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  1. 18 Jun '10 01:54
    I saw a book called "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman. Is it worth getting? I think it was written in '97.
  2. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    18 Jun '10 02:37
    I read the first edition and the second edition. I think they are great.
  3. 18 Jun '10 02:45
    Originally posted by Porky1016
    I saw a book called "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman. Is it worth getting? I think it was written in '97.
    I think the release of the new 4th edition is scheduled very soon. I hear it's going to be a complete rewrite, which is why it was going to be released in 2007, then 2008, etc.

    A lot of people absolutely love the book. It's gotten good reviews. I haven't read it and probably won't until I reach about 1600 elo (which may never happen), or if I do read it sooner, I won't have expectations of getting much out of it. Just my opinion, I could be out to lunch on this topic.
  4. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    18 Jun '10 02:53
    Originally posted by Mad Rook
    I think the release of the new 4th edition is scheduled very soon. I hear it's going to be a complete rewrite, which is why it was going to be released in 2007, then 2008, etc.

    A lot of people absolutely love the book. It's gotten good reviews. I haven't read it and probably won't until I reach about 1600 elo (which may never happen), or if I do read it ...[text shortened]... ctations of getting much out of it. Just my opinion, I could be out to lunch on this topic.
    The book is based on fundamentals, and I think anyone can read it. Just reading the endgame section alone will raise your rating- and make you rethink how you study chess.

    Paul
  5. Standard member ChessPraxis
    Cowboy From Hell
    18 Jun '10 03:04
    Originally posted by Porky1016
    I saw a book called "How to Reassess Your Chess" by Jeremy Silman. Is it worth getting? I think it was written in '97.
    It is a great book.
  6. Subscriber Pariah325
    Knife Wielder
    18 Jun '10 03:40
    It's a very good book. I got it a while back, along with some other books thrown in at about the same time, and didn't get to reading it start to finish right away. (actually, doing that currently) I've noticed that it helps explain the other books that I have, and master games, etc, that I'm going through. Annotations in game books simply say things about begging for queenside development, etc, and Silman sorta puts the fundamentals into your head of how to analyze a situation and decide on a plan. I wish I would have gone through Reassess Your Chess as soon as I had gotten it, instead of a year and a half later.
  7. 18 Jun '10 04:49
    It's a great book and really helps reinforce the fundamentals. Most of his teaching is focused on in-depth learning about the seven inbalances. I highly recommend also getting the How to Reassess Your Chess workbook. It's a great compliment to the main book and you'll get so much value from the puzzles, games, and analysis that Silman provides.
  8. 18 Jun '10 13:55
    Thanks for the reviews. Sounds like a book and workbook I will be getting.
  9. 18 Jun '10 20:22
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    The book is based on fundamentals, and I think anyone can read it. Just reading the endgame section alone will raise your rating- and make you rethink how you study chess.

    Paul
    I knew that my opinion on the book would be in the extreme minority, but I went ahead and posted anyway. Sometimes I just can't help stirring the pot. 🙂

    I was basing my opinion on what Heisman's Novice Nook columns have said about this book. "Chess Books and Prerequisites", pages 1-2, and "An Improvement Plan", page 9. He's a master and one of the best chess instructors in the U.S. , and he's seen this effect with his own students many times. So I tend to believe him on this topic.

    BTW, for the OP, the first 52 pages of the present 3rd edition are much more basic than the rest of the book. Silman recommends reading these 52 pages first, then reading all of "The Amateur's Mind", then reading the rest of "How to Reassess...". I don't know whether the new edition will maintain the Jekyll-and-Hyde aspect of the old one (first 52 pages versus the rest).

    Regarding the endgame section raising my rating. Yeah, maybe. I didn't say I wouldn't get anything out of the book. Just not much. (The endgame section is within those first easy 52 pages.)
  10. 19 Jun '10 15:22 / 1 edit
    I'm in the minority here, but I don't like Silman's middlegame books. IMO his thinking technique, which is a key teaching in both books, is very unrealistic.

    He says to never look at individual moves until you understand the imbalances in a position, but in my opinion this is just bad advice. You need to be looking at checks, captures, and other short-term possibilities first and foremost. Only once you've checked the position for important moves should you be looking at long-term factors such as a outposts and so on. Your queenside space advantage is irrelevant if you haven't seen your opponent's mate threat.

    Simple Chess by Michael Stean looks like a good alternative. I admit that I haven't read this yet, but will do soon.
  11. 19 Jun '10 15:45
    Originally posted by TacticalJoke
    I'm in the minority here, but I don't like Silman's middlegame books. IMO his thinking technique, which is a key teaching in both books, is very unrealistic.

    He says to never look at individual moves until you understand the imbalances in a position, but in my opinion this is just bad advice. You need to be looking at checks, captures, and other sh ...[text shortened]... n looks like a good alternative. I admit that I haven't read this yet, but will do soon.
    No judgement on Silman's books as I haven't read them but I agree with the rest you said.

    I have discussed Silman's thinking technique with people who read his books and as far as I understand his technique is the same as Purdy's system,whose articles I have read,with the exception that Purdy begins with a scan for tactical threats and only if there are none you employ the 'thinking system'.

    Perhaps use Silman's technique but add a tactics scan.
    But then you could,of course,simply read Purdy 😉

    toet.
  12. 19 Jun '10 16:23 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by toeternitoe
    Perhaps use Silman's technique but add a tactics scan.
    That sounds better, but to me that would still be insufficient. 🙂

    I think individual moves are important even when there are no tactical shots — even in completely 'quiet' positions. Quite often my whole strategy revolves around the fact that I have a key move available (either now or in the future). In such cases, this key move is far more important than the imbalances, and therefore I'd rather look at this move before I look at the imbalances. (Please note, again, that when I say "key move" I'm not talking about a tactical shot — I mean a key 'positional' move.)

    Also, sometimes the *current* imbalances aren't very important. Sometimes it's the imbalances that are about to be created (by individual moves!) which really matter.

    Just in case I'm not clear, I'm not saying that imbalances aren't important — I just think that Silman seriously understates the importance of individual moves, which are often the most important thing on the board, no matter how 'tactical' or 'strategic' the position.

    Regards,
    Tom
  13. 19 Jun '10 16:36
    Originally posted by TacticalJoke
    I'm in the minority here, but I don't like Silman's middlegame books. IMO his thinking technique, which is a key teaching in both books, is very unrealistic.

    He says to never look at individual moves until you understand the imbalances in a position, but in my opinion this is just bad advice. You need to be looking at checks, captures, and other sh ...[text shortened]... n looks like a good alternative. I admit that I haven't read this yet, but will do soon.
    You bring up an interesting point; whether to look at imbalances first or checks, captures, and threats first. If I had to decide, I'd agree with you, but maybe that's just because I'm still a novice player. Maybe Silman/Heisman are assuming (but not explicitly stating) that above-novice players will automatically look for checks-captures-threats almost instantly without even consciously thinking about it. I have no idea whether that's true, but if so, it would explain why Heisman claims that HTRYC is meant for 1650 elo players and not novices who are still dropping pieces.

    As much as Silman's idea of "looking at imbalances first" disturbs me, there must really be something to Silman's books. Heisman thinks both HTRYC and "The Amateur's Mind" (TAM) are great books. And Taylor Kingston wrote a great review of TAM at Chesscafe:

    http://www.chesscafe.com/text/ammind.pdf

    I tell ya, reading a Taylor Kingston review is a real treat for me. Imho, his reviews border on being true works of art.
  14. 19 Jun '10 18:00
    Originally posted by TacticalJoke
    ...Just in case I'm not clear, I'm not saying that imbalances aren't important — I just think that Silman seriously understates the importance of individual moves, which are often the most important thing on the board, no matter how 'tactical' or 'strategic' the position.

    Regards,
    Tom
    I thought this was an interesting point when you first brought it up too, but I didn't want to get the thread too far off topic since I hadn't read Silman's book either. However, since there's been further comment on it...

    I can distinctly remember losing a lot of games (significantly more than usual) when I first started playing "strategically", especially paying attention to pawn structures, for exactly the reason you mention. I stopped paying attention to the tactical part of the game. Within a few months, though, this went away (as thinking strategically became easier and more natural) and I played at a significantly higher level than before after that.

    The thing is, if you want to be a good player, you have to learn how to play positionally/strategically sometime and most players tend to master the tactical part of the game easier and more naturally. You're definitely right about needing to pay attention to the immediate possibilities on the board, too. Its just that, based on its reviews, a lot of people benefit from the way Silman helps get them started thinking more strategicially. And I don't doubt that he oversimplifys it (my interpretation of another criticism). You almost have to do this to get it to make any sense. Strategy is complicated and gets more complicated the more you know.
  15. 19 Jun '10 18:55 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Erekose
    The thing is, if you want to be a good player, you have to learn how to play positionally/strategically sometime and most players tend to master the tactical part of the game easier and more naturally.
    I'm not a Master or anything, but my strategic play is not bad. In fact, strategy has always been the part of chess I found the simplest. It's those pesky little moves I keep overlooking. 🙂

    I don't agree that looking at imbalances before moves is how one learns to play positionally.