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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master Ausknight's Avatar
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    Cool The SECOND book every chess beginner should get...

    I'm not a complete novice at Chess (although when I play against class players I damn well feel like it!)

    I've read the basic dummies' guide to chess (which was actually a decent primer I have to admit) and play with about a 1100-1200 rating at the moment (on a good day!) both online and with my local chess club.

    I'm looking for the next book to get after you've read a basic guide to chess (ie rules, typical openings, basic tactics).

    I feel I'm beyond the initial stages now, but not advanced enough to stick my head into something like How to Reassess your Chess at the moment.

    I'm looking for something that kicks your thinking into gear beyond basic 1 or 2 move ahead type tactical play.

    At present, my chess play revolves around copying a classic opening and then playing pure tactical chess (but basic level, trying to nail unforseen forks and skewers other low level players are likely to miss), trying to get a material advantage and then trade off quickly to go into the end game with the extra material.

    But most of the time I'm getting absolutely demolished by class players who are playing positional chess rather than this simple form of tactics (hope chess!) that I'm playing who are able to basically force bad material trades for me, giving them an unassailable advantage going into the end game (assuming I don't screw up and fall for a trap) and closing the book nearly every time I play.

    I can see there's a cognitive leap there, but need direction on good reading material to explore it because right now I just can't get my head around it just looking at positions with simple amateur's chess vision.

    Does anyone have any good recommendations in this regard?

    I'd be looking for a book that could bridge the gap between Chess for Dummies and How to Reassess Your Chess (if such a book exists!).

    One book ideally, or a few if it's essentially required.

    Help me you Obiwan Kenobi's... you're my only hope!!!

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals and Stean's Simple Chess would probably be good.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  3. #3
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    A few other possibilities are Alexei Sokolski's Your First Move and Emanual Lasker's Manual of Chess. They probably aren't as good as Jono's suggestions but if they are available and the others aren't then they may help. Both are comprehensible by beginners and provide an introduction to positional notions without being too heavy.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    CC Candidate Master Ausknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals and Stean's Simple Chess would probably be good.
    Neither of which are at my local supplier (ACE).

    Are they still in print?

  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausknight
    Neither of which are at my local supplier (ACE).

    Are they still in print?
    Simple Chess was reissued in an algebraic edition and I know Graeme Gardiner (http://www.gardinerchess.com/) was selling some a few years ago. Before that, S/H copies were going for substantial prices.

  6. #6
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Simple Chess was reissued in an algebraic edition and I know Graeme Gardiner (http://www.gardinerchess.com/) was selling some a few years ago. Before that, S/H copies were going for substantial prices.
    My suggestions don't seem to be that easily available either. However Lasker's Common Sense in Chess is still available and it is meant to be good for novices. I can speak for the author, but not specifically for this book. But take a look before you buy - it is probably worthwhile.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Simple Chess was reissued in an algebraic edition and I know Graeme Gardiner (http://www.gardinerchess.com/) was selling some a few years ago. Before that, S/H copies were going for substantial prices.
    Graeme is worth trying first. If he doesn't have them, then try Amazon where they are selling for $US10.

    Same goes for Chess Fundamentals, but do NOT get the DeFirmian butchery revision.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  8. #8
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausknight
    Neither of which are at my local supplier (ACE).

    Are they still in print?
    Chess Discount Sales (Peter Parr) lists both of them on his web site.

    DJ
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  9. #9
    CC Candidate Master Ausknight's Avatar
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    Post hmmm


    Simple Chess: New Algebraic Edition (Paperback) by Michael Stean
    This one certainly looks the goods, especially judging from the feedback on Amazon and reviews abroad. That one's going on the 'must buy' list although most of the reviews do mention that the concepts are a little advanced in some places. I'm not a complete novice, but I assume this will be appropriate for someone around 1100 rating?


    But Chess Fundamentals (Hardcover) by Jose R. Capablanca
    This one honestly concerns me because the notation is in the older format and excuse my ignorance, I find it much much harder to follow! Jono says the revised version is no good, so I'm honestly at a loss with this option - anyone care to elaborate why it would be good, considering the notation is really out of whack from a basic player's perspective? I can appreciate the concepts would be well explained, I'm just worried about getting lost in the tangle of old notation mostly.


    Your First Move: Chess for Beginners (Hardcover) by A.P. Sokol'skii
    I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the prices on this book A 'new' copy of this will set you back some $100 US at present which is a massive expense for a book at this level, even used it can be a pricey acquisition. Is it really worth it?


    Lasker's Manual of Chess (Paperback) by Emanuel Lasker
    Now this does look the goods as well I have to say with a heck of a lot of content judging by the preview on the Amazon page. Is it written in algebraic or old school notation though? Can't tell from the preview on Amazon... else this does look solid.

    My biggest concern about learning from the classics is that it delves a lot into older notation which for me is just plain confusing. I admit I'm one of those people who learns better from being shown (either OTB or video) rather than from reading, so I need to consider that in my selections and try not to over extend myself.

    Whilst I am not looking to delve into too many books this early in the learning process, I definitely want to get hold of the right books so as to not learn bad habits from the outset which will just need to be re-learned at a later stage.

    Of the 4 books listed above, what would your 'best' pick be for someone like me (1100 rating, with Chess For Dummies by James Eade being the only primer under the belt thus far)

    Or is there an even better option than the ones listed above?

    I didn't realise getting hold of good teaching material in book format for the beginner was so bloody hard to be honest... urgh!


    Oh oh oh and before I forget, does anyone in Sydney stock these books? May as well save a few bob by picking these up in person if I can get away with it, else I'd rather support Aus resellers before I delve into the exxy US market (damn US to AUD conversion rate! )

  10. #10
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Botvinnik highly recommended Chess Fundamentals as the best book ever written. There is an algebraic edition published by Cadogan Chess in 1994 which should be fine for you if you don't like the descriptive notation. For what's wrong with DeFirmian's mangling, see this review by the meticulous Edward Winter, author of a fine book on Capablanca.

    IIRC Lasker's book was descriptive; it has its advantages in explaining things like a Q usually only draws against a BP or RP on the 7th rank. It has an excellent reputation.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  11. #11
    . eclectic's Avatar
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    i have sokolsky's your first move. it was one of the first chess books i purchased. its content is aimed at the sophisticated rather than at the naive beginner.
    .

  12. #12
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    On Your First Move, I would have to say it is not worth spending $100 when you can pick up other good books for much less. My regard for this book may be a little misplaced for reasons of nostalgia.

    Lasker's Manual of Chess is a good book which I studied some 25 year ago. From memory it was in descriptive notation (many book still were in those days) but new editions may be in algebraic. My impression was it was a good book for breadth and introduction of positional ideas and I was around your strength when I first studied from it.

    I can't compare with the other two as I'm not familiar with them. However from the two I recommended, if Sokolski is selling for $100+ and Lasker is selling for $20, go for Lasker.

    That being said, I also highly respect Jono's opinion in these things and the two books he recommends are bound to be excellent.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  13. #13
    CC Candidate Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals and Stean's Simple Chess would probably be good.
    I reckon that Simple Chess is probably a bit much for a novice. I would be looking for something that taught tactics before moving on to positional considerations, no matter how brilliantly they are taught (I adore Simple Chess).

  14. #14
    CC International Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausknight
    This one honestly concerns me because the notation is in the older format and excuse my ignorance, I find it much much harder to follow!
    In the longer term you may find it worthwhile learning Descriptive notation. It's not that hard if you can count backwards from eight (which makes it no different from reading algebraic as Black) and, while it's going the way of Latin, will allow you to take advantage of second-hand books or those not available in algebraic.

  15. #15
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephistopheles
    I reckon that Simple Chess is probably a bit much for a novice. I would be looking for something that taught tactics before moving on to positional considerations, no matter how brilliantly they are taught (I adore Simple Chess).
    You're right (on all counts), but AusKnight specifically mentioned positional chess as something he wanted to improve, and he's above novice level.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

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