Chess Training, books again

Okay, I feel that I need to reply to this subject about Josh W@itzkin calling out Mark Dvoretsky, in ‘The Art of Learning’. I actually googled it and found the pages online.

Apparently, Josh didn’t take to Mark D’s recommendation to learn prophylaxis through Karpov. He liked the notion that he could learn it indirectly through Kasparov instead.

I’ve found this to be an interesting subject recently. Geller, in his book ‘Application of Chess Theory’ does an outstanding job of describing prophylaxis in his games. It means that in a more or less quiet position, you need to cut down on your opponents replies in order to strengthen your own. Conversely, sometimes I’ve found that when “getting your attack in first”, and the more pressing attack, that your opponents threats, being concerned about them, starts to go out the window because you are “getting there first”.

Well, a lot of chess is positional play, it’s not always brilliant attacks. I would think that Karpov’s games are a better way to get that strength than to wait around for the “quiet game” from a Rudolph Spielmann or such. Good luck waiting for that one. How many times did Kasparov agree to a quick draw with Kramnik, as White, because some “b@lls-out” attack was foiled, and only quiet Karpovian-like play remained?

Josh’s point seemed to be that he wanted to build up his strength more, attacking play. I do remember seeing some of Josh’s games in Chess Life back when he was still playing. Not all of his games were crazy attacks, but it seemed that quite a few of them were. My take was that “he is either winning, or he is violating every rule of positional chess”. Naturally, he was far stronger than me, tactically, so he was creating those sorts of positions where either side could make a wrong/false move.

In other news, I did finally organize my chess library. There is a big section on Best Games, monographs on one shelf. Upper shelf is encyclopedias, tactics, and endgames. All of the treatise type of books, I put those into a closet shelf in my chess den. It’s a done deal for now, but those treatise type books that remain are three by Dvoretsky, one by Mednis, and one by Khemelnitsky. I may look at some opening lines on a board, from an encylopedia, but that is about it for now.


4 thoughts on “Chess Training, books again

  1. I am reading ‘Training for the Tournament Player’ by Dvoretsky, but am nearly done with it. Then I’ll have four books left that I’ve been meaning to go through.

    My goal has been to get the “game collections” down to the biography type ones (aside from monographs). I don’t own any tournament books any longer, for instance. If I had a book such as Dumont’s 1000 miniatures, or something like that, I may hang onto it, unless I got tired of reading descriptive notation.

    I’ve finished that book, so what I should do next is simply get back to “circles” training, or tactics diagram solving, more particularly. This is simply where I am at right now, best use of time being problem-solving rather than didactic learning.

  2. Guess it’s time for me to start studying chess again after a year (and half) without doing something (exception is preparing chess lessons for my students) about my chess skill (strenght?). So i will start over with the ICS-course all over again (only read the theory of first three months anyway) but now i will do the exercises aswell and perhaps finnally get some e4 opening study under my belt.

    You are indeed correct if you say that one first must build a position with positional play before one reaches a position where tactics are possible. Josh W. is only doing so but i guess he has found and played openings where things quickly becomes tactical, well atleast for players of his strenght. Players of our strenghts might not even see all the tactics hidden in such positions.

    I wonder if ‘Training for the Tournament Player’ by Dvoretsky isn’t a bit advanced for you. I once tried to read it but found it over my head. Guess my chess understanding isn’t as great as yours.

  3. Chesstiger, I did not find this one to be over my head at all. The best section of the book by far were these self-annotated games by Kosikov. Next best author, IMHO, was Dvoretsky, at least his own self-annotated games were very interesting.

    I can calculate alright, especially if no danger were present, so that is not my problem. My problem is that sometimes the “kill-shot” at the end of a line is so obvious to players of this strength that they don’t even mention how it goes (the better authors do), so someone at my level is left either clueless or bringing the position up on a computer to evaluate. Luckily, I can solve most of them, given some time.

    Naturally, they are frequently evaluating tactical lines that I hadn’t seen.

    One thing I’ve learned recently is that stronger players usually “push the play” more. They frequently don’t sit back. If they can play ..h5 or ..g5 without castling first, they just might! Not that that is generally advisable, but with White they will look for pawn sacs and piece sacs as well. One strange thing I learned from a Kosikov game is that he got a draw because he didn’t go for a piece-sac which he was contemplating. Apparently, in some positions, piece-sacs are required!

    Tactics and combinations are still the weakest part of my game.

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