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Silman started using the term "imbalances" for what was known since Steinitz as "elements".
I am not a native English speaker but it seems to me that the word "imbalances" is misused and abused in this context. I am OK with it when describing the material advantage. But I don't understand why to apply it for open files for example. Here is a position from "Mastering Chess Strategy" by Hellsten:
Open file here is one of the most important positional elements to take into consideration but why to call it "imbalance" - nobody has gained a control of it yet.
Chess Glossary defines an imbalance as a difference between positions of the white and black pieces. I never start analysing a position by looking at differences (except for material). I start by trying to understand what are most important elements, traits, features. Only later I might look from the point of view of "differences" in a search for additional hints.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. But I doubt many will listen.
btw RYTC 4th edition is a completely different book compared to 3rd, Silman should have called it something else. He did walk away from the imabalance based analysis system. And yes, Pachman's classic and highly regarded work has the same concept of imbalance, so following your reasoning Modern Chess Strategy would deserve some of the same criticism but I find it odd that those who hate on Silman rarely say anything bad about Pachman, ok Silman was not original but tell me which strategy book from the last 80 years has been original?
Quick search of 4th edition PDF for "imbalance" returns 283 entries. It doesn't look like he walked away from the imabalances.
If like you say the 4th edition is a completely different book it doesn't sound good at all. I am not aware of any chess classics book that had to undergo a complete rewrite at some point.
Pachman in "Modern Chess Strategy" has a small chapter (about 6 pages) called "The Equillibrium of the Position and its Disturbance" that talks about something that reminds of "imbalances". Otherwise he uses terms like "character of the position", "peculiarities", "factors" - no attempts to apply same gimmick for every situation.
And if you think the term "imbalances" is so great please tell me how should I explain the importance of the "c" file to my student in this position:
While "c" file is not controlled by any side there is no imbalance regarding it, after one side gains control of this file (without compromising anything else) then "advantage" is a much better term.
Well instead of scanning a PDF you should try reading perhaps? He still talks about imbalances, what he walked away from was the analysis technique which was based on imbalances. Seeing as how you are judging the rewrite without even reading and making assumptions using a PDF scan just makes you sound like a hater, If you would put as much energy reading books and practicing that you do writing about how much you hate authors and books you'd be master strength! Truth is your not qualified to tie Mr Silmans shoe laces, if you don't like him or his books then don't buy them or read them, plenty of people find them useful, different strokes for different folks.
I tried to read 3rd edition and didn't like it at all because of the writing style. I don't feel like reading SIlman again when I have a whole shelf of unfinished chess books that I enjoy (for exemple currently I am working through Grooten and Hellsten on strategy topics).
I don't know where did you find hate in my posts. I tried to formulate (actually for the sake of my own understanding) what IMO is a problem with "imbalances". Cornfed (who is a much better player than me) made an excellent analyzis of the positon, but confusion created by sticking to imbalances when explaining the importance of the open c-file has only confirmed my thoughts.
"... Ok, I know - I am just playing a dumb chess student on purpose. ..." - from post #451
"Jeremy Silman's HOW TO REASSESS YOUR CHESS is an example of a good book which explains many important ideas in clear terms." - GM John Nunn (2006)
He does not seem to have thought that the book was trying to explain all important ideas.
Silman talkes about open files in his book. I just don't think the concept of "imbalance" is a good one and I was trying to highlight it by playing a dumb student and open files was the easiest topic for making my point. Terms like "elements" (Steinitz, Grooten, Hellsten) or "factors" (Pachman) are much better because they don't suggest you to start analyzis by looking at differences between white and black. Differences are looked at later after significant positional elements have been found.
I don't see that you have contradicted the assertions of GM John Watson and IM John Watson by playing dumb. Explaining many important ideas is not the same as explaining all important ideas. Who has claimed that everything is explained by imbalances?
In my opinion the term "imbalance" has zero added value and any strategic/positional idea can be explained in more clear way without use of "imbalances".I do honestly think that "How to Reassess Your Chess" could only get better if rewritten with common chess terminology. Same goes for Kmoch's "Pawn Power in Chess".
It is interesting to follow the debate on Silman's books in the chess literature. Willy Hendriks strongly criticised Silman's books in his "Move First, Think Later" (in chapter 2). On the other hand, Hendriks likes very much and recommend Rowson's books "Chess for Zebras" and "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins". But see now: in his "The Seven Deadly Chess Sins" Rowson says that Silman's "The Amateur's Mind" is very useful for all players under 2000, although Rowson also learn something from it. I think Hendriks' book is very provocative, and several of his criticisms make a lot of sense, and I can imagine he is a great coach. But Silman's attempt to give a structure to the amateur's thinking is probably helpful. Amateurs do not have usually the time to invest in chess to play "concrete chess". Silman is trying to motivate his students to see deeper in the position. Hendriks is already a good player, and for him is not difficult to choose one position of Silman's books and find a weak point in Silman's argumentation. I am myself a patzer and I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to make weak players understand how important it is to keep a good bishop or to exchange a bad bishop against a good one, or to prevent the opponent to get the bishop pair in an open position. However, I do not recommend his books for my students, as I cannot imagine one of them having the time and energy to work with them. I prefer to recommend websites or apps where the can train tactics, endgames (both can be trained with Chessimo) and openings (a very useful website is chessable).
I began to work with Silman's books on strategy, but now I am mostly working with his book on endgames. It was Silman who opened my eyes for the importance of searching for imbalances in the positions, but usually I am already happy not to blunder a pawn or even a figure in the game.
In a previous discussion, someone reported a Kmoch passage: "The lengthening of the rearspan is often favorable, inasmuch as the expansion of territory behind the pawn increases the freedom of the pieces. By the same token, the shortening of the frontspan limits the freedom of the opposing pieces."
I'm not exactly a big fan of that sort of writing, but there nevertheless seems to be a widespread opinion that the Pawn Power book is worthwhile. There also seems to be a lot of feeling that Silman's book can be helpful.
Well, with all the discussion about Jeremy Silman I went ahead and bought a used copy of the 4th Ed. of How to Reassess Your Chess for $12.
For $12, c'mon.
You have to work harder to understand the terminology than you do to understand the chess concepts in that book. There are other effective books that don't require that time sink.
I don't think Jeremy was particularly interested in a new romantic relationship at this time so it's all a moot point.
Possibly of interest:
From reviews of this book vs it's competitors one can easily come away with impression that Pawn Power in Chess is regarded as one of the best if not the best book on pawn play, seems some found a praise worthy return on the time investment. Wonder if studying the game with fresh (for lack of a better word) language sprinkled in helps the learning process? or maybe a book can be so good in some aspects that it's a good teacher despite itself in others.
From what I've seen nearly all well done pawn structure books have stellar reviews and ratings. And there are plenty of pawn structure books out there, some are general while you even have others focused towards a smaller range of openings. For example Winning Chess Middlegames by Sokolov had numerous games in the nimzo indian, Baburins book on isolated pawns had many games in the queens gambit accepted. Kmoch's book may be good, but it certainly isn't the end all, be all pawn structure book. And considering the time it takes to learn and remember his terminology I'm not sure if I'd recommend it, especially considering I couldn't get past the terminology issue when I tried reading it.
Cornfed makes one very good point, whatever you mike think about his other views.
Buying a book is the easy part. Studying it is something else.
"There is enough in any one copy of Chess Informator to become a chess master if you study it properly" ... NIgel Davies GM
Why buying a book as you not read it?
It has mayby something to do with having enougn money to buy whatever you wants without using it.
sorry about the typo. mike -> might
"Why buy a book then not read it?"
It is a good question. One answer is that it might be a reference to look up just a few things. That would be the case for many books on openings.
The sad cases are books on other aspects of the game that the author expected to be read and understood whole.
It is a fact that more copies of books are bought than ever get read. I could speculate with many reasons why that is, but so could you.
"... Just because a book contains lots of information that you don’t know, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be extremely helpful in making you better at this point in your chess development. ..." - Dan Heisman (2001)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140626180930/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman06.pdf"... The books that are most highly thought of are not necessarily the most useful. Go with those that you find to be readable. ..." - GM Nigel Davies (2010)"... If it’s instruction, you look for an author that addresses players at your level (buying something that’s too advanced won’t help you at all). This means that a classic book that is revered by many people might not be useful for you. ..." - IM Jeremy Silman (2015)https://www.chess.com/article/view/the-best-chess-books-ever
If you follow silman you will be a 1600 player all your life
Not sure what "follow" is intended to mean here. "Read" is, I think, the concept that most have with regard to a book, the plan being to get help from the expressed ideas, and not necessarily to rely exclusively on those ideas for the rest of one's life.
For me it happens because I start reading the book and find it's not the right level for me. Can't usually tell from reviews whether this will be the case.