Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Initial Thoughts on New Ideas in Chess

The new algebraic edition of Larry Evans book New Ideas in Chess arrived today. I'm not the biggest fan of chess books from Cardoza, but Evans book is highly thought of so I went ahead and pre-ordered when it first showed up on Amazon.

As far as the content goes, the book seems to be very good. Evans breaks the game down into four basic elements: Time, Space, Force, and Pawn Structure. I believe Yasser Seirawan used the same breakdown later on when he wrote his Winning Chess series. Prior to discussing the elements, Evans takes readers on a walk through the history of the evolution of chess. He tends to use game fragments instead of giving the full game score for the different examples he uses. It is easy enough to look them up in a database, but surprisingly not all the games are in Chessbase, or chessgames.com which was a slight problem.

So far I have just read through the chapter on the evolution of chess, and skimmed through most of the remaining chapters of the book. My only complaint so far is that editing seemed to be lacking in the production of the book. Out of the first 6 diagrams, 2 are screwed up. Diagram 2 is visually screwed up, with the first and last ranks horizontally offset by about half a square. Diagram 6, has the wrong position. Since the book suggests that you work the examples from the diagrams instead of setting them up on a board, it is a problem when you can't be sure the position you are analyzing is correct. The game diagram 6 comes from is Steinitz - Golmayo, Havana 1889 which unfortunately is not is Big Database 2010, or chessgames.com. I did find it online, and was able to play through it. Funnily when I played through it I recognized some of the game. It turns out I have played through the game before in Herman Grooten's Chess Strategy for Club Players. I have included the game below.

Once I seriously work through the whole book, and determine if the editing is better in the rest of the book I will decide whether or not it is better to get this edition or track down the Dover edition.


  1. Black played well with the queen, but then showed he had too much queen-love by not trading queens on f3, when Black would have the more comfortable, better developed game.

    What's the the worst that could happen then, a draw against Steinitz with Black? "You" say that as if it's a bad thing. hehe

    If it were in the DB, it would be more about how Black played successfully in the opening, then blew it later, IMHO.

  2. When talking about trading queens, are you talking about after 23.Qf3?

    Yeah, I'm sure getting a draw against Steinitz would be a great day for most people. :)

  3. This login process crashes my browser occasionally, anon comments are a good idea.

    Didn't realize he had dropped a piece. Ignore QxQf3 suggestion.

    12...Nb4? I would play 12...Kb8, 13.Nf3 Qe7 then look to play ..Rhe8, ..Nf6-g4-e5 with a dominating position for Black.

  4. Fixed the settings so anon comments can be left.

  5. How do you feel about Evan's instruction? Does it seem beneficial?

    Have you ever heard of the book, "How to Open a Chess Game"?

    Evans wrote the first chapter and then some other GMs like Petrosian, etc. wrote the others.

    It is one of those books that is ballyhooed because it is rare. I checked it out of the library and was not too impressed. It was the beginning of my end with opening books. :)

  6. Re: Evan's instruction

    It looks like it should be worth reading. In each chapter he basically has a bunch of mini-lessons where he will cover one theme. He states the theme, gives a position from a games, tells you who is supposed to move, and then usually has a paragraph or so talking about the theme before going into the line. Each of the mini lessons takes up about a page, including the diagram. Perhaps it would be nicer if he gave more than one example of each theme.

    I haven't worked through the book yet so don't put much stock into what I say, but I would say in this day and age it is a good book, but nothing special. When it was first released in the 50s though, it didn't have the competition that it does today.

    If nothing else it gives you a bunch of positions to work on so I would probably buy it just for that.