Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chess for Zebras, Introduction

After hearing lots of glowing praise for Rowson's book Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White, I decided to give it a shot. This is partly because the praise is often not accompanied by many specific things they liked, or concrete nontrivial take-home messages. That is, the reviews have had a bit too much adoration, not enough content, often discussing only the first chapter (for examples, see Silman's review here (discusses only content in Chapter 1) and the Chessbase review here--nice summary of Chapter 1, but then nothing).

Hence, I bought the book, and will write up brief summaries periodically (eventually of every chapter) to provide a more synoptic picture of the book. While I'll focus on summarizing the book, I'll of course not be able to resist injecting commentary as well.

The book is broken up into three parts. Part I (five chapters) is called 'Improving our Capacity to Improve'. It is a relatively abstract discussion of the psychology of chess and its relationship to chess improvement. Part II (five chapters) is entitled 'A mental toolkit for the exponential jungle' and is more concrete, discussing how to navigate the tortured complexity of the the game of chess (for instance, when it is time to temper your attacking urges and play some defense?). Part III (four chapters) is 'Thinking Colorfully about Black and White', and discusses issues surrounding which color you are playing.

Next post will be a summary of Chapter 1, 'What to do when you think there's a hole in your bucket.' Summaries will come every week or two.


Blogger transformation said...

for a country boy, you sure do manage to put a gold standard on chess blogging

... tonight, at work, i was reflecting and i came to you, and realized that i needed at some indefinite future time, to do a summary post of all my posts, and sincerely wanted to begin it (i write a lot in my head at work, one of the reasons i have been so active of late, the need to exorcise it!) with reference to you, such as:

'BDK really inspires me, with his many excellent analytic posts, and so the need here for a summary post, having seen his many formidably thorough and well crafted posts, given his evidentally polished academic credentials amply displayed...' or such. the key word, or hook, was formidable.

damn. you are great man.

warmest, dk

PS i have an active list, now, of posts to write and finally (not kidding, will be doing the FAQ you and the mrs. bdk so kindly helped me put into place...)

9/24/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this. Looking forward to this series about Zebras.

9/24/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't stay away from blogging now, can you? ;)

Not that i mind... I mean you have to admitt, you're one of the better chess bloggers out there.

9/24/2008 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks for these nice comments! I'm all ablush.

9/27/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Day late and a dollar short, but here's my review

10/24/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks for the link, Josh. I don't know how I missed that!

10/24/2008 01:49:00 PM  

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