Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

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IanCalvert
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Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by IanCalvert » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:52 pm

i think, we chess players have a great " literature " of books and more recently videos/DVDs.

Over the years , very few of my many chess books have disappointed, when I have eventually found time to read parts of them.

Similarly I think Sadler and his predecessors in "New In Chess" produce readable and instructive book reviews.

However others' thoughts on the worst chess book or review ever, or in the last year, might well be intersting.

This post has been prompted by reading about half of the excellent "Understanding The Scandinavian" by S. Kasparov and Gambit publishing. This is in the same league as the earlier, excellent Houska book and excellent Emms book on the Scandinavian both published by Everyman. In my view all three are in a different much higher league than Plaskett's late Batsford book.

The brief descriptive summary in Chess, January 2016 of the S. Kasparov book does not do it justice and gets my vote for worst review of 2016!?...so far!

Tim Harding
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Tim Harding » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:38 pm

IanCalvert wrote: The brief descriptive summary in Chess, January 2016 of the S. Kasparov book does not do it justice and gets my vote for worst review of 2016!?...so far!
What does it say?
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IanCalvert
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by IanCalvert » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:11 pm

Tim

It is part of 3 pages of reviews of "New Books and Software". One facet of my numerous concerns about the Chess treatment of this book and its author is the Chess self-imposed , relative and absolute, two sentence, brevity. The review, verbatim, follows:

" Gambit's latest work sees the Belorussian Grandmaster explain the key ideas behind one of his favourite openings 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 , while presenting a repertoire for Black. Kasparov offers some coverage of the more traditional lines, but his favourite approach is the modern method of meeting 3Nc3 with 3...Qd6."

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:58 pm

The reviews in Chess tend to be fairly neutral with a brief description of the book contents rather than a subjective review, although they will occasionally highlight an exceptional book. I'm not sure if Edward Winter still writes his detailed (and occasionally scathing) reviews of recent publications.
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Neil Graham
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Neil Graham » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:39 pm

Tony Miles once reviewed Eric Schiller's book Unorthodox Chess Openings in two words: "Utter crap," which is about as concise a review of a bad chess book as you can get.

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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:19 pm

Quick quiz: which book was reviewed with the single word "No" ?
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Richard Thursby
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Richard Thursby » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:33 pm

Neil Graham wrote:Tony Miles once reviewed Eric Schiller's book Unorthodox Chess Openings in two words: "Utter crap," which is about as concise a review of a bad chess book as you can get.
That's quite surprising given the opening he used to defeat Anatoly Karpov in the European Team Championship in Skara in 1980!

Richard James
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Richard James » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:55 pm

John Upham wrote:Quick quiz: which book was reviewed with the single word "No" ?
Shall we play Fischerandom Chess? by Gligoric, IIRC.

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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by John Upham » Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:58 pm

Richard: you have won tonight's star prize which is either the lounge suite or (if you live near Wolverhampton) a speedboat.

Well done!
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:15 am

IanCalvert wrote: The review, verbatim, follows:
Does it really qualify as a review? I would have thought it more of an advertorial. It's a business idea that goes back as far as BH Wood, that if you run a chess magazine as well as a chess equipment and books business, that you use one to promote the other. That's likely to lead to the reviews being somewhere on the scale between neutral and positive, but if a book was really rubbish, why bother to stock it in the first place?

Mark Ashley
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Mark Ashley » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:24 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
IanCalvert wrote: The review, verbatim, follows:
Does it really qualify as a review? I would have thought it more of an advertorial. It's a business idea that goes back as far as BH Wood, that if you run a chess magazine as well as a chess equipment and books business, that you use one to promote the other. That's likely to lead to the reviews being somewhere on the scale between neutral and positive, but if a book was really rubbish, why bother to stock it in the first place?
This. I've rarely regarded Chess reviews as being genuine reviews but just a bit of blurb from the inside covers. One up from John Elsburg. though, I always thought with Chess, the decision to 'review' in this way, was to minimise costs.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:04 pm

Ah, the joys of astroturfing.

MJMcCready
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by MJMcCready » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:46 pm

Chess is littered with bad reviews. Most who undertake them can't even differentiate between a review and a write up. Even those who are noticeably better than the majority in such matters, IM John Watson for example, will promote a work that doesn't deserve it, if it suits him, or more importantly, his publishers.

It's generally not a good idea to trust reviewers in chess. Thankfully sites such as amazon enable us to gain an idea of a publication before purchasing, saving the average chess player hundreds of pounds over the course of his/her life.

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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by John Upham » Thu Dec 01, 2016 4:50 pm

A fresh candidate for the title of "Worst Chess Book Ever" has appeared:


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Play-Magn ... sen+system :lol:

I look forward to the Sam Sloan / Ishi Press reprint twenty years hence. :roll:
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Jon Tait
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Re: Worst Chess Book (Review) Ever

Post by Jon Tait » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:14 pm

MJMcCready wrote:Chess is littered with bad reviews. Most who undertake them can't even differentiate between a review and a write up.
True enough.

I used to like some of the reviews at ChessCafe. But you can't see those now unless you pay for a subscription and who wants to do that?

Otherwise, Sean Marsh's long reviews for Chess Monthly are probably the only ones I look at nowadays.
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