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Worst Chess Books!

  • 11 months ago · Quote · #81


    BFTC isn't one of the worst books - not by a long chalk. I also think it's a pretty decent beginning chess book. I like the "programmed learning" format. But it is quite limited in the type of material covered. Is there anything about the endgame? Openings? The full range of tactics (including forks)? Counting? Elementary strategy?

  • 7 months ago · Quote · #82


    This kind of question turns out to be pointless, as is the analogous question about the worst film ever made, because the worst of anything is usually so obscure that the person asking the question has never heard of the examples that responders give. Also, "best" and "worst" have to be defined for a good answer.

    Having said my preliminaries, the book that came to mind when I read this thread was one I saw in a local library called "Chess for Tigers." Twice I picked it up and couldn't even figure out what it was about. One chapter was on trying to win by swindling. Two chapters went on for so many pages about Tigers and "Heffalumps" that I didn't have the patience to read through the paragraphs even to understand the point. The author seemed to be bragging about wins at his local chess club so I thought maybe the book was written only for them. Another chapter promoted a philosophy that is exactly opposite of the advice I've heard, since it said to play against the person and not against his/her moves, so I wrote off the book as ridiculous and unintelligble. I did finally check out the book just to try to figure out its point, and it did have some good advice for club players, but I still don't like its writing style or structure.


    (p. 9)
          2 Play the man--not the board

       Only an automaton plays the same way against every opponent. The
    practical chess-player looks out for the strengths and weaknesses of his
    opponents, and goes out of his way to capitalize on the weaknesses.

    (p. 42)
          5 How to catch Rabbits

       Do you know Tigers catch Rabbits? Do they rush after them
    and tear them limb from limb? Or do they stalk them through the bush before
    finally creeping up on them when their resistance is low?

       The trouble with the first method is that even Rabbits have sharp teeth,
    and when cornered can be surprisingly ferocious. So a sensible Tiger takes
    no chances--he patiently stalks his Rabbit, and when the poor thing makes
    a bolt for freedom, he pounces and kills it swiftly and easily.

    (p. 51)
          6 How to trap Heffalumps

       Heffalumps are mighty strong--stronger than Tigers. On open territory
    a Tiger doesn't stand much of a chance against a Heffalump; he can't even dig
    a Very Deep Pit to trap it, because Tigers aren't much good at digging.
    What he can do, however, is to entice the Heffalump on to swampy
    ground and hope it falls into a bog and gets sucked underground by the
    quagmire. The only trouble is that Tigers are even more prone to getting
    stuck in bogs than Heffalumps are, and they're not much good at
    struggling out of them. But what is the poor Tiger to do, when faced with
    a big strong Heffalump? He can put up a fight neither on open plains nor
    in the jungle; so his only chance is to head for a swamp and hope that the
    Heffalump gets stuck before he does. If the Heffalump had any sense he
    would keep well away from the swamp, but Heffalumps, in spite of their
    great strength, are not always sensible when it comes to staying away from

    (p. 66)
       I'm one of the luckiest players around, and a notorious swindler. When
    I get a lost position, my opponent always seems to blunder and allow me
    to escape. Well, that's not quite true, since I do lose sometimes, but I feel
    fully qualified to initiate you into the art of being lucky, and shall have no
    compunction in using my own games to illustrate how it's done.

    Webb, Simon. 2005. Chess for Tigers. London: Batsford.

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