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Reassess your chess

Some books don't really need an introduction. And this is one of them. But a blog post needs one, so here we are, in the middle of an introduction. How to reassess your chess was one of the first books in my collection. I first read it around 2014, and decided to reread it this year. And now I am finally ready share my thoughts on it with you. I hope you enjoy my review!

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What can you expect from this book? In the beginning of my chess studies, I read The Amateur's Mind and saw a tremendous increase of my chess understanding. My playing strength increased dramatically and I felt more confident than ever. I also enjoyed Silman's writing style, so I felt that it was a good idea to take a deeper look at what he had to offer. Considering the amount of praise that can be found (basically everywhere) of How to reassess your chess, I felt that this was a no-brainer: I …
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Understanding middlegames

Have you ever found yourself unable to find a move in the middlegame? Of course you have. We all have. About ten years ago, this was a recurring problem for me, which led to a lot of frustration. My conclusion was that I needed to learn how understand middlegames. So what better way than to read a book with the title Understanding Chess Middlegames? Sound like the perfect remedy, right? Ok, let's find out.

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What can you expect from this book? I first read this book when I was just starting to study chess seriously. I bought it after reading a recommendation in an online forum. I would say this was ten years ago, but the book came out 2011, so it couldn't have been before that. Anyhow, my playing strength was probably around 1200 (I was unrated at the time) and I was having trouble choosing moves in non-tactical positions. Basically, I was playing without any kind of…

Mr Dodgy invitational

Man from Bjurfors arranged international online chess

This weekend, Michael Duke, or MrDodgy which is his pseudonym, arranged an international chess tournament online. This scot, who has been living in Bjurfors with his family, is a big name among chess enthusiasts. Michael has written six books about chess and works full time as a chess coach, from beginners to advanced players. He explains his nickname, MrDodgy, this way: 
I like to surprise people and take risks in the game. Draws are nothing for me, he says. 
The newspaper has arranged to meet him at his mother-in-laws who is living in Ulriksberg outside Myrheden. He is dressed as a knight and is about to get up on a horseback for the first time. 
The winner of my tournament, MrDodgy Invitational, will in addition to the prize money of $2,000 get a signed poster of me on a horse. A weird idea that has received quite a bit of attention online, Michael explains. 
Despite his slight fear of horses, he ge…

Estimating playing strength

Have you ever felt like your chess rating doesn't represent your actual playing strength? Sometimes we want to be able to estimate playing strength based on individual games rather than rating (which changes more slowly).

During the past few months, I've been taking a number of online courses and learning python for data analysis. In one of the courses, the final project allowed me to choose my own dataset. So surprise surprise! I chose something chess related. (Not really surprised, are you?)

When we play games online, getting a computer evaluation is just a few clicks away. And a commonly used statistic is the average centipawn loss, or simply the average deviation from the computer's best move. Many of us tend to think that centipawn loss (CPL) is a good estimate of playing strength. And, of course, it gives some indication, but it's far from a perfect predictor.
Fellow chess/statistics blogger Patrick Coulombe has investigated the correlation between rating and CPL an…

David vs Goliath

What is it that separates chess masters from amateur players? That is a question that many people have asked. A simplistic answer is that the master is simply better at all parts of the game; openings, middlegame, endgame, calculation, tactics - you name it! On the other hand, this question has a quite complex answer. Former world champion, Max Euwe (together with Walter Meiden), has written a book that aims to illustrate the differences in how masters and amateurs approach the game. I have been curious about this book for a long time, and I have finally had the opportunity to read it and share my thougths on it with you.

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What can you expect from this book?Chess master vs chess amateur is a book that for some reason does not get as much attention as other books. After reading it, I cannot see why. This is a book that has a lot to offer. It is full of practical tips for how…

The art of winning

A while back, I decided I would do a series of reviews of middle game books. Upon doing this, I realized that I simply had too few middle game books. So of course I had to expand my book collection (oh no!). One book that was missing from my collection was the classic The art of the middle game by Paul Keres and Alexander Kotov. So what better way to start this series of middle game book reviews than to discuss the art of the middle game, or as the Swedish title says: The art of winning in chess. Let's dive in!

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What can you expect from this book?The art of the middle game was published in 1964, and is of course considered a classic of the middle game genre. I found a copy of the Swedish version on ebay, and decided to go with that. I was surprised to learn that this was published three years earlier, and that the English version was actually translated from Swedish.

Disaster strikes

Chess can be brutal. It seems that at any given moment your position can go from playable (or even winning) to completely lost. I am sure it hasn't happened to you, but I have certainly found myself in this uncomfortable situation many times. Even the most experienced players fall victim to this every now and then. This is but a small consolation for the suffering amateur. But the true upside is that there is something to be learned here. This is especially true when a player loses right out of the opening due to an incorrect plan or other mistakes. Danish/American trainer and author Carsten Hansen has collected a number of games in this category and put them together in no less than ten books. I have had the opportunity to read one of them and would like to share my thoughts on it with you.

What can you expect from this book? A chess miniature is a chess game that ends quickly. This is perhaps a somewhat simplistic definition, but it is probably as close to a "true" def…