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Poll closed Question: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
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Keep It Simple 1.d4: Christof Sielecki    
  8 (17.4%)
The Modern Defence: Cyrus Lakdawala    
  1 (2.2%)
Opening Repertoire the Ruy Lopez: J. Doknjas    
  0 (0.0%)
Playing the Najdorf: David Vigorito    
  8 (17.4%)
The Modernised Dutch: Adrian Demuth    
  2 (4.3%)
Fight 1. d4 with the Tarrasch: V. Kotronius    
  3 (6.5%)
The Safest Grunfeld Reloaded: A. Delchev    
  4 (8.7%)
The Modern Scotch: Khalifman & Soloviov    
  1 (2.2%)
Opening Repertoire: The Sicilian Najdorf: Doknjas    
  2 (4.3%)
GM repertoire Sicilian Taimanov: Pavlidis    
  6 (13.0%)
New Repertoire for Black and White: Kaufman    
  5 (10.9%)
Squeezing 1.e4 e5: Khalifman and Soloviov    
  6 (13.0%)




Total votes: 46
« Created by: RoleyPoley on: 07/11/20 at 21:33:54 »
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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) ChessPub Book of the year 2019 (Read 3391 times)
Jupp53
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #50 - 09/18/20 at 15:58:24
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If votes stay independent or not by a discussion may stay open. But I would bet the forum will face a higher risk of some organized fandom. It's possible to read the discussion of every book in the forum when awaited or after publishing.
  

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Stigma
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #49 - 09/15/20 at 21:17:58
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@an ordinary chessplayer:

I have to say your posts here do suggest you are an unusually analytical, objective and self-aware person, even among chess players. I'm not using this as just an ironic or rhetorical statement - I really mean it.

But if that's accurate, it means your experience is a bit beside the point since you can't design a general system for all kinds of people based on it. That would be a fragile fair-weather system, not one designed to handle worst-case scenarios or even average scenarios. As an analyst you surely see that?

Similarly, If I'm conducting a social science survey, I don't relax the standard checks and safeguards meant to ensure independent responses just because one or even most of the respondents turn out to be unusually objective and self-aware.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 09/15/20 at 18:52:13:
Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 13:52:15:
90% of drivers think they are in the top 50% of drivers.

It's trivially easy to know if you are in the top 50% of drivers. Just examine your insurance bill.

The point of the example, a cliché of countless psychology books, is merely to show that people frequently misjudge their own skills. I'm not on top of how car insurance works across countries, but the objectively awful driver who thinks he's great may not be likely to check his insurance and connect those dots anyway.

I'll stop there as I'm trying to extricate myself from this discussion that increasingly seems to have reached a stalemate.
« Last Edit: 09/15/20 at 23:28:33 by Stigma »  

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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #48 - 09/15/20 at 18:52:13
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Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 13:52:15:
People, certainly including me, are less objective and more affected by our environments, even subconsciously, than we like to believe. An ordinary chessplayer may be one of the rare exceptions of course, but don't we all want to think we are?

No, I don't want to think that I am an exception. That's the opposite of objectivity. What I want is to know when I am being influenced, and when I am not. That's the true objectivity. It's called self-awareness, and it's not easy. Through long practice there are times (1) when I am absolutely certain I am not being influenced, such as at the end of an analysis session. And there are other times (2) when I am absolutely certain I am being influenced, such as when I am "acting naturally" around other people. And there are yet other times (3), probably the majority, when I have no idea, and therefore likely being influenced, if I bothered to make an assessment. What I certainly don't do is mistake scenarios (2) and (3) for scenario (1). Nor does the existence of (2) and (3) mean that scenario (1) does not happen, nor does it mean that when I claim it does happen that I am deluding myself.

Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 13:52:15:
90% of drivers think they are in the top 50% of drivers.

It's trivially easy to know if you are in the top 50% of drivers. Just examine your insurance bill.
  
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Stigma
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #47 - 09/15/20 at 17:14:11
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Straggler wrote on 09/15/20 at 14:50:08:
Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 14:11:10:
So you see no value in the final small space (virtual space in this case) where you make your decision being neutral? That value is just obvious to me, so I find all the objections to it had to understand.

No, I don't see any value (in terms of ensuring a "neutral environment") in drawing a distinction between two threads on the same forum. Saying its value is obvious to you isn't really a justification for such a distinction.

I have already given the reasoning behind that value: People are affected by the immediate environment when we make decisions, even subconsciously, to a greater extent than many are aware of. And even before that was known, it was an established part of democracy in most places that he polling site itself should be neutral, to give people the space to decide on their own.

And, by the way, not just in political elections: In social science research (which I've been involved with on a very small scale), market research and really all kinds of polling it's a basic ground rule that you take measures to ensure as far as realistically possible that respondents aren't influenced by each other or anyone else while responding (unless such influence is intentional and part of the research design, of course).

None of this is especially hard to understand. Until this thread I had no idea it was controversial either, but apparently it is. Anyway, this discussion is just going around in circles, so I think we can agree to disagree.
  

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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #46 - 09/15/20 at 14:50:08
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Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 14:11:10:
So you see no value in the final small space (virtual space in this case) where you make your decision being neutral? That value is just obvious to me, so I find all the objections to it had to understand.

No, I don't see any value (in terms of ensuring a "neutral environment") in drawing a distinction between two threads on the same forum. Saying its value is obvious to you isn't really a justification for such a distinction.

Quote:
We're free to discuss the nominees in any other thread of the forum of course, so there aren't really any downsides to keeping the voting thread neutral, only advantages. An easy call.

But it's only your assertion that there are advantages. Indeed I would say that there are advantages in allowing free discussion of the candidates in the poll thread, because it would facilitate discussion of the relative merits of the candidates, and how far each candidate meets the criteria - if we could agree what they are.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #45 - 09/15/20 at 14:11:10
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Straggler wrote on 09/15/20 at 13:58:56:
I do think it makes no difference in practice. But my point is that I see no reason to insist that the poll thread must be a "neutral environment" without also insisting that the whole of chesspub.com must be such an environment.

So you see no value in the final small space (virtual space in this case) where you make your decision being neutral? That value is just obvious to me, so I find all the objections to it had to understand. It's already largely in place here, save for the occasional remark that sticks out, and it's working.
Edit: We're free to discuss the nominees in any other thread of the forum of course, so there aren't really any downsides to keeping the voting thread neutral, only advantages. An easy call.

By all means change the thread to a discussion format next year if that's what most people want. I guess I'm really saying it should be one or the other and not some halfway house where it's entirely unclear whether we're acting as a jury or as independent voters.

ReneDescartes wrote on 09/15/20 at 13:57:02:
Let's just let it be natural, as it was in the past before some strange stuff started happening. After all, the point is our pleasure as much as bestowing a solemn honor on a book!

We seem to have different recollections here. I remember most people over the years managing to avoid both lambasting nominees in the thread and revealing their vote before the end, though quite often with some exceptions.

I agree with the pleasure part, but being satisfied with a good process can increase pleasure too.
  

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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #44 - 09/15/20 at 13:58:56
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I do think it makes no difference in practice. But my point is that I see no reason to insist that the poll thread must be a "neutral environment" without also insisting that the whole of chesspub.com must be such an environment.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #43 - 09/15/20 at 13:57:02
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I think the need is just to prevent gross distortions such as external lobbying, horse-race voting and creating new user accounts to increase the vote. The steps Tony has taken already seem more than enough to prevent those. We don't need to maintain some sort of additional purity. We're not a criminal jury, a parliamentary body, or even the Nobel Prize committee: whatever objectivity we ever had is very faint. No one even pretends each voter has read even the book he voted for cover to cover--nor would that be desirable for us. Let's just let it be natural, as it was in the past before some strange stuff started happening. After all, the point is our pleasure as much as bestowing a solemn honor on a book!
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #42 - 09/15/20 at 13:52:15
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Straggler wrote on 09/15/20 at 09:38:34:
Stigma, doesn't it follow from your argument that there should be no discussion of the candidates at all? You haven't explained why it makes a difference which thread they are discussed in. If I like a book enough to consider voting for it, I am just as likely to be reading the thread about that book as the thread about the poll.

No, that doesn't follow. The point is just that the voting thread itself should be neutral and don't affect people's decision in any direction. To my mind, as long as the system here is an independent vote, that's the right way to do it.

In a real election you are not normally a target of campaigning at the polling site (and if in some countries you are, I don't agree with allowing that). You should get to make your final decision on your own in a neutral environmnent. The situations are parallel even though the stakes are much smaller here.

Maybe your point is that's just a principle that makes no difference in practice, but I disagree. People, certainly including me, are less objective and more affected by our environments, even subconsciously, than we like to believe. An ordinary chessplayer may be one of the rare exceptions of course, but don't we all want to think we are? 90% of drivers think they are in the top 50% of drivers.
  

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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #41 - 09/15/20 at 10:32:54
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It really wasn't my intention to encourage anyone to vote for a specific book. Next year I will just give my vote without any comments in the poll thread.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #40 - 09/15/20 at 09:38:34
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Stigma, doesn't it follow from your argument that there should be no discussion of the candidates at all? You haven't explained why it makes a difference which thread they are discussed in. If I like a book enough to consider voting for it, I am just as likely to be reading the thread about that book as the thread about the poll.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #39 - 09/15/20 at 07:12:21
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Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 02:30:47:
I'll take your word for it that you're all rational and objective. But you can't know the same goes for everyone else. I for one have studied too much psychology to claim I'm never affected by information that "should" be irrelevant to a decision.

I'm not always rational, because it's not a quality but an act. It takes energy and work, and when I'm tired I simply can't do it. But as an analyst, being rational is what I'm paid to do. Given enough time and caffeine, I can marshal the criteria, the weights and measures, the rows and columns and formulas, and turn the crank. Having done all that work, at that precise moment, when it's time to cast my vote, which really amounts to ratifying my analysis, right then is when I am incapable of being irrational.

For me playing chess is literally the same process. Just like in real life, sometimes I'm too tired to do it. And unlike in my day job where I have decent skills, my chess skills are mostly substandard. But given enough time and caffeine, I can turn the chess analysis crank, and whatever move comes out on top, that's what I play. That one act, not the shoddy analysis preceding but the finality of yielding to it, is precisely why I became a master. Other players may have more pure chess skill, but they have moments of irrationality. They have a style, they have a predeliction, they want to make a certain move work, they want to win with an attack instead of an endgame, or vice versa -- one way or another they try to impose their own will on the chess move, instead of the other way around. Not all the time, but enough of the time to give me a chance.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #38 - 09/15/20 at 02:30:47
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 09/15/20 at 02:03:05:
Now I can explain myself: I don't think like that! A vote for the best is not "wasted" even if the best, according to me, finishes dead last. Why would I vote for a lesser choice just because my first choice isn't going to win? Ridiculous. It's not as if it's me that's winning and losing, and I have no ego involved in having voted for the winner. (There's a place for pragmatism in political elections with real power on the line, but we're talking about chess books here.) So of course I would prefer a vigorous discussion to the way it is now, because I am influenced by others' information, and not by their votes.

I'll take your word for it that you're all rational and objective. But you can't know the same goes for everyone else. I for one have studied too much psychology to claim I'm never affected by information that "should" be irrelevant to a decision.

It could still be interesting to try more of a discussion format, as long as that's made clear at the outset.

an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 09/15/20 at 02:03:05:
Okay then, back to the winners!

Agreed!
  

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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #37 - 09/15/20 at 02:09:50
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I voted for the Doknjas' Repertoire book on the Najdorf.  Not only was it an excellent book, between the two brothers, they easily could have had three books in this list.  (Only the book on the Modern Benoni was missing.)  I loved all of the books but this choice honored both of them.  That being said, I have the books that won and they are great as well.
  
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Re: ChessPub Book of the year 2019
Reply #36 - 09/15/20 at 02:03:05
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Stigma wrote on 09/15/20 at 00:23:47:
If people could see the results so far before casting their vote, they could for instance realize their first choice was likely a "wasted vote" and go for their second choice with real winning chances instead.

Thank you. You finally explained that part of it. Now I can explain myself: I don't think like that! A vote for the best is not "wasted" even if the best, according to me, finishes dead last. Why would I vote for a lesser choice just because my first choice isn't going to win? Ridiculous. It's not as if it's me that's winning and losing, and I have no ego involved in having voted for the winner. (There's a place for pragmatism in political elections with real power on the line, but we're talking about chess books here.) So of course I would prefer a vigorous discussion to the way it is now, because I am influenced by others' information, and not by their votes. Oh, and I know the argument that a vote can be considered information. But if a person is changing their vote based on other votes, then their vote is noise, and the signal I care about is before the vote. Anyway, the current voting system isn't bad, it just maybe needs to have a few of the unwritten rules turned into written ones. Just a paragraph or two, and then copy/paste from one year to the next.

Okay then, back to the winners!

I was thinking it might be nice if somebody who nominated or voted for the winners could create a more-or-less official chesspub blurb which the publishers and authors could refer to. It could even be a comment already made on chesspub that gets highlighted. Just something pithy that could look nice on a website or in a CV or on the back cover of a second edition. It doesn't need to be long, in fact the shorter the better. It just needs to be accurate and sincere. Any takers?
  
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