Is the book "My System" worth getting?

  • #181

    Spektrowski has kindly translated Mikhail Tal's forward to one of the editions of My System into English.

  • #182

    Never read it, and don't care to read it anytime soon (also if they send me a free copy). Chess Books are totally useless.

  • #183

    It was one of the fist books I ever purchased.  It is very good and a fun read.

  • #184

    Tal's forward to My System is in and of itself priceless! I read part of it in a biography of Petrosian by Shekhtman. Tal wasn't only a great world champion (he didn't hold the title long enough to be a great world champion), he was also one of the best chess commentators of all time!

  • #185
    cantoni2013 wrote:

    Never read it, and don't care to read it anytime soon (also if they send me a free copy). Chess Books are totally useless.

    For once I'm speechless...

  • #186

    I have more touble with chess books too. I learn SO much more in an hour of personalized live instuction or even from a video than I do from a book. Perhaps it my Messed-Up-A.D.D.-Instant-Gratification-Generation issues at play, but I improve more from alternative methods of instruction. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am an extremely visually-focused learner. Show me and I won't forget it (and will understand it faster).

    I fully admit that I am a lower-level player too, so perhaps to a much higher-rated player a book, crammed with info is still the most "bang for your buck"?

  • #187

    I do understand that people learn differently from different sources, but the great advantage of a book over a video is that far more information can be crammed into a chess book than a video. Seeing a chessboard on a video does not impart extra information.

    I have read that people feel they learn more from videos, but usually retain more in tests and quizzes if they read the material. 

  • #188

    I watch videos for the sole purpose of entertainment. For education I prefer books (paper or electronic). I'm not a fan of chess videos. Learning is I find too slow. I can learn more reading in 30 minutes than watching a 1 hour video. 

  • #189

    In a lot of chess videos, the teacher seems a bit disorganized and unsure of what he wants to say.  It doesn't look like they plan them out very well. 

    Kasparov is perhaps an exception.  In his My Story videos, he made some offhand comments that are quite interesting (splitting the board in two with a pawn wedge, or pawns as attacking pieces), but in his writing, he tends to get caught up in long complicated lines without offering an interpretation of what is going on.

    In general though, I find that books have a lot more well-thought-out generalizations than videos do.  Videos might be good if you are just starting out, but if you want meaty content, at some point, I think you need to switch over to books or instruction with a coach.

  • #190
    cantoni2013 wrote:

    Never read it, and don't care to read it anytime soon (also if they send me a free copy). Chess Books are totally useless.

    Only if you don't know how to read.

  • #191

    Cantoni2013 wrote:

    "Never read it, and don't care to read it anytime soon (also if they send me a free copy). Chess Books are totally useless."

    Maybe that's why you are stuck at sub-1600. How long have u been playing. Looks like a long time, and u r still stuck @ sub-1600... LOL. I am 13yrs now, 1470 OTB, granted I am no Bobby Fischer, but I bet u in 5yrs time i will not be sub-1600 like you! Books are not "completely useless".

    Thank u very much.

  • #192

    Ouch!

    Took a verbal whuppin from a kid.....better yet a soon to be player that will be superior to you on the board in every way.  lol.

  • #193

    This may sound like sacrilege, but while filling up my car at the gas station I threw my used bookstore copy of My System in the trash...and I'm planning on treating my other two copies the same. I've been playing for close to 40 years and honestly maybe 5% of the book was useful. 

    His treatment of isolated pawns? If you look at GM Pachman's discussion of isolated pawns, it is miles better. Only two tactics -pins and discovered check? What about removal of guard, double attacks, clearance, interference, pawn sacrifices, ad infinitum! GM Fabrego's outstanding book, "True Lies in Chess" nails this perfectly. In the first chapter of his book, he quotes:

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your (sacred chess) books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    Now if My System has helped you, more power to you. The problem I always had with My System, is that it never matched reality of games I saw and played while growing up. Attack pawn chains at the base? There are a lot of examples where in French structures, attacking the chain at the top is called for! He annotates as if he never made a mistake or inaccuracy, which is why guys like Paul Keres and Tarrasch (who put several of his losses in his epic "300 Chess Games") have my utmost respect and admiration. In a book review," no less an authority as IM John Watson had this to say about GM Tarrasch's "The Game of Chess":

    "One can easily see why he was considered the preeminent teacher of his time: he was not trying to fool anyone." (Italics are mine.)

    Part of that 5% exception I mentioned above is about development of the pieces in the opening, but even this is presented in a way that is unorthodox. Heck Edward Lasker's Chess Strategy and Tarrasch's The Game of Chess do an outstanding job on this important subject and the subject of time and tempi. 

    I'm approximately 100 points away from 2200, and when I get there, I guarantee it was not because of My System. 

  • #194

    For players rated over 1700, My System could be worthwhile but not everyone takes to it. If you don't like it, don't worry about it.

    Just make sure you are reading quality books. That includes Euwe, Fine, Pachman, Stean, Bronstein, Shereshevsky, Keres, Romanovsky, etc. Nimzowitsch, Suetin, Kotov, Aagaard, and Dvoretsky are fine too if they "float your boat." Basically, you don't need "modern" middlegame or endgame books, and many of them do more harm than good.

    For the opening, stick to books published by Chess Stars and Quality Chess. New In Chess is sometimes ok as well (of course the Yearbooks are fantastic if you have a lot of time to go through them).

    Oh, and ChessBase is indispensible if you want to be serious about chess.

  • #195
    Andre_Harding wrote:

    For the opening, stick to books published by Chess Stars and Quality Chess. New In Chess is sometimes ok as well (of course the Yearbooks are fantastic if you have a lot of time to go through them).

    Out of curiosity, what's the problem with other publishers?

  • #196
    Mainline_Novelty wrote:
    Andre_Harding wrote:

    For the opening, stick to books published by Chess Stars and Quality Chess. New In Chess is sometimes ok as well (of course the Yearbooks are fantastic if you have a lot of time to go through them).

    Out of curiosity, what's the problem with other publishers?

    Generally, their opening books are of substandard quality compared to the publishers I mentioned. Though once in awhile they come out with something good.

  • #197

    I would advise a player that has been playing chess after they reached their 3rd year to read the book. As far as throwing the book away..... it is not that serious. I have seen far worse books in the book store and they were over priced. Seen books that i had over 10 yrs ago and now they are triple the price with just a new cover.

  • #198
    kiwi wrote:

    I'd ignore everyone's comment, focus on WGM's. I personally just think choosing 1 opening and reading deep into its variations can drastically improve your play. Instead of just learning sequence of moves, understanding the positional play and possible weaknesses is far greater than just remembering openings. If you review and analyze your blunders in every game and try to ensure it doesn't happen again this too will improve your tactics and your play. Once you are super confident about one opening then consider looking at more in a similar manner. Its a slow method for improvement but it works and you generate your own databases for play on each opening. Perhaps using this method when looking at master level games you'll have a better understanding. As far as it goes for using a book for aiding studies, I personally feel all you need is access to internet and a chess board and practice what you learn about yourself and your blunders for your chosen opening. I personally don't use books I play casually but I get a lot of recommendations to read " Logical Chess Move by Move" from Irving Chernev.

    This is a great comment. From over 3 years ago, but hey, "dead thread? what dead thread?"

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