Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Art of Chess Thinking

Apart from the books that I have recommended, there's some works that the aspiring chess-player should at least read, once, in his career:

This is the pioneering work by GM Alexander Kotov that explores the idea of how one should conduct his game in terms of thinking. Though a little dated in approach perhaps, one should at least attempt to start thinking systematically first before branching out into other methods. The Tree of Analysis indeed gives one a structure to organise a player's thoughts. So I highly recommend this book as a starting treatise before venturing to other books.

It is indeed puzzling to see some marvel about joint analysis of positions as a possible training method. Kotov has explained that he embarked on this discipline, filling his notebooks with variations he calculated (without moving the pieces of course) over complex positions derived from actual games. It is propelled him from a finalist in the Russian Championships to GM. So honestly, deep analysis of games is not a new thing.

However, techniques in choosing a move have been discovered and here Andy Soltis gives a comprehensive summary of methods currently used. He points out to the shortcomings of the Kotov method, but honestly, this applies mainly to games of higher level say from FM to GM level. For club players, they should still attempt to apply the Kotov system first. 
This is also an interesting book, however I would recommend this to players who have already been playing in international competitions to consider working on it. It is rather complex and not that easy to understand.

 Dvoretsky's manuals are of course among the very best there is in terms of sharpening one's analysis of positions but then again, I believe one can learn a lot more by deeply analysising one's own games first before attempting to do games played by others.


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