Friday, 12 November 2010

Another Book Tip - Simple Chess

A while back I saw this book mentioned by John Cox in one of his works, probably in Starting Out the Alekhine  and it sounded interesting with a small strategic guide book, especially if it was mentioning stuff like: "some pawn structures in the opening can only harbour a certain amount of pieces, so in this structure Black needs to play Bc8-g4 and exchange it for Nf3 or Be2." (a rough quote from memory).

Anyway, I made a mental note to get it if I saw it, and a week ago I happened to see it. And after having read the first chapters on Outposts, I'd say it a perfect book for low rated adults who wish to improve.

People usually only mention Nimzowitsch and his My System in this context but although it was a very useful book once upon a time, it's also full of  discarded stuff not worth learning anymore. For example, nowadays we attack a pawn chain anyway we can and not only at the base. And he also had a tendency to make the leap from "this opening variation is playable after all" to "this opening variation is good".

So, in my opinion Stean's book is better for those who just want to learn strategic thinking. Stronger players have usually already internalised most of the content, for example when calculating variations most of us probably don't think of outpost squares as outposts any longer, but more as "juicy squares to put pieces on".

If you follow the link, the page has a link to a Google Book preview as well, so go take a look! As it has few diagrams and no blue text boxes repeating what's already been said earlier on the page, it might not be for young kids or Americans with the attention span of Homer Simpson.

But I bet there are many 1500 - 1900 players who's playing strength will clearly benefit from spending 6 Euro and a few reading hours on this book.

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