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How to Reassess your Chess

  • #81

    That's a review from Amazon, from 2003. So are you this reviewer, or did you plagarize, verbatim, this review?


    I'll agree that if you feed the positions to a pc it dismantles his analysis and choices. Concrete considerations trump any broad 'strategic' ideas everytime. I still think it's beneficial to a beginning player, because the ideas are grounded in solid, traditional chess strategy (outposts, open files, good vs bad pieces, etc) which enrich a beginner's appreciation of chess and give them a solid foundation for those tactics to emerge from. Doing endless repetitions of tactics will give more points than any strategy book but it can become mindnumbing. Reading a strategy book will increase your appreciation of chess, regardless of whether there's a immediate increase in rating (there's a difference between 'knowledge' and actual practical 'skill').

    If you're going to criticize the book at least do it in your own words, instead of copy-pasting some 2003 review from Amazon.

  • #82

    I'll just go ahead and sign my name on the 'Very Much Enjoying' side of opinions on the book. I was expecting the Psychological Meanderings chapter to be painful (since psychology is overstated in sports, maybe in general) but it was actually a worthy addition - the "I can't/I have to" pages in particular.

  • #83
    daud2012 wrote:

    What about the newest edition of HTRYC 4th ed?  Everyone including MDLM knows how flawed the old version was/is.  But Silman computer checked everything in this newest edition with Rybka 3 and Fritz something.  

    Are Pachman, Euwe, and Nimzwitsch really the best options for strategy?  Their analysis must be really flawed compared to authors several decades later.  But if their books are awesome because of their "ideas", then how are Silman's "ideas" any worse since they nearly completely overlap with Pachman, Euwe, Nimzowitsch, etc.

    What about anything written in the last 30 years? 

    What about Hellsten's Mastering Chess Strategy, a newer book (2010) from a GM who has trained kids.

    What about Chessimo strategy modules by GM / former candidate Gilberto Milos (2008)?

    Any GM's analysis, of course, will be flawed relative to a strong engine.

    Just like you can know what a checkmate is and try to plan one and fail by your own flawed calculation/visualization/pattern recognition, that doesn't render the concept of "checkmate" as obsolete.

    Similarly one can learn what strategic concepts to aim for in a game from somebody else even if s/he and the other consistently fail at achieving their strategic goals.  

    I always thought of strategy books as giving you the short term goal to aim for when no tactics are present (or at least not seen by the given player) rather than strict analysis.  It has little to do with the author's analysis, who is simply showing examples of a particular strategic goal/idea that s/he tried to achieve in a particular game that coincides with the same ideas that many GM's aim for in their games (though GM's are far better at accomplishing their ideas because of their superior analysis and pattern recognition).  

    If an IM's faulty analysis renders a strategic concept (and therefore an entire strategy book) as absurd, then that means GM's don't think about the ideas in the table of contents listed in Silman's books and have an alternative magical method that they refuse to share.  Is that what Watson's strategy book is all about?  

  • #84
    solomonben wrote:
    dannyhume wrote:
    daud2012 wrote:


    It seems you don't understand a lot of things, which if you went to a college you would be supposed to know.

    1. If I write E=MC2 in a book, without quoting where I got the formula from, and make it pass it as my own, I'm plagiarizing the work of someone else. In the academic world this is not allowed. Silman copied the books of Euwe and Pachman, plagiarizing the concepts (imbalances belongs to Pachman) didn't give credit, and didn't even check the analysis!

    2. If I pay for a book which should be new, instead is just a copy of old books, then the least I expect is that the author at least put some original contributions, but Silman was so arrogant that he thought computers were useless, because he is an IM, instead computers demonstrated not only that he couldn't check and evaluate a position, but that his analysis were faulty! In reality his analysis weren't faulty, he didn't make any analysis, and copied and paste, but he couldn't admit that (otherwise he would have been caught plagiarizing), hence the polemic with Delamaza and tactics. So Silman's professionalism was in doubtful to say the least! When asked Silman would censor the comments, and erase them, because to be accountable is not one of his professional qualities.

    3. The third edition of the book, maybe you don't know it, has been reprinted for years, many readers wrote to Silman, but neither him or the publisher corrected the work, why? If the goal of the author is to teach, why he is not humble enough to admit mistakes were made, and for the benefit of those who pay dollars honestly, correct such mistakes? We know the answer from the previous points.

    4. You mention a lot of books, titles, software, but where did it bring you? Because I hope you understand that the quality of something is also in the witness. If after spending all that money you are still a Class D player, maybe the fault is your, maybe they just stole your money, and didn't give you anything in exchange. This is even more true when you glance at books like: the amateur's mind, where Silman's students, paying top dollars for a chess education, cannot even evaluate correctly a position. He makes money out of them, they don't become NM, FM, or IM, why?

    The answer was given by a Scottish guy, in this thread or another similar, with the words: snake-oil salesmen...

    1. Fine.  If what you say is true, then he is a plagiarizing unethical a--hole.  This still doesn't answer whether his book (newest edition of HTRYC) is effective for amateurs who want to learn positional play.    

    2. So what if Silman is arrogant and hates computers?  His vitriol against MDLM is the same as yours against him...not a single word about the ideas, just ad hominem attacks.  You really need to study philosphy 101.  As for him censoring and plagiarizing others, if he does that, again I am fine with basically calling him a douchebag.  He did reply to my e-mail once fairly quickly and lengthily, though, so my direct experience with him competes with your obvious polemical agenda.

    3. I am well aware of the 3rd edition of his book, and FYI I am the biggest fan of MDLM ever.  Often publishers will refuse to incur the costs or correcting/editing/reprinting a book if it maintains a high level of sales in the face of these obvious well-known egregious errors.  Pandolfini's Endgame Course is one such example.  And in the new edition, Silman does fully admit that he had errors of analysis and that chess engines were simply not as strong as they are today when his 3rd edition was written.  Plus, Silman rewrote everything so rather than slightly improve the old edition, he decided to come out with a newer more accurate modern edition.  I and many others simply do not give 2 $#!+$ about an obsolete edition of a new updated computer-checked book which has the acclaim of many aficionados.  Dvoretsky never tried to write anything for my level, so f--- him, my money and time goes to the Heismans, Pandolfinis, Silmans, MDLMs, and chess.com.  

    4. Software, titles, etc.: you act like I and other struggling players have invested every ounce of our free time studying, learning, and memorizing these "strategy" materials with obsessive passion for great lengths of time sacrficing so much of our lives for nothing in return, implying that our current skill levels invalidate the effictiveness of these materials.  However, many struggling players including myself actually do not study as much as you'd like to think we do (I wish I could, but life sucks), which is why I/we continue to ask about others' experience with these materials.  You use the same arguments against me that the anti-MDLM's use against me ("you haven't achieved anything in chess...see how useless tactics tactics tactics are; try studying positional play and endgames.")

    It should be obvious to anyone who has tried playing chess or tried excelling in anything that 1 book does not create a master, even if it is the greatest book on the subject ever.  How many NM/FM/IM/GM's studied just one book?  

    I'd like to think that it is clearly understood that when crappy players are asking about a particular resource or what the "best book" is on a certain subject, it is implied that we are talking relative to our level to gain a slight increase in playing strength, not an unrealistic 1000-point jump in 2 weeks.

    By your argument, Silman therefore can bag on anyone who is not an IM or higher, including you and other amateurs who bag on him.  Why are Silman's followers not NM/FM/IM/GM?  Maybe the same reason none of the Knights Errant are...not enough [effective] studying and/or not enough time (sorry, we all don't have 2-3 hours a day x 10 years to devote to chess).  An unemployed MDLM became an expert in 2 years, but unfortunately Undecided I need to keep my job to pay off my debts.    

  • #85

    You can't 'plagarize' an idea like E=MC2, it's not patented, Einstein doesn't 'own' it, it's a fact about reality. You can't plagarize it anymore than you could plagarize a fact like 2+2=4. The same goes for Chess strategy. Nobody owns the idea of chess imbalances, which is perfectly clear if you actually read what the specific imbalances are (Material advantage, Space, Initiative, etc). They're common to any book written by anybody about chess strategy.

    Honestly, I'm sure there are legit criticisms to be made of the book but the people in this thread come off as a bunch of weirdos.

  • #86

    I will add a thought.  I have the book (and the previous version).  I consider it my chess bible.  But I use it differently than "reading it once".  As an analogy,,, I remember a qoute from a short stop on the Mets 20 years a go.  10 year veteran yet several times a week he went on the field and took dozens and dozens of routine ground balls.  Put a guy playing second and practiced routine double plays over and over.  Why?  He can do that stuff in his sleep.  Because it never hurts and can only help to keep going back to the basics.  I read that book once per year like clockwork.  And I skim through it if I plan on playing in a big tournament. 

    This will also, eventually, solve the temporary rating rise syndrome.  It all will sink in and the rating increase can become permanent.  Rote learning plays a big place in improving chess.  Changing habits is hard.  That is why "once a criminal always a criminal".  But from personal experience, that rule is not universal.  There are exceptions.  But those exceptions go to those most determined to make it work.

    So, stop making excuses about why your game isn't improving and make it happen.  Tie up your boot straps and go to work... with determination to be the exception.

  • #87

    Silman's ideas can actually be traced to Steinitz but his books are as good a place to learn those principles as any others.  Unless your name is Paul Morphy understanding imbalances is not a bad way to approach a game of chess.

    Solomonben, you are what a C player?  Silman would wipe you off the board in a simul let alot OTB.  Let us know when you win a US Open championship, Silman won one back in 1981.  Better yet post your actual tournament results.

  • #88


    Ok weirdo. Here are a list of the imbalances. How about you show me a single chess strategy book that doesn't mention these? It's impossible to for anybody to write a strategy book and not mention every single one of these factors. And how can anybody 'own' any one of these concepts? It's like saying Morphy invented checkmates. God you're thick.


    1) Superior minor piece
    2) Pawn structure
    3) Space
    4) Material
    5) Control of key file or square
    6) Lead in development
    7) Initiative

    And where does Silman claim he 'invented' any of that? Strawman. Now run along and find someone else's writings to plagarize in response (ironic a plagarist accuses somebody else of plagarism).

  • #89

    thats cute glaslow, you've managed to conVince yourself that nothing can ever help anybody and you'll always revert back to your original state...i know if I stopped going to school I'd revert back to pooing my pants and wearing diapers....idiot

    GlasgowM8 wrote:

    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.  

    Prove me wrong of course....


    (Crap player - but a sceptic through and through about help me to play better books and DVDs...)


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