Posts Tagged ‘chess book review’

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

June 9, 2014
Front cover of the classic chess book, Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

Front cover of the classic chess book, Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

“Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur” is one of the best books I have read on the subject of crime and punishment in chess. The author, former World Chess Champion Max Euwe, elucidates common mistakes of “amateur” chess players with great authority. The layout of “Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur” progresses from analyses of games in which the amateur player is fish, continues through games with tournament calibre amateurs and finishes with games of a chess master facing expert chess players. Throughout the book the Max Euwe teaches the reader how the amateur’s chess crimes were punished by the master player. “Chess Master vs Chess Amateur” is an excellent treatise on chess that belongs on the shelf in any serious chess library.

Often times, after reading a great chess book I continue to find examples that would fit well within its pages. Below is a more modern game between (chess master) Eric Schiller and (chess amateur) Ted Castro that would fit well in the beginning of “Chess Master vs Chess Amateur.” National Master Eric Schiller PhD is a prolific chess author and incredible chess coach. Ted Castro has won amateur chess titles, instructed many beginner chess players and runs fairly popular chess classes at the Norcal House of Chess.

When playing through the chess game below, pay attention to the occasions where chess amateur Ted Castro violates the opening guidelines in the “Thirty Rules of Chess” and how Eric Schiller is able to easily punish these mistakes.

TEN OPENING RULES
1. Open with a center pawn.
2. Develop with threats.
3. Knights before Bishops.
4. Don’t move the same piece twice.
5. Make as few pawn moves as possible in the opening.
6. Don’t bring your Queen out too early.
7. Castle as soon as possible, preferably on the Kingside.
8. Always play to gain control, of the center.
9. Try to maintain at least one pawn in the center.
10. Don’t sacrifice without a clear and adequate reason.
For a sacrificed pawn you must :
a) Gain three tempo, or
b) Deflect the enemy Queen, or
c) Prevent castling, or
d) Build up a strong attack.

 

[Event “St. Amant Memorial”]
[Site “San Francisco CA USA”]
[Date “2003.11.22”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Eric Schiller (Chess Master)”]
[Black “Ted Castro (Chess Amateur”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “E14”]
[Opening “Queen’s Indian”]
[Variation “4.e3”]

Chess Master Eric Schiller "Opens with a center pawn."

Chess Master Eric Schiller “Opens with a center pawn.”

 

Chess Amateur Ted Castro does not.

Chess Amateur Ted Castro does not.

 

"Knights Before Bishops."

“Knights Before Bishops.”

 

Still no center pawn for Chess Amateur Ted Castro.

Still no center pawn for Chess Amateur Ted Castro.

 

Chess Master Eric Schiller has written books about this line!

Chess Master Eric Schiller has written books about this line!

 

Chess Amateur Ted Castro makes another pawn move. "Try and make as few pawn moves as possible in the opening."

Chess Amateur Ted Castro makes another pawn move. “Try and make as few pawn moves as possible in the opening.”

 

Chess Master Eric Schiller plays a useful pawn move which grabs more space in the center of the board. "Always play to gain control of the center."

Chess Master Eric Schiller plays a useful pawn move which grabs more space in the center of the board. “Always play to gain control of the center.”

 

Chess Amateur Ted Castro finally moves a pawn to the center on his  third pawn move in just four moves. Some players can be successful employing chess openings such as Ted's, but the vast majority of amateur chess players would do better to simply follow the Ten Opening Rules.

Chess Amateur Ted Castro finally moves a pawn to the center on his third pawn move in just four moves. Some players may be successful employing chess openings such as Ted’s, but the vast majority of amateur chess players would do better to simply follow the Ten Opening Rules.

 

Chess Master Eric Schiller now leads in piece development and space.

Chess Master Eric Schiller now leads in piece development and space.

 

The adage, "Knight's before bishops," means that the amateur chess player should bring out a knight on a particular side of the board before he places a bishop on that same side. Here the amateur chess player, Ted Castro, places an undefended bishop where it can fall victim to a fork. Mistakes like these are very common among amateur chess players.

The adage, “Knight’s before bishops,” means that the amateur chess player should bring out a knight on a particular side of the board before he places a bishop on that same side. Here, Chess Amateur Ted Castro places an undefended bishop where it can fall victim to a fork. Mistakes like these are very common among amateur chess players.

 

The rule of not bringing the queen out too early is ignored for the purpose of punishing Ted Castro's mistake. There is now nothing the chess amateur, Ted Castro, can do to avoid losing a piece in the opening phase of the game.

The rule of not bringing the queen out too early is ignored for the purpose of punishing Ted Castro’s mistake. There is now nothing Chess Amateur Ted Castro can do to avoid losing a piece in the opening phase of the game. 

Of course, Chess Master Eric Schiller went on to win this game easily.

 

Eric Schiller is a fantastic chess coach and respected author.

Eric Schiller is a fantastic chess coach and respected author.

National Master Eric Schiller PhD  will be teaching at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp at MSJE this summer. To sign up, Please visit the Torres Chess and Music Academy’s web page.

 

Ted Castro, multi-winner of the Amateur Team West Championship,  also will be teaching at a summer camp in Fremont this summer.

 

For more on choosing a good chess camp for your child please read:

Nothing Amateur about the TCAMA Summer Chess Classes and Tournaments

 

“Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur” by Max Euwe and Walter Meiden is available anywhere chess books are sold.

 

 

 

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Two Chess Books to Rule Them All

January 16, 2014
My very used copies of Chess: 5334 and Lasker's Manual of Chess.

My very used copies of Chess: 5334 and Lasker’s Manual of Chess.

Quora answer to: “What is the best chess book for learning chess?”

Empirical methods of training in chess have rapidly improved over the last century and a half. In the mid nineteenth century, only a few good chess manuals were available to learn strategies from and students of the game really had to live in certain chess locales in order to become proficient in chess. During the early twentieth century, the “Russian School of Chess” demonstrated the importance of early tactical training and a scientific approach to unraveling the mysteries of chess openings. Today, chess players of all ages have the advantage of easy access to online videos, tactic trainer apps and internet chess servers. Even with the perceived superiority and ease of using technology to understand chess, I find that I am still recommending just two books to chess parents who wish to have a greater role in a child’s chess education.

For an omnibus of chess strategy presented in an unambiguous manner, there is no greater book than Dr. Emanuel Lasker’s opus, Lasker’s Manual of Chess. First printed in 1947, Lasker’s Manual of Chess thoroughly presents universal strategies for every phase of the game. Lasker, who himself was World Champion for 28 years, explains his chess mastery using brilliant language and three hundred and eight ideal diagrams. Lasker’s manual of chess is always delightful to reread and I constantly find myself learning new ways to improve my chess teaching from this invaluable source.

Improving in chess also requires pattern recognition acquired through solving and studying thousands of chess positions. Perhaps, no one better understood this concept than Laszlo Polgar, who spent ten thousand hours training each of his three girls using famous chess puzzles and short games. After all three of his daughters became Grandmasters, Laszlo compiled his chess excercises into one book entitled, Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games. The beauty of Chess by Laszlo Polgar is that it really focuses on the critical skill of checkmating, common piece sacrifices, punishment for opening inaccuracies and tactics in endgames.  Laszlo Polgar’s masterpiece also requires no ability to read making it instantly accessible to chess players of all ages. To date, I consider the “Polgar Book” to be the best training method for rapid improvement in chess.

I literally have no idea how many chess books are in my collection do to its enormous size and unorganized structure. Most of my chess collection represent a desire to own a chess library rather than a need to learn from so many sources. With the advent of the information age, most of my chess books simply collect dust. However, Lasker’s Manual of Chess and Chess: 5334 regularly get opened to improve my own understanding of chess and to train my daughters.


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