Friday, April 6, 2007

Chess Books: Beware!

Don’t buy too many books on chess. Years ago, I had an extensive library of chess books. It was easier to buy these books than it was to read them. In order to really read a chess book, one has to use a board and pieces (or a computer) to follow the moves. Then one has to understand the moves, too. This requires considerable care and thought. Chess moves punctuate the battle of ideas. These ideas may be strategic in nature or they may be tactical. Strategy is best expounded upon by words, supplemented by variations of analysis. Tactics is best expounded by variations of analysis, supplemented by words. In any case, this is technical material, enjoyable, but still technical.

A book on chess is hard to read – right. Years ago, I read most of the books in my collection once. I did not think about what I was reading much, nor did I do much analyzing with a chess set. Thus, I got only a fraction of the value out of the book.

I think that it is better to know a few books well than to know many books slightly. Here’s a collection of games that I am journeying through now. I like it because it gives a good overview of what games at the master level are like up to the 1930’s. I don’t mind that it is not up to date so much. If I could play as well as Tartakower and his colleagues, I would feel okay.

Disclaimer: The fact that I will be compensated if you click on the link and buy the book turns this post into a semi-advertisement. I only will link to for books I actually liked.