1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book,but w/ lots of verbiage. Read Am's Mind 1st!
Silman is an excellent instructor, and this book is very, very good. However, just as Silman himself has said that he always preferred the practical examples in Nimzowitch's Chess Praxis to the didactic My System, I prefer Silman's Workbook to his explanations in HTRYC.
But then comes the problem: The Workbook is too advanced for a Class C player like me.
Published on Sep 16 2003 by C. Dunn
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
I consider this book to offer a good insight into how to analyze. However, there sometimes are areas in the book that are unclear and there are some significant typos.
Published on Nov 27 2003 by Z. Morgan
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book,but w/ lots of verbiage. Read Am's Mind 1st!,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)Silman is an excellent instructor, and this book is very, very good. However, just as Silman himself has said that he always preferred the practical examples in Nimzowitch's Chess Praxis to the didactic My System, I prefer Silman's Workbook to his explanations in HTRYC.
But then comes the problem: The Workbook is too advanced for a Class C player like me.
I would modify Silman's own recommended order of reading his books to this:
+ Below 1500 USCF, read the 1st section of HTRYC, or any other elementary endgames book. (Silman's out-of-print endings book is great, if you can find it.) And STUDY TACTICS!
If you see this book in the store and it appeals to you, buy it, of course! But in case you haven't seen it, I'm warning you that this book is a much tougher read than the reviews make it sound. Unless you are at least an advanced-intermediate player, you will not be nearly as pleased to open this book as you will with The Amateur's Mind.
Just my opinion. Some beginners LOVE this book.
By the way, Silman suggests a quick scan for insufficiently protected pieces before strategic considerations. That's not only important for avoiding blunders, but also for saving time. If everything is well-protected, then there simply are no tactics.
And a rule of thumb: Think tactics on your OWN time; think strategy on your OPPONENT'S time.
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Reassess Your Chess - A Complete Course to Chess Mast,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)MY BACKGROUND: Rated high B (1760 -- performance rating in last 4 tournaments). I've read 14 books since I last played in a tournament, and am probably around "Expert" ("2100"). I also coach a high school chess team.
The List of 51 books for continued study at the end will rudder you to "Master." For beginner to "B," the book will probably add 300 to 400 points. An "A" player or "Expert" will appreciate the nuances of knight and rook play, and the suggested reading list at the end. Even a master might appreciate "spying" on another master's suggested reading for the middle game and end game play.
The book in general is a good overview, with insights better than other positional books. Don't be turned off by the phrase "positional" - "positional" means positions allowing for a successful attack - or to be attacked if you're not leary.
Minor advantages over other positional books: 1) How to squash 2 knights (or knight & bishop) with 2 bishops; 2) Getting a rook to the 6th rank; 3) ways in which weak pawns can be used as an advantage.
Topics: 1) Basic Endgames: A) King & Pawn; B) Rook & Pawn.
2) Thinking Techniques: A) What is a Plan? B) Imbalances
3) Calculation & Combinations: A) Calculation & training - Nowhere Near "The Inner Game of Chess" or "Think Like a Grandmaster," but a useful comment or 2; B) Rules of combination -- 1/20th of a combinations book, but a few useful comments.
4) Minor Pieces in the Middle Game: A) Using the Bishop; B) Understanding N's; C) B vs. N; D) The power of 2 B's; E) 2 N's
5) Space: A) Squeezing; B) Disadvantage of Space; C) Block Before You Punch
6) The Center: A) The Center under Sige; B) The Indestructible Center.
7) Weak Pawns & Strong Pawns: A) Doubled Pawns; B)Isolated Pawns; C) Bakward Pawns; D) Passed Pawns.
8) Weak Squares: A) The Creation of A Weakness; B) Making Use of a Weak Square.
9) Material Loss & Sacrifice: A) Exchangin Material for Other Imbalanaces; B) Making Use of Extra Material
10) Temporary Imbalances: A) Slow Play vs. Fast Play -- Static vs. Dynamic. B) A lead in development; C) Initiative.
11) Open Files: A) Penetration down an open file; B) Domination of Open Files.
12) 3 Keys to Success: A) Mastering Positon With Many Types of Imbalances; B) Preventing Counterplay; C) The Art of Fighting Back;
13) Using Imbalances in Every Phase of the Game: A) Opening; B) Ending; C) Imbalances That Last Until the end game.
I strongly agree with his recommendation to read "The Art of the Middle Game" by Keres & Kotov. Kotov's section on the 5 considerations when castling on opposite sides is inidispensable. Kotov's section on how to form a plan depending on the center structure is also classic.
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for all chess players up to an "A" rating,
By A Customer
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)I am a strong "B" / weak "A" rated player. I've always known that my chess has been tactically very strong, yet positionally average. This book has changed my outlook on the way a chess game is played. The author starts off by explaining his "thinking technique" (which is worth the price of the book alone!), and then moves on to explain the various imbalances that occur within a game. What really impressed me about the book, was the clear lay-out, excellent english, and error-free chess notation. (I cannot stand chess books written in the passive voice - or even worse, with errors all over the book!).
Mr Silman's choice of examples were always pertinent, and clear. He provides several tests, at the end of each section of the book. I found the tests at just the right level...challenging, and not trivial, nor ridiculously obtuse.
I recommend this book VERY STRONGLY. This is THE best book for players of moderate strength.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silman is an excellent teacher,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)Forget the typos, which are many and embarrassing. Forget the occasional seeping out of ego. This is a great book to read if you are an intermediate player (1300-1900) and want to improve your game. Silman is very good at *teaching* chess, something even some of the greatest grandmasters are not. (Although, at the same time, I think calling the method he espouses "The Silman Thinking Technique" is a bit much. Kind of like calling hitting home runs "The Barry Bonds Swinging Technique." He didn't *invent* it.) Many chessbooks frustrate the average player because they will show a position, and have text such as "a4! ...And Black's queenside attack is stopped," leaving you to wonder how moving one itty bitty pawn stops a whole queenside army's attack. Silman EXPLAINS it; better yet, he shows it, with many games that illustrate every principle he expouses (though I think I did catch one flaw in his analysis in a game). Each chapter builds upon what was learned in the last chapter, so in the end you do become a "complete" chessplayer, and--and here's the important part--your game becomes better in a methodical, organized way. Everything makes sense from the top down,and you learn to look for the *best* move in every position and not just plant your pieces and wait for an opportunity from your opponent. (If you're playing a computer, as many of us do these days, you're never going to get this "opportunity," because computers don't screw up or relax; they just steadily crush you.) This makes a great first book if you've ever ventured into a club and had your keyster whipped, or played with your visiting cousin and found he's gotten a *lot* better since you and he pushed plastic around when you were both ten. Some of the concepts may not be clear at first, however. I found it most profitable to read the book once, put it away for a long while, then get it out again. The second time was not only a lot easier, but I was surprised to see how much I had actually subconsciously incorporated into my games without realizing it. Follow this book with Silman's other masterpiece, The Amateur's Mind, before heading off to Nimzowitch (My System) and Pachman (Modern Chess Strategy). My only minor gripe with the book (aside from the fact that Silman needs to take a class in remedial spelling and punctuation) is the layout: I prefer text in chess books to be in columns rather than across the page, so your eye doesn't drop off when you're trying to follow a long line of moves. However, it's just a minor annoyance, and doesn't make me hesitate to recommend the book.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best There Is,
By A Customer
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)This is the best chess instructional book there is. Nobody else compares with Silman for care, thoroughness, and clarity of explanation. Silman doesn't just give you a series of games, each with a few comments and variations, the way most chess books do. Instead, he goes through everything in the greatest detail, often writing pages and pages of text, and supplying many diagrams, as he explains the strategical and tactical choices and plans that grandmasters make in just one game. The depth and clarity of understanding that the reader gains from this kind of treatment is unmatched anywhere else in chess literature in English. I have a chess library of several hundred books. This is clearly the best book of them all. Nobody else comes close.
I wish there were a lot more books like this one. Sadly, Silman has only three more books in the series that began with this one (THE AMATEUR'S MIND; THE REASSESS YOUR CHESS WORKBOOK; THE COMPLETE BOOK OF CHESS STRATEGY). I wish he would write many more.
The Silman thinking method, which is his way of explaining how a good player makes a plan, is second to none. His explanations and examples of how to use it in a wide variety of positions leaves you with no doubt about what to do in your games. When you study this book, you really learn what chess is all about. To understand that much about chess is just a great pleasure.
As you can see from the many other reviews on this site and in many other places, almost any chessplayer who reads this book instantly recognizes its great value. If you don't have this book in your background, you are giving your opponents a leg up on you. Every chessplayer needs this book. Most every active tournament player I know has read it several times over at least.
You cannot go wrong with this book. Buy it and read it over again every three months until you know it by heart. You'll be glad you did. And enjoy all the first-place checks.
5.0 out of 5 stars Discuss Jeremy's book with the man himself :),
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)Hi all
This is a great book, which at its core teaches very dramatically the concept of "imbalances". It has become as renound as Nimzovich's My System, but unlike Nimzovich's book is written in a very easy to read and accessible way.
Because Jeremy Silman is now a super-star in Chess, I personally asked him to play an instructive several month long "Rest of World" match at www.letsplaychess.com where you can message him about the book, and vote moves against him and ask him questions about "Imbalances". The current game score as of 21st April 2004 is:-
[Event "www.ChessWorld.net server game"]
1. d4 Ng8f6 2. c4 e6 3. Ng1f3 b6 4. a3 Bc8b7 5. Nb1c3 d5 6. cxd5 Nf6xd5 7. Qd1c2 Nd5xc3 8. bxc3 Nb8d7 9. e4 c5 10. Bc1f4 cxd4 11. cxd4 Ra8c8 12. Qc2b3 Bf8e7 13. Bf1d3 Nd7f6 14. Qb3b5 Bb7c6 15. Qb5b1 O-O 16. O-O Qd8d7 17. Rf1e1 Bc6a4 18. Bf4d2 h6 19. Bd2b4 *
There is also now a specialised team to discuss his book as well.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)Don't let the other reviews let you believe that this book isn't for everyone. Sure, a grandmaster who has spent years of studying might not spend much time on any book. But even the great Mikhail Tal routinely went through books on the basics and found them useful. This is a book that will absolutely help you understand chess better and help you improve your chess-playing ability.
You might ask why? The answer is very simple, Jeremy Silman is a teacher. Many confuse his humor with arrogance, but basically he is revealing the secrets many other chess writers are unwilling to share or simply cannot share because they don't know how to teach.
Of the three hundred chess books I currently own, this certainly is in the top ten. If you don't think this is one of the best chess books that you've gone through, I'll eat a bug!!
Note: I'm a tournament player at roughly a USCF rating just under expert with my highest single tournament performance rating at roughly 2300. The 2300 performance tournament success was just after I read Jeremy's book the first time.
4.0 out of 5 stars Book review in portuguese,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)- Um livro surpreendente - a começar pelo tamanho (402 páginas). Também me surpreendeu o fato de me manter motivado o bastante para lê-lo de capa a capa, ao contrário, por exemplo, do antigo ' Assess Your Chess Fast ' do ex-campeão mundial postal Alberic O'Kelly de Galway, este sim, um livro muito chato, em notação descritiva em inglês (P-KB4, N-QB3...). A visão de Silman e seus comentários são bastante lúcidos e o seu ponto forte é sem dúvida o toque didático que lhes imprime. O cerne do livro está em fazer o aficcionado entender o conceito de "imbalances" - e se o mesmo não conseguir, está lá a definição do termo em bom inglês no glossário do livro, o que é uma raridade em se tratando de livros de Xadrez. Silman usa muitos exemplos retirados de suas próprias partidas, e embora vários de seus adversários não tenham jogado os melhores lances, ele transforma uma partida que certamente não iria para o Informator em uma lição memorável. Ao final existe uma lista de livros recomendados para leitura, todos com algum breve comentário. O livro é recheado de posições para teste e as respostas são bem elaboradas verbalmente, o que deve ter colaborado em muito para a grande aceitação deste volume entre os leitores de língua inglesa. É uma pena que um livro de xadrez tão bem escrito não tenha tradução para o português.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book! (counter point to the proceeding review),
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)You don't hire a lion to do your mousing...
I'm a chess player in the 1550 range. I used to be better but let my attentions slide over the last few years. I felt my sticking point had always been that I was a purely tactical player and wanted to find ways to reassess board positions with an eye to subtlety.
I found Silman's books to be the most readable I've ever read on chess. While Fritz 7 may be able to crush some of Silman's plans, his books are not meant to instruct 2600 players. Just as Nigel Short's excellent introduction to chess states that the goals are to develop your pieces quickly and castle early and leaves the subtleties to other texts, so Silman's ideas have their own level of subtlety beyond which they were not designed to venture. The rules of his 'system' have their counter examples as do the rules of any system. As Kasparov once said, the way to beat a computer is to work out its rules, and then find a counter example. He could do that with Fritz 7 just as Fritz 7 could do it with Silman. But this fact is not relevant for me, or anyone else who is considering this book.
For me, Silman lays out ideas that needed more of my attention than they were getting and shows me how to apply those ideas to every-day games. It's true that knowing how to balance these ideas with each other and with tactical plans is still something that has to be done by 'touch', but Silman's explanation of seemingly equal positions in terms of 'imbalances' has been an extremely useful analysis tool for me.
Don't worry about typos. Don't worry about his moves being sub-optimal for a 2600 player. If I see a baby running before it can walk I don't say "It's going in the right direction". I say "There's a baby that's about to fall on it's head. Pass me a beer!". So if you can't follow through on your single 2600 level move with the rest of the 2600 level combination, then it would be better for you to have plodded through with a coherent system, that you can adapt and refine after you have mastered its basics.
BTW - I'm also a Huge fan of the companion workbook to HTRYC. It's the only book I've ever read that doesn't require a chess board while not being simply about tactical combinations (and generally mating patterns). As Silman put it "White to mate in 2 often appears in books, but we often miss the mate in real play because nobody is giving us this enormous clue". His board positions require all kinds of positional analysis and even some tactical analysis (though probably not as much as I'd like, as this lack is its own hint to not search for tactical solutions).
And while I confess to being impressed with the arguments put forth in the following review (he convinced me to buy the 2 tactical training books he mentioned) I'd be interested to hear his assessment of the examples in other books that don't feature grandmaster play (and even ones that do), when held under the critical gaze of Fritz 7. And as for Silman's examples appearing elsewhere, I coulnd't care less. I'm not out to buy the original. I want the most articulate instruction. And Silman is all that and a bag of chips...
If you're considering this book then I believe you should almost certainly buy it!
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book,
This review is from: How To Reassess Your Chess (Paperback)This is one of my favorite chess books. This book taught me a lot about chess. After reading this book I really started looking at chess positions differently. I was no longer a "king hunter" going all out for mate in every game. This book starts off by looking at some very basic "king and pawn" endgames and "king and rook" endgames. After this the book deals with the question how a player should look at a position when he/she is trying to understand it so a proper plan can be conceived. This part of the book is unique. No other chess book deals with this subject in such detail. After reading this chapter I realized that Jeremy Silman really understands how a non-master feels when looking at a chess position. After explaining a simple method of "looking" at a chess position (i.e. dissecting a chess position!) and conceiving a plan, the book asks the question when a player should calculate variations and when a player should be looking for combinations. After this, the book turns into a middlegame book dealing with traditional middlegame subjects like the minor pieces, the center, space, weak pawns, weak squares, the initiative, lead in development, the use of open files and more. The book also contains about 38 exercises and the solutions to these exercises. Some reviewers here at Amazon.com have said that the book contains many typos. I must disagree. The book does contain some typos but not as many as implied by some of these reviewers. Some reviewers have also said that this book is a hard read. I was very surprised to read this as I have read this book many times and every time I re-read it, I enjoy the book even more. The book does contain a lot of information in it's 400+ pages, but Jeremy Silman's writing style made it all easy for me to digest. I really love this book. It has had a profound impact on my playing. I would recommend this book to any intermediate player who want's a basic understanding of positional chess. After completing this book I highly recommend Jeremy Silman's "Reassess you Chess Workbook".
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How To Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman (Paperback - Dec 31 1990)
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