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Does anyone here have an opinion of the aagaard series? I believe there are 6 books in the series
1) Excelling at Chess
2) Excelling at Chess Calculation
3) Excelling at Technical Chess
4) Excelling at Combinational Play
5) Excelling at Positional Chess
6) Practical Chess Defence
How do they compare with, say, Silman's books?
Would find the Silman books more approachable by a general audience. Aagaard's books seem to have a "you must be this tall to ride" feel to them (especially 2, 3 and 5) and are catered to above-average players.
OK, so it would be best to finish How to Reassess first before going through aagaard? Will the first one at least be accessible to the 1200-1400 range?
Though I'd recommend Silman's Amateur's Mind BEFORE Reassess as it is worth seeing how your thought process compares to others BEFORE you take on actual subject matter.
I would also add in Soltis' and Beim's series on similar topics. If I could go back I would read them in this order: Silman > Soltis > Beim > Aagaard
Not that Aagaard's books require that much knowledge, but IMO Silman and Soltis are much better writers so the material is more accessible. Beim just gives good solid advice.
I would only do this to yourself if you're a serious tournament player. If you just enjoy playing occassionally online, you could stop after Silman...
I am working through Amateurs mind ATM. The tips are very instructive, and I will probably read it more than once. Reassess in on my shelf waiting to be read, then comes Mastering Chess Strategy by Hellsten and a few others.
Aagaard's books are of a pretty high level, and are not really textbooks in the sense Silman's books can be. If you're interested you can have a look, and if you find them too challenging, come back to them later.
It's worth noting that some very respected instructors, including Chess.com's Dan Heisman, feel that the appropriate rating to start Silman's Reasses Your Chess is around 1800 or so, not the 1200-1400 range. Silman disagrees, but there it is . . .
I am also currently going through Amateurs Mind right now. I have a copy of Reassess but Silman says to go through AM first so I'm doing that.
I started playing in tournaments a couple months ago and already Silman wants me to reassess my chess...
Of course Silman isn't going to say it's for 1800+, gives him a much smaller potential audience.
Will I be ready for Reassess after carefully working through AM?
I don't think the material in reassess your chess is difficult at all. It's just knowing where to put pieces.
If you like Silman: reviews are at
Jacob Aagaard's writing is generally quite dry, I find (when he's writing about chess). I suspect that's a function of level. Another author who writes advanced stuff is Mark Dvoretsky and I think his writing is dry too. The impression given is "This is not meant to be fun!", but maybe it is fun for people whose brains are sufficiently (re)wired for chess? I personally prefer a degree of "leavening" of the chessic dough, otherwise I get tired quickly.
I have the Calulation one (#2). Too difficult. I would guess 1800+ USCF, but that's just guess.
Fair enough. I guess it's a matter of personal taste. FWIW, I like the writing style of Cyrus Lakdawala.
the series is all right, but Agaard himself is insulting and patronizing, having dealt with him person to person. I wouldn't buy anything from this guy, especially when there are more civil writers, like Jeremy Silman and Bill Robertie
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