How to Reassess Your Chess vs. My System


Which do you prefer? Why?


For beginners: How to Reassess Your Chess


I am a big fan of How to Reassess Your Chess (RYC).  However, My System is a classic.  I agree with hakim2005 -- inexperienced players should start with RYC.   The first section of My System is also useful for beginners, but Part 2 is much more advanced and perhaps a little esoteric.  I have found RYC to contain much more practical advice.  For reference, I'm about 1500 USCF OTB and about 1900 in Online Chess on this site.


"It's not out of the realm of possibility that if we transported Morphy in his prime to our time, gave him a database and books spanning the last 50 years (don't give him My System or Morphy may plateau at a 1599 rating!), and gave him access to a good psychologist, he could be collecting Topalov's, Anand's, Carlsen's, and yes, Kasparov's collective butts in a few years." 

Cyrus Ladawala

"The Slav - Move by Move".


Yes, my vote: RYC, hands down. 3rd or 4th edition. Plus "The Amateur's Mind".


1700?  My System, for sure.  It'll do you much better.  :)


Silman says HTRYC is for 1400-2100. Would you call that accurate?


HTRYC is for 1200-1600, from what I've read in it.  I'd strongly recommend My System over anything by Silman - Silman's books will be forgotten in another 5 or 10 years while My System has gone down as one of the greatest books ever written (and for good reason).  Two more books I'd recommend are Chess Fundamentals and A Primer of Chess by Jose Capablanca -  they're both very interesting and excellent books. It's funny how you almost never see titled players recommending Silman, but class players sing his praise and are convinced that he's teaching them to become masters. 


sure, it definitely has good stuff in it, but i think you might get more out of my system.  of course, best scenario is to get them both.  :D


I haven't read Silman but I have read My System, Chess Praxis and Blockade, all by my favorite namesake, Aron Nimzovitch. I think MS should be on every chessplayers "must read" list and his other 2 books are also worthwhile, CP more so than Blockade, although the latter is fairly short about the same length as Lasker's Common Sense in Chess and Capa's My Chess Career and Chess Fundamentals, also all worth reading.


I have both of them. They are both GREAT books but for your level, I'd suggest My System. 


Mr.Silman himself would be upset if he learned that one of his books had been compared to "My System".

Some say his book is good, some say bad, but comparing it to an all-time classic is plain stupid (although they are a few people who don't regard Nimzowitz's book very highly).

VladBGhita wrote:

I mean, those heretics who don't like Nimzo should probably play Checkers...

Some of them (e.g. Nigel Short) play pretty good chess. Of course Nigel most of the times speaks tongue in cheek, so I don't know if I had to take him seriously. He certainly knows much more than me, both about chess and sumo, that's for sure.

pfren wrote:

Some say his book is good, some say bad, but comparing it to an all-time classic is plain stupid (although they are a few people who don't regard Nimzowitz's book very highly).

"stupid" seems a bit of a harsh generalization.

It probably depends what one wants out of a chess book. "Macbeth" is a classic, but reading that does not do much for me.

Certainly one size does not fit all in terms of rating, chess strengths/weaknesses, writing style, et al.

I am often puzzled at the emotionally charged attacks on Silman. How can an author for a mere game polarize so many readers?


I think I will rush out and buy Nimzo's My System.


Emmanual Lasker commented that "My System" was not much of a system at all and more a series of random pointers.  Of course he could have been saying that to get Nimzo's goat.  He didn't have anything to say about Silman though.

VladBGhita wrote:

And Silman is not a great player, so he cannot know more than Nimzo did...

It always amazes me how some players here tag Silman as being "weak".  If I am not mistaken, he won the American, U.S. and National Open tournaments.  His peak rating was around 2400.  That is an OTB rating, not turn-based chess or any other form of online chess where you have days to think about your moves.  He holds an International Master title.  To me, that is very, very, very far from being weak.

I wonder how many times IM pfren grinds his teeth and bangs his fist on the table when the posters start arguing with him about opening lines.  I think the only reason he puts little "tongue outs" and "smiley faces" on his posts is because he is not allowed to speak his mind freely.

Titled players have a TON LOAD more OTB experience than anyone here.  And they are most certainly not weak players.

I will get off my soap box now.


my system is a good book, but doesnt have the "physchological meanderings" section thats silmans has which identifies all the mental mistakes we make