An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

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John Upham
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An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by John Upham » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:37 pm

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire by Graham Burgess

has been reviewed :

https://britishchessnews.com/2020/08/31 ... epertoire/


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An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire by Graham Burgess
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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:38 am

I think we can agree there's more than a fair few dubiously titled publications out there, and here comes another. Is it possible to contrive something more denigrating? How about 'Rubbish openings for rubbish players playing for rubbish clubs?'

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:16 pm

My "favourite" title regarding that sort of thing was a Soltis effort modestly claiming "An UNBEATABLE Opening Repertoire for White/Black".

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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:48 am

Another well thought out title.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:18 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:38 am
I think we can agree there's more than a fair few dubiously titled publications out there, and here comes another. Is it possible to contrive something more denigrating?
Yes, the series "For Dummies", which includes an apparently well-selling item called "Chess for Dummies", the writers, publisher and purchasers of which all understand very well that what is going on is not an insult but a little modesty and self-deprecation on the part of the reader.
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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:57 am

Yes that's true, I don't think anyone takes offence to that series. What's worse, I think, are titles which are in themselves misleading and enticing. 'The Secrets of...' stuff for example. Those publications are nothing more than a cheap attempt to make some money on the side by an author acting, primarily, out of self-interest. As a genre, primarily because most who contribute to it aren't well-educated, book titles usually are thoughtless. Take for example Psarkhis's, 'The Complete French', that's not a book about the french defence. That's a book about Psarkhis and his understanding of what the French Defence is. The amount of that opening left out, and the amount illustrated by games 30 years old, sometimes older is shocking. I should end here. I can't stand literature on chess theory for many reasons.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:13 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:57 am
. As a genre, primarily because most who contribute to it aren't well-educated
Where are you getting this
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:10 am

Well put differently they aren't academic. The most obvious point being there is no evidence of discourse within the genre.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by John Moore » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:15 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:57 am
Yes that's true, I don't think anyone takes offence to that series. What's worse, I think, are titles which are in themselves misleading and enticing. 'The Secrets of...' stuff for example. Those publications are nothing more than a cheap attempt to make some money on the side by an author acting, primarily, out of self-interest. As a genre, primarily because most who contribute to it aren't well-educated, book titles usually are thoughtless. Take for example Psarkhis's, 'The Complete French', that's not a book about the french defence. That's a book about Psarkhis and his understanding of what the French Defence is. The amount of that opening left out, and the amount illustrated by games 30 years old, sometimes older is shocking. I should end here. I can't stand literature on chess theory for many reasons.
As I am sure you are aware, the title of the book is most often chosen by the publisher rather than the author. At the time of the Psakhis book, Batsford were particularly fond of "The Complete ..." as in for example, the Complete Benoni (also by Psakhis) and the Complete Alekhine. So, it's a bit rich to suggest that these books are a cheap attempt by an author to make some money on the side out of self interest. Mind you, if I read your posts aright, you seem to suggest that you can't be well educated unless you are an academic. I am sure that I must be misunderstanding you there.

In any event, I doubt that there is much call for academic opening treatises. C'mon Lev, just give us the moves and evaluations. Academic discourse can be left for the dreaming spires or, more likely these days, red bricks.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by John McKenna » Thu Sep 03, 2020 4:45 pm

"Academic discourse can be left for the dreaming spires or, more likely these days, red bricks."

I thought that had already died a death in hallowed halls for fear of offending the unkown offendee.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:30 am

Hmm, strange stuff. So how is development or progression possible without discourse ? All you get in chess is some GM putting on paper whatever he is thinking about at the time. I still remember seeing two Batsford publications in the mid 80s about the Sicilian Dragon, and in one line they both reached the same position but in one book it was winning for white, the other winning for black. It's rarely if ever been the case that the author is good enough as a player to write about chess. Having something published is almost always some half-arsed attempt in increase sources of revenue because they've already gone as far as they can go and can't profit any further over the board. There are exceptions but they are in a small minority.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:47 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:30 am
I still remember seeing two Batsford publications in the mid 80s about the Sicilian Dragon, and in one line they both reached the same position but in one book it was winning for white, the other winning for black.
Can you quote the actual position?

There have been books which reach the same position from different move orders with different recommendations. As a possible excuse, there were co-authors.

Here's a position.


Is ..d5 worth a punt? Depends which chapter you read.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by John Moore » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:42 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:30 am
Hmm, strange stuff. So how is development or progression possible without discourse ? All you get in chess is some GM putting on paper whatever he is thinking about at the time. I still remember seeing two Batsford publications in the mid 80s about the Sicilian Dragon, and in one line they both reached the same position but in one book it was winning for white, the other winning for black. It's rarely if ever been the case that the author is good enough as a player to write about chess. Having something published is almost always some half-arsed attempt in increase sources of revenue because they've already gone as far as they can go and can't profit any further over the board. There are exceptions but they are in a small minority.
Development or progression in chess happens through new games by strong players which are then referenced in databases or in the better quality chess books. I agree that there are a lot of poor chess books around but there are also some very good ones. Have a look at those published by Quality Chess, for example.

I would also be interested in seeing your Batsford Sicilian Dragon example.

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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:26 am

I'm not sure it is ever wise to take Mr McCready's posts seriously, but I am quite interested.

I think there is definitely discussion of chess that meets a loose definition of academic. Notably the discourse between Dorfman and his "Method" and the Dvoretsky school. It has the main hallmarks of academic discussion between eminent theorists, in that it became a bitter personal feud lasting decades with occasional name calling.

Opening theory seems to me to have an academic element. Different writers evaluating lines differently seems to me evidence of discourse. But in the same way most of the literature on maths probably not of interest to a professor of maths, most of the literature on openings not of interest to a competent opening theoretician.

Stretching my analogy if you care about opening theory New In Chess yearbooks are probably the A-level textbooks you need and Glenn Flear diplomatically tells you what additional reading is useful in the book reviews. He tends not to cover the GCSE-level equivalent textbooks, for example club player repertoires, like the one in this thread.

Occasionally a theoretician mistakes an entry level book as an attempt to expand theory rather than an attempt to teach people who do not know existing theory. Tiviakov's YB75 review of Dearing's Play the Dragon is still hilarious if you are not Eddie himself.
Tiviakov in conclusion wrote:My evaluation of this book is 4 out of 10. Admittedly, the author has written a large book, which does contain some correct evaluations and advices. But if you can find out what is correct in this book and what isn't, you don't need it at all !
I recall it happened to Burgess too, when Sadler said in a generally respectful review of Burgess' book on the Slav that he was not particularly interested in what a 2300 with no particular experience though of an opening. I am sure that was true, Sadler a renowned theoretician even amongst GMs. But the book was actually very useful to me.

The irony here is that reviews which correctly point out that a book is not suitable for an advanced player seem to damage the books reputation, even though we all know that it is highly unlikely that a book suitable to teach someone 1500 who does not know theory in a particular opening will also be suitable for a 2500 who knows the existing theory. I think MrMcCready is perpetuating the myth that the only good books are books that expand theory. In the maths analogy, there are good GCSE-Level books and bad ones.

John - who is probably the target audience for the book - seems to like it. I suspect if Tiviakov had a look at the Qd6 Scandinavian chapters, Burgess would be looking down the barrel of some fierce criticism. Both reviews would be valid.

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MJMcCready
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Re: An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Post by MJMcCready » Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:48 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:47 am
MJMcCready wrote:
Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:30 am
I still remember seeing two Batsford publications in the mid 80s about the Sicilian Dragon, and in one line they both reached the same position but in one book it was winning for white, the other winning for black.
Can you quote the actual position?

There have been books which reach the same position from different move orders with different recommendations. As a possible excuse, there were co-authors.

Here's a position.


Is ..d5 worth a punt? Depends which chapter you read.
No because this was when the Chess&Bridge center was in Euston and I only perused them. I didn't buy them. They were both Batsford publications and side by side on the shelf, that's all I can tell you?

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