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  1. 17 Dec '05 22:54
    Okay, I'm intrigued. I have heard hundreds of book recomendations both in these forums and elsewhere. While many titles appear on these lists regularly it seems "My System" inspires a singular passion among those who recomend it. However, it seems those who don't passionately recommend it don't seem to give it much credit at all. As an example, consider the oppion of respected GM Kevin Spraggett

    http://kevinspraggett.com/Nonimzo.htm

    What's a poor schmoe like me, who has far more books on my wish list (some of which aren't even about chess) than I have time to read, to make of this? If you're one of those who thinks, by not reading "MY System" I'm missing the one chess book that would do more for me than any other tell me why you think so. And if you've read it and think there must be better ways to spend one's limited time, tell me how you thought the book fell short of the hype.
  2. Standard member Ravello
    The Rude©
    17 Dec '05 23:51
    Originally posted by Skorj
    Okay, I'm intrigued. I have heard hundreds of book recomendations both in these forums and elsewhere. While many titles appear on these lists regularly it seems "My System" inspires a singular passion among those who recomend it. However, it seems those who don't passionately recommend it don't seem to give it much credit at all. As an example, consider t ...[text shortened]... tter ways to spend one's limited time, tell me how you thought the book fell short of the hype.
    I've read "MySystem" a couple of times and I find it useful especially for beginners or intermediste who want to have a new perspective about the game,"My System" introduced many new ideas like over-protection, blockade,collective mobility and prophylaxis.
    Yes, all Nimzo's ideas were not accepted by chess theoreticians,but there is no denying that he opened new ways of thinking and his followers proved that the classical theories were not enough to deal with the depth and complexities of the game.
    The first part of the book,which treats the Elements,made me see under a new light all the aspects of the game that I used to neglect or to overlook before,especially the blockade,pawns chains and king's mobility/centralization in endgame.
    It may sound like a book with many obvious basic ideas,and it really has many,but the way Nimzo treats them and shows the practice of his ideas in games is unique and great at the same time.
    also the second part of the book,positional play,is very helpful because it shows easily how to put together all the notions taught in the previous section about the elements.
    Apart the mere contents of the book,I have to say that I enjoy the style of Nimzo's writings,with plenty of metaphores which remind the good old times at the beginning of the century,it kinda brings me to that age and that times.
    It's not an easy book however and I re read it and pick it up now and then because everytime I discover sometyhing new or just play out on a little board some of the great games that illustrates his ideas,all played in what was considered the Golden Age of chess.
    Forgive me if I can't make clear all the aspects of the book (I surely neglected a lot) and why I like them and no,it's not a book that makes you go from 1000 to 1900 level by reading it,(there's no book that does it but people always expect something like that from reading a chess book) but I'm sure that everyone who will read it won't say that it was wasted time.
  3. 17 Dec '05 23:53
    Originally posted by Skorj
    Okay, I'm intrigued. I have heard hundreds of book recomendations both in these forums and elsewhere. While many titles appear on these lists regularly it seems "My System" inspires a singular passion among those who recomend it. However, it seems those who don't passionately recommend it don't seem to give it much credit at all. As an example, consider t ...[text shortened]... tter ways to spend one's limited time, tell me how you thought the book fell short of the hype.
    Nimzovich is a charismatic cult figure so he has devotees to his books. I read it a long time ago and I think his overemphasis on "overprotection" and positional play notions dulls one's chess development. I do not like his book.
  4. Standard member Ravello
    The Rude©
    18 Dec '05 00:14
    I'm not impartial,but just took a look at the link you gave with the book review from the guy.........

    1)it's a pity that this GM criticizes so much Nimzo but he's not able to spell correctly his name
    2) the GM says that it's hard to find games in the book that follow Nimzo's ideas from move 1 t the end.
    Now I wonder if he ever read the book.
    3)He says his book is full of tactical oversights and bad judgements.......I wonder why Capablanca and such players lost to that "tactical ovesights"
    4)The GM says at the end that the nices games Nimzo won were because of poor play of his opponents.Crap.
    Like saying that Tal won his games because his opponents were not playing at their best.
    5)Last but not the least at th end of the column there's the worst insult for a guy like Nimzowitsch :"In those days, when he wrote, the idea was to raise fan money for a world championship purse"
    Apart that in 1910 there wasn't such a business about chess books nor there were the possibilities to make it a business,in the midst of the two worls wars,Nimzo always scorned fame,money and such things,(he died alone and poor in Copenaghen),he wrote the book to give the chess world new ideas and at the beginning he was scorned himself and looked as ridicule from his contemporaies before they accepted universally his new and revolutionary ideas after his death.

    What can I say......the guy who wrote that article is a GM but even a prevented ass against Nimzowitsch,that's sure,if not I can't explain all the amount of lies the guy wrote in that column.
    This is the first time I read something so critique about nimzo's great work.
    Every great player says that My System can't be missed in a chess player's library,go figure.......
  5. Standard member Ravello
    The Rude©
    18 Dec '05 00:18
    Originally posted by Regicidal
    Nimzovich is a charismatic cult figure so he has devotees to his books. I read it a long time ago and I think his overemphasis on "overprotection" and positional play notions dulls one's chess development. I do not like his book.
    Well,like every idea, you can't apply overprotection always and everytime,one should be able to see on his own if the position allows that or if another kind of play is needed.
    Plus the pieces are not neglecting development if they are attacking or defending crucial points on the board,it's a contradiction in terms.
  6. 18 Dec '05 00:22
    Originally posted by Ravello
    I've read "MySystem" a couple of times and I find it useful especially for beginners or intermediste who want to have a new perspective about the game,"My System" introduced many new ideas like over-protection, blockade,collective mobility and prophylaxis.
    Yes, all Nimzo's ideas were not accepted by chess theoreticians,but there is no denying that he ...[text shortened]... ss book) but [b]I'm sure that everyone who will read it won't say that it was wasted time.
    [/b]
    Okay, so what do you think of it as a book recommended to beginners. While I'm beyond that stage mayself, I have heard this book recommended more than once to those asking what chess book they should start with. I would tend to think, for example, that the value of thinking beyond classical theory would be lost on those who haven't yet grasped classical theory. Where would you put it in the reading order?

    P.S. If my friends read dry opening books they never tell me. They just spring new opening on me.
  7. Standard member Ravello
    The Rude©
    18 Dec '05 00:30
    In a reading order I'd surely put it as one of the first books to read but not the first in absolute.
    A beginner who just started playing chess would find it a bit difficult but when you get confident with the game and want new ideas and inputs for your game this is indeed a good one to pick up.

    To the ones who don't know,In defence (if it needs) of this milestone of chess literature I would like to point out that this book was written at the beginning of 1900 when there was no mass media,no computer to analyze but only your own mind.
    For this very reason I think it's one of the best chess books ever written, fortunately I'm not the only one to think so,if not we wouldn't be discussing here.
  8. 18 Dec '05 01:24
    Originally posted by Ravello
    ...This is the first time I read something so critique about nimzo's great work.
    Every great player says that My System can't be missed in a chess player's library,go figure.......
    Again, I'm not siding as I'm in no position to, but the link I refer to is only one of the oppinions I have heard that range from less than enthusiastic on down. Yes, this is probably the most critical, but the oppinion is fully laid out and at the very least you can't argue it's not informed. Nothing else Spragget writes about gives me the impression that he's prone to platitudes or goes around with a chip on his shoulder (sure he doesn't like Reinfeld either, who does?).
    On the other hand, the common wisdom seems to be that to reach master level in this day and age you must incorporate both classical and hypermodern ideas into your play. Any GM should at least have an appreciation of the contribution of Nimzowich and his peers, even if they aren't followers. A hack such as myself is a long way from reaching the limits of the classical approach. As I intend to go on occupying the centre with pawns and such I have never considered it important to read the works of the hypermodernists like Nimzowich, at least not with so much else out there I want to get to.

    P.S.
    From what I can glean both "Nimzowich" and "Nimzovich" are accepted spellings, as is "Niemzowitsch"
  9. 18 Dec '05 01:47
    Originally posted by Sicilian Smaug
    Cant be said enough 'Reassess your chess' by Jeremy Silman is a great book, my first chess book ive bought and there may be better ones out there, but from what ive seen so far, looks like it takes some beating.
    The first chess book you read I take it. This is another book I've heard recommended to rank beginners and my thought has always been that you need to have chess before you can reassess it. Had you achieved any particular level of playing strength beofe you read it? I read "The Amatuer's Mind" about a year ago. The idea is the same as "Reassess", which I haven't gotten to yet. It was a wonderful book which takes pretty much the same approach. However, I'm glad it wasn't my first chess book and it's my understanding that "Reassess" is geared towards somewhat stronger players still. While an expanded version of "The Amatuer's Mind" must indeed be a great book, but I can't see how making it anyone's first book makes sense unless they have become a reasonably competent player without reading books.
    Likewise, I started reading "The Art of Attack in Chess" but decided to leave it until I had gained a bit more playing strength, when I would probably get more out of it. I've heard this one recommended as a second or third book elsewhere.
  10. Standard member Ravello
    The Rude©
    18 Dec '05 02:00 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Skorj

    P.S.
    From what I can glean both "Nimzowich" and "Nimzovich" are accepted spellings, as is "Niemzowitsch"
    Maybe I'm a purist but I believe that the crippling of a name is a bit disrespectful,his name was Nimzowitsch and so it should remain,I guess the semplification of the name came over decades for pure laziness about writing the name correctly.
    It was in his doom however:after the first world war ,when he came to the west,authorities wrote his name wrong and omitted the "e" of Niemzowitsch on his passport,so it became Nimzowitsch.

    By the way you have to agree that Fisher is not the same as Fischer,Spasski is not the same as Spasskij.......for this reason I don't understand why names are crippled that way.
  11. 18 Dec '05 12:52
    Originally posted by Ravello
    ...It's not an easy book however and I re read it and pick it up now and then because everytime I discover something new or just play out on a little board some of the great games that illustrates his ideas...[/b]
    I don't know if you have the "21st Century Edition" of "My System", but in this version, the Introduction is from Yasser Seirawan...

    Yasser says that when he first read the book (as a teenager), he took issue with just about everything Nimzo wrote...but in this, he had been tricked... Nimzo had induced him to THINK about these ideas: Right or wrong, it didn't matter...the fact that Yasser was forced to prove or refute the ideas got him thinking in a manner that was not expected...

    And after a few years, he picked it up, read it again, and everything pretty much fell into place for him...

    I think your experience is not unique at all. Perhaps a relative beginner could go through the book, but not dwell on it too much, and then re-read it later, after they've played for a while and gained some practical knowledge.
  12. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    18 Dec '05 13:36 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Ravello
    By the way you have to agree that Fisher is not the same as Fischer,Spasski is not the same as Spasskij.......for this reason I don't understand why names are crippled that way.
    the issue is 'transliteration' and 'transcription', which means a set of rules about converting between different writing systems. cyrillic words converted into latin alphabet do not correspond 100%. nor do any other writing systems. that's why you have to approximate. I couldn't write my name here because only scandinavian people would see all the letters. mainly å ä and ö which you probably see as garbage. it's not about fonts, it's about writing systems. in russian they have for example 7 different kind of 's'. english has 2 I think (s and z).

    furthermore there are several transliterations, both national and international. that's why you see russian names written differently depending on source. chinese names vary even more because they don't have an alphabet.

    fisher/fischer is an error though, the name being in latin to start with...