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wschmidt 147 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Library - a second thread Recently, apastpawn started a thread with a very specific question about what books influenced one. I posted in that thread, but it got me thinking about my chess library in general. I've been a compulsive book, record and CD collector for many years and chess books are one area where I'm hopelessly out of control. For someone who is as chessically challenged as I am, the number of books I have on my shelves is embarrassing. (Similarly, for someone who is as spiritually unadvanced as I am, the number of books I have about Zen, the I Ching, comparative religions and Mariology is a sin).
Nevertheless, I love these books. I love browsing them, looking at the covers and imagining what kind of devastation I am someday going to wreak when I finally have the time to learn the Tartkower variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined or read through Nimzowich and Vukovic. You wait til I retire guys!
So I want to open this thread to anyone who wants to talk about any aspect of their chess books. What's the oddest book you've got? What's your favorite? Most valuable? Worst? What author's do you collect? Etc.....
I'll start with an odd one - I have a copy of Bobby Fischer's "I Was Tortured in the Pasadena Jailhouse!", a 14-page pamphlet self-published in 1982. To say that it evidences his future neuroses would be pop psychology, but I don't think one would be far off the mark. It sold for $1.00 back then and I think copies are still around at some of the on-line chess stores. It's a strange but prized possession.

bhidragon 77 ( +1 | -1 )
Cleaning House I was also faced with a wall of chess books which, for the most part, were just gathering dust. Some I'd started on in a somewhat serious manner ... most I'd just skimmed, looking for that one magic book that would make me an overnight master. Don't we all do that?

Well, several years ago I cleared out my entire library ... sold it at a garage sale ... and started from scratch with the intention to actually study and apply any new books that I got. That seems to have worked out pretty good so far. I've much more shelf space and am getting much more out of the books I buy.

My "most used" are MCO14, several of the opening books under the Everyman Chess imprint, and Vukovic's book on the attack.
throneseeker 51 ( +1 | -1 )
Best additions to a Library??? I have a limited library (about six books). Most of these were written in the last century (i.e. - my most current book is about ten years old) and I am wondering what would be some good (and fairly inexpensive additions) I could make to it?

Please note that I do use the library in town, but the contents are pretty limited and also older in nature -- although there are a few books written by more current authors. (Problem is they always seem to be checked out!!)

Regards, ThroneSeeker
apastpawn 34 ( +1 | -1 )
I'd recommend the three books by Jeremy Silman for anyone 1500-1800. They are: The Amateur's Mind, Reassess Your Chess, and Reassess Your Chess Workbook. If your library doesn't have them try the inter-library loan system as its usually free and shares with most other public libraries.

More: Chess
ionadowman 175 ( +1 | -1 )
I had overlooked this thread... ... probably during the 2 and a half weeks my machine was out of commission. Probably the book that most influenced me was the first I ever owned, a Christmas present when I was 15. It was Gerald Abrahams's "The Pan Book of Chess". Its editing left a lot to be desired, and it transpired there were a number of errors, but it opened a whole world of chess ideas and motifs. I still have it - in several pieces.

But it was a chess book that got me playing the game in the first place: Bott & Morrison's "Chess for Children". When I saw a copy (and its companion volume "More Chess for Children") in a fire sale several years ago, I just had to have them.

Finally, a book that demonstrated that I had hardly reached the foothills of the heights that chess could reach: Peter Clarke's "Tal's best games of Chess". I had seen master games with combinations before, even a few Tal games, but I had never seen anything like the emotional impact of Tal's play. Hitherto, one could observe and admire aesthetic aspects of chess - the elegance of Keres, say, the subtlety of Bronstein or the balance of Botvinnik. But this book opened my eyes to ferocity in chess.

Mind you, I have found that a writing style can help capture the imagination. There are a few modern books that are very readable in this respect. However, the most recently published chess book in my collection dates from 1991 (David Norwood's Chess Puzzles, picked up from a library sale of cancelled books, and then only because I thought it would have coaching value...). The rest of my chess library is 25 years old plus... I wonder if it would have antique value...? Mind you, I'll keep my Nimzovitch!
alice02 51 ( +1 | -1 )
computer learning And for those of us who prefer to learn interactively I hope people will contribute teaching sites and cds.

I have tried CT ART and it is good but limited in that it has no explanations. I just tried the Chess Mentor trial and came to an exercise with 1 black king, 2 white bishops and a white king. I kept making errors and couldn't work it out and there is no way to see the solution in the trial. I hit the button to skip the exercise - but it kept coming back to it. Maybe that only happens with the trial version.
lynvingen 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Hi apastpawn,

I guess, the following questions apply mostly for 1500-1700 R. players.

What is it that you like about Silmans books?

And a more generel question: Should one start out with those three, or is just as good, or perhaps even better to buy his "Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master", which the have reviewed with 5 out of 5 stars?
ionadowman 26 ( +1 | -1 )
I still mourn... ... the loss of one of the finest chess books ever published - not so much for its didactic value, but for entertainment: Irving Chernev's "The Bright Side of Chess" (I think it was called). If my memory is somewhat inaccurate by now, I lent it to someone in 1976 and haven't seen it since. :(........
premium_steve 156 ( +1 | -1 )
i don't have many books of my own, so i'll just list all of them with a small note about each of them.

irving chernev - capablanca's best chess endings
i'm pretty familiar with most of the games in this book by now.

some book about tigran petrosian's games that i haven't read a lot of yet.
i don't even remember who wrote the thing. i usually like books that focus on a particular player, though.

john watson - dangerous weapons: the french
not sure how useful this book is to me right now, since i don't really like many of the lines covered. i find the chapter on the guimard very helpful tho.
i guess it can't hurt to look at those other options in case someone tries them against you themselves.

jonathan rowson - seven deadly chess sins
haven't read this one properly yet. so i can't really say whether i like it or not.

starting out: benoni systems (benko gambit included)
not bad for an introduction to different systems, but it seems very theoretical and doesn't really go over ideas and plans so much...

simon willliams - play the classical dutch
very useful for me...

reuben fine - basic chess endings
i don't go through this book nearly enough.

IA horowitz - chess openings: theory and practice
i probably use this very old opening book as much as any other book i have!
that's kind of funny i think.
the book is amazing as an intro to most openings, despite its age.
i should probably get a new opening book, though. ;)

alice02 41 ( +1 | -1 )
Comet, Crafty, FritZ, Chessmaster, Hiarcs Can someone please tell me which is the simplest chess engine that someone not very good with computers can use. One that gives explanations tailored to the level of the player. I like Hiarcs but you have to download a gui as well and I want a programme that does not have add ons. I am looking for something that is really easy to install but preferably doesn't even have to be downloaded.Thanks
apastpawn 42 ( +1 | -1 )
They say Chessmaster is the easiest commercial program to use. Comes as a software disc to load. You can always try one of the P2P web sites like and download it for free. Same for Fritz or other software and CDs.

On the other hand, Fritz has a option of "explain all moves" and I don't know if Chessmaster does.

I have used a free engine called Chess Genius. You can get the trial version by googling the name. No explanation window that I remember.
alice02 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks apastpawn I have just looked at Chess Genius because I will be able to work out if it is too difficult to use from the free trial version. Although it says "Please buy to unlock the full features." So maybe there are things that are too difficult that are not unlocked. It says it has comments but I will have to see if they are move by move comments or just general comments.
It will take me a while to work it out because I don't yet know how to get a game from Gameknot to an engine. I do know that PGN is involved so I will have a time of experimentation :)

Thanks again
alice02 27 ( +1 | -1 )
Silman chess engine review /book_reviews_js/js_five_chess_engines.html

I cannot work out how to use Chess Genius so am now going to try Rebel Decade.

The link is to an interesting Silman review of chess engines.
alice02 4 ( +1 | -1 )
rebel decade doesn't work with windows XP
wschmidt 102 ( +1 | -1 )
Well, I'm not sure... how a series of messages about chess engines ended up in this thread, so I'm going to try to return to the topic of chess books.

I'll do so by recommending a book that I've just started reading, It's called "Chess:The Art of Logical Thinking". by Neil McDonald. I got it as a birthday present in November and have just now started going through it in earnest. Basically, it's 30 relatively recent games with every move annotated. For those of you who are familiar with Chernev's "Logical Chess, Move by Move", it's like that, only with more modern games: Kasparov, Kramnik, Karpov, Anand etc.

I'm very impressed so far. It's clearly geared for novice and intermediate players although the games are entertaining enough to hold the interest of more advanced players. One of the reviews I read suggested that there was more text and fewer variations in McDonald compared to Chernev, but if there's a difference, it's undetectable to me. Both writers clearly love the game and their enthusiasm shines through. I'd recommend it. ws
alice02 23 ( +1 | -1 )
problem of definition (smile) I guess it is the definition of library. I see now that you were restricting it to hard copy rather than including e-books and e-material. I will post elsewhere if i need further information about chess engines:)
wschmidt 128 ( +1 | -1 )
Stephan Gerzadowicz... is a writer I'm particularly fond of. I've got several of his books - two that are very well-known are "Journal of a Chess Original" and "Journal of a Chessmaster". He's a correspondence master who writes with extraordinary wit, pulling quotations from the world's literature to illustrate the notions that arise from his games.

At random, for example, here's a quotation he uses to explain his feelings when he stopped playing his beloved 1. g3 and positional games for a foray into 1. e4:

"Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows the, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it." A.A. Milne

Calling the move to 1. e4 "the chess equivalent of cross-training" SG says:

"I quit 1.g3! (bump) and tried to quiet my positional inclinations (bump). I flipped out my e-pawn and looked for tactics, with either color. I played unsound sacks and avoided draws (bump) even when it meant I'd stand worse - with predictable results. Over the years I figured it woudl cost me 100 rating points, but might make me a better player. So far I'm only sure of half of that."

A quirky, delightful read.

baseline 11 ( +1 | -1 )
Gerzadowicz cont. I love his books!

another good author is C.J.S Purdy the first World Correspondence Chess Champion.
ccmcacollister 64 ( +1 | -1 )
CCM Stephen Gerzadowicz ... Played in APCT and wrote in their club magazine for a number of years. And also I believe has played in the USCF Absolute tournaments ... a very high level of Postal competition. I liked the book he did with co-author, ccm & ICCF Arbiter Allen Wright
on the 6th USCCC tournament very much. The annotations were very strong. And of course, if one ever wants to take up 1.g3 as a system of play, this is the guy to look to, since he played it years and had "theory" moves going past move 20. In things like the g3 opening where Wt ends up with pawn f4 and Knights on Nf2 and Nf3. 'Now theory says . . . from the games . . . but the game of ... " }8-))
wschmidt 80 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting that you should mention... the 6th USCCC tournament book, Craig. I just got my hands on it last month. Haven't had time to play through the games, I've just looked through it. SG is a trip. A line taken almost at random from the book, commenting on an early move in a King's Indian: "A wretched move played to get out of the books and into an inferior position".

He pulls apropos quotations from all kinds of sources. Here are two he uses to introduce a Alekhine's Defense game (from Journal of a Chess Original):

"By my faith, time and space fitting, this well a good tale to tell." - Sir Walter Scott

"Somewhere - in desolate windswept space -
In Twilight-Land - in No-man's land -
Two hurrying Shapes met face to face
And bade each other stand." - Thomas Bailey Aldrich