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I'd like to start and say that after spending about a week or so, some lessons with the chess tutor from the website, and watching videos on openings, tactics, and theory, I was ablle to raise my rating by almost 200 by winning 11 out of my last 12 games. I'm no super beginner, I learned the main tactics as a youngster, but wasn't following a lot of the main concepts.
A friend from my chess club recommended 1001 brilliant sacrifices and combinatinos and I went ahead and got that with the 1001 brilliant checkmates. I have Silman's 4th edition of "how to reassess your chess" but it says on the back that it is intended for 1400's and above. I'm considering getting Tillman's "The Art of Chess analysis", but once again I don't know if it's too advanced for me or not. Should I just start with some basic opening books? I took a look through "The Fascinating King's Gambit" and found it a bit too dense, and unorganized. Tal's autobiography is something I picked up for fun. So I guess what I'm saying is what are the basic books I should be reading? Is the Silman still good? Should I go through the entire annotated games or start with the diagram? And yes I have the newest edition of "modern chess openings" for reference but I've been using the videos for openings.
First master tactics
then master imbalances (reassess your chess is perfect for this)
then master openings
I'd recommend working on all three all the time, but this is the order of what to focus on
First and foremost, almost every experienced player here will tell you to PLAY. And play A LOT. I would add that you should analyze every game after you have played it. How would you know if you are doing the right thing (opening/middlegame/end game/tactics) if you don't check your mistakes after every game you played? Books alone will not make you a strong player. Experience will. And there are a lot of experienced players hanging around in the game analysis forums that are always willing to lend a helping hand.
You are a diamond member. Make use of it and follow the Chess.com study plans. I would say do a mix of tactics trainer and tactics from books. After that end game study, add a bit of middle game into the mix and LASTLY openings. For openings I would recommend playing your favorite opening lines in Chess.com "themed tournaments". By knowing the basic ideas behind the moves, you get to "experiment" in these tourneys and gain a lot of experience.
I think you made a good choice in buying the "Reassess" book. Don't fall into the trap of buying many more books and end up reading none of them. See how serious you are about chess after a couple of months of study/play.
timmans book is too difficult.
Yusupov has a great series I can highly recommend allof them but study them in sequence.
Yasser Seirawan also has a great series that layout a foundation for the basics (I like yusupov better)
Chess strategy for club players - gooten is great too
Books of games: alekhines book of games helped me jump to 1500 back when I read them in the 80s. Logical chess move by move : chernev is outstanding for new players. repeating over and over basic concepts and ideas.
Play games from start to finish. At the early level go through the game 1x quickly just to get the organization. go back and do it again slower reading the basic notes . 3x go through the very detailed notes.
You will find a zillion recommendations from people on the best books. But for me, I found that I got the most out of a book once I actually sat down to work through it in detail, playing out the games on a real board on my desk as I read, and thinking about each variation listed in the text. You can have an infinite number of books, but if you just read them quickly and move on, you won't get nearly as much out of them. So once you decide on one, and it looks about the right level, just do your best to study it in depth and think hard about it.
So is it recommended that while reading the Silman I go through the complete games at least twice?
When I first started learning and studying, I found my eyes would glaze over after a paragraph of variations, and so I'd just read the "word-part" of the book and assume I could probably figure out what the author meant. But once I rolled up my sleeves and started working through them, I found that 1) I understood the ideas better, and 2) I could follow lines in my head much deeper which then accelerated the process of learning that much more. But to be truthful, I still get bogged down and my current book is only halfway through - I started it last year :-) The videos are great to replace having to read a long line - you see it for real instead. But they're also more passive, and you aren't forced to think as hard when you're just munching popcorn watching two GM's play!
My advice would be, don't spend too much time on openings, definetely don't buy any opening books just yet, just pick an opening with white and one with black, learn the basic ideas behind them, play them a lot, and try to see where you make mistakes by posting them in the analyse section of the forum.
Oh another good book series is Chess essentials. You can learn plans and ideas for almost evry reasonable opening and level appropriate. http://www.amazon.com/Chess-Opening-Essentials-Openings-Complete/dp/9056912038
I'm new to Chess, I picked up the game less than a month back. I didn't even know who Bobby Fischer was, I'm a Chess rookie for sure. But now I'm hooked. I ordered a couple of Fischer's books. 'Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess' is brilliant. This book was meant to teach! It was co-written by a Phd who designs instructional techniques for various industries, he's also a rated Chess Master (as per book description) . They make use of this method called programmed instruction. It works by you reading of a tactic, strategy, or move on one page and then on the next page there's a diagram illustrating the situation ... they then give you 2 or 3 moves to make. On the next page over, the correct answer could be found.
It really works because you're not only reading about the theory, you're putting it into direct practice, immediately. Which means you could retain the info easier and faster. This book will make you a better Chess player, period.
I suggest IM Jeremy Silman's
The Amateur's Mind. Turning Chess Misconceptions into Chess Mastery
It's a great chess book for beginners like me. I learned tons from it and I feel like it made me look at my games differently; not to mention I feel like it made me play better too. Good luck with your studies.
Thank you everyone for all the great recommendations! Logical Chess and the Grooten book is what I am looking through now. Then I will take Hammerschlag's suggestion and read that one before going through "How to Reassess Your Chess". Otherwise, I still have the two tactical books 1001 brilliant ways to checkmate and 1001 winning sacrifices and combinations. And of course, I'll be playing, using the chess mentor, and watching all the great videos on this website. What's funny is I wanted that Timman book because he is a well known "Dutch" grandmaster(excuse my bias for anything Dutch) and the Grooten book is also Dutch. And Hammerschlag, don't think I don't know that you're Dutch with that last name. : P
Timman is great of course but his annotations are mindnumbing. Tons of variations , Even for a GM ! There is another book too that I have heard good things about on Andersson.
Silman's book I can also strongly support.
Another recent book is by Gulko is outstanding. Its like an advanced version of amateur's mind. Gulko and a friend/student have a conversation about games much like Amateur's Mind and not to detract from Silman's work but well Gulko was top player in his prime before he was robbed by the Commuist regime in old russia. His score against Kasparov is +3 -1 with a few draws.
While not amazing materials Pandolfini has some really nice stuff for teaching kids too. The materials are very simple and the text gives the key points. You round this out with some of the advanced framework from Gooten you have a great lesson. As a note KEEP IT SIMPLE
Gooten gives a long list of components but for kids in a group I keep it really really simple and say Development/activity, Central control and king safety (pawns in front of king, pieces attacking, pieces defending) thats it. the rest is too much
I also do something that I havent seen anyone else do as well:I talk about point value but I stress that value is based on activity. A piece is only worth its maximum value something on the board and only if its active , a captured piece on the side is worth zero! This teaches them that even if they capture a queen its meaningless if their pieces are doing nothing or if they lose a piece its "ok" as long as the rest of their army are active. Its a lot of fun to watch kids stop counting the pieces they capture and focus on the pieces on the board. An example: I ask the kids how much they think pieces are worth sitting behind the pawns in the intiaal positions are worth? They give values like 1-2 etc which is fine! The idea is they are assessing the value based on what it can do! its a fun way to teach kids to develop pieces and think about whats in front of them...
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