Friday, March 14, 2008

100 Chess Book Reviews, Part 4

Rolling along, sure to offend someone....especially Takchess.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Wayward Son said...

Wow, these videos are great. I haven't played much chess over the last 2 years, but I am hoping to pick it up again in the fall. The Basman book looked interesting, as did Winning with the Smith-Morra, although it seems to be hard to find. I look forward to the rest of the vids.

3/14/2008 01:26:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks for the nice note Wayward son. Yes, if you can pick up Burgess' book on the SM it is definitely worth it. It's a really fun opening. Basman also has a chapter on the Smith-Morra.

3/14/2008 02:47:00 AM  
OpenID tcoem said...

Did you start chewing on Ray Cheng's book?

3/14/2008 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

:) tcoem...my dog got to it one night. I leave hundreds of books out in my house, and somehow my dog knew this would be a good book.

3/14/2008 03:28:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

At least you didn't ask for your four bucks back. Did you film these all at once ?

3/14/2008 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tak: yes, all at once about 2.5 weeks ago. I think you get another shout out (shout at?) at some point :)

Yes, that was one cheap book!!! It's sort of a pre-computer age book :O

3/14/2008 04:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think former ny governor Spitzer needs to take up chess. lol.
Most of Pandolfini's books are superficial crap.
I have a shelf of books just like yours. I'll never read all of them. Igot most of them when I started over 10 yrs ago.
I learned I only need a dozen or so of well chosen books to reach my goals.

3/14/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: he is at best a lazy writer. His idea of organizing his thoughts is to alphabetize them. (There is one exception in my pile that I'll get to!).

Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't. Maybe he is very good in person as a coach, I don't know.

I may try to sell the C and under this weekend.

3/14/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

re: My System: Watson crapped all over the new edition of it: http://www.chess.co.uk/twic/jwatsonbkrev83.html

The only Pandolfini book I've liked is his endgame one, typos and all. I still think it's a valuable book. For example, lots of books cover Lucena and the bridge technique, but not many point out that if it's not a knight pawn you can win other ways, e.g. Endgames 191/192.

Some people may now prefer the more talky Alburt book, but I still like Pandolfini for the committed beginner.

3/14/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...

These are a lot of fun, BDK. They're making me want to break out the books and get back to chess, but now is not quite the time.

I look forward to more.

Always weird to first hear the real voice that goes with the written voice I've been reading though...

3/14/2008 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...

Oh yeah....Pandolfini's EG course had some good stuff, but I thought he tried way to hard to be cute with his writing, and at times it got in the way of my understanding. I second your points about not being clear about what can and can't be generalized.

3/14/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

GP: I just prefer an organized endgame book to a position/solution dump. Enough people really like that book that it must just be a matter of taste. I'm especially prone to dislike something where it is clear not much thought went into the organization, synthesis, general explanation. This is one reason I like Silman's endgame book so much.

Zweiblumen: it was weird to hear my voice too as I sound quite different to myself.

Watching these reviews makes me want to play again too. Then I play a few blitz games and that usually satisfies my urge.

3/14/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Wayward Son said...

Certainly most of what Pandolfini put out there wasn't great. The endgame book was pretty good. I have heard that Pandolfini's "Weapons of Chess" is a pretty decent intro to pawn strategies. Anybody have it?

3/14/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Wayward Son said...

Thanks bdk,

I actually have played SM off and on for a couple years. I don't know the theory, but I have found that after only playing every once in a while for the last 2 years I have been getting much, much better results with the SM than the open Sicilian as well as much better results with the danish than the Ruy or Italian. So I think that WWSMG would be great as it is games that I can play through to get a feeling for the opening vs just studying the theory which I don't think would be a great use of my time.

3/14/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

I can't help with my obscure musical references...

Everybody Ray Cheng tonight?

Or how about Phil's little brother Sam Collins?

Keep up the good work...So amny books...so little rating... that's my problem.

3/14/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

I think I like to burn every copy of that "Winning With the Smith Morra". Maybe I should write a companion book called "Losing Against the Smith Morra".

Maybe you can make a companion video where you let your dog rate the books since he knows the good ones to chew on.

3/14/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Wayward: Weapons of chess is pretty good even though it is in his same alphabetical format (in that case, literally). There is another one by him that is my favorite that I review.

BP: LOL. Didn't Sam Collins play backup drums for Genesis?

Polly: Chess reviews by Buddy. A great idea! It would probably go a lot faster then mine. :O

3/15/2008 01:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is in the bag? Anything illegal?

3/15/2008 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: a machine gun shaped just like a chess board.

3/15/2008 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger ChargingKing said...

Smith-Morra can be interesting. Most Black players avoid the whole thing by transposing into the Alapin Sicilian. 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nf6.

Accepting the gambit is perfectly resonable and it isn't extremely hard for Black to neutralize the advantage. If you are scared of the Smith-Morra than just play Nf6 instead of dxc3.

3/15/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the "Winning With..." books are great as well.
I started with Karpov's .."Spanish", which was excellent, although I no longer play that opening, but also have Kosten's Philidor ( excellent ), Ribli's "Queen's Indian ( seem Ok, but barely used so far ) and the superlative Bellin's "..Dutch", which is practically untouchable : he is a superb writer !
The good thing about these, is they can be picked cheap second-hand ( 5 EUR for the Bellin book .
Great reviews...!

3/17/2008 12:41:00 PM  

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