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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Chess Book Review blog (Read 153735 times)
ErictheRed
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #17 - 03/13/13 at 23:34:17
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JonathanB wrote on 03/13/13 at 22:57:01:
I liked this aspect of the post.  The reviewer put forward an argument as to why he felt ... cxd4 would be a better choice.  His reasons were well explained and were interesting to read.

This is not to say that I agreed with him in his reasoning (I kind of do and kind of don't).  The important thing is that in reading what he had to say I gained enough of an idea of what was in the book to give me an idea as to whether or not I might like to buy it.



You're right of course to say that had the authors gone the other way then some other reviewer might criticise them for it, but I think that's missing the point.

Aside the points I raise here, are you really saying that the contents of a book are not a relevant subject to raise in a review?


The word I used was unproductive, not irrelevant.  When he stuck to criticizing the lengths of analysis (and possibly computer-type moves required to maintain equality in some lines), I thought the discussion was very helpful and relevant.  But as far as I can tell, he criticized them for not recommend 9...cxd4 because Tarrasch players should play as many IQP positions as possible (who says?) and because he disagrees with the authors' theoretical assessment based, in part, on a game played after the book was published.  That's not fair, is it? 

I also don't think that a GM needs to reveal in depth analysis explaining why a particular move was not chosen; perhaps they know of new ideas against Keilhack's 13...Ne5, for instance, and want to use it for themselves with the White pieces.  They offered 9...c4 because they felt that it was a better move; to exhaustively compare it to 9...cxd4 would be outside the scope of the book, wouldn't it?

I think that discussing which lines are recommended and the pros and cons of each line is absolutely relevant.  Criticizing an author's repertoire choice when that choice is entirely sound and a matter of preference (and in this case, comes with a plethora of new ideas) seems unproductive to me. 

On the whole the review was excellent.  I'd merely like reviewers to reflect a little before criticizing an author on this basis; that's all.  Hell, might as well criticize them for offering a book on the Tarrasch and not the Grunfeld while we're at it.
  
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JonathanB
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #16 - 03/13/13 at 23:02:34
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GeneM wrote on 02/09/13 at 20:20:38:
Troilus wrote on 02/08/13 at 10:14:28:
There aren't enough serious chess book reviewers on the web. Let's spread the word.

So true. And difficult to understand why.


Having done a few reviews myself I find it very easy to understand why.  They're a pain in the arse to write and take an awful lot of time and effort to do properly.

Aside from that as you say a good approach to reviewing is compare and contrast with similar products but not everybody has access to the competition to be able to do that.

upshot: we're mostly left with those guys who are happy to write "this is great, you should buy it" about everything.
  

www.streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com  "I don't call you f**k face" - GM Nigel Short.
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JonathanB
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #15 - 03/13/13 at 22:57:01
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ErictheRed wrote on 03/13/13 at 18:49:47:
Very good reviews, and I hope that you do more of them!


Agreed.


ErictheRed wrote on 03/13/13 at 18:49:47:
I think it's unproductive to criticize authors on their choice of repertoire (unless they recommend truly dubious lines).  These authors seemed to believe that the old 9...cxd4 is inferior to 9...c4, so they recommended the latter move.  That might be a disappointment to a long-time 9...cxd4 devotee, but it's not really a valid criticism of the book's contents, is it?


Disagreed.

I liked this aspect of the post.  The reviewer put forward an argument as to why he felt ... cxd4 would be a better choice.  His reasons were well explained and were interesting to read.

This is not to say that I agreed with him in his reasoning (I kind of do and kind of don't).  The important thing is that in reading what he had to say I gained enough of an idea of what was in the book to give me an idea as to whether or not I might like to buy it.



You're right of course to say that had the authors gone the other way then some other reviewer might criticise them for it, but I think that's missing the point.

Aside the points I raise here, are you really saying that the contents of a book are not a relevant subject to raise in a review?
  

www.streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com  "I don't call you f**k face" - GM Nigel Short.
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ErictheRed
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #14 - 03/13/13 at 18:49:47
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Very good reviews, and I hope that you do more of them! 

Just a small critique of the your review of GM Repertoire 10: I think it's unproductive to criticize authors on their choice of repertoire (unless they recommend truly dubious lines).  These authors seemed to believe that the old 9...cxd4 is inferior to 9...c4, so they recommended the latter move.  That might be a disappointment to a long-time 9...cxd4 devotee, but it's not really a valid criticism of the book's contents, is it?  It isn't intended to be a comprehensive work.  If they had recommended 9...cxd4 instead, some other reviewer would chastise them for not giving 9...c4!  Silly.
  
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #13 - 03/12/13 at 17:00:48
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A new review: Grandmaster Repertoire 10 by Aagaard and Ntirlis.


If I've followed the review correctly, the new book is an advocacy both of the Tarrasch 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 and more particularly of a plan involving ... c4 instead of ... cxd4 in the Rubinstein variation. It's useful to know something of the Tarrasch because it gives Black some extra options when facing both the English and the Reti. As the review suggests, if you start the game with the pure move order, a likely response is e3 by White. This might be because the pure move order is relatively rare in practice and also because the Hennig-Shara 4 cxd5 cxd4 5 Qxd4 Nc6 can be unpleasant to meet if not well prepared.
  
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proustiskeen
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #12 - 03/12/13 at 16:22:17
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A new review: Grandmaster Repertoire 10 by Aagaard and Ntirlis.

http://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/gm10/
  
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GeneM
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #11 - 02/09/13 at 20:20:38
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Troilus wrote on 02/08/13 at 10:14:28:
There aren't enough serious chess book reviewers on the web. Let's spread the word.

So true. And difficult to understand why. There are many ways to enjoy chess, and assessing and comparing chess books is something many chess enthusiasts enjoy.

The best way to review a chess book is in *relation* to a similar book within the same sub-genre.

To review a chess book about the French Defense, the reviewer should include paragraphs or sections which compare the book to another well-known book on the French Def.
Otherwise the review is like a photograph of an odd object with nothing else in the frame to indicate its size (like a standing person for something large, or a human thumb for something small).

Here are links to chess book reviews that use the relation-comparison technique to excellent effect:



http://www.chessvibes.com/reviews/having-fun-with-the-anti-sicilians

http://www.chessvibes.com/reviews/tukmakov-and-browne-%E2%80%93-a-tale-of-two-wo...


---------

I can see why grandmasters do not bother to write reviews of chess books, most of which are far beneath any utility to them.
But I would have expected that at least a handful of class level players would post chess book reviews.

Maybe the problem is that the same pre-judgment or stigma against chess books that are authored by class players --- is applied to chess book reviews by class players?
Indeed, can a class B player accurately review-assess an author's claim that a given variation of the Sicilian Defense is really the best? And is it wise for a class A player, or another class B player, to trust the class reviewer's assessment on this point? Perhaps not.

Yet there are plenty of important attributes of each chess book that can be reviewed that informatively without any need for extreme chess skill. And the class player has a better than 50%-50% chance of being better than a given grandmaster at understanding the value of those attributes for his bretheren class players.

For example, the class B reviewer can tell his blog audience whether the grandmaster author justified well the book's claim of best variation. Was enough explanatory verbiage given in the right places, etc?

Besides, the ability to articulate in an entertaining way is orthogonal to one's Elo rating.


--------

Maybe Amazon.com's book review feature is such an easy avenue for posting a review that there is less incentive to make the leap to reviewing chess books on one's own blog.

Unfortunately, the Amazon.com reviews suffer from a variety of problems. One problem is that Amazon grants anonymous reviewers the same level of privilege as reviewers who give their true name.  Blogs of chess book reviews give the reviewer's real name, thus lending credibility and fairness to the authors.
« Last Edit: 02/10/13 at 04:43:26 by GeneM »  

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Troilus
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #10 - 02/08/13 at 10:14:28
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Deep and thoughtful reviews - thanks! There aren't enough serious chess book reviewers on the web. Let's spread the word.
  
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proustiskeen
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #9 - 02/04/13 at 19:27:44
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Done.
  
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John Bartholomew
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #8 - 02/04/13 at 19:12:39
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proustiskeen wrote on 02/04/13 at 17:43:12:
Thanks, John.  By the way, want to come to a tournament in Omaha? Smiley


Send me the details! You never know  Wink
  
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proustiskeen
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #7 - 02/04/13 at 17:43:12
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Thanks, John.  By the way, want to come to a tournament in Omaha? Smiley
  
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John Bartholomew
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #6 - 02/04/13 at 17:36:01
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Awesome site, proustiskeen!
  
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BabySnake
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #5 - 02/04/13 at 16:33:04
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proustiskeen wrote on 02/04/13 at 15:23:13:
Thanks, all.  Just got my first comment, so that's progress.

Strange re: the pricing.  It's still $4.49 in my browser.  Are you writing from outside of America?


Yes, I'm outside America but have to buy Kindle books from amazon.com since there is no amazon in my country.
  
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proustiskeen
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #4 - 02/04/13 at 15:23:13
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Thanks, all.  Just got my first comment, so that's progress.

Strange re: the pricing.  It's still $4.49 in my browser.  Are you writing from outside of America?
  
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BabySnake
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Re: Chess Book Review blog
Reply #3 - 02/04/13 at 14:56:37
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I enjoyed your reviews!

Funnily enough, the 4 Hansen booklets together in paper form cost $9.99 whereas a Kindle copy of each lessons costs $8.14. At least that's what I see, although you claim $4.49.

So paper format $9.99 vs Kindle format $32.56.
  
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