Order of reading

ipcress12

Stauntonmaster: I disagree. I'm happier with books than apps and websites for exercises.

It's much easier to find the sweet spot for what I want to study (not always tactics, sometimes positional strokes) and the level of challenge. Plus I like to review problems I've worked on before -- repetition burns patterns in.

The apps and websites I've tried don't give me the control I want. The problems often seem poorly selected, the challenge jagged, and the order random. I'm not always keen on the software interface either.

Books are easy -- flip open to bookmark, look at diagram, start thinking. Indoors, outdoors. Rain or shine. You can even work on exercises in the bathtub.

JaseE22
Stauntonmaster wrote:

To Jasse 22 who initiated the topic I should say that I used to read books in the past but since the arrival of chess apps and chess videos I do not spend my time on books any more. For beginners, books might be easier to follow as they like browsing back and forth in order to review things at slow pace that helps them learn little by little.

I thought because I am beginning it would be best to learn the underlying concepts via books, then once I actually know what pins, forks etc are and how they are recognised/used, I can then use apps as well as books to practice.

Rsava

 Everyone has different learning techniques that work better for them.

@JaseE22 - The best thing for you is to look at all the different ways and see what works best. 

Since you asked about books I would just look at the responses about books but do not forget about online apps and such.

@RussBell gave a good breakdown of the books and also gave a good suggestion with "Note also that it is not necessary to read books linearly. That is, restricting oneself to, and finishing one book before reading another book." 

In fact, many people learn very well by giving themselves variety, study one thing day one, something different day two, back to thing one day 3, etc. 

Good luck!

JaseE22
RussBell wrote:

 

From the list in OP's post#1, I would rank the books roughly from "easiest" (Level 1 = appropriate for beginner-novice) to most difficult (Level 3 = for advanced players) as:

Level 1:

Back to Basics: Tactics - by Dan Heismann

Logical Chess: Move by Move - by Irving Chernev

Silman's Complete Endgame Course - by Jeremy Silman (I assume this title was meant)

Level 2:

Chess Strategy for the Tournament Player by Lev Alburt

Chess Tactics from Scratch - by Martin Weteschnik

How to Reassess your Chess - by Jeremy Silman

Level 3:
My System - by Nimzowitsch
Understanding Chess Middlegames - by John Nunn*
Think Like a Grandmaster - by Kotov*

*Nunn's and Kotov's books are appropriate primarily for the most advanced players.

Here is a list of chess books I created.  I have tried to indicate the degree of difficulty of books in some instances where I though it was especially appropriate to do so: 

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

Note also that it is not necessary to read books linearly. That is, restricting oneself to, and finishing one book before reading another book.  I recommend a process of reading several books on different topics at the same time, depending at any given instant on what you are motivated by and interested in. I believe that this approach would provide a more well-rounded exposure, over time, to the various topics.

Finally read the book with a chess board if possible.  Either a physical board or an app or online chess board such as the Chess.com or lichess.org analysis boards...

https://lichess.org/analysis/standard

Hi Russ, when you are reading through a game and playing it out on a board, do you also play out the moves that the author says NOT to do? Or do you just follow the main moves? I would think it would be instructive to see why you shouldn't make a particular move, but obviously it would increase the amount of time it takes to get through a game/book by quite a lot (moving pieces and then having to move them back to continue with the game as it actually happened, etc).

Rsava

@JaseE22 - I will sometimes have two boards, one for the main moves and a smaller one for the variations if they will be more than a few moves long.

 

Play through the main game  quickly, without reading the comments. Then go back over the game more slowly while reading the comments. If a side variation is more than say 4 or 5 moves, play it out on a smaller board, other wise just try and visualize the pieces. It will help in your ability to visualize over the board.

kindaspongey
JaseE22 wrote:

... when you are reading through a game and playing it out on a board, do you also play out the moves that the author says NOT to do? Or do you just follow the main moves? I would think it would be instructive to see why you shouldn't make a particular move, but obviously it would increase the amount of time it takes to get through a game/book by quite a lot (moving pieces and then having to move them back to continue with the game as it actually happened, etc).

I do not think that there is a universal answer to this sort of question. A lot depends on the subject, the particular author, the importance of the particular line, and the reader. In some cases, as you indicate, the alternatives may be important for understanding, but, in others, the alternative may be more incidental. Particularly in books on openings, I think it is common for lines to be included for possible future reference, without the expectection that the reader would go through it all on a first reading. Some of your books are, I suspect, written for the more experienced player who has less difficulty considering alternative lines.

dntfeedthemnkys

"Best Chess Books" is a topic I am always searching on the forums.  Some great posts in here!

I found this list at Goodreads - which I've found really helpful too:  https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/6623.Best_Chess_Books?page=1

 

 

RussBell
JaseE22 wrote:
RussBell wrote:

 

Here is a list of chess books I created.  I have tried to indicate the degree of difficulty of books in some instances where I though it was especially appropriate to do so: 

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/good-chess-books-for-beginners-and-beyond

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell

Note also that it is not necessary to read books linearly. That is, restricting oneself to, and finishing one book before reading another book.  I recommend a process of reading several books on different topics at the same time, depending at any given instant on what you are motivated by and interested in. I believe that this approach would provide a more well-rounded exposure, over time, to the various topics.

Finally read the book with a chess board if possible.  Either a physical board or an app or online chess board such as the Chess.com or lichess.org analysis boards...

https://lichess.org/analysis/standard

Hi Russ, when you are reading through a game and playing it out on a board, do you also play out the moves that the author says NOT to do? Or do you just follow the main moves? I would think it would be instructive to see why you shouldn't make a particular move, but obviously it would increase the amount of time it takes to get through a game/book by quite a lot (moving pieces and then having to move them back to continue with the game as it actually happened, etc).

As KindaSpongey indicated earlier, the answer to your question must be - do what you like.  As for me, when studying games and positions, I generally focus on the main text and skip the alternative analysis (unless there appears to be some compelling reason to look at it also).  I follow this approach because I am most interested in understanding and absorbing the main points and lessons of the text, while not cluttering my mind with less important or incidental information; and also, as you mention, to save time for study of other important stuff.  Of course, many times it is just as important to understand what NOT to do as WHAT to do - so this is a judgement call.  Its all a matter of optimization - efficient allocation of time and effort for focusing on the important stuff.  I can always go back and revisit skipped material later, if I feel it is absolutely necessary, for instance when trying to learn the details of a specific line of an opening, or an endgame position.