Thursday, December 06, 2007

New volumes on attacking chess

A couple of months ago I asked for good books on attack in chess. At the time I asked, "Why are all these books on attack so old?" I wondered why no definitive new volume has come out recently. Opening books are a penny a dozen, there are great new endgame books, what's up with the old attack books? What we need is a Silman's Endgame Course type book but for attacks!

In response to my query, Quality Chess is releasing a new two-volume set on attacking in chess, due out in January:

Very cool covers. Very important topic. Unfortunately I have never been impressed with Aagaard's books in the past, usually overrated annotated game dumps without a lot of explanatory prose to help the patzer. I.e., very much the antithesis of Silman's Endgame Course. I hope to be pleasantly surprised, though.

Please, if you get a copy write up a review!

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious - why would you imagine that Aagaard has something new and important to say about attacking chess that wasn't said in Vukovic' 'Art of Attack' for example?

Why do we need a "new" attacking book? Aren't we better off just learning the classics more thoroughly? Maybe yes, maybe no, but I had to ask the question.

Hate to sound cynical, but IMHO Aagard just cranks them out to pay the bills.

12/06/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Liquid Egg Product said...

So what you're saying is that there's a fair chance that the books will kinda suck, and you're hoping someone else plops down the money to find out?

Good plan.

/* Joins BDK in the waiting room */

12/06/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

Have you thought about Marin's book on Attack (Secrets of Attaacking Chess)? I heard it's very good...

There's also On The Attack by Timman, and those two Christiansen books Rocking the Ramparts and Storming the Barricades.

I agree Aagaard is usually less than inspiring.

12/06/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

Also I would suggest looking to the past masters, specifically Botvinnik. Most people don't think of Botvinnik as an attacking player and he does not attack the king with such ferocity as Alekhine or Tal. But he is extremely aggressive and in many games he simply rolls over his opponent. Botvinnik's One Hundred Selected Games by the world champ himself is certainly a necessary addition to any library.

12/06/2007 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Braden Bournival said...

I own 4 books from quality chess, and they are all really well done. I've never been a huge fan of middlegame books though, other than Silman's Reassess your Chess and other works.

12/06/2007 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: Even if the ideas aren't new, they can be reformatted in a better way. E.g., Silman's Endgame book doesn't have any new ideas, but presents what people already know in a kick ass way.

LEP: :) Exactly.

Drunkard: I have seen all those books mentioned, and should take a look. I've heard Marin's book is annotated games without an overarching explanatory thread. I should take a look though.

Another recent book along similar lines is Timman's 'On the attack'.

Botvinnik is an interesting idea.

12/06/2007 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Aagaard's openingsbooks I don't like either.
At the moment I'm working my way thru "excelling at positional chess" from Aagaard and I must say I like very much. I can't say what he says really new, but his emphasis is different. Somewhat more practical. It is good to get information from different angles. In a few days I suppose I will write more about the book.

12/06/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger takchess said...

This is where making friends with your local librarian makes sense. Have them buy the set.

just spent 3 bucks on Chris Baker's Startling Chess Opening Repertoire . not a bad book for the 1 e4 player

12/07/2007 05:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

takchess- "Starling Repertoire" is one of the few repertoire books with decent coverage of the Cochrane Gambit.

If you know this well as White, and play it against someone who hasn't bothered to study it- he is in big trouble fast. And how bad could it be if Topolav managed to draw against Kramnik with it in a slow game?

12/07/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My take. Aagaard's books are excellent quality, but very difficult. He demands hard work on the part of the reader, the kind that you are not likely to do. Also, many of his recent books are targeted at a high level - not beginners.

Christiansen has two books on attacking you might consider. Storming the Barricades and Rocking the Ramparts. Fritz DVD media is also popular. You might consider King's Power play 2 Attacking the King or Aagard again (Attacking Chess 1 and 2). I have not seen this DVD, but I assume the DVD is aimed at a lower level to intermediate player.

Bill

12/07/2007 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

takchess - That's my old repertoire for White!! I love that book, it's fun.

anonymous - true on the cochrane, a very interesting option, I'm considering bringing out that book just to learn that line again because 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 is boring. I was unaware that Topalov brought it out against Kramnik, this certainly speaks for its soundness.

12/07/2007 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: so in other words Aagaard's books aren't good for patzers, i.e., people like me.

Often when people say "you have to work to understand it" means the author was lazy, didn't use sound pedagogy in what is straightforwardly a pedagogical work. Silman understood that in his endgame book.

As I said, I hope this new set is different. I don't mind working (at all!), but I do mind spending a lot of time with a book if the author obviously didn't do any work in putting together the book. If I have to struggle just because the author doesn't use the English language well, that is a waste of my time.

If the book is only appropriate for someone rated 400 points higher than me, that is also a waste of time, in this case not the author's fault but because of my novice-ness. I can still see that a book is very good, but too advanced for me at the moment.

It will be interesting to see how these two books work out. I like his endgame basics DVD, at least the bits I've seen.

I'll check into those attacking DVDs. All so expensive so I will look for objective reviews.

12/07/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chessaholic said...

Since the topic is attacking chess, I thought I'd point you to this game I just saw:
http://www.chess.com/article/view/material-or-initiative

very entertaining, very aggressive.

12/07/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Chessaholic said...

hmm the link got cut off, so I'm going to try it a different way:

click here

12/07/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

This review has a great intro describing a common problem. They have a run of the mill annotated game collection, and then give it a title like 'How to attack like a madman: general principles and guidelines', because 'Fair to middling annotated game collections of Joe Schmoe' won't sell copy.

12/07/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

Lasker's Manual may challenge your thinking. $9

also see kevinspraggett.com

12/11/2007 01:32:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks katar. I don't like the old books. Perhaps a bias born in my profession where any textbook more than five years old is out of date.

12/11/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

haha, yes i thought you would be dismissive. which is why the book will challenge your thinking. but, do as you will.

12/13/2007 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I'm always willing to look. One of my favorite books is Euwe's Master vs Amateur after all! They tend to have an ugly infelicitious style, a wooden and stilted (Russian!) style that I could never stand. We need good ol' English speaking untranslated conversational approachable penetratable descriptions. Why keep translating the old farts when you can reexpress it more clearly?

Even in science people don't have the weird obsession with producing something "new". E.g., we all appreciate review articles.

12/13/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

You will find no stilted writing in Lasker.

Lasker was also a world-class mathematician.

i think Lasker will challenge your notion that the storehouse of chess knowledge can be encapsulated in an expensive book series with glossy covers. more important is developing the METHOD of identifying tactics and planning. this is Lasker's focus. GM Spraggett calls Lasker "God" and has similar recommendations. Peace out.

12/13/2007 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

I finally got Daniel King's first Powerplay DVD (I had previously obtained the second and third). I highly recommend them, esp. the second and third, which seem to cover the material you're looking for.

I should have a mini-review up soon.

12/13/2007 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Katar: i think Lasker will challenge your notion that the storehouse of chess knowledge can be encapsulated in an expensive book series with glossy covers.

LOL. My notion is that it is tedious to read translated Russian and that it's possible to express the same thing with more clarity and explanatory prose. So if the point is that you can't put all chess knowledge in a book, say it clearly and in a modern style.

Again, I don't understand publisher's reluctance to repeat the same material in a different way, for pedagogical purposes.

Chess has always been a pedagogical backwater with few exceptions.

Aasgaard will make it so you don't even have to play chess anymore to get better. Only read his books and you will never have a failed attack, will perfectly see when and how to attack with zero study, zero play, just by reading the books without a board!!! It's a miracle!

12/14/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

GP: Thanks. When I feel the urge to spend money on chess I'll have to check 'em out. I'll put em near the top of my 'attack' pile :)

Gratefully I've been doing well avoiding buying any chess crap lately.

12/14/2007 01:02:00 PM  

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