the workbook version was better for me than the mastery version
The IMs' superior strength had been wiped out by the Einstellung effect."
Then why are IM's so much better than class A players? Surely not just opening/endgame memorization?
Because the Einstellung effect is not present in the vast majority of chess positions.
The study focused on only positions where the effect is noticeable and concluded that in those positions the superior strength of the IM had been wiped out because of this peculiar (and rare!) feature.
I had feared that even my tactical studies, to build pattern recognition, would not even help my chess, rendering my efforts to improve totally hopeless.
You're viewing this from a pessimistic point of view. The optimistic one is to think that you don't need to improve because you're already good.
Devil's Advocate and my opinion: |If you have been a chess player for a number of years and are seeking to improve Don't waste your time, YES that book will give you some sort of short term improvement in your results and perhaps even your chess.com rating from a WOW I'VE FOUND THE SECRET! effect.... (This is known as the Euphoria Syndrome) for a short while - but mark my words - I guarantee that upwards of 90% of people who have bought that book will improve for two or three months and then regress to exactly the same rating and strength as before. WHy? Becasue that is the way our brains are wired - we cannot supplant old thoughts processes permanently by reading one book once - Reassess your chess? Yup, you can, but there is NO WAY that an average club player can improve permantently by reading this book once - you would have to read it, practice the methods, regress, re-read it a second time, you will improve again, then you will regress then you will regress again, re-read it again a third time and perhaps, just perhaps if you have an iron will you just might improve permanently. I've read Reassess Your Chess, it is not a good book. It is knowledge based rather than method based - my opinion is that Silman is no more than a snake-oil salesman, six months after finishing the book 90% of those who have read it will be back (down) to the plateau they were at before they read it.... YOu will perhaps know more but you will not be able to put it into practice in your games OTB - Sorry to disappoint - but it is true. Same with Michael de la Maza, everything by Pandolfini as well, Raymond Keene but not quite as bad as Maurice Ashley's offerings (which are truly hopeless - entertaining but hopless to help you improve) - con men the lot of them.
Hello, glasgowm8 - certainly provacative thoughts. Genuine Q: have you any proof that people regress after reading this type of book? If not, do you simply think that people need to work a LOT to change ingrained ways of thinking?
Also, how then can people improve their chess? Again, this is a genuine Q. Perhaps your response - as above - is that these books are good, but you need to read and re-read them.
I reached 1900 otb in my late teens and picked up Silman's book a few months ago (many years later). There is so much in it that I really didn't know when I was playing a lot. My chess.com rating has moved perhaps 50 points up since I have started reading it - ie, little discernible difference but I feel I know more. Perhaps I'm the sucker.
I used to think that Kotov's 'Think like a grandmaster' was good but you sum up the problem that I now see with it. But I do think that Silman helps me to find candidate moves - eg, "How can I get my N onto a good square?" "My Bishop's inactive - how can I blast open some lines for it?"
Dear Stidgeley Arneson,
Do I have proof? Yes, neurological and statistical in nature leading to conclusions which cannot be argued with. In addition there although it is not in context here, there is a very good reason why you cannot change your habits for longer than say a month. And by the way, you asked:
>> do you simply think that people need to work a LOT to change ingrained ways of thinking?
First of all I do not think simply. And secondly work is needed, but not on chess knowledge (once you have it that is) no working on your chess has nothing to do with it, its method which is important.
You talk about improvement – a lot of people do, but let us be specific, I am talking about Permanent Improvement for a non improiving player who has reached a plateau , (and an improvement in rating of say 200 rating points) which is what Silman is hawking, and let me say straight out (once again for the avoidance of doubt…) – Permanent Improvement it is not possible following the methods in Silman’s book (he is not alone I am not having a go at Silman).
The methods needed for permanent improvement of your chess (and this improvement goes for players of Joe Blogs stature and also for the run-of-the mill Grandmasters like. Let me think, what about the great teachers of our time? (LOL)…….. IM Silman, GM Maurice Ashley and GM Jonathan Rowson, all of them talented (Ashley is talented tactically, Rowson is clever in a general sense and Silman loves chess and has worked and worked ….).
Let’s be clear here Silman as far as I know is the only one of the three who is selling the dream of permanent improvement the other two are of course trying to help you improve but in different ways. But they want your money. So three teachers who write books …. Have these players managed to put on two hundred rating points?
Let me not be unfair here the same could go for Dvoretsky, Yusupov, Soltis, Pachman, Pandolfini, Kotov....etc.
Current ratings or last active rating (same argument goes)
Maurice Ashley, 2465, Silman 2383 and Rowson 2576
GM Ashley – Great commentator and someone who sells books to help people improve…. Well let’s see how good he was at improving himself after he started writing books. In January 2000 he was rated 2499 he managed to claw his way over 2500 for a period of three months in 2001 to ratify his GM title and then dropped back to 2492 then 2487 and then settle at under 2470 for the rest of the decade. During this time he has been writing books and training players, studying researching, working on chess and he has not been able to increase his own rating at all.
Does he know more about chess? Of course… but permanent improvement is not about knowing about chess it is about being able to play chess over the board.
Let’s look at IM Silman, I do not know the guy but I have read two of his books and his claims are ridiculous – “Life Changing Experience” my foot…
IM Silman, best ever rating was 2420 in 1995, the second time in five years he had worked hard and then he sank back below 2400 .. and there he has stayed despite writing book after book after book after book after book after book about “How to” get better at chess, you would have thought he might have had a look in the mirror one morning and say to himself “This isn’t working is it?” Well not for him it didn’t. But chess players around the world are duped into buying his books by faulty reviews and he probably makes a good living out of it, snake oil salesmen I called him and I stick to that.
GM Rowson – Hailed as a great author (and to be fair his book “The Seven Deadly Chess Sins” is a brilliant and thought provoking read and very very useful for players who are trying to understand about chess – a completely different thing from permanently getting better at playing chess.)
Rowson is rated 2576, his peak was 2599 at age 28 in 2005, but he was already rated above 2500 at age 23.
I have no doubt that Silman, Ashley and Rowson have WORKED a great deal on their chess over these years but they have not managed to improve by even one hundred points never mind two hundred.
You’ve no doubt heard of “Physician heal thyself.” We should be as strict with authors of books which promise to help you improve your chess – “Author, Improve thy own rating.”
You also ask: How can people improve their chess? Speaking of an adult with a number of years’ experience, say five years for arguments sake – helping this chess player improve by a jump of 200 points is as I said above, the Holy Grail of Chess education.
Stidgeley Arneson, there are ways to improve permanently, yes there are. But it is very difficult. And to tell you the truth not really worth the effort, if you are going to put that amount of effort in you might as well do it in a field that would be really beneficial to you, like making more money or becoming a better perosn overall... or raising money for charity or helping homeless lesbian illigal imiigrant run aways.
You say your web rating has gone up 50 points since you started reading the book, great, well done, and very interestingly you say you “feel you know more” - I would expect this to be the case, because you do, it is fresh in your mind – but mark my words come August you will not feel this way and if you do you will be doing better than 95% of the people who have shelled out hard earned money for Silman’s book. Maybe you could report back then? The thing is though I bet you, that some of the problems that you have eliminated from exposure to Silman’s book will creep back into your play in two to three months. Keep a track on it, write down or think of the problems which you now seem to have overcome or the part of your game which you have improved in – be specific – and then when they come back – and they will - tell us why you think that is?
Hope that is enough to be going on with.
Good luck with your permanent improvement.
(Note – my interest in this is related to another subject unrelated to chess, but these arguments hold true for practically every human activity.)
scientific proof????????????????????????????????????????????????????? of chess learning ability????????????????????????????HHHmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
how would you know why the progression and regression occurs.
try Occams razor maybe?
I find it interesting how someone would claim it is as "The truth" when it is a theory. No matter how likely it may seem. The brain is still a thing we do not know much about.I suggest a slightly more nuanced view of science.
By the way I am not saying it is false what you say, but I simply say that the way you present it is far away from scientific and logical. As a matter of fact I believe that to a large degree you are right. But there is also one thing that I do not understand at all from your argument. How come that people do improve? I've improved playing a lot this year, which isn't a few months. Which I guess I would describe as permanent improvement. And there are many who improve, children who get better. Grandmasters who rise to the top.
But now back to the way you present your argument.At the moment you are using a technique for defending your opinion/theory in which involves claiming something as the absolute truth. With this you refer to scientific study that you claim are without doubt, but for some reason you do not give the actual source of this claim but you do seem to have the time to write extensive long posts.By presenting these "facts" this way you are indeed very convincing. It is much more convincing to believe someone who claims to have the truth then to believe someone who claims that something might be that way but that there still is a lot of research to be done. This is a common technique used by people to convince others. It's not a technique of delivering the correct information but rather a way of swaying people to follow your opinion, even if they do not have any correct information to back up their newly formed opinion. Politicians love it!
By using this it is sometimes very hard for the people listening to the arguments to distinguish theories with solid evidence.
So people I ask you. Please think for yourself!
P.S. Again I am not saying wether or not what you say is true or false. All that I am saying is that the way you present it is in a non factual way.
Great post. You are right. Totally.
I should not really have a defence but as an explanation: For this layman audience I use words like "Truth" when I really should not were it another more knowleadgeable readership, I would use scientific language with all the built in caveats and cop-outs inherent in not stating something that cannot be proved 100% mathematically, but you will have heard of the one about if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, chances are it's a duck.
It's a chess discussion forum. Not a PhD Thesis. These are merely coments based on a "little learning" (which is dangerous thing as we all know) I have and talks with people who have a lot of knowldge about behaviour, free will and the difficulty in being able to break established habitual behaviours. I thought some may be interested - and I have had a lot of private messages in support and asking for more info (keep 'em coming!).
The most important thing I have said here is that human beings have very very VERY good reasons for NOT changing any behaviour that is subconscious or done without thinking, and while you can change that behaviour (for example how you think about making a chess move,) in the short term you cannot keep that process conscious forever and when it goes into the subconscious state - the new behaviour will be rubbed out progressively (not immediately it takes a bit of time) by the old established hard wired behaviour you had been using for years and years - that's what Self-Help books do not tell you, and some people (not you) don't know this. Silman's writing shows that he has not a clue about this....
And I whole heartily agree with your comment about people thinking for themselves.
Thanks for your comment.
1. Let’s be clear here Silman as far as I know is the only one of the three who is selling the dream of permanent improvement the other two are of course trying to help you improve but in different ways. But they want your money. So three teachers who write books …. Have these players managed to put on two hundred rating points?................
2. there are ways to improve permanently, yes there are. But it is very difficult. And to tell you the truth not really worth the effort, if you are going to put that amount of effort in you might as well do it in a field that would be really beneficial to you, like making more money or becoming a better perosn overall... or raising money for charity or helping homeless lesbian illigal imiigrant run aways......................
You say your web rating has gone up 50 points since you started reading the book, great, well done, and very interestingly you say you “feel you know more” - I would expect this to be the case, because you do, it is fresh in your mind – but mark my words come August you will not feel this way and if you do you will be doing better than 95% of the people who have shelled out hard earned money for Silman’s book. Maybe you could report back then? ............
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Glasgowm8, and for your good wishes.
1. [numbered above] I think Silman is saying he knows how to help 1400-2000 players to improve. At least, that's what "Reassess" seems to say. Perhaps he - and others - have realised the truth of 2. Perhaps I need to also.
Let's see if this thread is still going in August. What you say seems to make a lot of sense - ie, changing ingrained habits (and that includes how you play chess) is hard. I too have interests in this from other fields - and I think so much of life is about establishing good habits.
Most professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) learn their trades and become "experts" as adults with a few years of diligent study.
Just because one is a better chess player than another does not mean that the better chess player is a better teacher. Playing and teaching are two different skills. Many of the best managers in the game of baseball were mediocre players at best.
What a strange analogy.
You are most welcome.
GlasgowM8 argument (in my opinion, so don't get mad!) is flawed in many ways:
1. He uses as example a pathetic loser like Silman, who couldn't even reach GM level! Why he didn't use someone as Fischer? Kortchnoi? Kasparov? Come on, you cannot use as example of the best in physics, or another discipline, someone who evidently of that field didn't understand much (and the results prove it).
2. If he would have used real players, instead of Silman who is nobody, then his example wouldn't work, because we have seen the raise of 200 points or more in adulthood of players like Fischer or Kasparov. (I continue to quote these two, because are the one I know best as games, I would never waste a minute reading something written by Silman or buy one of his useless copy and paste books, since what he did was just to paraphrase works from Pachman and Euwe)
Then I also noticed another comment where a guy, evidently conned by Silman, was repeating, like a good parrot, that watching fast many games would improve the player. Well evidently many chess players are not able to use their brains. If that system would have worked, we would have seen it first in Silman. But Silman doesn't know how to teach chess or play it (of course he knows the rules, and he is able to push the pieces), and consequently we can see it in his tournament results which are mediocre at best.
In former Soviet Union nations players like Silman maybe would reach a class B level, if they are lucky. So I definitely rule out him as example.
There is then another side of this argument that GlasgowM8 fails to address. What if knowledge itself is not permanent? What if what we believe of chess knowledge in the 1920s is not the same of the 1970s, how would then we compare the leap in rating, when we are comparing two different kind of knowledge? (Chess rules have been changed, thanks to a change in knowledge, without mentioning that computers have also put in doubt fixed knowledge and judgment about some positions, which before were considered won for one side)
Instead we continue to believe that there are some kind of fixed laws which rule ALL the Universe at ALL time, when this is clearly not the case.
I believe this argument is more complex than just mediocre players/teachers like Silman. Life itself is a flowing continuum not something which is permanent.
Look, do not take this the wrong way, but I seriously believe you have some difficulties in reading. This is not about SIlman, this is about whether a player can improve as an adult by 200 rating points after being at a Plateau for a period of (say) five years. It has nothing to do with whether anyone is 'pathetic' - which is highly offensive, Silman is a book writer, and whether he may be a great writer in some people's eyes or a poor one in others has hee-haw to do what I argued in all my posts here. The argument is that the method (please look at this word) Silman (and Kotov, Rowson, Ashley etc.) gives for improving will not result in a permanent improvement.
Your comment that knoweldge is not permanent is interesting, but I do not know, it has nothing to do with this argument, rather I say that there is good evidence to strongly suggest that learning something new to change old habits will result in a short term change but that after a period of time this new habit will be wiped from your habitual way of doing things and the old established habit will re-assert itself. It does not matter that you identify (with the help of a book by SIlman for example) that you have a weakness in your habitual way of playing certain positions, then work on it, eradicate it, by the time it goes into the subconscious and the work you have done to elimibate that weakness will be progressively wiped ----- and the old established habitual you had for years will reassert itself and when you are playing blitz for example you will play like you did before you identified the weakness. This is what I argue is wrong with the kind of books that Silman and many others write.
If this has not happened to you, well you are lucky, becasue it happens to almost every chessplayer.
Now I appreciate that this is a compliated concept. I appreciate that it may be difficult to follow, as it takes time to appreciate the nuances of this type of multi stage argument, but I would appreciate it, truly, if you would be so good as to not claim that my argument is flawed then not touch upon it at all but instead launch into a tirade against an author like Silman. This has nowt t'do wi' SIlman as a person and abusing him is no way to win an argument.
Hope this helps :-)
Fischer saw many thousands of games (millions?). 10,000 hours. There is nothing special about chess.
Fischer was way better at age 29 than at age 20. Adult. See Eriksson's papers on neurocognitive learning. The only proven thing that separates "experts" from "not" is time invested. Child prodigies have simply had more exposure to a concept or theme than non-prodigies.
People learn foreign languages as adults and have accents, yet many of those people can speak and understand the "foreign" language better than many native people who do not have accents.
Such an experiment would be awesome. If they paid my room and board and gave me a stipend and paid off my debts, I'd love to be a 10-year subject.
Dvoretsky claims he can make a weak master into a GM in 5 years (is it true? I don't know). The evidence that only children can become GM's is not scientific but observational and unproven in controlled longitudinal studies.
The time thing you mention I agree with 100% and it is huge. It is ridiculous to ignore it completely. Efim Geller learned chess as a young man and Bobby Fischer couldn't beat him until he became the greatest ever. I saw a clip of Kayden Troff on some morning show where he says he plays/studies chess 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours again at night. How many adults do you know who can and will do this?
If Silman is awful, then so is every writer in the same genre, because none of their books have made me consistently break online 1400, including several famous reputable tactics books.
Oh you are a troll are you? Well done, either that or you have real comprehension problems. No point in replying once again with feeling because you can't seem to grasp the meaning of five years at a plateau. Maybe look that up?
I get your point, Glasgowm8: you question the possibility of improving as an adult after plateauing for (at least) five years. I was 1900 otb aged 19. After a ten-year break I resurfaced at 1600 for three or four years. A 15-year break now sees me at 1700 chess.com after a year here. Will Silman - or anyone else - help me get back my old otb rating? Will he help me break 2000?
Your main point seems to be that old habits die hard. As a general statement that is true (that is why they are habits). The only answer to the question: "And does this apply to chess?" is, "Generally, yes" - ie, there will be exceptions.
BTW, solomonben, to say that Silman is poor witer/chessplayer is a) manifestly untrue (as an IM that makes him in the top 3,000 players in the world - I believe) and b) simply rude...
...which isn't to say that Glasgowm8's critique of him is wrong.