6

I have a bunch of chess books that have been given to me on my favorite openings. I usually try to do a few games from them after I play my daily games and go over how I could improve with a chess engine.

However I feel like I am not getting the most from the books, and my coach hasn't really helped me yet understand how best to use them. Keep in mind I'm still a beginner, I'm hovering in the 800-900 range.

It comes down to I think a few things I don't get:

  • Many books I have just jump straight into games and talk about this or that variation, or another game, or their thoughts on the move. None of them discuss the ideas behind why those moves are good ideas, which I think is key in helping me understand. For example I watched a video of Karpov explaining some stuff on the Queens gambit that fundamentally improved my play because I was told the motivation behind the ideas.

  • I only have one program or chessboard available to me at any given time. Most books talk about variations in the middle of discussing a mainline. This is hard for me because I follow that line, then have to reset my board to follow the mainline until the next variation.

How do you guys handle these two problems? I feel like it's just like math. Once I learned to read a math text I got so much more out of it and became better. I think I can greatly improve my performance by understanding how to study a chess book effectively.

  • 1
    Sounds like you are reading the wrong books. – Ywapom Nov 29 '17 at 2:40
  • 1
    i think opening variations might be the wrong material to study for you. I'd recommend tacticts and endgames instead. – Ostkontentitan Nov 29 '17 at 7:10
6

None of them discuss the ideas behind why those moves are good ideas, which I think is key in helping me understand

That's correct, the explanations are key. Opening books that don't give the ideas behind the moves along with typical middlegame plans are almost worthless. You might as well throw them away. If they don't give much more than just the moves and evaluations then you would be better off with one of the many databases.

Most books talk about variations in the middle of discussing a mainline. This is hard for me because I follow that line, then have to reset my board to follow the mainline until the next variation.

That's very conscientious of you. Most of us would follow the variation in our heads partly because we can but mostly because we are lazy. Once you get good you will be able to do this too. If you become very good indeed then you will be able to play the whole game in your head.

  • I recommend the free version of Chessbase software to easily look at multiple variations. I find it easier than using a physical chess set. – Rick G Dec 1 '17 at 15:55
3

Keep in mind I'm still a beginner, I'm hovering in the 800-900 range.

Do not read any opening book. Rather concentrate on tactics. For this I wold recommend for example the book "Learn chess tactics" from John Nunn. Just an example there are many similar books that are good to, but this is the only one I know. Simple tactics do not have many deep variants so this problem would be solved too. For the opening I would recommend just to consider the following: Save your King (do not get mated early), develop pieces, occupy the center. If your level has improved and your opponents do not fail on simple tactics, than you can go and learn deep opening variants. Furthermore I wold recommend long calculation time (at the very least 15 minutes better is much more like 2h or even daily chess), so that you are able to calculate the tactics deep enough.

  • I do tactics but a lot of them just aren't real. I have been pulling tactics from books and use chessbase as well. I generally play 15 | 10. I don't usually play blitz – user14142 Nov 29 '17 at 16:14
  • He is right, forget openings now. Study middlegame tactics and play 1000 blitz games before studying anything else. This will give you essentials. Then you will be ready for endgame and strategy studies. – ferit Nov 29 '17 at 19:25
  • I've been advised against playing blitz except for fun. It builds bad habits. Minimum 15 | 10 to have enough time to dig deep. I don't go into openings deeply - but I absolutely needed a small repetoire against 1.d4 and 1.e4 for both black and white to have any chance at developing things properly. I plan on using Chessbase 14's tactical trainer more. – user14142 Nov 29 '17 at 23:51
  • A player at your level should establish an understanding of tactics first. Quickest way to achieve this is blitz. Then you can dig deeper. – ferit Nov 30 '17 at 5:48
2

You can use software like Droidfish (on Android) or SCID vs PC to record multiple variations without losing your place. Another upside of this is that you can then store the variations as a PGN for later study and/or practice with a PGN player like iChess.

0

Once you get to the point where you can finish a game without leaving a piece somewhere you opponent can just take it for free, start with a couple of collections of older games. Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev is a good place to start. The book is a collection of older master games, with an explanation given for every move. Follow that up with Chernev's The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played. After you finish those two books, the other books you have should be easier to follow and will make more sense.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.