Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Master games

Without serious study of the chess classics it is not possible to become a proper chessplayer, just as it is impossible to imagine, say, a writer or poet who has not read Shakespeare, or an artist who has never seen Rembrandt's paintings (Artur Yusupov).
While I don't know if the above is true, I've decided that working through master games on a real chess board will help my board vision in tournaments, and can only help my game. I'm starting with Steinitz, and will work through 20 or more games of each world champion. After Steinitz, I'll work with Lasker (luckily Soltis has just put out a book of annotated Lasker games, called Why Lasker Matters).


Blogger takchess said...


If you wanted to do 60 games with important themes. This might be a good list.

1/30/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Another good book is the Emms, Nunn and Burgess book of 100 greatest games.

It doesn't reall matter though - as long as you play through games OTB it will help. I keep a small magnetic board to do this in the Throne Room. . .[grin]

1/30/2007 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

you can save time and money with a single games collection-- like Fine's "World's great chess games" (descriptive notation,$3 used) or the one Jim mentioned (probably the best choice).

1/30/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Patrick: chess and its paraphernalia are my only major vice, so I don't mind spending money on the books. I am kinda looking forward to having a shelf lined with world-champion books from left-to-right. I just got an original Fischer hardcover 'Most Memorable Games' for 50 bucks.

1/30/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

"While I don't know if the above is true"

Why do you doubt it?

1/31/2007 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

Let me direct you to one of the few posts (a relevant post) i posted on my new weblog. Scroll down to where Purdy discusses "how to improve".

I would also like to point out to you the following book; Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors. I've ordered it myself (tried to get the follow-up too, but no such luck) . It's got a staggering 113 reviews of which most are more then positive, and therefore obtaining a solid 5 star rating.

You do know it's advised to do this kind of study (going over master games) with heavily annotated games, right?

1/31/2007 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Edwin: the reason I'm not sure it's true: most great scientists ignore the history and just forge ahead, learning the key results, but not working through the entire papers from old. It could be like that in chess.

I have that book Unbeatable by the perve. I want to sequentially work through (annotated) games by player, not just random collections by Chernev and the like. I want to build up a feel for the style, the methods employed by each world champion. I'll probably supplement it with other sources.

1/31/2007 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

Start with morphy. You already have the frisco del rosario book.

1/31/2007 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Patrick: I might start with the del Rosario book. I'm not sure yet, but it it's a great book!

Unfortunately, I have found no good annotated collections of Steinitz's games. Only game dumps with no annotation. I may have to use Kasparov's book...

1/31/2007 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

"The most intelligent inspection of any number of fine paintings will not make the observer a painter, nor will listening to a number of operas make the hearer a musician, but good judges of music and painting may be so formed. Chess differs from these. The intelligent perusal of fine games cannot fail to make the reader a better player and a better judge of the play of others." -Emanuel Lasker

-I lifted that from Neil McDonald's book, but I think it helps fortify your reasoning and judgement to look at the great games of the masters.

1/31/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

How about this book on Steinitz?

It has the right amount of games you want to study as well ;-)

2/01/2007 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Edwin: wow I didn't realize it has 20 annotated games in the end by Soltis no less. That is sweet! Thanks for the heads-up. They really should promote that more!!!

2/01/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger wayward son said...

I think that studying master games is a great idea. I hope to start doing so sometime soon myself.

Preferrably I will start with Anderssen. Problem is I don't know any book about him except this one which appears to be basically a data-dump.


2/01/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

I just came across a review (i'm interested in purchasing the book myself for biography sake) that i think you should read first. The review shows negativity towards the supposedly contained annotated games. I think you are better of with the CD that's also being reviewd. But since it's a book you want, this one looks interesting enough. Good luck!

2/01/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

Sorry if i got your hopes up ;-)

2/01/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Edwin that next book you mention I already have. It is awful. Just a game dump. The "annotations" are nothing more than variations here and there. No explanation or discussion of anything. Nothing you couldn't find on the internet.

I guess I'll just get the Kasparov book and maybe work through a few others.

2/01/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

it should go without saying that the quality of the annotations is more important than the quality of the games.

an exercise i've seen recommended is to annotate a game yourself (no computer!) then compare your notes with the book notes.

another consideration is that autobiographical game collections are the BEST! off the top of my head, great players who have written autobiographical collections include: smyslov, tal (life & games), taimanov, fischer, ALEKHINE, bronstein, keres, nunn, karpov, kasparov (test of time!), tarrasch (300 games)...

2/02/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Patrick: that sounds quite reasonable. I am beginning to think that my plan, while it would be really fun, might be limited by the number of quality annotations that I will get something from. I just got Volume 1 of My Great Predecessors for his annotated Steinitz games. It is a fun book. While it may not stand up to academic scrutiny (the best practitioners of a science are often awful historians), it makes for entertaining chess reading.

Some have argued that you should just go through a bunch of such games, really fast, to get an overall sense of the rhythm and flow of a really good game. I'd prefer to go through rather slowly, doing your auto-annotation-first trick, and taking the time to mull over the explanations.

2/02/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

i've seen the "auto-annotation trick" recommended, but i'm not patient enough to try it myself.

one method i really have used is to replay the game with the book, then close the book and replay the whole game from memory. when memorizing a series of data, the brain naturally "chunks" the info into useful groups (you've blogged about this)... So memorizing games was how i "tricked" my brain into making sense of those games.

2/03/2007 05:59:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home