Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chess Books

I figured things have been rather quiet lately here so I decided to talk about a few books I have been going through recently and books I've finished recently.

Excelling at Chess Calculation by Aagaard
I really like this book, there are some very interesting problems and it really does give ideas on how to improve your calculation and things to be weary of while calculating. I've actually read through it once before, but reading it now it's obvious my first reading wasn't too attentive. I'm not sure how much of this book is easy to pick up, most of it needs to be done through practice which it doesn't necessarily provide on it's own, but it does give suggestions for organization of thought.

Chess Self-Improvement by Zenon Franco
This book has a pretty cool cover and the first time I heard of it I thought it was pretty dorky and that the book wouldn't be of much interest to me. Actually this is an interesting book and if you spend the time to really go through the games with serious concentration you can gain a lot. I feel like if you spend the effort this is as closed to a simulated game environment you can probably get. The moves he asks you to try to figure out vary in difficulty and the points are awarded in various fashions. I will note, don't even both with this book if you plan on just skimming through it, that's a waste of your time.

School of Chess Excellence 1: Endgame Analysis by Dvoretsky
I bought this book really recently and have just started working through it, but it seems very good so far and is much more theoretically based than the bulk of Dvoretsky's other work Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual. Here a lot of time is spent talking about playable positions and I feel like I will be able to learn a lot from this book. He goes over some very tough endgame positions from real games, often times where players had hours to analyze in adjournment.

Chess for Zebras by Rowson
A good deal of the book so far is spent presenting information from Seven Deadly Chess Sins in a different manner, but a lot of it is spent on chess improvement. I don't know how particularly relevant it is to me now in this manner, but after reading a review of this book and browsing through it I decided it was certainly worthwhile. His writing style is very candid and always enjoyable. It's certainly one of those books I could work through, not absorb anything and still enjoy it.

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