Tarrasch's "The Game of Chess"

Ramiro000

I just bought this book. Has anyone read it? I'm not so much of a true beginner (as in I know some openings -although I haven't delved very deep in variations-, know the basics of tactics and the elements of positional play, and before learning all of this, I've played for years, but never "seriously"), but I was hoping to know what the consensus is on this book for learning, and if I should complement it with some more modern books.

RussBell

I own the book.  It is written for the beginner-novice audience and continues to be a very good book for learning fundamental principles of chess play, particularly for those just starting their journey in chess.  Most anything in the book that is concerned with fundamentals and principles, which is the focus of the majority of the book, is worthwhile.  One caveat however, is that since it was written in 1935, opening theory (i.e., very specific lines) has evolved since then, particularly so for the Queen's Pawn openings.  The point being that while the book's presentation of opening fundamentals is generally still valid (principles tend to less subject to change and/or fashion), specific openings variations (lines) in some cases may be outdated, so should be checked against current theory.  Bottom line - it is still a great book for learning the fundamental principles of good chess play, and is very well written. 

Note that the book is available in both a "Descriptive" notation and also an "Algebraic" notation edition...

Descriptive notation...

https://www.amazon.com/Game-Chess-Dover-ebook/dp/B00A739RW2/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+game+of+chess+tarrasch&qid=1585864365&s=books&sr=1-2

Algebraic notation...

https://www.amazon.com/Game-Chess-Algebraic-Siegbert-Tarrasch/dp/1880673940/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=the+game+of+chess+tarrasch&qid=1585864493&s=books&sr=1-8

For more instructive chess book suggestions, check out...

Good Chess Books for Beginners and Beyond...

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

Ramiro000

Hi! Thanks for your opinion on this book! I indeed have the descriptive notation version of the book, as it is the only I found for the Kindle. I don't really mind, though, as Tarrasch explains the notation on the first pages of the books, and although it is different to the algebraic notation, there are also plenty of diagrams, so you can't really get lost! I hope to learn a thing or two from this book. So far, so good! Also, thank you for the warning on the Queen Pawn openings theory, as I'm a d4 player, so now I'll check against more modern theory when I get to the openings section.

DrChesspain

I have this book.  It's very readable for lower rated players.  What I especially like is his ability to be unflinchingly critical about his own play, as he does include a lot of his losses as well. 

kindaspongey
RussBell wrote:

... since it was written in 1935, opening theory (i.e., very specific lines) has evolved since then, particularly so for the Queen's Pawn openings.  The point being that while the book's presentation of opening fundamentals is generally still valid (principles tend to less subject to change and/or fashion), specific openings variations (lines) in some cases may be outdated, so should be checked against current theory. ...

A while ago, there was a discussion where some quotes were mentioned:

"4.Bg5 is very strong [after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6]"

"To [1 e4 c5] 2.c3? Black can advantageously reply with 2...d5!"

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/i-need-a-book?page=3

noblestone

"One caveat however, is that since it was written in 1935 ..." says RussBell. Well it was published in 1931 and the author died in 1934, according to my sources. I have a copy of this book in german, a nice book for players upto 1500, maybe. 

RussBell
noblestone wrote:

"One caveat however, is that since it was written in 1935 ..." says RussBell. Well it was published in 1931 and the author died in 1934, according to my sources. I have a copy of this book in german, a nice book for players upto 1500, maybe. 

You are correct that the original German edition, Das Schachspiel, was published in 1931.  I was referring to the first english language edition published by David Mackay Co. in 1935.  The Dover edition (the "Descriptive notation" edition I referenced earlier) of 1987 is a republication of the MacKay edition.

Laskersnephew

Tarrasch was an excellent teacher. who wrote very clearly and logically. He taught the game to at least two generations of aspiring chess players. I'm not sure if a better book to teach the beginning player has ever been written. If you master the material in this book, you will make rapid progress, but no book will work unless you also play and try and learn from your own games

kindaspongey

"The Indian Defense, 1.d4 Nf6, … since Black neglects to occupy the center, White easily obtains an advantage in space. In addition, Black nearly always has to exchange his King Bishop for the opposing Queen's Knight. Thus White really has an advantage from the very beginning. …"

Ramiro000

Thanks everyone for chiming in with your thoughts! It is really interesting to read your opinions on this book. I started going through it, and the first thing I instantly noticed is that this is a book where you absolutely have to read it with a board, copying the moves he is describing. While many may think that this should be standard, I read some other books where this wasn't really a necessity, and now I realize how important it is. Tarrasch does a fantastic job explaining what is going on at every move, and put it in a very straightforward manner. I'm still at the endgames section, which paradoxically, is the first part of the book, and I'm enjoying it very much and learning a lot of things about endgames, which was one thing I haven't really paid attention to. The descriptive notation also felt very... intuitive, weirdly. After 20/30 mins, I immediately knew what move he wanted me to do on my board, and it helps that he starts with the endgames, where there aren't many pieces around. So, all in all, so far, so good!

DrChesspain

In addition to enjoying the book, it's also good that you're learning descriptive notation, since there are a lot a cool, old books availability for free download via Google Books, such as "St. Petersburg, 1895," "Laskers' Manual of Chess," etc. 

RussBell
DrChesspain wrote:

In addition to enjoying the book, it's also good that you're learning descriptive notation, since there are a lot a cool, old books availability for free download via Google Books, such as "St. Petersburg, 1895," "Laskers' Manual of Chess," etc. 

I completely agree about the many good books, unfortunately now neglected, written in Descriptive notation.  And although Descriptive notation is more cumbersome to deal with than Algebraic, it is not as difficult to learn as some seem to think it is.  And in fact, as was alluded to, after spending some time with it one often finds it relatively easy, even helpful, to think in terms of it, in the sense of board visualization and the relative locations of the pieces...

As for downloading books, be sure to check out my blog article on the topic...

Scribd For Online Chess Book Reading, Downloading...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/scribd-com-for-online-chess-book-reading

Hrungnir

It's a good book. It has everything a basic all-in-one chess book should have. Basic endgames. Introduction to different tactical motifs. Explanation of opening principles. Theory on a variety of openings. I wouldn't worry about the theory being outdated. It's not going to matter too much right now. And there's a dozen annotated games at the end so you can see how and how not to play a game of chess.

 

As for a good follow up book, I'd recommend Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur by Euwe. After learning endgames, openings and tactics the next step is to learn how to put these together and conduct a game of chess. Euwe does a great job explaining why the amateur's moves are inferior and how the master takes advantage of those weak moves. It's one of the best books I've read.

StevieG65
It seems to be popular, but personally I found it unbearably boring. There are a few classics like that, e.g. Pachman’s Complete Chess Strategy, John Watson’s Modern Chess Strategy, which I just find unreadable. Having said that, I like Nimzowitsch’s My System, so maybe I am just eccentric.
TigerPM52
Hello, I just started learning Chess in November 2020 and purchased Siegbert Tarrasch’s book titled The Game of Chess.  Many of the notations have the following “....” after numbers. For example, “1.... B - R5” or “2.... K - B1”.  
Does anyone know what the “....” represents?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 
gargraves
TigerPM52 wrote:
Hello, I just started learning Chess in November 2020 and purchased Siegbert Tarrasch’s book titled The Game of Chess.  Many of the notations have the following “....” after numbers. For example, “1.... B - R5” or “2.... K - B1”.  
Does anyone know what the “....” represents?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

The ellipsis refers to blacks move- The white move would be the number followed by the move immediately, the black move is the number, ... move.

RussBell
TigerPM52 wrote:
Hello, I just started learning Chess in November 2020 and purchased Siegbert Tarrasch’s book titled The Game of Chess.  Many of the notations have the following “....” after numbers. For example, “1.... B - R5” or “2.... K - B1”.  
Does anyone know what the “....” represents?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

the three dots (...) preceding a move are a place-holder for the move White had played, which is being left unspecified.  Thus the text, 1... B-R5, refers to a move, B-R5, that was played by Black, where the three dots act as a placeholder for White's unspecified move.  If the move had been written without the three dots, such as 1.B-R5, it indicates a move played by White.  

Thus, in a nutshell, any move written with three preceding dots indicates a move made by Black.

TigerPM52

Very helpful!  Much appreciated!  Thanks!