Monday, December 01, 2008

New York Chess Cruisin'

I've been in NYC for a few days, and visited Washington Square Park and a couple of chess shops in the Village (see the Chess tourist's guide to NYC over at the Kenilworthian).

I let myself buy some stuff. One, Shirov's disc My best games in the Caro-Kann. Boy, what a turd. I should always do my homework before plunking down my hard-earned money for chess literature. It is basically his attempt to refute the Caro Kann with six lamely annotated games, all within one narrow variation of the advance. If I were a GM this might help me. For me, it is just not useful.

So, to fellow Caro-Kanners, don't waste your money!

Incidentally, does anyone have Aagaard's new books on attack in chess? In particular, I am thinking of the first volume, or instead King's DVDs on attacking chess (wonderfully reviewed by Grandpatzer). The best review of a DVD series I've seen on the blogs or elsewhere. Too bad the Colin Crouch book he seems to like is only available for over 200 bucks and is out of print.

22 Comments:

Blogger likesforests said...

Erik (uscf 1600 of chess.com) says nowadays they demand $5 per two games win OR lose. There were only eight players out the day he visited and he was disappointed he went 6.5/9.0 against the crowd. What was the scene like when you visited?

12/01/2008 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

LF: I went fairly late (after 10PM) so it wasn't really chess time. There was one guy there, and he took me for a fool, rightly, and charged 5 for ONE game. (Compared to Dupont circle a couple of weeks ago where it was 2 bucks a game (again, win or lose)).

12/01/2008 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger chesstiger said...

The photo was what you saw the day you were there? Or is it taken from the internet?

Caro-kann i dont play so i cant recommend a book or DVD or CD or ... about it. But like you said yourself, before buying first do some research.

12/01/2008 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Ct--I have plenty on the do I'm most interested in what people have to say about my q's at the end.

Pic stolen from web.

12/01/2008 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

'do' = 'ck' (carp kahn) in iphone-ear autocorrect.

Seriously iwant info comparing king and aagaard

12/01/2008 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

The guys in Washington Square Park don't like being photographed. I took some pictures down there and got yelled at. After that I asked, but he politely said no.

Sorry I was out of town. Hopefully the next time you're in town I won't be gallivanting around the country elsewhere.

12/01/2008 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Polly: I thought of you when I saw chess-related stuff, wondering if you'd been there.

I didn't get to Fred Wilson's shop, which I assume has the best book selection of any of the stores.

12/02/2008 12:09:00 AM  
OpenID chessmasterorbust said...

Which book by Colin Crouch are you refering to?

12/02/2008 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Attacking technique

12/02/2008 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

both Aagaard and King are good. they have different goals, so it's hard to compare. King is more universal, covering openings, pawn structures, etc in different volumes. King has a 7+ volume DVD series, and Aagaard is writing only 2 books. One similarity is that both are light and entertaining in their presentation, making them appealing to lazy players. But the downside of this is that you can go thru either set superficially without absorbing much of anything. Aagaard can just about be read without a board. I read a third of it on a long plane ride. Not sure i really learnt anything. I don't think either King or Aagaard brings anything "new" that hasn't been discussed before. One thing i hate about King especially in the later volumes is that he overrelies on the quiz format. So half the DVD is him giving test positions and then, after asking the viewer to pause, explaining what is going on. I don't think he did this in 1-3, i seem to recall he started it in 4 or 5. I thought that was a lazy approach. I am currently reading Art of Sacrifice by Spielmann. (video #1) This is a great book. The best chess book is the one you actually read.

12/02/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Katar: thanks for the information.

I guess I'll wait a little bit and see if Crouch's book becomes available, and in the meantime I'll get a copy of DVDs 1-3 of King's stuff. I'll wait until I've read some Aagaard at a bookstore until purchasing, like all his books as I am usually unhappy with his work.

Laziness is the biggest problem in most modern chess literature. I went through the Shirov vid with Fritz turned on and it kept finding fairly killer continuations that he didn't consider.

Great video! I'm trying to get the ad bar to disappear that takes up most of the first two ranks.

12/02/2008 02:57:00 PM  
OpenID chessmasterorbust said...

That Crouch book looks really great. I just checked a sample of it at amazon. I must have it. Cheapest one i could find was on abebooks for $75. Unfortunately the seller doesn't accept paypal :(

All i can hope for now is that i'll run into it somewhere, someplace.

12/03/2008 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Maybe Batsford will print some more copies.

12/03/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

Hey BDK -

On the Shirov DVDs, I have the one for the Spanish. It is similar to what you described. Basically an overview of his approach to the opening and a very compact presentation of the theory. I, however, really enjoyed watching his games in the Spanish. It wasn't educational in a theoretical sense, but just listening to his approach to the games and what he thinks is important in the positions that arise really helped me understand the Spanish. I really like his approach to the CK (Advance with 4.Nc3 and then g4/kingside pawn storm plans) so I was going to look into this DVD. I think the most important thing to take away from these DVDs is understanding what he believes are the important features of the resulting positions. He may skim over some details but the things that he does discuss are very important and instructional.

I went to Washington Square Park in 2006 but I was living in Chicago at the time so I was all to familiar with "Chess Hustler" tactics. In Chicago there are usually good games at North Av. Beach during the summer and there used to be games year round (and at all times of day) at the 24 hour Starbucks on North Av. but since I've been there more recently I haven't seen people playing there. It is certainly an experience to play with these players, it's a different kind of chess.

12/03/2008 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

I'm glad I bought Crouch when it ws in print.

I responded on my blog to your question about books. I recommended Attack with Mikhail Tal for attacking, Tal's Winning Chess Combinations for mating combinations, and The Art of Chess Combination by Znosko-Borovsky as a sentimental in-between. The last two are standard notation, mind you.

I flipped through Aagard's book in the store and felt I didn't need it, but next time I see it I'll dig a little more to see if it could offer something over what I already have. I think I have some anti-Aagard bias because of his wigging out over Watson.

12/03/2008 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Drunknknite--maybe when I'm no longer a beginner at the CK I'll find it useful. Those lines never happen for me as black. Maybe someday.

GP--lucky bastard! I have the same bias against Aagaard, also because his book on how to meet 1 d4 is a piece of shit. I'll have to check out that Tal book if I get a chance at a used bookstore...

12/03/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PS Drunknknite--when will you post again!!!!

12/03/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

Aagaard has a lot of credibility-- he made grandmaster finally at age 34 after many years of trying. You'll never see Watson and Silman play tournaments while THEY have books in print!! There is also this hilarious bit from an Amazon review of Aagaard's EIC: ""In any field of knowledge, there are general rules or principles. For instance, when driving a car (in the USA), there is the rule that you should pass on the left. But if there is a snow plow traveling at 5 mph in the left lane, the "concrete analysis" dictates that you should pass on the right. Similar to this argument, Watson presents old rules such as "don't move a piece twice in the opening," and then presents specific examples to show that a player did the right thing by moving apiece twice in the opening. This is so Mickey-Mouse and simple an argument that it is amazing that Watson's book has received the acclaim it has.""

12/03/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Colin Crouch's book isn't even on ebay... but I wouldn't give up. I've had pretty good luck finding out of print books ( De Groots' for instance and the New York 1924 tournament book) so I'll keep an eye out for you. I also am friends with a at least three chess book sellers who usually help me find out of print material.

12/03/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

katar: Aagaard's a great chess player, but that doesn't mean he's a great writer (in English) or teacher. Silman's endgame book, for instance, is great. I have only read one Aagaard book, and perhaps it was just too advanced for me.

Frankly, I couldn't really stand Watson's opening books: he goes to the other extreme, so "organized" and theoretical it isn't all that helpful in practice.

It seems Aagaard is jealous or something the way he keeps on. There is an important truth in Watson's analysis (nothing new to the GMs, but perhaps the first systematic treatment). Note I am talking out of my ass a bit, as I haven't read Watson's book, but only summaries of it.

Rowson has a good bit on the Watson/Aagaard fight, which I will get back to summarizing I swear.

BP: If you or anyone can track it down, or has it on a computer file, or one of those old-school purple mimeograph copies, I'd gladly reimburse you or make a trade. Batsford should re-release it!!!

12/03/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Chessaholic said...

Not sure where you live, but you may be able to find the Crouch book in a library near you.

12/04/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Chessaholic: cool service. I'm in North carolina, but will look around at Duke and the other schools.

Also, I forgot about Art of Checkmate. I'm gonna read it it's awesome.

12/04/2008 12:15:00 PM  

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