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Richard C. Jensen (San Diego, California United States)
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Pirc Alert
Pirc Alert
by Lev Alburt
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 34.80
16 used & new from CDN$ 12.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bishop belongs on e7, June 28 2004
This review is from: Pirc Alert (Paperback)
I agree with one of the reviewers that says "To fianchetto the bishop against 1 e4 is inferior at club level play" (I'm paraphrasing). I used to play the King's Indian against both 1 d4 and 1 e4 and I know exactly what he means. Although the fianchetto setup is very solid defensively in the opening, the bishop lacks offensive punch, especially if c3 is played after d4. In fact, I'm currently studying ways to defeat the bishop fianchetto setup using the Fritz 8 database (although I'm a d4 player, the fianchetto setup is also fallable, but much tougher than, say the Queen's Indian). If white doesnt move his c- and d-pawns after d4 and c3, what does the black king's bishop have to strike? Granite? Meanwhile, since the center is usually still at least semi-closed white can trade off his Bishop, keep his queen at h6, and then pawn storm and minor piece black into oblivion.
The modified pirc I'm playing to correct this problem involves something like this: 1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Bd3 h6?! (I do not want Bg5) 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 h3 Bh5 6 0-0 a6?! (again, no Bb5 to harass my precious knights, which are about to help close the center) 7 Nc3 Nc6 8 Bf4 Nd7!? (often chased to this square by the bishop or e-pawn, but this time it's on offensive repositioning) 9 Re1 e5
Usually d5 will follow, but dxe5 is easily met by a multiple minor piece exchange, that favors the side with less space (black).
Now, with 10 d5, black will play ...Nb8 ...Be7, ...0-0, and have a nice game after ...f5. Remember that in a closed center, moves like h6 and a6 do not lose important tempos as they would in an open system. And unlike, Bg7, the Be7 is poised to be traded off to facilitate a kingside attack by black, not white!

Amateur's Mind
Amateur's Mind
by Jeremy Silman
Edition: Paperback
38 used & new from CDN$ 8.45

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just another IM/GM that's arrogant, March 25 2004
This review is from: Amateur's Mind (Paperback)
I totally agree with the other reviewers that said Silman is too harsh on amateurs. He takes the same arrogant, lofty, and unaccessible attitude that many college professors do. If they can't explain something in 5 seconds, they get frustrated and blame it on the student. Yasser Seirawan is much more patient and objective about training lower-ranked players. I suggest you buy his Winning Chess Tactics, and Winning Chess Strategies, instead.
Also, I'm a firm believer in reverse analysis, which many top players absolutely disdain. Their argument is: "how can you say that the resignation on move 41 occurred because of a move on 25? There are a million possible moves between those two!". Yes, there are a million POSSIBLE moves, but there were only 32 moves THAT WERE ACTUALLY PLAYED. If an amateur (or even a letter-rated player of A, B, C, D) performs reverse analysis on their games, it will help more than any book will. You need to know WHY your "attacking" pawn move at move 15 led to a weakened pawn structure that your opponent took advantage of at move 23, and won the game on move 32. Write down your moves, replay the game forward, then at the loss move, put the pieces and pawns back in reverse order. Then you will see why you lost. And that's not an arrogant way to teach, either.

The Trompowsky
The Trompowsky
by Joe Gallagher
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent opening for players who don't want theory, Jan. 6 2004
This review is from: The Trompowsky (Paperback)
Being quite an anti-establishment player when it comes to openings for both Black and White, I found out I was playing the Trompowsky from another player! Quickly purchasing this book after that discovery, my white game has since improved significantly. In fact, last week I beat an experienced player with the Tromp in 15 moves. However, I do think that 2 Bg5 is not a necessary move, if you don't intend to take the N on f6 or chase it away. 2...Ne4 can cause complications, especially if black subsequently plays c5, Qb6, Bf5, etc.That can get VERY tricky to defend against. I humbly suggest 2...Bf4 instead. That way, e5 is secured, and the N on f6 must take 2 moves to threaten the B on f4. Also if black simply plays 1...d5, then 2 Bf4 is fine as well. c5 is met by Nf6, cxd5 by Nxd5, and Black cannot play e5 due to the Bishop at f4. I also really like playing c3 and Nd2, since it can help possible queenside castling. e3 then c4 is also fine if Black hasn't played c5 yet. One thing is for sure: if both White and Black have castled kingside, 80%+ of the action will be on the queenside. In the book, the only way to force mate on the kingside is to move both knights several times and with throw in some sacrifices, but this opening is no better than any other for a tactical White player to do that. Focus on the queenside and center.

South Of Heaven
South Of Heaven
Price: CDN$ 15.46
24 used & new from CDN$ 7.83

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A big disappointment after Reign in Blood, Sept. 2 2003
This review is from: South Of Heaven (Audio CD)
I can't believe that this CD is given an average of 4 1/2 stars. It doesn't even compare to Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, or the best metal album of all time, Reign in Blood. The latter album was literally pushed to the limit in speed and quality of music, so I guess Slayer decided to take a break with South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss. Both of these albums sound more like rehashed Metallica than true Slayer. Yes, this album is worth buying, but only if you plan on buying all of their albums. There are some good songs on South of Heaven, but Spill the Blood and Mandatory Suicide are really lame. If a band excells at speed metal, why slow down and produce something like this?

Seasons In The Abyss
Seasons In The Abyss
Price: CDN$ 15.35
30 used & new from CDN$ 2.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Their worst I've heard so far, Sept. 2 2003
This review is from: Seasons In The Abyss (Audio CD)
After Slayer produced Reign in Blood, arguably the best metal album of all time, I guess they could go no further in that direction, and produced South of Heaven, a mediocre album that has some good songs, and some bad songs. I suspect that they tried to be more like Metallica with South of Heaven, in order to get into the mainstream rock culture and sell more albums. Some reviews say South of Heaven was their worst album of that period, but it's significantly better then Seasons in the Abyss. There are only a few decent songs on this album, and the rest sounds very tired and poorly produced. Slayers live album, Decade of Aggression actually brings to life some of the songs on this album, and I recommend getting that CD first and see if you like those songs. The title track is not bad, but unless you have heard it before and really like it, this album isn't worth getting.

Reign In Blood
Reign In Blood
Price: CDN$ 14.54
26 used & new from CDN$ 8.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Reign as Gods of Metal, Sept. 2 2003
This review is from: Reign In Blood (Audio CD)
It took a few listens to get me to like this album, after listening to Hell Awaits dozens of times. But after several listens, I agree with many that this is the best metal album of all time. The lyrical topics, guitar, drums, pace, speed, everything is nearly perfect. It doesn't sound like 28 minutes of metal, it sounds like a full 75 minute CD---that's how rich the music is. Angel of Death is a classic, and was used in the movie "Jackass". Others of note are Raining Blood, Jesus Saves, and the most underrated "Epidemic", which has awesome lyrics: "Waiting to unfold, raging uncontrolled! Adapt a potency, death machine infest my corpse to be!". And remember, this was written in 1985, before the AIDS epidemic really took off. Prophetic, isn't it.

A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
by Diane Osbon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
46 used & new from CDN$ 3.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I anticipated, Feb. 4 2003
When my father, a Humanities professor, first gave me this book to read, I thought that it would just be one more over-idealistic study in eccentricity. I was wrong! The book is very educational and even somewhat practical. Most importantly, it has given me a new philosophy about why some cultures have developed countries and why some don't. The traditional socio-economic division in the world is between the east and west, that is, the "liberal" western tradition and the more convervative and subservient cultures of eastern and southeastern asia (Campbell divides them at the country of Iran). But he also brilliantly realizes that there is another, possibly even more important socio-economic division in the world---north and south! The reason for this is that cultures who live north of the tropic of cancer usually have cold winters, where nothing grows, and they must diligently plan for the grain harvests each year. These northern cultures, which include Japan, Korea, and northern China as well as Europe, must be very organized to deal with the harsh climate, and with this organization eventually came developed nations. This is in contrast to the cultures of the world that live between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of capricorn (with the hot equator in the middle). These warm-climate cultures do not need to worry about seasonal changes nearly as much, and spent their free time pursuing other, less organized activities such as superstition and tribal warfare. Thus, in the race to develop their nations, they fell behind by several hundred or even thousands of years. I think that there is nothing politically incorrect about this statement; it is just simply ironic that a culture blessed with a good climate is cursed with a lack of motivation to organize and develop their country. Campbell's hypothesis explains a great deal about the state of world affairs today, and why the northern cultures have generally toned down or abandoned religion, while the warm-climate cultures have embraced superstition and religious fanaticism to the point of world crisis (ex. the middle east).

Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology
Color Atlas & Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology
by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 36.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of Clinical Dermatology, Jan. 29 2003
I enjoyed reading this book as a layperson, not having gone to medical school. I have a number of minor skin problems and this book allowed me to differentiate the insignificant ones from the ones I need to pay attention to. I think that this book should be in every household, because a person or parent should know what skin affliction(s) they have and how serious they are before they rush off to the doctor. One thing that should have been elaborated on more is the sub-section on The Nails as Clues to Multiorgan Disease. There are only a few pages of examples of this, yet there are dozens of correlations between abnormal fingernails and systemic disease. The book only gives blantant and graphic examples of serious nail problems and then gives the possible associated underlying disease. It should be expanded to include more "soft sign" nail problems to help doctors make educated guesses about what tests to run.

Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries: A Self-Care Program
Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries: A Self-Care Program
by Sharon J. Butler
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.89
45 used & new from CDN$ 3.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Works great for only 10 minutes a day!, Jan. 29 2003
This book works pretty good. I still get some occasional pain in my wrists and elbows, after a long day (and evening) at the computer, but the exercises help about 80-90%. You don't have to do all of the exercises in the book; I do 10 of them, and those ten take up 7 minutes daily. Not a big price to pay for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome! There are other things you can do to prevent or reduce CTS, like taking a B-complex vitamin supplement daily. I take 25 mg a day; 50 mg is also fine. Don't buy the extended-release forms---they can cause liver damage. Taking vitamin B6 alone may also help, but don't take more than 100 mg/day for extended periods, because you could wind up with even more nerve damage than before. For a detailed list of nutritional supplements and their potential side effects, the book The Failures of American Medicine is a good reference.

Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now
Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from the Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.88
62 used & new from CDN$ 3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars May be helpful for people with enviromental stress, Jan. 29 2003
The book was a gift by my father, who requires it in his humanities class. At first I was impressed by the book, but later I began to realize that if just wouldn't help everyone out there who have stress in their lives. Tolle is absolutely correct about the positive "power" of thinking in the present, instead of worrying about the past or the future. However, some of his collateral comments are eccentric to say the least, and he comes across as someone who has seen and touched god, and if you spend money to buy his book, maybe you can touch god too! Look, if you want to fall for that stuff, you might as well enroll in the Church of Scientology. Like I said in the review title, someone who has been traumatized over a recent event may find some help in reading this book---it may get their neurotransmitters back in line sooner than if they havent read the book. But for someone who has had generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder for years, the chance of cognitive therapy (psychotherapy, meditation, practicing congnitive therapies in books like these, etc.) working is slim. This is because many people have a genetic basis for their anxiety, and CANNOT HELP worrying about the past and future. Unlike people who have had a temporary emotional setback and can read a book like this to get back to mental health, people with a family history of mental illness have neurotransmitters that are permanently unbalanced, and usually need drug treatment. So, before you buy the book, think about what is causing your anxiety, and ask your relatives if they feel the same as you, and for how long they have felt that way. Then you can decide to buy books like these, or to finally take the big walk into the psychiatrist's office. If you do decide to see a psychiatrist, you may want to try some natural therapies first. Some are safe, and some are dangerous, so you need to consult a book to help you. One of the best is titled The Failures of American Medicine.

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