Friday, November 10, 2006

Book List

I have added a link to an Amazon Book List I will maintain for this blog. Books on this list I will consider as 'must have' books to properly implement the GCTS we articulate here.

Again, I encourage everyone to post comments, suggestions, and criticism of the system here at the blog. Your participation is what drives this blog and the user feedback of the GCTS will make it more efficient and better for all!

5 comments:

brendan said...

There is some discussion on the use of computers in the Mikhailova article on chessok, but curious to hear opinions on what the proper balance should be between the use of books and the use of chess software.

I'm someone who has only recently decided to devote more serious study to chess, having only played casually in the past (consider this statement my novice disclaimer). I've found much of the commentary in the books I've been reading to be useful, but when it comes to dozens and dozens of problems, I tend to prefer use of the computer.

Along those lines, perhaps I might be better served by setting up positions on the board for "feel".

Perhaps its just a matter of personal preference or learning style?

Also interested to hear opinions on supplementing the titles in mark's list with instructional software such as the various chessbase offerings?

On a side note, mark, I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I've been looking for some time for a self-study program, and your posts have been quite valuable for me in this pursuit. Well organized, well thought out and well written. Bravo!

Mark said...

brendan wrote:
"There is some discussion on the use of computers in the Mikhailova article on chessok, but curious to hear opinions on what the proper balance should be between the use of books and the use of chess software.

I'm someone who has only recently decided to devote more serious study to chess, having only played casually in the past (consider this statement my novice disclaimer). I've found much of the commentary in the books I've been reading to be useful, but when it comes to dozens and dozens of problems, I tend to prefer use of the computer.

Along those lines, perhaps I might be better served by setting up positions on the board for "feel".

Perhaps its just a matter of personal preference or learning style?"

My personal opinion is that problem-solving using a computer diagram is just fine. When it comes to annotated games, however, I prefer a real board with real pieces to simulate the look-ahead feel we recommend when contemplating the analysis variations in your head. Chess is spatial and I think the real board helps this. My opinion, though. whatever feels good to you and works for you is right for you.

"Also interested to hear opinions on supplementing the titles in mark's list with instructional software such as the various chessbase offerings?"

I have been a little reticent in recommending software as it really is a personal choice in how you use it and learn from it. I personally do not own CT ART 3.0, but it is the one title I have thought of purchasing, and I may ask Santa for a copy. I might be considered a "Chessbase" guy at heart.

I'm really ok with that.

I use Chessbase software primarily, and a couple training titles specifically, namely Bangiev's Squares Strategy 1 (Middlegame Strategy), Renko's Tactics CD (Tactics Training), and the ChessBase Magazine Subscription (A little bit of everything and I mean everything). I use all three and incorporate them in my study program in addition to the books on the list. But, sometimes I do not want to sit in front of a computer and study chess, and prefer to break out the board. Hence, the need for both good software and good books. But when I do study with the computer, I use the above software to make that happen.

Excellent feedback from brendan, thanks!

SamuraiPawn said...

I have used CT-Art for about two and a half months now in combination with Combinational Motifs by Blokh. I think CT-Art is a great program, but I find myself getting more stressed and less patient in comparison to using a book.

I guess it's important to be flexible when setting up a personal training program and to be critical of "universal" truths about what to do and how to do it. I think chess software can be a great time saver and highly effective, but it might not be for everyone.

brendan said...

SamuraiPawn, good comment about being less patient when working w/ CT-Art. I can completely understand where you are coming from.

After giving this a bit of thought for the past two days, I've decided to hit the books for a little while. I have a tendency to work through problems too quickly without letting myself get absorbed in a position. I'm hoping more practice over the board instead of in front of the screen will help here.

I think part of the reason for my impatience when doing problems is simply that the world of semi-serious chess (term used loosely here) is new to me. I've haven't really spent much time with chess players, so I don't have a point of reference for what it really means to be rated 1200, 2000 etc. - should solving this problem take 10 minutes? 30 seconds? I know that this will come with exposure and time, but I'm just starting out on this road and I do get impatient. I think its time to let go a little and focus on quality instead of quantity.

Above all else, I'm having a great time with it though!

Mark said...

Brendan,

If one were to assume that you were going to conduct your chess studies as outlined here, then you'd be solving tactical problems every day for 1 time unit. If you missed the previous post outlining this, see Generic Trainig Schedule and also the followup Generic Training Schedule Revisited. Also read Captures, Checks, Pins and Forks and Theory, Theory and more Theory.

When using software, there is generally a time limit on solving the problem. Try as hard as you can to solve it under the time limit, but if you cannot, don't give up! Keep looking at the problem and apply your chesss sense to it and try and solve it.

If you haven't played much chess, then the Polgar book is a good choice as it involves really basic patterns, the bricks of chess thought. Without them, you'll run into too many 'Big Bad Wolves' that will blow your house down...