Sunday, November 7, 2010

Studying Chess Made Easy - Andrew Soltis

After seeing some good responses to this book on some different forums, I decided to order it. When I first had heard about it, I had mistakenly been put under the impression it was a collection of sayings like Lev Alburt's Chess Rules of Thumb. I'm not sure where it was that came from, but it was wrong. This book is a nice collection of ideas on how to train efficiently to get better at chess. There is nothing new or groundbreaking here, but it is nice to have all this collected under one cover.

Soltis starts about by pointing out that chess isn't school, meaning that studying chess properly isn't like studying for a course at the university. I had been in the middle of reading Rowson's Chess for Zebras when I started in on this, so there is some nice overlap of thought on this between the 2 books. One of the main things is with chess you learn by doing. So practice, practice, practice. You also need to keep it fun, to keep yourself motivated.

Soltis goes on to discuss things such as cultivating your chess sense, the biggest study myth in chess, how to study openings, working on visualization and evaluation, studying endgames, dealing with the information overload of chess, and how to learn from master games. He gives lots of practical advice on how to work on specific parts of the game such as: visualizing and evaluating, planning, spotting threats and tactics, learning endgames, and learning common middlegame patterns. I think it is advice anyone could benefit from to make their chess improvement more efficient, and for people looking for help in this area I'd recommend this book.

There are some minor typos throughout the book, but that is always the case with chess books. It is a Batsford book, so the physical qualities aren't quite as nice as I'd like, but it seems to be durable which is good because it will probably be getting a lot of use.

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