I'm a beginner, and I really am looking for some good instructional books to boost my rating a little. As I don't have an official rating, I can only estimate my own strength at somewhere between 1200 and 1500 at long time controls. I feel strategy is probably my strong point, and calculation my weakest point. My positional play is mediocre.
Anyways, I have bought a few books, but I'm finding that most that I'm trying to work through are way over my head. I've tried Aagard's Grandmaster Preparation: Calculation, and that wasn't even funny. I could solve maybe one out of every eight problems in there. I also have the second volume of Build Up your Chess by Yusupov (Supposedly aimed at ~1500 players), and that worked out a good bit better than Calculation, but I still think it's too much. Attack with Mikhail Tal, by Tal & Iakov Damsky, is one that I actually enjoy reading, and has good information that I can understand.
The one workbook-type book that I have been able to get through is Vol. 1 of Yusupov's Build Up your Chess, and I've been making it through that actually relatively quickly.
Any other ideas on books for beginners like me?
Here is a recommended book list put together by NM Dan Heisman . http://danheisman.home.comcast.net/~danheisman/Events_Books/General_Book_Guide.htm
Be careful with those Yusopov books, the Orange books are the ones you want; each book has a 1 on it and all have subtitles of "The Fundamentals". At least, those are the lower rated books ... I've seen a few different rating values for the low end on that.
Yea don't touch Aagards book's i'm 2000+ otb and they kill me. I would recommend The Amateur's Mind by Silman than moving onto Reassess your Chess. Logical chess move by move is also very good.
Thanks for the input guys. I already have The Amateur's Mind on order from USCF sales, I expect it'll help a lot. I do have the first volume of the orange Yusupov books, I'll probably work through all three of those just to get my playing to some level of consistency. I'll have to put quite a few on the wishlist!