Books, Books and More Books
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_book_bindings.jpg, Image cropped, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Books, Books and More Books

Martin_Stahl
Martin_Stahl
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27

Chess books should be used as we use glasses: to assist the sight, although some players make use of them as if they conferred sight. -  Jose Capablanca

As part of my continued cleaning, here's a post I started writing almost 8 years ago. I needed to change some content, since the book I was working on back then is actually long since finished, even if it could probably be revisited. Without much further ado ....


Back when I started playing chess in school, I didn't really have access to any books on chess, or if I did, I didn't really go searching for them. What I had  were some short articles from newspaper clippings to read and puzzles to attempt. Once I joined the USCF, I would look through Chess Life, read a little from there and try the puzzles. After leaving school, my options for playing chess were limited, though a local coffee house had a couple small unrated tourneys where I met a player that had a number of books, which gave me the itch to get some of my own to read and study. The only problem at the time? I didn't have very much money to commit to chess, so books went to the back burner.

Eventually, I fell out of playing chess, mostly due to lack of time, and as far as I knew, lack of many other people playing in the area. Fast forward to 2007 (11 years later) and the chess bug bit me again. I picked up my first book at a flea market, Chess: Games to Remember Masterpieces of the Last Decade.

Cover of Chess Games to Remember by I.A. Horowitz

In hind-sight, it wasn't really a very useful book, just a collection of games with no analysis or annotations, covering period from 1960 through the beginning of 1971.  Yet, it was my first actual book purchase that started this phase of my chess journey.

Pages 92-93 of Chess Games to Remember by I.A. Horowitz

With this inglorious beginning, I slowly got  back into chess, picking up some books here and there when I had the money and found things I thought would be useful, accompanied by some purchased as gifts.  Now I have over 100 books, and probably more ( I need to inventory them), covering all aspects of the game.

Like many other chess players, this created a new problem;  reading the books I already own. From reading other blogs and forum posts, a lot of players have this issue, many continuing  to amass more books, rarely completing the ones they already have.

Back when I started this post, I came up with a Chess-olution1, if you will, a partial solution to the unread book glut. The plan was to not buy another chess book until the completion of at least two other books. I hoped this would slowly increase my chess knowledge, while at the same time decrease the number of unread and uncompleted books in my collection.

I would love to publish this with the quite thrilling tales of my successful completion of that adventure, but alas, while I only purchased books with money from gifts, or when I ran across something collectible (did I mention I just like old books, so old chess books in good condition have to be bought), or received them as gifts, the pile of unread books has outpaced the successful completion of others.

Now it's 2021, with a bunch of unread and unstudied books. I guess I should begin yet again the process of decreasing the pile and increasing knowledge. Maybe I'll be back in another 8 years with an article about that heroic journey, with hundreds of rating points under my belt, requesting ideas for the next book to buy and study ... or just another tale of procrastination and buy-it-nows2.


Postscript:

1) this is absolutely a word

2) as is this one