Michael's Reviews > How Good is Your Chess?: Rate Your Skill and Improve Your Strategy by Participating in 35 Master Games

How Good is Your Chess? by Leonard Barden
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's review
Feb 23, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: chess
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
Recommended for: Chessmasters from pre-digital generations
Read in January, 1998

I've made several attempts to work through this book, each time giving up in disgust after a few exercises. Part of the problem is the format. It might work better, actually, as a computer program. As it is, the reader is expected to use a piece of paper to cover up the text while trying to figure out their next move, then carefully move that piece of paper down a few inches to check their answer (never mind that the text appears in two columns, so that it is impossible to cover everything you need to). A computer could simply reveal the answer once you had made your move. Apart from this, very little instruction is given, especially at the beginning of an exercise, so that it is often impossible to learn why Barden's recommended moves are "better" than the ones you make. Finally, the whole thing relies on the arcane code of chess moves (Q - Kt3, P x P, 0 - 0 - 0, and so on) without even providing a guide to these symbols. A computer could provide visual a visual representation of each move, helping the reader learn the code, or forgo its use altogether. In all, this is a book that has little teaching value, although perhaps it would provide some diversion for a player who has already mastered the game.

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