Thursday, May 30, 2013

A New Method for Discovering The Strongest Move

This is a tale of two new chess books I found on the Gorilla (it is good for something). The first is: Best Play: A New Method For Discovering The Strongest Move by Alexander Shashin. This is what it says about the book: Publication Date: July 16, 2013 “Have you ever wished for a “formula” to help you decide what move to make in any given chess position? In this ambitious and groundbreaking work, physicist and chess master Alexander Shashin presents the fruit of three decades of research into the elements of the game. He breaks down the position into mathematical ratios that compare the fundamental factors of material, mobility, safety, and space for each side, leading you to the proper plan and the mental attitude to adopt in light of what’s happening on the board. Relying on the games of three world champions with distinctive playing styles – Tal, Capablanca, and Petrosian – and backed up by personal and computer-aided analysis, Best Play explains how Shashin’s approach works in practice to guide your decisions in all kinds of situations, including those too wild and murky to provide clear-cut conclusions. Some 125 high-level examples are followed by 125 exercises with solutions to help you learn the method. Not just a textbook for the chess scientist to ponder in the lab, Best Play offers a fully formed philosophy of the game to prepare the chess warrior for any kind of battle.” Although I may have seen other chess books with a “formula” I cannot recall one, and I do not believe I have ever heard of a book breaking down the position into mathematical ratios. I did, though, read a book, and listen to a lecture via DVD, by Berkeley professor Elwyn Berlekamp, breaking down a Go board into four quadrants and using math to play better Go. I believe his theories are now being used with computer Go programs. Check it out at, Mathematical Go: The Gorilla informs that this book and another book are “Frequently Bought Together.” The other book is, “Master the grand art of Chess Calculation: Improve your chess now by Accurate visualization & analysis by Mr William Friend.” I kid you not…Having never heard of the fellow I did a search on I was unable to learn about the author, so I surfed on over to the USCF website but found no William Friend. During the course of my life I have developed rules to live by, such as Rule #1; No Married Women! Rule # 222 is, Never Purchase a Chess Book by an unknown writer. The Gorilla does inform me that, “The author holds concurrent Bsc-degrees in both Mathematics and Geology and chess is his passion.” Make of it what you will, but I must tell you that the book is written for, I cannot make this up, “…beginners as well as players right up to grandmaster level.” Guess one could say it is a book for EVERYBODY! Here is the Book Description: Publication Date: April 30, 2013 The 3 golden pillars of winning chess are undoubtedly TACTICAL sharpness, STRATEGICAL insight, and CALCULATION accuracy. This book dedicates 320 pages exclusively to developing the students ability to calculate accurately. Visualising future positions accurately is fundamental to playing winning chess. STEP by STEP methodology is combined with playing through 94 marvelous games starting with Morphy-> Capablanca-> Fischer-> Kasparov-> working up towards modern day grandmaster games. (from 1 move ahead[two 1/2 moves] to 10 moves ahead [twenty 1/2 moves] ). Thus the book is written for beginners as well as players right up to grandmaster level. If the student is serious about developing his/her calculation accuracy, then this book is a MUST HAVE. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In this extraordinary book, the author also recognises the importance of ethics BEYOND the chess board {chapter 8}. Wonder who is recommending the book so highly? Don’t know about you, but I do not feel like I must have it.

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