Kindle, Nook and Chess
Kindle and Nook Book Reader
By Dr. Jim Fox
My Contract was due with AT&T Cellular and they were offering refurbished iPhones for $50! I bought one. With a change in my overall family plan, we actually saved money despite the fact that my iPhone, my wife’s iPhone, and my son’s phone are on a family plan. We got to upgrade to a better plan that saved us money in the long run. Exploring my iPhone I was amazed at the Chess.com application. But that is a story for another time.
Kindle is a book reading device sold by Amazon.com. But alas, it is a free download for the iPhone. Free, and the books are much cheaper for Kindle, I had to try it. The first book I bought was the book by Dan Heisman title “The Improving Chess Thinker”. It is a great book expanding on the famous chess research done by Dr. DeGroot. He talks extensively about playing “Real Chess” as opposed to “Hope Chess”.
What is great is that most people take their phones with them wherever they go. You can read, solve chess puzzles and even play on Chess.com. At home, while waiting for a game, I read a book on my iPhone. The same could be done on a Kindle or iPad if you wanted a bigger screen. I found the iPhone screen with the 50+ year old eyes easy to read.
There are even some free books. You get the Oxford Dictionary with your first purchase and Lasker’s book title “Chess Strategy” is completely free. Many of the top line chess books are in Kindle format. If you go to Barnes and Noble and buy it (likely to not be in stock or in your local library) it would cost close to $20. But a Kindle edition of the book is often less than $10 and even in the $5 range. Much cheaper.
But the great thing is, you can read and improve your chess anytime. Your lunch hour, waiting for a bus or subway -- thousands of places where you have to wait. I bought a book title “Chess Gems - 1,000 Combination You Should Know”. And another book on openings and defenses.
I have bought 5 books so far, and have spent less than I would on one book. And I do not have to store them on a shelf. I carry them with me to study when I need to. When I am done, I archive the book and it is downloaded to my computer to free up space on my iPhone.
My coach is soon to be an IM. He told me he has only read 4 or 5 books but is FIDE rated over 2400! How can he do that? Well between his advice and “The Improving Chess Thinker” I now have a good idea. I am not highly ranked considering I have a doctorate, think well, and have read a lot. But my thinking process was better before I got too worried about if my opponent was playing the Caro-Kann and if I was responding correctly.
The basic thinking process is so much more important. Bottom line, I would recommend a Kindle to anyone. If you do not have an iPhone or iPad, well, the Kindle is not real expensive at Amazon.com. Take it with you and you can read in your formerly wasted time. It is a modern tool, like a chess computer, that if used correctly can make you a better player.
Well, I am off to learn 1,000 combinations. Fat chance I will learn them all -- but it is a step in a good direction.
Edit Sept 8, 2010:
Barnes and Noble has a similar product called "Nook". At the moment they have less chess books, but like Kindle, if you have a smart phone the download is free. What they DO have is some classic chess books and manuscripts from the great past masters and many are free. Just log in to www.bn.com and you can find out more.