Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tools: Books

My experience-to-chess book ratio used to be way out of whack.  Even when buying each book, I knew I didn't need it.  I just had that passion to consume and read.  But ten years ago, I packed up most of them and walked over to a tournament going on near my workplace, and sold them for $80.  I've never regretted it.  I saved my favorites and the bare bones I would need to get started again.

Today I'm not so sure that 95% of the books and software are worthwhile to the average club player.  If you go back and read chess reviews, you might get the sense that they are all going soft on each other.  An IM knows that it's tough to make it in the chess world, so isn't going to ask of a GM's latest book, "Do we really need another of THESE?!.  Perhaps the problem is that so many are good, but we don't need them all.

I'm not so sure I need that fourth book on positional theory for a long while.  I doubt many of us yet need that second book on our favorite opening.  I think most of us are like me; we just want to consume more, and maybe even find that magic bullet.  If we're reading a new book, that's a nice way of telling ourselves that we're "studying chess", when what we really should be doing is the grunt work.  After having written the previous sentence, I shortly discovered that Nigel Davies had coined a phrase for this type of sub-optimal improvement method:  "Reading and nodding".  Of course, it's a hobby, so whatever makes you happy is good.

Here are my resources:

And that, I think, is all the books I need for a while.  Software and Internet resources coming soon.

I should be done with the 303 book by the weekend!  Unfortunately, it represents less than half of a Circle.  But I'm hoping that the Bain book will be easy enough that I can increase my speed.

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