I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:32 pm

Simon Dixon wrote:I would say avoid anything with Keene's name on it.
Bad advice. Much of RDK's earlier work is still very much worth a read.

Simon Dixon wrote: The more knowledge you have, it will only serve to show how bad you are playing anyway
That, on the other hand, I think is absolutely true!

Simon Dixon
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Simon Dixon » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:54 pm

Bad advice. Much of RDK's earlier work is still very much worth a read.

Every cloud eh, what earlier work? The books I have seen by Keene were not much use for learning, he is more of a story teller than instructor.

Arshad Ali
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Arshad Ali » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:02 pm

Simon Dixon wrote:Avoid books that have not been written by GM's if you can.
Mark Dvoretsky is only an IM, as is Jeremy Silman.
The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, good, if you can follow it. Takes a long time to play through all the moves to understand it.
If you mean Fine's book, it was meant to be used in conjunction with the 6th edition of Modern Chess Openings, though it can be read on a stand-alone basis (the 6th ed. is a bit of a collector's item).
Silmans books are not to shabby,...
That is putting it mildly. His 4th edition of Reassess Your Chess is a contemporary masterpiece, as is Silman's Complete Endgame Course.
I would say avoid anything with Keene's name on it.
His book on Nimzowitsch is a work of enduring worth. His book on the flank openings and his books on the Modern and Pirc (co-authored with Botterill in the '70s) have their merits.
The more knowledge you have, it will only serve to show how bad you are playing anyway, ignorance is bliss.
It might be a mistake to do too much too fast: one is left with a mass of semi-digested material and a cluttered mind. Some reading, some play, and let time perform its alchemical transformation. In my dotage I think the trick is to see how little one can know, and how much one can discard as redundant detail and clutter.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:07 pm

While books are being discussed, can anyone say how good 'Modern Chess Strategy' by Ludek Pachmann is? I saw someone reading this on the train today!

Arshad Ali
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Arshad Ali » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:11 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:While books are being discussed, can anyone say how good 'Modern Chess Strategy' by Ludek Pachmann is? I saw someone reading this on the train today!
The one-volume abridged version, published by Dover or the original -- but hard to find -- three volumes? If the former, give it a miss; if the latter, keep it under lock and key. One of the great classic works on the middlegame, along with Euwe and Kramer's 2-volume work on the middlegame.

Postscript: The three volumes were published as "Complete Chess Strategy," so I suppose you mean the abridged version.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:35 pm

Arshad Ali wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:While books are being discussed, can anyone say how good 'Modern Chess Strategy' by Ludek Pachmann is? I saw someone reading this on the train today!
The one-volume abridged version, published by Dover or the original -- but hard to find -- three volumes? If the former, give it a miss; if the latter, keep it under lock and key. One of the great classic works on the middlegame, along with Euwe and Kramer's 2-volume work on the middlegame.

Postscript: The three volumes were published as "Complete Chess Strategy," so I suppose you mean the abridged version.
Yeah, it had the distinctive Dover cover. When you say "original", you mean still in English? I see volume one was translated by Littlewood. No time to look up the other ones. Various book websites out there claim to have the latter volumes at not too bad prices (but maybe not great condition). Published in 1975, right?

Arshad Ali
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Arshad Ali » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:49 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: Yeah, it had the distinctive Dover cover. When you say "original", you mean still in English? I see volume one was translated by Littlewood. No time to look up the other ones. Various book websites out there claim to have the latter volumes at not too bad prices (but maybe not great condition). Published in 1975, right?
In English. In England it was published by Batsford, cloth-bound. Some time in the '70s. Didn't know John Littlewood translated it. The copious examples drive Pachman's discussion; but in the abridged version so much has been taken out that what Pachman is saying sounds like cliched general bromides. While discussing Pachman his two volumes on chess tactics -- Modern Chess Tactics and Attack and Defence in Modern Chess Tactics might be worth a glance as well. Published in England by Routledge and Kegan Paul (if memory serves).

Geoff Chandler
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Geoff Chandler » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:09 pm

Hi Guy.

Saw my name mentioned somewhere, thought I would chip in.

I see the usual advice has been giving and the usual minor arguments amongst the posters.

This was good.

"Avoid books that have not been written by GM's if you can."

Then says Chernev 'Logical Chess is Ok' (Chernev was not a GM and wrote
two of the best ever chess book. LC and The Most Instructive Games Ever Played.)

(Also as someone else pointed put Mark Dvoretsky is only an IM, as is Jeremy Silman.)

Apparently none GM DVD's are OK as he (quite rightly) praises Andrew Martin's DVD's.
(if you go the DVD way get one on basic tactics.)

For free off the cuff advice I can only back up what Paul McK said.
Though he only mentions the word Tactics 6 times. Multiply that by 10.

At your level it all about jumping on and avoiding blunders and spotting
and playing the two move trick.

This can only be learned from playing, solving tactical puzzles and
playing over short games. Playing is the best way.

I'm open-minded on Keene.
His best stuff is for the more advanced player. His 'How I became GM' is very good.

I never seen him give any duff advice to a beginner and on the whole
his books for this market (the one's I have seen) are OK.

Don't even open that BCO. Sell it on Ebay, some mug will buy it.
It is totally worthless at your level. You want something that will
give you an idea of why you playing a move.

In Passing.

Watch your unprotected pieces.
If you have two unprotected pieces on the board then you
are deep in two move trick territory. (sometimes even having just one is enough.)
A sharp eyed trickster will nick one off you.

Good Luck.

guyhayton
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by guyhayton » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:47 pm

Wow... caused a bit of a stir with my question.

I have just donated the Keene book to the local school. Must finish the Nunn book now!

matt_ward
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by matt_ward » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:08 pm

That is so silly, why on earth would a chess player recommend avoiding anything but GM's books, people seem to always think GM's are the best coaches and authors totally untrue!

Just take a read of Siliman an IM which has done tremendous books.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:19 pm

Simon Dixon wrote:
Bad advice. Much of RDK's earlier work is still very much worth a read.

Every cloud eh, what earlier work? The books I have seen by Keene were not much use for learning, he is more of a story teller than instructor.
The Nimzo book cited earlier is supposed to be very good (although I haven't read it myself so can't confirm). The early reviews (i.e. early 70s) said stuff like "this is clearly a labour of love". Not something that you'd hear about RDK's output recently I'd reckon.

They're 'instants' but his book on the 1977 Korchnoi-Spassky candidates' final and the 1978 Karpov-Korchnoi World Championship match are also well worth a read because he was there. The 1974 Karpov-Korchnoi Candidates' final book with Bill Hartston is also decent but not as good as those first two. The other RDK books on World Championship matches I think can be given a reasonably wide berth.

For theoretical works the Modern and Pirc books are still worth a look. They are very good indeed. I know 40 years old so obviously won't be up to date but these old theory books are often very useful to club players because theory wasn't so deep so they can go broader (see also two excellent Batsford books on the Dutch from the mid 70s for example).

Finally, I'm pretty fond of Becoming a Grandmaster. It is a good book, but it is also rather 'cut and paste-y'. Batsford were desperate to get the first book out by an English Grandmaster and if you know Keene's writings you can see a lot of game notes reused from elsewhere. Good 'discussion' chapters about various topics of the day too.

Oh - and that Flank Openings book as has been mentioned before. Again, old, but still a good buy if you can find it second hand and what to explore these openings.

Oh2 - if you're interested in Olympiads between 1968 and 1974 the books Keene wrote with David Levy are probably an essential read. Not sure how good they are but they're the best primary source.

Anything else after 1978? Well I think I'd approach those with caution.

Colin Patterson
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Colin Patterson » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:10 pm

I'd say,
1. Join chess club. Practice, practice, practice.
2. Follow Andrew Martin's YouTube chess instruction pages - see his topic link on this site.
3. Read Nunn then Chernev then Seirawan (not the Openings one).
4. Supplement with Michael Stean's 'Simple Chess' (a criminally cheap purchase for your next Amazon visit)
5. Download Arena (frontend) and Houdini (engine) from the interweb - free, and all the computer analysis power you'll ever need. Don't play it, just use to analyse where you went wrong in your games and/or study master games using .pgn files.
6. Seek advice from chess club friends over developing an opening repertoire, or try a specialist repertoire book. Don't aimlessly chop and change - make sure you develop some affinity with your chosen systems. Learning a few deeply will be preferable to a more global but superficial knowledge. This can be adjusted later, when you better understand your strengths and weaknesses and favoured style of play.
7. Enter tournaments.

Simon Dixon
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Simon Dixon » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:27 pm

This was good.

"Avoid books that have not been written by GM's if you can."

Then says Chernev 'Logical Chess is Ok' (Chernev was not a GM and wrote
two of the best ever chess book. LC and The Most Instructive Games Ever Played.)

(Also as someone else pointed put Mark Dvoretsky is only an IM, as is Jeremy Silman
.)

I should have added with the exception of classics that have stood the test of time. Most if not all the books written today are rubbish IMO. But in my defence I did say DVD's and software is the way to go these days. CT Art 4.0 etc. :)
If you mean Fine's book, it was meant to be used in conjunction with the 6th edition of Modern Chess Openings, though it can be read on a stand-alone basis (the 6th ed. is a bit of a collector's item).
Yes I meant Fines book, the newer algebraic edition where he uses the Encyclopedia's of Chess Openings, he does not mention the book should be used with an opening manual, but hey, you can do that if you like.

Arshad Ali
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Arshad Ali » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:48 pm

Simon Dixon wrote:Yes I meant Fines book, the newer algebraic edition where he uses the Encyclopedia's of Chess Openings, he does not mention the book should be used with an opening manual, but hey, you can do that if you like.
I get the uncomfortable feeling you're referring to Gary Lane's book with the same title.

Simon Dixon
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Re: I've expanded my library - advice sought on read order

Post by Simon Dixon » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:05 am

Arshad Ali wrote:
Simon Dixon wrote:Yes I meant Fines book, the newer algebraic edition where he uses the Encyclopedia's of Chess Openings, he does not mention the book should be used with an opening manual, but hey, you can do that if you like.
I get the uncomfortable feeling you're referring to Gary Lane's book with the same title.
I make many blunders but not this time, definitely R. Fine. First Bats Ed 1989.

As an aside, most American chess books are far better than English ones. Maybe something to do with the fact that England is relatively new to chess as far as writers goes. The USA started writing chess books long before we did.

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