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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Yusupovís 9 Book Series (Read 21969 times)
ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #34 - 02/10/17 at 18:23:37
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JonathanB wrote on 02/10/17 at 13:40:29:
The simpler example should come first. Obvious, no?

Yes, of course.

I think the teaching philosophy and the understatement of the target-audience rating are still the main difficulties, though. Unfortunately, these reinforce each other. A too-difficult problem in the everything-is-intricately-related style can look like chaos even when you read the solution, making you just feel lost. The pure style is not as demoralizing for those below the target audience (though in they many not be improving much); it may be impossible for a 1200 player to find Taimanov's corridor mate in three against Karpov, 1977, but once he reads the solution he remains oriented.
« Last Edit: 02/10/17 at 22:24:00 by ReneDescartes »  
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JonathanB
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #33 - 02/10/17 at 13:40:29
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 02/09/17 at 20:58:42:
I may be the only person on the planet who isn't completely enamored with the Yusupov series.


No. I have my own reservations. Principally, the issues that you mention.

Smyslov_Fan wrote on 02/09/17 at 20:58:42:
I
I love the exercises, and I think the books are excellent for chess coaches. But there are many pedagogical issues with the actual books. For instance, has anyone else noticed that when Yusupov uses his own games as examples, they are almost always very complex, and not very good examples of the theme he is trying to demonstrate?


Yes, indeed.† Also, for example, Chapter 14 in book one - Open Files and Outposts - when he doesnít actually explain what an outpost is



ReneDescartes wrote on 02/09/17 at 22:21:38:
I did the chapter you refer to. In the Baburin game, the fragment gives a realistic combination culminating in a straight Damiano mate at the end. The next example gives an abbreviated version (only one rook sacrificed) that is pure wit no preliminaries. After these, if you hadn't already, you would know the new idea.


The example you cite struck me as an example of the poor teaching method that sometimes crops up the book. The simpler example should come first. Obvious, no?


I did wonder about the teaching of the Kandp stuff and how well a person would get on with it if they were of alleged target audience strength and working through the book all on their own.†I would agree that you probably would need other sources to learn the principles of each chapter if you werenít already familiar with them.

These criticisms, notwithstanding, I still think the chapters have been helpful. Not perfect, no, but helpful - and I would agree that there is a value in 'messy realityí as well as simplified "ideal case".†

The test/exercises are the main event for me though.
  

www.streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com† "I don't call you f**k face" - GM Nigel Short.
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #32 - 02/10/17 at 03:10:17
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Excuse me, Golenischev, on which the Yusupov books were partly based. Guseinov is a contemporary player whose name was in my ear. I got them mixed up.

http://chessok.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7_26_45&products_...

The book/program contains great explanations but in a clumsy translation, though the meaning is always clear. Great basic expositions of two-bishops technique, how to deploy three3 minor pieces against the queen, etc. Not super-wordy, but not as laconic as Yusupov either; just examples obviously chosen by a talented teacher, with clear to-the point comments at critical junctures. (The recent games added by the pedagogically untalented editors, however, are about as clear as mud. I just ignore them.)

There is also an Android version.
« Last Edit: 02/10/17 at 19:21:38 by ReneDescartes »  
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #31 - 02/09/17 at 23:52:52
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Guseinov?
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #30 - 02/09/17 at 22:21:38
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Well, I think it's a Russian philosophy of teaching. It's like the examples in Blokh, where you must try to calculate through preliminaries and obstacles to bring about a situation where the idea can be executed. When I'm reading Yusupov's examples, I have to look actively for the idea, and ask myself how it's functioning in the game. This active learning is very effective--if you can stand the strain.

I did the chapter you refer to. In the Baburin game, the fragment gives a realistic combination culminating in a straight Damiano mate at the end. The next example gives an abbreviated version (only one rook sacrificed) that is pure wit no preliminaries. After these, if you hadn't already, you would know the new idea.

In the chapter on centralization in the same book there is what you might consider an even more extreme case--the study-like save of Fisher-Keres,where Keres, in the manner of the World Champion he would have been, allows Fisher an extra queen--but now matter how it tries, it can do no damage in the presence of Keres' piece configuration. The example is late-Mozart-level genius, a tour de force, and hardly graspable at once without work, but you go through it and ask yourself "ok, so how did centralization save Keres?" And the answer is that when the emergency happened, the queen was able to cover a few key squares--that's all. Then you ask yourself "is that all there is to it?" And you realize: it just takes covering a couple of key squares to make everything work. A centralized piece doesn't have to act like Kasparov's† "octopus knight," dominating every other life form on the planet, to be energized by its central position. But consider centralization in your variations and candidates as Keres did, and good things will often pop up like bubbles in sparkling water. "That's the way it is," as Walter Cronkite would say.

As I said above, if you want a pure presentation and clean drill of ideas, use the Steps (I really am impressed with these Dutch textbooks. And the style of the examples is noticeably like Euwe's playing style). If you want ideas with a natural surrounding of calculation, where, as in a real game, you must fight for your idea, in harder cases without success, use Yusupov--or Blokh, or Guseinov, or Khmelnitsky, which all have the same flavor. Or, better, use both approaches together.
« Last Edit: 02/10/17 at 13:20:16 by ReneDescartes »  
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Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #29 - 02/09/17 at 20:58:42
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I may be the only person on the planet who isn't completely enamored with the Yusupov series.

I love the exercises, and I think the books are excellent for chess coaches. But there are many pedagogical issues with the actual books. For instance, has anyone else noticed that when Yusupov uses his own games as examples, they are almost always very complex, and not very good examples of the theme he is trying to demonstrate?

Also, many of the exercises have almost nothing to do with the introductory material.
Here's an example from book one chapter 4, simple pawn endings:

The introductory material starts off with a single pawn in the center, moves to single g-pawn, then covers single rook pawn vs lone king before moving to zugwzang positions where both sides have 1 pawn and finishing up with a simple discussion of the square of the pawn. The most complex example in the chapter has 2 pawns each, but white immediately sacs one of those pawns to block off the opposing king. It's all very straight-forward. But then the exercises cover all sorts of other "simple pawn" endgames that weren't covered in the introductory material.

This would be fine for a chess coach who knows about this stuff. But for someone trying to learn the material, it's setting up the student to fail.

In the same book, (chapter 2), Yusupov introduces the Damiano Mate with a brilliant tactical game that Adianto played against Baburin, rather than by showing the mate in its purest form. This is a pattern in all the books I've used.

The Yusupov books offer some fantastic material but I am extremely skeptical of any new player being able to use these books without prior guidance and experience. I'd recommend the series to chess coaches, but not students.

The Step method is a much better series for the self-paced student.
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #28 - 02/09/17 at 15:36:12
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I think you have to enjoy  the hard work, enjoy the search for self-mastery. If that has an element of masochism in it, then so it is. After all, most people's taste does not run to our final goal--doing the intellectual and physical equivalent of a six-hour math exam that makes itself harder whenever you have a good idea!
  
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #27 - 02/09/17 at 15:20:44
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #26 - 02/09/17 at 12:19:15
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Gerry1970 wrote on 02/07/17 at 00:25:19:
...  Long and the short of it is it become more like work and less like fun. So I quit. So I am back with a healthier attitude I think and going through the Yusupov books.

...


I am also working on my process at the board in terms of concentration.



Iím sure thatís why improvement is so difficult - the process isnít fun particularly.  Not sure thatís particularly unique to chess though. When I complained to my piano teacher that Iíd had to really slog my way through learning a piece, she said that was just how learning to play the piano is.

I suppose it has to be like that really. Not many people - as per the previous posterís comment - like being wrong all the time but to improve you have to put yourself in that position.

If it wasn't like that weíd all by Grandmasters and concert pianists, I guess.


Btw:
Part of my motivation of trying to focus on Yusupov and work my way through the books is the concentration practice.

  

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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #25 - 02/09/17 at 12:14:27
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RoleyPoley wrote on 02/05/17 at 20:51:14:
what would you recommend for 1500s instead?



Well iím a bit late to this and I donít have too much I can say anyway. Iíve used Step 1 and 2 a lot - I teach beginners - and itís very good. I didnít know the later Steps got so advanced but given what people say above Iíd definitely suggest theyíre worth checking out.

Itís not just the Steps material per se, itís the method that I thinks work well. Puzzle and active thinking based, generates concrete results data to track progress and allows things like Axel Smithís Woodpecker Method.

The only possible downside might be I thought they were designed to be used in groups with a teacher. They arenít any answer books, I believe, which may prove tricky if youíre working on your own.

Or maybe thatís just how I use them.
  

www.streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com† "I don't call you f**k face" - GM Nigel Short.
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #24 - 02/07/17 at 00:25:19
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JonathanB wrote on 02/05/17 at 14:33:39:
...
Anwyay, Iíve picked up a fair amount of knowledge along the way - e.g. endgame theory and I recognised certain test positions (Morphy at the Opera crops us - and thereís a position fro the first Alekhine - Capablanca game for instance). What I lack, I think, is the skill to apply this knowledge.

I donít think Im rushing too much yet but Iíll certainly have to slow down later. What i do need is to work out how best to work with the books. I think Iím too fond of the tactics chapters. Its easy to feel youíre making progress by completing those.


Lots in your post but the bold really resonated with me. In the past I have made what I thought was a serious study attempt including using a spaced repetition system. Long and the short of it is it become more like work and less like fun. So I quit. So I am back with a healthier attitude I think and going through the Yusupov books.

Because there is so much in these books I am slowly adding the positions to a spaced repetition system to help recall. And it is interesting to see which positions I struggle with etc.

Still I wonder about applying this knowledge! It seems that I get so few of the positions on the board! (But then again I am only starting Book 2 so that could get better.)

I am also working on my process at the board in terms of concentration, etc. It is helpful that others are going through the Yusupov books as it acts as inspiration in a way.

  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #23 - 02/06/17 at 19:11:47
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No, no, you're right--I just remembered the levels from the website wrong. But I think the description of the difference is still accurate.
  
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #22 - 02/06/17 at 18:31:09
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ReneDescartes wrote on 02/06/17 at 14:11:21:
One striking difference between the Steps and the Yusupov series is that the solutions in the Steps books are nearly all 3 moves or less,† all the way through† Step 4 (up to 1850 ELO/1950 USCF).

Is that your own assessment of the level of Step 4? Chess-steps.com gives < USCF 1750 for Step 4, and 1900 for Step 5. But I've also seen it said that Step 5 is for < Elo 1900.
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #21 - 02/06/17 at 14:11:21
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It often seems to me that when passing from composed positions to positions from real games, for example in Blokh, that the real positions are somehow made with "reinforced concrete"--the pieces guard each other better, many possibilities are closed off, a kind of general prophylaxis chokes the board like smoke from the preceding battle, and even if there is a clean combination, there is a thick, tangled quality to the position. The student must cut through the "fog of war." This is the natural home of calculation.

One striking difference between the Steps and the Yusupov series is that the solutions in the Steps books are nearly all 3 moves or less,† all the way through† Step 4 (up to 1850 ELO/1950 USCF). This means that the ideas are presented in very pure form, which makes the books excellent for drilling the essence of new ideas; on the other hand, it also means that the positions are almost all composed, and that they do not require much calculation. In this respect the Steps feel a lot like CTS (chess.emrald.net) in that once you see the idea there is not that much reward for subjecting it to the suspicion appropriate to a real game. (Just in this one respect. Overall, the Steps are as far above CTS as a well-written book of progressing algebra exercises is above a bunch of random worksheets from the internet).

I have done scattered chapters of Yusupov (exactly as prescribed in the prefaces), but not systematically enough to contribute to the preceding discussion. But it became obvious that Yusupov's books are almost entirely taken from real games and feel like it. If there are composed positions, they are taken from problems or studies, which are even more "resistant" than real games. You never can get away from calculation--you do not know if there is a refutation of your idea, even in the tactical chapters.†

I think Yusupov and van Wijgerden complement each other quite well, not only done one in preparation for the other, but simultaneously.
« Last Edit: 02/06/17 at 17:34:14 by ReneDescartes »  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Yusupovís 9 Book Series
Reply #20 - 02/06/17 at 14:10:56
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For easier books on calculation (but still plenty tough for 1500), Heisman's Is Your Move Safe? and Khmelnitsky's excellent books, particularly the somewhat easier second and third ones, all contain problems where you're not sure if there is a combination or not. In general, defensive problems require calculation, because it is not enough to spot one threat--you have to convince yourself there are not others. Good sources of defensive problems (I feel like I'm recommending spinach) are the previously-mentioned Looking for Trouble, ChessOK's Simple Defense (pieces en prise) and Advanced Defense (preventing mates) programs, and Coakley's FIDE-1500-level "Chess Exercises for Kids." Somewhat more challenging ones are in dedicated chapters of Shumilin's Chess Tactics Training and Nikitin's Improve Your Chess Tactics.

Actually, reading master games as solitaire chess for one side, writing down what you see at length, and comparing it to the notes is a great way, maybe the best way, to practice calculation (Russians, Silman, Purdy, much later Stoyko). I made a file card with a notch in it for doing this, following a suggestion of Purdy--you cover up the part of the current line you haven't read and all the following lines with the card. Of course, to do this you have to have a high tolerance for being wrong, but--it is a powerful training tool.
« Last Edit: 02/06/17 at 17:36:12 by ReneDescartes »  
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