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  1. Standard member iru
    24 Nov '11 11:05
    Since chess became my main hobby few years ago searching for the right way to study was just as interesting as playing the game itself. I've tried many different methods and approaches, Chessbase products, videos etc. and understood that nothing works better for me than old good chess book. But not just a book alone – you need 3 components:
    1) a book
    2) an accompanying PGN file
    3) a chess software. I used Arena for many years, now switched to Aquarium and like it a lot.

    The idea is that any book example is first opened in the software from PGN file. If it is a master game or example of strategy I will go through it trying to guess every move. Then I'll play against an engine in some critical positions. If it is tactics or endgame position I'll play against an engine right away trying to achieve the desired result. Only then will I read the book section relative to this example. As all the variations are still fresh in my head the book comments will usually sink right in. I've dubbed this "active learning" and found it to be much more effective than just reading through the book – too many times moving pieces on the board while trying to follow book comments and variations at same time would turn for into something mechanical and dumb.

    The main problem however is that you have to have PGN file for a book. Some PGN/CBH files can be found on the web. For other books I had to prepare them myself and it's very time-consuming. I wonder why such files couldn't be made available by book publishers. I mean nowadays every chess book author prepares and checks all the examples on computer. That means they already exist as game collection – why not to make them available for download on publisher's web site? I mean raw PGN/CBH without comments – like this nobody will be tempted to download and use them without buying the book.
  2. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    24 Nov '11 16:50
    I did the pgns first, and only then started training them against engine while reading about it too. but it is very tedious to input the huge pgns, easy to lose interest. then again, when you'll want to brush up on the material, it's pretty much simply a matter of playing through the training positions again, which kinda doesn't even feel like studying anymore but more like playing blitz for fun.

    it's a lot of work, but the things you learn become rock solid. I kinda suspect the laborous pgn construction might actually be important part of the process. when things get easy, it's hard to have the right attitude.
  3. Standard member iru
    24 Nov '11 18:19 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I did the pgns first, and only then started training them against engine while reading about it too. but it is very tedious to input the huge pgns, easy to lose interest. then again, when you'll want to brush up on the material, it's pretty much simply a matter of playing through the training positions again, which kinda doesn't even feel like studying anym important part of the process. when things get easy, it's hard to have the right attitude.
    I fully agree - making those pgns manually is very tedious. Fortunately there are enthusiasts who do it and many of those files are shared on the web. What I don't understand – why book publishers don't do it. For example in software books it's a common place to have source code of examples available for free download. I think to write about this to Gambit and New in Chess (2 my favorite ones) to see what they have to say.

    As for the rock solid learning and possibility to repeat training again and again – those are 2 exact reasons why I stick to this method.
  4. 25 Nov '11 01:22 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by iru
    Since chess became my main hobby few years ago searching for the right way to study was just as interesting as playing the game itself. I've tried many different methods and approaches, Chessbase products, videos etc. and understood that nothing works better for me than old good chess book. But not just a book alone – you need 3 components:
    1) a book
    2) an acc ts – like this nobody will be tempted to download and use them without buying the book.
    I have found that the more i study chess, the more cluttered my mind becomes and i
    say this in sincerity as someone who has diligently studied chess for a number of
    years. Now i have resolved to using no opening books, no data bases and no theory
    and i cannot tell you how liberating this has been. I have a set of principles which
    govern each and every position and from these i try to discern the best move
    according to the particular dynamics of the position.
  5. Standard member TimmyBx
    TacticsTime.com
    25 Nov '11 02:07
    There is a large collection at http://www.gambitchess.com/index2.htm

    some need a password, which is qcIG7@3wmFt
  6. Standard member iru
    25 Nov '11 06:33
    Originally posted by TimmyBx
    There is a large collection at http://www.gambitchess.com/index2.htm

    some need a password, which is qcIG7@3wmFt
    Thank you. I know this one and it is very useful. However lots of books are not there and in my opinion those are book publishers who have to make PGNs available.