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The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
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The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  830 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This book takes the student on a journey through his own mind and returns him to the chess board with a wealth of new-found knowledge and the promise of a significant gain in strength. Most amateurs possess erroneous thinking processes that remain with them throughout their chess lives. These flaws in their mental armour result in stinging defeats and painful reversals. Bo ...more
Paperback, 443 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Siles Press (first published 1995)
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Michael J.J. Tiffany
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Now you know how to play, you've picked up a few tactical tricks, maybe learned a few openings and common variations... what next? This book can teach anyone how to develop good plans in chess. It outlines a nice system for reading the board to develop strategic insights, so you can move beyond "OK I do this, then he does that, then I do this..." analysis. I think the author is unusually insightful about how the average player approaches the game and thinks about it; if you know you will read a ...more
Anthea Carson
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For a review of this book I could say, "see my review of How to Reassess Your Chess: The Complete Chess Mastery Course since I talked mostly about this book in that review." But that's ok, I'll say more, because I could go on and on about this book. I never had so much fun reading a chess book in my life.

I read this book many years ago, and I bought thin flat metal chess board the size of a notebook page with flat magnetic pieces and played along with the games in the book, reading Jeremy's wit
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess, reviewed
I'm a casual player and don't study or practice ever. But I'm just interested enough to consider reading a book on chess from time to time. The Shredder app I have on my phone pegs me at 1450 Elo rating, and I'm probably at the bottom range of what level player might find this book useful.

I enjoyed the format where Silman annotates games against his students, including their thoughts on why moves were made, and his notes on these thoughts. A majority of the content relates to the middle game, an
Felix Hernandez
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is the definitive introduction to strategic chess, where the player goes beyond sheer tactics and calculation to build a more abstract understanding of the wonderful game of chess. Most examples come from games from amateurs, which makes them far more approachable to the average player. Silman's writing is very clear and entertaining, and his selection of material and exercises outstanding. ...more
Jul 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
How to control knights - take away their advanced posts.
How to use knights - give them advanced posts.
How to value knights v.s. bishops and use that imbalance to work for you. If you find yourself with a bishop difference, work to open the game and get passed pawns on both sides. If you find yourself with a knight, work to keep it closed, and get passed pawns on only one side, and work to give them an outpost.
Cathie Maud
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first chess book I've read that did not bore my amateur, casual mind to tears. I really appreciated all the examples, but it is hard to follow if you do not set up a board to follow along, as there are usually only the initial board placements shown in the diagrams. It can make progressing through the book a bit tedious, but it is well worth it. I am able to see what lazy mental chess-playing habits I have picked up over the years, and with my new awareness, try and better my play.

Highly rec
Alex Vasai
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
Great work involved in creating this book, it took me 2 years to finish it but I have to appreciate its consistency. Mr Silman teaches you to play by the imbalances of the board, I think it is a strong and long term approach. We, amateurs, just learn 2-3 openings, basic endgames and we are just searching for tactics, he just take it to a superior level, he is definitely one of the greatest chess writer. I would dream to read a book written by Silman and Zenon!
Chip and Katie Moore
Apr 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: chip
A modern chess classic, this book is a great primer for folks who want to go from just pushing wood to truly playing the game of chess.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is easily my favorite chess book. It vastly improved my game.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chess
You'll have to spend some time with this one, but it will well be worth it. I've spent months reading it, working fully through each diagram and taking notes, but no other book has helped my game this much. Put in the effort and you will be rewarded. ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great Chess Book! Silman is one of the Chess Authors that i can understand.
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent content, but the format kind of makes Silman seem like a prick. I get that amateurs make bad chess moves dude, but you're not as funny as you think you are. Still, a very solid introduction to positional chess. ...more
Murilo Andrade
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chess
Great book. A new classic.

Jeremy Silman is one of the best chess authors nowadays. In a great writing style and easy to follow, he dissects chess thinking as few. He introduces many chess concepts and, through the reasoning of amateur players ( based on his notes with amateur players thinking out loud), he shows how to avoid amateur thinking. This will improve your game drastically.

This book is all about imbalances. In each of the chapters, he describes an imbalance and, through examples, invi
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chess
While Silman may only be an IM, he writes great chess books for those of us who aren't grandmasters. Reassess you chess, his great learn chess book, is a great book to read first. This book goes into the mind of the armature and shows us what we think and why it's wrong. This book should improve you play! ...more
Butch Mosier
Nov 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for learning how the chess master thinks, against opponents who make the kinds of mistakes normal tournament players are likely to see themselves (as opposed to the mistakes found in typical books about games between grandmasters, in which the errors are so slight its hard to see that one has been made at all until well into the process of exploiting it).
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first chess book that taught me how to look for more in the position then purely tactics. Highly recommended to the 1500 rated player or under. Hell even now going back through it I still get insight into the thought processes of higher rated players
Scott Collingwood
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I cannot understand this book at all. Will seek a tutor.
Steve Toyne
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chess
One of the best chess books, slightly let down by the condescending tone and attitude he has towards the mistakes his students make.
Melanie Brennan
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite chess books.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. It gives you an insight into how your mind works, not just with chess, but with life! ...more
Michiel Tummers
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books one can read on chess after a player has fully mastered the basics. This book is for the intermediate player who cant seem to improve. Given that the player is practising chess tactics on a daily level ( or, knows some openings by heart and has a rudimentary knowledge of end games, the fault in 99% of the time is strategic by nature.
mr. Silman has his own theories and although at times he puts too much faith in his strategic concepts, it is a must read
Quinton Baran
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent, in depth book for the beginning chess player. I followed through carefully with a chess board, and I know that I can still gain much more by re-reading, which I plan to do sometime in the future.

The basis of Silman's chess philosophy is identifying imbalances (both temporary and permanent) and then making plans to take advantage of the imbalances while denying the opponent the use of their imbalances.

The book goes through chapter by chapter over different imbalances, and
William Schram
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy playing Chess, but I am terrible at it. So I decided to read this book and see if it could help me out somewhat. Most of what I gained from this book was the idea of a plan. It doesn't necessarily have to be Checkmate. Silman is a fan of looking at imbalances and seeing what the board has to offer and responding accordingly. So he takes some games from Masters and goes over them, followed by a section where one of his rated students go and try to copy the moves. Silman also does one bett ...more
Chris MacFadyen
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book for chess players just beginning their chess studies or any player under 1500 rating.

Silman does a good job of breaking down important topics like many imbalances on the board, optimizing knights vs. bishops and what to do with leads in development, initiative and/or space.

He uses real game examples of how they should be played (by Silman or another GM) then after highlighting the key attributes of the position that lead to the winning plan Silman has one of his students play the game
Etienne Pelletier
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Silman does an excellent job presenting basic strategy concepts and doesn't get bogged down into individual moves or game analysis. Presents ideas like pawn chains, supporting pieces, centre control, control of open files, etc. Makes it easy to understand the basics of strategy and how to move beyond just understand how the pieces move. I highly recommend this book! ...more
Tom Ritman-Meer
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good instruction for beginner/intermediate players.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Did not feel entirely like an amateur's book, but I learned a couple of things to help me improve my play. ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s cool
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
It improved my chess thinking and my rating hundreds of points when I first started getting back into chess.
Jun 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
A Great Chess Classic Book!
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