Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Communication Problem

Most of the time, chess instruction is like learning how to eat dinner in a French restaraunt by reading a French dictionary. Seriously.

The very people that would find the most use for a given topic of chess instruction, are inhibited from learning it, because they simply do not have any idea how to read it yet. This is a classic communication problem. And it comes from not having well understood the needs of the reader. It is a guess by the writer and the publisher as to what they need. And a hungry readership, that is in such desperation to find the light that they will buy near anything.

Which is I suppose one of the reasons for the blog. To cut the wheat from the chaff, and hopefully discover and share through the process of learning this blasted game, what is an isn't important.

As an example, I have two DVD's from the same place authored by the same guy. One of them is by far, the single best piece of instruction I have ever purchased anywhere. More later. But the other one, goes from a series of very high level examinations of certain games, to a short lecture about how pieces work, and controlling the middle. OMG. Who is this directed at? Where is all the stuff in the middle. You know the stuff that would actually be instructional for somebody.

I have been pointed at the Euwe books. And I haven't read them yet. I have hope, maybe there is a single light in the constellation. But I am prejudiced. I have yet to read a "book" that doesn't require a primer, or is for people that have yet learned to play chess. And I also have lived through a world change. In the 80's the world of chess, had a particular notion. This was found in books that dismissed the Scandinavian like this, 1. e4 d5 2 exd5 qxd5 {now the queen is a target} 3 Nc3 Qa5 {best, but black has moved the same piece twice, has no minor pieces developed and queen is on the edge of the board. Clearly this opening has no future for black, and you should just choose other openings}. We have since found that this is all poppycock, even at the highest levels. And more importantly, this provides little information for the player that truly needs instruction.

More Later


likesforests said...

Have you ever visited www.chesskids.com? It's a fun site for children to learn chess, and it even sometimes gives me ideas! As far as books I like Seirawan's series, and besides he's a good person worthy of supporting. :)

Blue Devil Knight said...

I've never understood the attraction of Seirawan's books. I would recommend to anyone thinking of buying any of them, look them over first, and look over their competitors. He seems like a decent fellow, but his writing is a bit shotgun and unorganized for my tastes. I prefer the conceptual structure of the German and British authors personally.

takchess said...

I like the Seirwan book especially the one on openings which walks you through a ton of different ideas. I could see how bdk feels they are somewhat scattered. As for general books, chess authors are creatures of their time and you will see some touches of theory that are outdated in Euwes books or Chernev Logical chess for that matter. Some newer books are fritz dumps that i just find annoying. I enjoy Euwe but think one needs to replace some of his theory as one skills develops. I am not at that point yet. Books that are midrange level for Strategy might be Simple Chess by Stean Nehz and Bdk both liked this and some of the Mcdonald step by step game books. Mastering Chess Openings is a good intermediate book as well.I am enjoying Understanding Chess Tactics which is an intermediate level book . You may want to convince your local library to buy some of these as they usually interested in book buying suggestions.