So, if you are following this site, or my Social Media Accounts, you know I am a chess aficionado, not a great player whatsoever, but rather an intensive amateur standing at 1754 ELO points (from the last time I entered an valid international championship three years ago). But this year I decided I wanted to do more, a lot more, and so FM Josip Asik at ChessInformant was kind enough as to send me a package filled of Chess Books for me to study and analyze in hopes of getting my game to the next level.
And so I started with The Best of The Best – The Next Chapter 1001 – 1100. What is this? It´s a compilation of the best 10 games per volume of Chess Informants, the classic chess analysis book series that has been appearing twice or three times a year ever since 1966. So, from 2007 to 2011, in the all new Chess Informants a lot of studies, theoretical novelties and games were featured, and an all star GM panel selected the top ten from each volume to create this sort of “greatest hits” of chess games.
What are the best things about this book?
First of all, it is in eleven languages, and still manages to stay in the 100 pages long. How? There are almost no words, just symbols, and in the first few pages, it explains what does each symbol mean in the eleven languages, so you can follow in depth analysis without reading a single word.
So you can follow lines and analysis easily.
It is a good idea though, to try and have a more experienced player alongside you while you study at least the first few games (if you are around my playing level), so you naturalize all the symbols and can discuss the readings.
Another thing I did with this book is I alternated it with the great lectures available at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, especially in the videos taught by GM Yasser Seirawan. This way I could have someone explain me some concepts, and then find them in the games I was reading about in the book.
I have been doing this for the last full month, and I have to say I am quite noticing the results. I went this month to four tournaments with players around my ratings and won all four of them. In the first one I was seeded #3, the second one I was seeded #4, then seeded #1 and then seeded #3. Won all of them and only had two draws overall. Does this mean I am getting good? Not quite yet, but I´m getting lot less mediocre I guess. I even drew a game with a player over 2000 ELO points, won twice against players in the 1900s and drew again with a player close to 2000. And what´s best I am seeing more tactical schemes, and I am understanding strategy a lot more. This, again, does not mean I am becoming good, but I am clearly leaping forward a bit, and what´s best is that I can now win more steadily against players in my ratings level and have more solid games against players rated higher. In fact I am preparing to participate in an ELO valid tournament in a couple of months as to try and climb some points there.
And I still have The Best of The Best by Chess Informant to thank for in my progress, that as I said, I am mixing with the online lectures from the Saint Louis Chess Club, and some local tournaments to try and apply what I am learning.
Now, If you want to buy The Best of The Best The Next Chapter by Chess Informant visit this link. What amazed about the order was that it comes all the way from Serbia, but it took only three days to arrive at my home. And I could start studying right away.
Have you tried this book? What´s your studying gameplan on chess? Tell me in the comments, or follow me on Twitter for more chess books reviews.