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  1. 12 Dec '10 23:08 / 1 edit
    Hello,

    I have been looking around the forum a lot and found many very exciting threads - also concerning the topic 'which book to buy'. So I hope not to bore you with this and to get some reasonable answers (this forum needs a 'best of' thread...).

    Given a player, who has never a) owned nor b) looked into a book of chess nor c) played in a chess club:

    Which book would you advise to get? The level of the book should not play a role, rather it should be known to you as either a classic, a must-have, an old-always neglected-yet-intriguing one or all in one. It may well be one among many and as such a start of a collection of always readable chess books.

    One of the books, that you would keep for life...

    Or to phrase it like this: which book would you have liked to read first, before all others (given you know the very basics of chess)? And, because I am interested, why? Which games of yours do you not like and is that, because you too often follow this route of playing?

    Thanks in advance for your answer,
    T.
  2. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    13 Dec '10 01:44
    my best advice would be: read as few books as you possibly can. most of it is just wasted time you could've been actually training. books are only a distraction most of the time. procrastination.
  3. Subscriber Pariah325
    Knife Wielder
    13 Dec '10 01:52
    Wormwood,
    Would you be kind enough to define "training" for us, please? I've read a ton of your posts over the last year or two, and if I recall you swear by tactics, but is there more to 'training?'
    Thank you,
    P
  4. 13 Dec '10 02:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by wormwood
    my best advice would be: read as few books as you possibly can. most of it is just wasted time you could've been actually training. books are only a distraction most of the time. procrastination.
    completely disagree. Unless of course you mean don't read any books-as in looking over moves without putting any actual effort into analysis of positions etc.

    The right book for the right person at the right time is really what is needed. Some books are great- but horrible for certain people. Some books are not very good but can be very beneficial to certain people(hopefully you don't waste too much money on the book though).

    I have a ton of books which have gathered throughout the years and even the ones that aren't particularly that good or directed to my level have benefited me- by critically going through a book and trying to understand the points which the author sometimes seem to think is self evident or just plain ignores.

    I have many times spent over an hour and a half on one position which the author stated was "clearly winning" but it definitely wasn't immediately clear. A lot of those cases tend to be great practical tactical lessons. I must admit that this type of thing is much harder to do at your level(if at all)- you would probably need to ask questions on message boards like these. Sorry for the rant-hopefully you took away something from this or at least see a different perspective.


    Oh and one last thing. Only buy ONE book. Until you finish working with it don't buy another. That is probably my one thing I would do over. NOw I have so many books that I have partially gone over and with a whole lot of choices it is hard to keep to my study plan.
  5. 13 Dec '10 02:23
    I'm in with WW, there are a load of books I've read looking for 'The Secret'.

    Play as often as possible, you will get better.
    Join a club, listen to the good guys, ask questions.

    No regrets about books that I have read. Would do it all again.
    (Hmmm...would like to have not have wasted so much time cramming my
    head full of openings variations that I have never seen OTB.)
  6. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    13 Dec '10 02:34
    Aaron Nimzowitsch - My System is probably the most read book in chess. There isn't a grandmaster alive who hasn't read it, or encountered the principles expressed in it in other books. It's not perfect (it's nearly 100 years old) but it is excellent from a 'first book' point of view. It is probably the standard that other books are judged on. There may be 'better' more recent titles, but i haven't read those so i can't comment. I highly recommend it! 🙂
  7. Subscriber Pariah325
    Knife Wielder
    13 Dec '10 02:45
    To answer the original question, I'd go back and go through Chess Openings for White and Black (2 books) first. When I first joined RHP, I didn't know which piece was my queen vs my king, or anything at all. A little bit of opening knowledge would have been good, I think, instead of falling for mistake after mistake because I didn't know what I was doing. Then again, maybe that's a better way to learn, anyway.
    P
  8. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    13 Dec '10 02:52
    Originally posted by Pariah325
    Wormwood,
    Would you be kind enough to define "training" for us, please? I've read a ton of your posts over the last year or two, and if I recall you swear by tactics, but is there more to 'training?'
    Thank you,
    P
    anything you're trying to learn, put it on a board and get those pieces working for their living. be that openings, tactics, basic endgames, analyzing or whatever. not one bit of what you've read will stick for more than a week or two. and when one day you'll find yourself in those positions, you'll vaguely remember: "hmm... I think I once read something about this..."

    it all needs to get ground into your backbone by repetition, or it won't stick. 2d or 3d board, doesn't really matter which (although gp will disagree on that), the important thing is to let your brain see & go through those lines over & over again. things need to get internalized, just like playing a guitar, a foreign language, a videogame, drawing, any type of complex skill. reading just isn't enough.
  9. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    13 Dec '10 03:04
    Originally posted by erikido
    completely disagree. Unless of course you mean don't read any books-as in looking over moves without putting any actual effort into analysis of positions etc.
    yeah, exactly. if you'll take every position from the book, and work on them on a board until you know them inside out, it'll be 100% guaranteed beneficial.

    the problem is NOBODY does that. nobody. if you'll study one single book thoroughly like that, you've done more work than 99.99% of us. we just get more and more books, and hardly even read them more than 1 or 2 chapters, let alone train them. it's like listening to a song on a cd, but NOT going through the pain of slowly learning it with a guitar. then going to a concert and expecting to be able to play jimi hendrix songs just because you've listened to them from a cd.
  10. 13 Dec '10 03:21 / 3 edits
    i suggest, School of elementary tactics by Martin Weteschnik (in German originally i believe, English translation is a little rough), a thoroughly fantastic book which shall increase ones tactical vision. Add to this practice sessions on say chesstempo.com and a positional understanding with say, Simple chess by Michael Stein, a repertoire book to take care of your openings while you develop your own style, say, attacking with 1.e4 by John Emms and your well on your way, and auto/biographical games collections to keep you entertained, Tigran Petrosians, his life and games, Masters of the chessboard- Reti, my great predecessors - Kasparov, any Book on Tal or Bronstein, don't go near opening books, they really are a waste of time.
  11. 13 Dec '10 04:20
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    i suggest, School of elementary tactics by Martin Weteschnik (in German originally i believe, English translation is a little rough), a thoroughly fantastic book which shall increase ones tactical vision. Add to this practice sessions on say chesstempo.com and a positional understanding with say, Simple chess by Michael Stein,****** a repertoire boo ...[text shortened]... or Bronstein, ********don't go near opening books, they really are a waste of time***********.
    Look at the quotes inside the stars and rethink your position
  12. 13 Dec '10 04:23
    Originally posted by wormwood
    yeah, exactly. if you'll take every position from the book, and work on them on a board until you know them inside out, it'll be 100% guaranteed beneficial.

    the problem is NOBODY does that. nobody. if you'll study one single book thoroughly like that, you've done more work than 99.99% of us. we just get more and more books, and hardly even read them more ...[text shortened]... ting to be able to play jimi hendrix songs just because you've listened to them from a cd.
    Okay, makes sense. Nowadays(when I actually have the energy)when I want to work on "openings" I pick an opening book and a specific line where white is +/- or +/= (and my initial reaction is something to the effect of wanting to curse the author)or whatever I go through and figure out plans and why they work or don't work or why I don't understand why they don't work.
  13. 13 Dec '10 04:33 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by erikido
    Look at the quotes inside the stars and rethink your position
    nope, i need to rethink nothing, why are opening books a waste of time, i shall tell you, because once our opponent diverges from a particular line, we are lost, much better is to learn the corresponding strategies associated with the pawn formations arising out of various opening systems. Opening books will not make you a better chess player, because once you reach the middle and end game, you will likely have made a positional/strategic or tactical error that will cost you the match. The hare got off to a great start but ended up losing the race, thus, if you spend time on end and middle game aspects, as the game progresses you are heading towards your comfort zone, not freaking out cause you don't know anything about endings having spent all your time on the latest, how to win with..., or secrets of grandmaster chess volume three squillion.
  14. 13 Dec '10 04:39 / 1 edit
    Books should be used religiously for beginners when learning basic principles -- I can't quantify the number of mistakes Yasser Seirawan saved me.

    Once the principles are in hand, I think everyone's mileage is going to vary as far as what techniques work best, but tactical puzzles and actual gameplay should be high priorities.
  15. 13 Dec '10 04:40
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    nope, i need to rethink nothing, why are opening books a waste of time, i shall tell you, because once our opponent diverges from a particular line, we are lost, much better is to learn the corresponding strategies associated with the pawn formations arising out of various opening systems. Opening books will not make you a better chess player, becau ...[text shortened]... time on the latest, how to win with..., or secrets of grandmaster chess volume three squillion.
    Look deep inside the stars...like where YOU say get yourself a good repertoire book. Maybe you think a repertoire book has nothing to do with openings?!