I ended up buying Fritz 13 and The Amateur's Mind, and got Mastering Complex Endgames, Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual and Modern Chess openings all as birthday presents.
Gpod, you bought some excellent tools to improve your chess skills! The next step, and the hard step, is to use them.
How many 90 lb weaklings remained 90 lb weaklings even after buying a set of weights?
Use them or lose them.
He's my brother, GeorgeBlackChess. And thanks for the advice winerkleiner and SmyslovFan.
good luck with fritz 13. I'm finding it very hard work. Not very user friendly in my opinion. wish i'd gone for chessmaster now...
Luvrug, you have an excellent point! So many people just buy the most powerful engine with no concern for how they will actually use it. Chessmaster has its problems*, but it is one of the most user friendly programs I've seen.
* One irksome problem is that it confuses "attacking" and "defending" in its custom settings. It defines "attacking" as someone who is willing to "attack" and trade off pieces while a defender is someone who defends his pieces. This results in the Tigran Petrosian character playing like Tal, and the Tal program acting a bit like Capablanca.
I have a great engine, a V8!
One of those self-help books on 'How to make a decision'?
Well ive bitten the bullet and i'll be giving fritz away in exchange for chessmaster x or xi. Gotta say playing the live games whilst following it on a big set really brings the game to life and i can see other things i wouldnt have on my tiny phone screen....
Ha-ha. Well, I did get Fritz 13, and it is working fine so far.