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I've got about a cardboard box and a half full of chess books, ... but I only pretend to read them.
The first step to a cure is admitting there is a problem………….once this is done let the reading of the books commence…….I too suffered from what you now share with us! I had many unread chess books staring at me from afar on my lonely bookshelf. I paid good money for them hoping that the secrets they contained would enable me to become a very strong player. Well, the reality of it was despite my enthusiasm during the purchase a curious phenomenon occurred shortly after I acquired my new chess book. The book remained unread. Where did my enthusiasm go? Where were the dreams of becoming a strong player now? Well, I’m now free of this weird chess book buy and never read phenomenon/madness. The cure was simple I just got sick of looking at those unread chess books and feeling ashamed of myself! So, I decided to start reading them! I can say the experience was similar to a wine tasting…….chess books are best read after say a three year sitting on your shelf…..yes they do improve with age…..the great feeling one gets when you finally read and finish these aged chess books is ‘I finally read this MF’er!’ The question of ‘What did you learn’ is best left like a 70’s/80’s sitcom…….(to be continued)
Done: Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, Logical Chess, Seirawan's first three books (the Primer, Tactics & Strategy), Back to Basics: Tactics, Amateurs Mind, Endgame (Fischer biography) and The Immortal Game (history of chess)
Half way (or less): First Book of Morphy, Best Lessons of a Chess Coach, Silman's Endgame Course, Susan Polgar's books
Some thoughts on this --- I've started to wonder how much all this reading really improves my chess... I'm thinking of changing my training strategy to just focus on tactics (i.e. chess tempo) and the occasional master game. Really this would mean the only book I need is Logical Chess (which has been my favorite of all the books thus far anyway). That said, I'm actually looking for a good follow up to this book and considering Neil McDonald's move-by-move book (if you have an opinion on said book, please let me know).
One interesting thing that led me to this decision - I requested and eventually checked out every chess book available in the Minneapolis library system (probably 15-20 in total). I spent several hours over the course of a few weeks looking at each book and trying to get a grasp of the content. I learned that a lot of the material in these books is very similar. There are basically four categories - tactic/puzzle books, annotated games, strategy books and opening guides. The opening guides were probably the most useless for my caliber of play. The strategy books looked interesting and I read a few, but they were pretty dry reading in my opinion. I liked the puzzle books for the most part, but they are all so similar! I think if you have one decent one like Heisman's book, you need no others (especially if you have access to tactics trainer or chess tempo). Finally, the master games - I thought these were entertaining and fairly educational. So there you have it.