The very BEST book on endings (and in fact one the the very best chess books of all time) is Jeremy Silman's Complete Endgame Course. BUT, thorough anThe very BEST book on endings (and in fact one the the very best chess books of all time) is Jeremy Silman's Complete Endgame Course. BUT, thorough and effective though it is, you will find no discussion in it about mating a lone King with two Bishops (not as hard as you've heard...I can do it in my sleep now), or mating a lone King with a Bishop and a Knight (widely regarded as the hardest thing to do in chess…I STILL can't do it.) They are two extremely rare endings that--the story goes--even GMs might never need in a multi-decade chess playing career*. But in that rarity lies their appeal, and Seirawan's book discusses them! (Early, and at some length, I might add.) That alone was worth the purchase price for me. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - *You often hear about how rare this position is. But listen…to this:After administering an End-Of-Year state exam to a small class (this was June 10, 2015) a ninth-grader with decent knowledge of the game (probably about ELO 1000) was playing a complete novice, and was mere moves away from finishing her off when her ride arrived and she had to leave. The freshman clearly wanted his win and asked if I would take over for the departed girl, and I agreed. She'd left me with a Rook, a Knight, a Bishop, and a pawn, vs. his Queen, at least one Rook, maybe two Bishops, a least one Knight and a host of pawns. On a good day I'm about 1300-1350, but most of the time I play students, and they are often intimidated by the fact that they're playing a 50 year old chess coach. This freshman wasn't intimidated in the least, but neither was he especially familiar with basic tactical patterns. A few skewers and knight-forks later and I'd relieved him of all his pieces and pawns. (In truth, I relieved him of maybe half. The other half he simply gave away.) The difference in our abilities notwithstanding, it was a pretty cool comeback, and several other kids had gathered to see it unfold. Yet when the smoke cleared, it was *I* who had lost focus: by not protecting the one pawn I had, I had no hope of finishing the game, for I was indeed left with nothing but: you guessed it! Any disappointment I might have felt for blowing what should have been a crazy comeback win was obliterated by the realization that this position that I've been told I'd never see…I saw! (As I told the kid: "Let's call it a draw. There's a way to checkmate you with just these two pieces, but I sure don't know it!") ...more
I love attacking and mixing it up, but after spending a few weeks with this and adopting a more defensive posture at the board, I find that not only hI love attacking and mixing it up, but after spending a few weeks with this and adopting a more defensive posture at the board, I find that not only have I not lost in several weeks, but I'm now handily beating people I used to consider my equals (or, in a couple of cases, my betters.)...more
16JAN11. It won't arrive until the middle of the week. But when it does I'll dive right in. Going through the 3rd edition of How To Reassess Your Ches16JAN11. It won't arrive until the middle of the week. But when it does I'll dive right in. Going through the 3rd edition of How To Reassess Your Chess was an INVALUABLE experience. It opened my eyes to aspects of the game to which I previously had been oblivious. Supposedly Silman completely rewrote the book ("from scratch" was the phrase that caught my eye) greatly expanded it, rearranged it, chopped out the Basic Endgame chapter (the chapter that inexplicably OPENED the 3rd edition!), and added a 90 page section on the psychological aspects of the game (Silman has a two-page mention of this topic in his 1998 Complete Book of Chess Strategy which served the digest-like purpose of that volume but left this reader wanting more.)
19JAN11. It's here, and let me just point out that if you consider the physicality of reading an important part of a good read (how a book feels in your hands, how the pages feel as you turn them; Kindle and other eBooks be damned*) then straight out of the box this book will satisfy. In fact, if you got a copy of Silman's mammoth Complete Endgame Course and wondered, "what would it be like if Reassess was this big?", well wonder no longer; The 4th edition looks and feels nearly identical to the Endgame book. Silman does claim that he completely rewrote the book knowing that of the dozen or so books he's written, this is the one that will be around when he's long gone: he wanted to do it up right. And if you've read the deservedly famous 3rd edition you know that there were typesetting issues and other minor things that didn't detract from the quality of the instruction but kept you (or at least me) from thinking the thing had been meticulously proofed.
Forget about all that: this is one elegant volume. I can not WAIT to immerse myself in it!! (More commentary to come of course) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- *(I know I'm pretty luddite about that, and fighting a rapidly disintegrating battle--like senior citizens who avoid cell phones or voice mail or even computers--but still.)
23JAN11. Bigger, more polished, and unquestionably: funnier! I expect I'll be spending the next year + of my life with this book, and that is NOT a daunting thought!
26MAR11. When work and life get busy chess is the first thing that takes a hit, sadly; This will probably have to wait for the summer....more
The first 60 pages are as good a "How To/For Beginners" as you'll find anywhere and alone are worth the price tag if you need a How To. After that it'The first 60 pages are as good a "How To/For Beginners" as you'll find anywhere and alone are worth the price tag if you need a How To. After that it's almost entirely back-rank mate puzzles which is a bit disappointing, although to be fair I got several of them wrong for going too fast and not focussing; My downfall during regular play as well.
Nothing about minor piece tactics & strategy...Knights v Bishops, advance posts and support points. (Also, this is the only book I've seen that values Bishops at 3 1/4. Usually Knights an Bishops are valued at an even three, though I have seen other books value two Bishops higher than two Knights. Some folks value Knights over Bishops the way others value Fender over Gibson, Macs over PC, dogs over cats; a matter of personal preference. But trading off a Bishop late when there's not much else on the board is often a mistake, as is dumping a Knight in a clogged, closed game where you can't see the forest for the trees and you need something that can jump over obstacles.)
Nothing about initiative/tempo, pawn structure, development.
Pins have been mentioned but neither forks nor skewers have, that I can recall.
Nothing about openings, middlegame or endgame save for the puzzles that happen to be set during those stages.
If you want a square-one beginner's book, you could do much worse for the price. If you are a beginner who knows the rules and has played a few games and wants to improve your overall game I'd STRONGLY recommend Patrick Wolff's Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess. If you've played the game, enjoyed it but want to step your game up you must check out Jeremy Silman's How To Reassess Your Chess, 3rd Ed. (A greatly expanded and re-written 4th edition was released in October 2010, and is totally worth the $20 price tag.) After going though that sucker page by page and doing every single example and problem, I'd gone from having a familiarity with the game to being a bona fide chess nut, looking up and studying ancient games and really seeing the beauty in what people like Fischer, Tal, Capablanca, Kasparov, etc. did....more
This book got me into chess in a very big way. Sounds trite, but it literally changed my life.
21SEP13. I saw that the above two sentences garnThis book got me into chess in a very big way. Sounds trite, but it literally changed my life.
21SEP13. I saw that the above two sentences garnered a second like yesterday, but I knew when I saw it that (if not on Goodreads than somewhere) I'd written more than just those two sentences about this amazing book. Regarding some details mentioned below, I will reiterate that I'm still a chess-head as I approach the ninth anniversary of my first reading. I have way more than fifteen chess books now--probably closer to three times that--and I still revel in surprising victories and agonize over surprising defeats, against both human and computer opponents.
Late Nov. 2004. When you have friends that recommend books like this to you, the world is indeed a nice place to be. It's the story of a young girl who finds she can visualize entire chess games in her head and therefore has, forever at her disposal, the perfectly portable "board" on which to run combinations and follow lines. And at a tender age she starts kicking the ever-loving shit out of everyone in sight, grinding high school and state champions under her heel. And then she gets better. Her nearly catastrophic bout with booze feels inserted and frankly is one of the novel's few weak spots, but screw that, this book is too much fun to bitch about. If you know not only what the phrase "Mate in nineteen" means, but what it implies, do yourself a favor and give this book a look.
12-1-04. I've read books twice, but never before have I read a book and liked it well enough to reread it immediately. First time for everything I guess.
5-14-06. I'm still on the chess kick that began when I read this a year and a half ago (now have over 15 books in my "chess library," read a few pages, or play a game every day) so it's fair to say this book changed my life....more
The book has a few typos, which are annoying, but I'll forgive it because the way to learn openings is to play through them over and over and over. BuThe book has a few typos, which are annoying, but I'll forgive it because the way to learn openings is to play through them over and over and over. But who starts games and stops when the opening ends? People who read this book and play though all the openings...that's who....more
Read this with a board in front of you, and when you finish a chapter, take the test positions seriously. Set up positions and try to solve them WITHORead this with a board in front of you, and when you finish a chapter, take the test positions seriously. Set up positions and try to solve them WITHOUT TOUCHING PIECES. Do this through the *entire book* and enjoy how much sharper a chess player you've become....more
If you can only get one book to improve your game, this one is it. Examples and exercises that cover ALL phases of the game, and even if you don't buyIf you can only get one book to improve your game, this one is it. Examples and exercises that cover ALL phases of the game, and even if you don't buy into Silman's "thinking technique" this book will introduce you to many advanced concepts (knights vs. bishops, bishop pair, support points, etc.)
THE KEY OF COURSE IS NOT JUST TO READ THE BOOK, BUT TO SET UP POSITIONS AND FOLLOW ALONG AS SILMAN EXPLAINS THEM: EVERY SINGLE ONE, ON EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Spend a couple months with this book, commit to reading/working three pages a day or so and you will be stunned at your improvement, as I was....more