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Chess World Online Chess Forum - Chess for Zebras

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  Play ... Latest Forum Posts > Chess Forums > Chess books
  Chess for Zebras

NL2

Chess rating: 2201



 Topics started


England
Give chess goodie
Sun Jan 25 2015 4:56PM | MsgID: 17995489


I am a fan of this book. I read it about three years ago and it helped me with the biggest improvement in my rating since I was a teenager.

I take the point made by some posts that it is very general and goes off at mostly entertaining but not very useful tangents. However it served to help re-assess this middle aged hacker's approach to the game and revived my enthusiasm for playing. Most especially it helped decrease my tendency towards game wasting blunders.

I also read the 7 deadly chess sins on its strength more recently. While this is more directly instructive and focused I didn't find it quite as inspiring.

One other point about the ...zebras book. Rowson is apparently known as the "Scottish Petrosian" and his instructional style is very much positional and strategic. If you want to see and learn more about brilliant sacrificial attacks this is not the book for you.



NL2

Chess rating: 2201



 Topics started


England
Give chess goodie
Sun Jan 25 2015 4:39PM | MsgID: 17995453


I am a fan of this book. I read it about three years ago and it helped me with the biggest improvement in my rating since I was a teenager.

I take the point made by some posts that it is very general and goes off at mostly entertaining but not very useful tangents. However it served to help re-assess this middle aged hacker's approach to the game and revived my enthusiasm for playing. Most especially it helped decrease my tendency towards game wasting blunders.

I also read the 7 deadly chess sins on its strength more recently. While this is more directly instructive and focused I didn't find it quite as inspiring.

One other point about the ...zebras book. Rowson is apparently known as the "Scottish Petrosian" and his instructional style is very much positional and strategic. If you want to see and learn more about brilliant sacrificial attacks this is not the book for you.



bnolan

Chess rating: 1999
LCF 1906






 Topics started


United States
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 5
Sun Jan 18 2015 1:17AM | MsgID: 17978386



I would not read it as a source of specific practical improvement advice.

Rather, I enjoyed the book as a discussion of the philosophy of chess improvement.




Nokarookoff

Chess rating: 2106



 Topics started


Australia
Give chess goodie
Thu Jan 15 2015 8:01AM | edited: 8:02:57 | MsgID: 17971998


I have it, I've read it, I don't like it, I didn't find it helpful, and I think many other people would find it not helpful.

It has long, unfocused, waffling sections on whether the advantage of the first move is real or psychological.

At one point he says this:

"A way of testing the idea that White’s advantage amounts to ‘the initiative’ (on Suba’s definition) would be games between computers. If ‘the initiative’ is purely subjective or psychological, and if White’s advantage in chess is primarily that he begins with the initiative, then White’s advantage should be almost non-existent in games between computers because the psychological and subjective elements don’t play any role. I haven’t done a statistical check on this, and computers haven’t been competing against each other for long enough to give compelling data, but I would be interested to know the results."

This is pure drivel. We have plenty of computer games, and if you want more results you can always run the engines day and night till you get them, which is exactly what John Nunn would have done. (Like him or not, Nunn likes to get to the point and reach conclusions.)

I think Rowson is just too lazy and fond of indefiniteness to do the work he he says should be done, and too happy to fill pages and days with talk like this:

"It is curious that when you break up the word ‘information’ you get ‘in-formation’. In chess, information manifests in seeing the ‘formation’ of your opponent’s position where the root of ‘formation’,‘form’, refers not to playing form, but to structure (of which there are substructures, including pawn-structure, etc.). Our opponent’s moves give us information about the formation that his position is in. An analogy might help to make sense of this: In soccer, formations refer to the numbers of players in attack, defence and midfield. So, assuming the goalkeeper stays in goal, the remaining ten players can be, for example, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 and within that sort of formation some midfielders may be more focused on defence, some on attack, etc. If you can look at ten players running around and see their ‘form’, you can take advantage of it, especially if that form is too rigid. What was happening in Hodgson-Arkell above is that Keith was waiting to see the formation that Julian was going to adopt before deciding on his best reaction. It was only when Julian changed his formation with 18 Be3?! that Keith decided it was time to change his formation and release the tension. In Uhlmann-Suba White’s formation gave Black a clear signal: don’t let White play e5! However, while information is important in chess, it is not totally clear to me what to make of Suba’s..."

(Etc.)

Does that sound like it would be helpful to you? A book full of it certainly wasn't helpful to me!



Moosester

Chess rating: 2396



 Topics started


Canada
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Chess goodies: 1
Mon Jul 2 2007 3:54PM | MsgID: 7128513


Thanks, very helpful, I may save on the price and keep an eye on the local library's new additions...or a second hand book shop as a traveling companion.



Ihaveagirlfriend

Chess rating: 2322
LCF 199 Fide approx. 2245






 Topics started


United Kingdom
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Chess goodies: 6
Mon Jul 2 2007 9:33AM | MsgID: 7126481


'Helpful' isn't quite the right word, the book is more of a general discussion as to why chess improvement in adulthood is very hard, mixed in with a few other bits. It's very interesting as such. But the practical message is more or less "practice concentration" and little more than that.

I have a slight preference for "Seven Deadly Chess Sins" because (paradoxically) the book isn't as smoothly written. I think when you struggle with some passages and have to double check and so forth it gets you thinking a bit more hard than when you just cruise through a book.

Btw, I don't think the book is very relevant to correspondence players. But it is relevant to a lot of OTB players, a lot resonates with it.



Moosester

Chess rating: 2396



 Topics started


Canada
Give chess goodie
Chess goodies: 1
Mon Jul 2 2007 6:25AM | MsgID: 7125955


Anybody read it? Is it actually helpful for adult learners, as advertised? For more on the book see the chessbase news site!