just played basic chess as he appears to be doing in his allegro games,
    (and did not stop to think about these 'so called mysterious concepts.'
    then he would score more wins.

    The full game in question is here.

    http://rs7.blueapricot.com/scottish/2011/minorb/tfd.htm

    Look at Burns v Duff 2nd from the bottom.
  6. 24 Jul '11 23:04
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Reading these 'advanced' books can screw up weaker players
    who have been convinced and ill advised that there is more to chess
    than what there actually is.

    ...
    Yeah - when I was in the range of 12-15 years old, I noticed that my results went down as I tried to incorporate more positional play in my chess. It seems I would concentrate so much on the positional part of the game, I'd overlook obvious tactics. And probably I wasn't making as good as "positional" choices as I thought, too.

    In the end, all that stuff helped me become a much better player, but it took a while to actually integrate into my game.
  7. 25 Jul '11 05:14
    it's not an instructional book. watson explicitly says so somewhere in the book.
    the book is a kind of status on how Nimzowitsch's thoughts fare in the modern era of chess. with a lot of examples from modern master games.

    I read it like an ordinary book and found it highly entertaining. I'm not sure it has helped my chess and if it has I'm not able to pinpoint where or how.
  8. Donation ketchuplover
    G.O.A.T.
    25 Jul '11 09:49
    Perhaps ye hath learnt via osmosis.
  9. 25 Jul '11 21:58
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Reading these 'advanced' books can screw up weaker players
    who have been convinced and ill advised that there is more to chess
    than what there actually is.

    By coincidence I was talking to an OTB 1200 player today who played
    in a recent under 1400 tournament.
    I saw his game and in this position (he was White.)

    [fen]r1bk1b1r/2p2ppp/p1p2n2/4p3/4P ...[text shortened]... apricot.com/scottish/2011/minorb/tfd.htm

    Look at Burns v Duff 2nd from the bottom.
    His problem is not understanding the point of doubling somebody's pawns. Its all about weakness... you take time to double your opponents pawns if you can attack them. If he went about it this way he would have realized that e5,f7 and c6 were THE attackable weak points which he actually helped strengthen by trying to double pawns. When I look at the board I think "Where can I infiltrate" if I can't find an available "infiltratio zone" I try to figure out where to create one. I keep in mind bad pieces and doubled, isolated, weak pawns as the tools to create or recognize "infiltration zones"

    I'm not the strongest player in the world(my main problem being tunnel vision which causes tons and tons of missed tactics that I could easily have spotted if I wasn't such a dunderhead) but I believe I have a fairly firm grip of positional ideas.