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  1. #1
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
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    Dvoretsky / Múller Endgame books - other recommendations please !!

    hi,
    ive decided to take up chess and the first book ive bought is "dvoretskys endgame manual". fantastic book even though its taken nearly a month and a half to get through. DENSE is the key word for this book. plenty of concepts and variations to submit to memory.

    ive also got karsten mullers " fundamental chess endings" and shereshevskys endgame book ordered and due anytime in the next few days. ive only used amazon feedback to decipher the worthiness of my selections so far and would like further ideas.

    what i am interested in is what the top players reference from, and if there are any other recommendations, as im keen to learn endgame material from the most reliable sources, in the quickest amount of time.

    thanks
    ace vancura

  2. #2
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    Hi Ace,

    It's a bit hard to give specific recommendations without knowing your level of play - have you been playing online? Do you have a rating?

    When you say:

    ive decided to take up chess
    it would suggest to me, at least, that the books you're looking at are above your level (unless you're very talented).

    With regard to learning endgames, most start with something like Averbakh's Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge before progressing to more advanced works like Karsten/Muller and Shereshevsky. The latter books are really more appropriate to the 1800-1900+ level. Karsten/Muller is a reference text, as you know, whereas Shereshevsky deals with endgame strategy. However, first you need to master the basic techniques, which is what Averbakh is aimed at.

    Have you done any tactical study/training? This is really where all chess players should start (although endgame study is good too for beginners).
    "the other lefty"

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
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    im honestly not having a lot of trouble with the dvoretsky book. obviously ill need to read the book a few more times to memorise the material fully but the concepts are generally easy to follow (ive written every exercise out in SCID, so that should help). the only chapter i worked through at a slower pace was on rook endings (the vancura link). but that was mainly because rook endings, as i understand, are the most common and have a few more traps and variations than other endings.

    i dont think the material is overly difficult, its simply application and whether i continue to absorb it sufficiently. i just dont want to waste time reading superfluous garbage and so far im impressed with the first book.

    i was interested to know as well how accurate computer games such as "chessmaster 10th edition" are. im just interested to know whether a certain grading on the computer would equate to the same grading in "club play".

    oh yeah and when i mean "decided to take up chess" i mean that ive been playing on chessmaster 10th ed for the past 3-4 months, seem to have plateaued around the 2000 mark, and have decided to finally READ SOMETHING to improve.

    ive not read on any other subject, so tactics, openings and the middlegame are still a sizeable mystery to me.

    thanks for the reply jim
    Last edited by Sir Cromulent Sparkles; 26-08-2008 at 08:33 AM.

  4. #4
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ace vancura
    im honestly not having a lot of trouble with the dvoretsky book.
    Wow, well for 3-4 months, you're doing brilliantly!

    so far im impressed with the first book.
    It is definitely a good book, that and Karsten & Muller's Fundamental Chess Endings are pretty much considered the 'bibles' for endgame. You can get books specific to types of endgame, eg pawn endings, rook endings, minor pieces etc, but these are for those who have mastered the basics.

    i was interested to know as well how accurate computer games such as "chessmaster 10th edition" are. im just interested to know whether a certain grading on the computer would equate to the same grading in "club play".
    I think the consensus is that software like Chessmaster tend to exaggerate your estimated strength, but I've no idea by how much (software tends to overestimate to massage your ego so you'll keep playing). A better estimate of strength is one gained online against humans, at sites like FICS or ICC, or even better - one gained over the board at a club.

    ive not read on any other subject, so tactics, openings and the middlegame are still a sizeable mystery to me.
    For tactics, Nunn's Learn Chess Tactics is a good starting point, although it sounds like you'll rip through that one. After that, I think tactics is more about practice than reading (ie buy a tactics puzzle book), for a while at least. More advanced players than I will be able to recommend advanced tactics texts.

    As for middlegame, Euwe & Kramer's The Middlegame (vols 1&2) are excellent to begin with. Then there's Nimzowitsch, Watson, and others.

    As for openings, you really need to work out what opening you want to play, what suits your style - that will lead you to monographs on that opening. Handy reference texts are Modern Chess Openings, or Nunn's Chess Openings, which cover all major openings in a pure variation/non-prose format (ie reference texts, not instructional).

    I also recommend (highly) getting at least one, preferably more, books of annotated GM level games, be it on a particular player (Alekhine, Capablanca, Fischer, Kasparov, etc) or on a tournament (eg Zurich '53). You'll probably get just as much out of these books as you will from books on theory.

    thanks for the reply jim
    No problem
    "the other lefty"

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
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    (software tends to overestimate to massage your ego so you'll keep playing).

    i had that thought when i reallised i was progressing a little too quickly without really knowing anything. this first book has underlined that fact, although as a beginner i dont actually get to many endgames, draws are definately a rarity.

    i see on amazon a tactics book by AVERBAKH that is about $100 dollars and seems to be highly rated. not that im keen to depart that that amount of money but is this tactics book the grandaddy of them all?

    i did look at specialist ending books like rook endings but im happy just to understand the 115 pages of rook related stuff in this book first. my head hurts enough from that amount.

    the rest of those titles youve mentioned all appear on my amazon watchlist so i guess im on the right track.
    i get the feeling that good books are generally written by nunn and watson, bad ones by eric schiller.

    cheers
    Ruin is formal, devil's work,
    Consecutive and slow -
    Fail in an instance no man did,
    Slipping - is Crash's law,

  6. #6
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    i had that thought when i reallised i was progressing a little too quickly without really knowing anything. this first book has underlined that fact, although as a beginner i dont actually get to many endgames, draws are definately a rarity.
    Ace, reading this makes me strongly suspect that Chessmaster is selling you a dream. If you were truly playing at the ~2000 level, then I’d expect you to see plenty of endgames. I do, and I’m only at 1300 level.

    Being able to understand what you’re seeing in a study situation is a different thing to being able to instinctively apply it over the board (OTB) in a timed game – do you feel you’re applying what you learn from Dvoretsky in your games? If not, what are you gaining from studying a book at this level? I’m quite able to understand advanced endgames in Karsten & Muller’s Fundamental Chess Endings in a superficial sense while studying, but there’s no way I’d be able to remember and apply it OTB with the clock ticking.

    Please understand, I don’t mean to denigrate your playing ability – you’re obviously quite strong for your level of experience - however, I have grave doubts about you reaching ~2000 level (ie, nearly "expert") in 4 months. That’d be an impressive achievement even if you reached that level within 2 years! I’m not saying you haven’t, but it’s pretty amazing if you have.

    My concern is that Chessmaster is inducing you to spend lots of money on books that you won’t see any practical benefit from for quite a while. My advice would be to not buy any books for a while (hard I know, it’s addictive), and spend a few months playing against other humans on the Free Internet Chess Server (it’s free!) – more info on this is at this website – this will give you a more realistic indication of your ability, and guide you to the appropriate book purchases. I’m just a little worried that you’re spending hard-earned cash on learning to run before learning to walk.

    i see on amazon a tactics book by AVERBAKH that is about $100 dollars and seems to be highly rated. not that im keen to depart that that amount of money but is this tactics book the grandaddy of them all?
    Averbakh is obviously good (5 star rating!), but it’s that price because it’s out of print, and therefore a collector’s item – so it’s questionable whether it’s worth you spending $100 on it. A book like Nunn’s (mentioned in my previous post) or Polgar’s should be enough to begin with, especially if paired with a problem book like Lein & Archangelsky’s Sharpen Your Tactics!

    i get the feeling that good books are generally written by nunn and watson, bad ones by eric schiller.
    Right on both counts!
    Last edited by Southpaw Jim; 26-08-2008 at 10:38 AM.
    "the other lefty"

  7. #7
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ace vancura
    i was interested to know as well how accurate computer games such as "chessmaster 10th edition" are. im just interested to know whether a certain grading on the computer would equate to the same grading in "club play".
    Chessmaster ratings are over the top as are those of many computer programs and many online servers. As an extreme case my current Fritz11 rating of 3036 is a mere 997 points above my ACF career high! Many computer programs give themselves ratings that are way above any level that they have ever demonstrated in play and they compound this by lacking variety in play, making it possible for a human to persistently outwit them in the same manner.

    If you get within a few hundred points of such a computer rating at club level then you are doing very well.
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  8. #8
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw Jim
    Ace, reading this makes me strongly suspect that Chessmaster is selling you a dream. If you were truly playing at the ~2000 level, then I’d expect you to see plenty of endgames. I do, and I’m only at 1300 level.
    I wouldn't trust any rating that hasn't been tested OTB against club players of established ratings. I've seen this directly with someone who came to my club whose actual strength was many hundreds of points below the Chessmaster "rating". Joining a club in your area would help one's play and gauge one's true strength.
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  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
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    thanks for the reply again folks,

    my endings dont seem to correlate strongly to the endings described in the dvoretsky book (unsurprisingly), they seem to be a process of infinite error eradication (learning by rote what not to do, as opposed to learning proper strategy tactics etc -). until recently ive not event been conscious of segregating the ending from the rest of the game so ive not really memorised the types of endgames that result from my games.
    analysis of games is something i need to start investigating doing even though i havent played a game since i started this book which is, like i mentioned, about 6 weeks ago.


    my most recent games seem to be a blur as i never consciously looked at a piece formation and said to myself "right thats so and so ending" and started planning for its ending. my idea of a ending was something uncultured like force the king to the side of the board with the queen or rook, with that being the entire spectrum of my supposed endings knowledge (cue laughter).

    Being able to understand what you’re seeing in a study situation is a different thing to being able to instinctively apply it over the board (OTB) in a timed game – do you feel you’re applying what you learn from Dvoretsky in your games?

    i dont think ill begin to develop instinctive reactions to the books info fully until i read it again and again, and as you say, gain experience of timed OTB play. theres no way i can fully utilise this material until obviously the other components of the the games are learnt. i still have no idea which middlegames and openings are associated with each particular ending (if there is indeed a reasonable link there in the first place) so much work is still needed.

    If not, what are you gaining from studying a book at this level?

    # its inspired creativity firstly.
    even with the least amount of material on the board as the endings have, ive been considerably impressed with the creativity and surprises that have occured in these exercises. the ending is definately a lot less bland then id have imagined (eg simple stringent calculation - although much of it seems to be just that).

    # its good to get information from the best source. im getting a better understanding of the lengths a top player goes to, to discount inferior variations.
    not only are the plans and tactics invaluable, ive learnt about timing, sacrifices and have applied some familiar tactics.
    its great to see that im remembering some of the tutorials that i glossed over in chessmaster.

    and lastly this book is great because its made me learn how to use SCID


    Please understand, I don’t mean to denigrate your playing ability – you’re obviously quite strong for your level of experience - however, I have grave doubts about you reaching ~2000 level (ie, nearly "expert") in 4 months.

    i have those same grave doubts and more. i think OTB 1600-1700 is more appropriate but ill have to join a club to work this out.

    My concern is that Chessmaster is inducing you to spend lots of money on books that you won’t see any practical benefit from for quite a while.

    the very reason i feel the rating on chessmaster is a complete facade is the motivation to buy books.
    i really just want to arrive at a happy medium of a single/few competent intermediate title/s and the "tome" of its corresponding subject .


    My advice would be to not buy any books for a while (hard I know, it’s addictive), and spend a few months playing against other humans on the Free Internet Chess Server (it’s free!) – more info on this is at this website – this will give you a more realistic indication of your ability, and guide you to the appropriate book purchases. I’m just a little worried that you’re spending hard-earned cash on learning to run before learning to walk.

    i agree that a book of high level material is going to ignore stating basic material. for instance i notice that dvoretsky describes his inclusion of the bishop and knight checkmate pattern as a borderline decision. if this was not here id have still never heard of it, even though its elimentary knowledge.

    Averbakh is obviously good (5 star rating!), but it’s that price because it’s out of print, and therefore a collector’s item – so it’s questionable whether it’s worth you spending $100 on it. A book like Nunn’s (mentioned in my previous post) or Polgar’s should be enough to begin with, especially if paired with a problem book like Lein & Archangelsky’s Sharpen Your Tactics!

    yeah sharpen your tactics sounds like a sensible choice

    btw i received the shereshevsky book today. "do not hurry" looks like a curious chapter.


    thanks again
    ace
    Last edited by Sir Cromulent Sparkles; 27-08-2008 at 08:32 AM.
    Ruin is formal, devil's work,
    Consecutive and slow -
    Fail in an instance no man did,
    Slipping - is Crash's law,

  10. #10
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]they compound this by lacking variety in play, making it possible for a human to persistently outwit them in the same manner.
    QUOTE]

    i agree wholeheartedly with this point.

    here is my complete learning curve so far.....

    human plays computer at chess
    human sees limited variety of play from computer as he progresses
    human takes advantage of this discrepency
    human gains reasonable rating
    human then finally admits that computer is predictable and somewhat deficient in thinking (up to a certain level)
    human decides to actually pick up a book and learn chess
    Ruin is formal, devil's work,
    Consecutive and slow -
    Fail in an instance no man did,
    Slipping - is Crash's law,

  11. #11
    CC FIDE Master george's Avatar
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    Hi Ace,

    Forget the books for now join a club and play chess OTB as much as possible - play in a few tourneys then after a year or so of active play come back and let us know if your estimate of your rating 1600 - 1700 over the board was fanciful or not.

    I remember when James Obst first started playing (a gifted junior) it was only after much play on the Internet , study , lots of coaching and heaps of OTB play was he anywhere near the 1600 - 1700 range in OTB play.

    He then blossomed to become an extremely strong player but other activities are now of higher importance to him - so good luck to him.

    Ace - i dont want to discourage you merely to say play heaps of chess get some coaching and let the rating stuff take care of itself - ENJOY YOUR CHESS!!!!!

    Kindest Regards

  12. #12
    CC Grandmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by george
    Hi

    Ace - i dont want to discourage you merely to say play heaps of chess get some coaching and let the rating stuff take care of itself - ENJOY YOUR CHESS!!!!!

    Kindest Regards
    Very good advice
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