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One of the best and most entertaining way to learn chess is to play through a well annotated game collection. Recently I retrieved my old copy of "Logical Chess Move by Move" by Irving Chernev from the shed. This book has been touted as the best book for beginners for nearly 50 years now. Lets take a look at the first game.
Von Scheve,T - Teichmann,R [C53]
Berlin Jubilee Berlin (9), 1907
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Qe7 5.0-0 d6 6.d4 Bb6 7.a4
Chernev calls this a tricky but illogical move, but it is really not a bad move it gains space on the queen side. [main line is 7.h3 Nf6 8.Re1 h6 9.a4 a6 10.b4=]
this is bad [again 8.h3 Nf6 9.Re1 0-0 10.b4=]
[8...Nxa5 9.Rxa5 Bxa5 10.Qa4+ "nets white two pieces for a rook!" Cherev but... 10...b5 I guess 7...a6 was a tricky move also because black gets a good game. 11.Qxa5 bxc4 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.b3
(13.Nxe5 Nf6 14.Bg5 0-0 15.Nd2 Be6 (Fritz 8 (No MMX): 15...Qe6 16.Re1 Rb8 17.Bxf6 Qxf6 18.Ndxc4 Rb5 19.Qxc7 Be6 20.Nd7 -0.44/13 ) 16.f4 h6 17.Bh4 Rfb8 18.Nc6 Qd6 19.Nxb8 Qxd2 20.f5 Rxb8 21.fxe6 fxe6 22.Qe5 Rxb2 23.Qxe6+ Kh8 24.Qh3 Nd7 25.Bf2 a5 26.Bd4 Qg5 27.g3 Ne5 28.Qe6 Qh5 29.h4 Qe2 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Qf5+ g6 0-1 Rabinovich,I-Flamberg,A/Triberg 1914. ;
13...f6 14.Rd1 Be6 15.Ba3 Rd8 16.Nbd2 Qd7 17.Re1 Ne7 18.Qb4 a5 19.Qc5 cxb3 20.Nf1 Qd6 21.Qxa5 Qb6 22.Qa4+ Kf7 23.Bxe7 Kxe7 24.Qa3+ c5 25.c4 Ra8 26.Qc1 b2 27.Qc2 Ra1 28.N1d2 Rxe1+ 29.Nxe1 Rd8 30.Nd3 Qd6 0-1 Gunsberg,I-Alekhine,A/St Petersburg 1914]
Chernev calls this a coffee-house move and goes on for 1/2 a page about how you should never move a pawn in front of your king et al. You get the impression that this is the losing move and granted it may not be the best move but its no where near as bad as Chernev makes out.
This howler gets Von Scheve in a lot of trouble. Chernev gives "White exchanges, and opens up lines for his pieces, Unfortunately this reacts in Black's favor, in accordance with the rule in these cases: Open lines result to the advantage of the player whose development is superior."
OK but where's a suggestion on a better move?
10.Re1 or 10.d5 come to mind.
10...Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Qxe5 12.Nd2 Bxh3 13.gxh3 Qg3+ 14.Kh1 Qxh3+ 15.Kg1 Ng4 16.Nf3 Qg3+ 17.Kh1 Bxf2 0-1
One could make the case that Chernev is trying to impart wisdom rather than variations but...
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Three Hundred Chess Games
Looking in the opening index I noticed a Kings Indian Defence!! I got to see this. Wow, Tarrasch is playing Black and the 22 year old Tarrasch was trying it after seeing a Paulsen game in the chess magazine Schachzeitung! Is Paulsen the Grandfather of the Kings Indian? Lets take a look.
Englisch,B (2593) - Tarrasch,S (2520) [E77]
DSB-04.Kongress Hamburg (2), 1885
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7
Here Tarrash writes "I confidently copied all these moves, which Louis Paulsen successfully made in his match against A.Schwarz, but to my growing amazement I saw how my opponet, without paying attention to the disdainful comments in the "Schachzeitung"' was able to generate a vehement attack - pawnstorm. This was not at all in character with his usual playing style. This essentially made a shambles of this touted Defense system. This conventional belief in the soundness of the defensive system, caused me to lose numerous games later on and even more recently."
[6...c5 the oldest game I can find with this move is Colle,Edger - Carls,Carl 1/2 in 53 Baden- Baden 1925 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.cxd5 Bg4 "This is the most solid way of meeting the main line of the Four Pawns Attack." Joe Gallagher in "Starting out: the king's Indian" the oldest game I can find with 9...Bg4 is Ljungqvist,Lennart - Bobotsov,Milko 1/2 Marianske Lazne zt 1961. Carls had continued 9...a6.]
[Schwarz (2515- Paulson(2680) continued 7.Bd3 e5 8.fxe5 dxe5 9.d5 c6 (9...Nc5) 10.0-0 Ng4 (10...Nc5) 11.Qe2 Nc5 12.Bc2 f5
(this position was reached in a more recent game. 12...cxd5 13.Nxd5 Ne6 14.h3 Nf6 15.Be3 Nh5 16.Qf2 b6 17.Rad1 Qe8 18.Qh4 Ba6 19.b3 f6 20.Nh2 g5 21.Qe1 Nhf4 22.h4 h5 23.g3 Nh3+ 24.Kg2 Bc8 25.Nf3 g4 26.Ng1 Rb8 27.Ne2 Rb7 28.Nec3 Nd4 29.Bxd4 exd4 30.Nb5 Qe5 31.Nxd4 Rbf7 32.Nf5 Qb2 33.Qc3 Qa3 34.Bb1 Bxf5 35.Rxf5 Re8 36.Qb4 Qb2+ 37.Qd2 Qa3 38.Rxh5 f5 39.Rxf5 Rxf5 40.exf5 Qc5 1-0 Rytshagov,Mikhall (2503) - Couso,Luis (2345) Stockholm 2002)
13.h3 fxe4 14.Nxe4 Qb6 15.Kh1 Nxe4 16.Bxe4 Nf6 17.dxc6 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 bxc6 19.Qe2 Be6 20.Bg5 Qc5 21.Nd2 Qd4 22.b3 Bf5 23.Nf3 Qd3 24.Qd2 e4 25.Qxd3 exd3 26.Rad1 Rae8 27.Nd2 h6 28.Bf4 g5 29.Bd6 Rf7 30.Bc5 a6 31.g4 Bg6 32.Rxf7 Kxf7 33.Rf1+ Kg8 34.Kg2 Re2+ 35.Rf2 Bc3 36.Nb1 Be1 0-1 Schwarz,A-Paulsen,L/Leipzig 1879/EXT 99 (36)]
7...e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Ng4 10.Bg5 Qe8 11.Nd5 Ngxe5 12.Be7 Nxf3+ 13.Bxf3 c6
[a more recent game continued. 13...Bxb2 14.Bxf8 Bxa1 15.Ba3 Be5 16.0-0 c6 17.Ne7+ Kg7 18.Qb3 Bd4+ 19.Kh1 Ne5 20.Nxc8 Qxc8 21.Bd6 b6 22.Bxe5+ Bxe5 23.Rd1 Qe6 24.Qd3 Re8 25.Qd7 Re7 26.Qxe6 Rxe6 27.Rd7 Rd6 28.Rxd6 Bxd6 29.e5 Bxe5 30.Bxc6 Bd4 31.g4 Kf6 32.Bd5 Kg5 33.Bxf7 Kxg4 34.Kg2 Kf4 35.Bg8 h6 36.Bh7 g5 37.h3 Ke3 38.Bf5 Bc5 39.Bd7 Kd4 40.Bb5 Ba3 41.Kf3 Kc3 42.Kg4 Kb2 43.h4 gxh4 44.Kxh4 a5 45.Kh5 Kxa2 46.Kxh6 Kb3 0-1 Solymost, Istvan (2195) - Bognar,Csaba (2237) Hungarian chT2 1999]
14.Bxf8 Qxf8 15.Nc3 Qc5
Here Tarrasch recommends 15...Ne5 followed by ...Be6 but comments that white is better because of the material advantage. [Hiarcs 9: 15...Ne5 16.Be2 Be6 17.Qb3 b5 18.0-0-0 Nxc4 19.Bxc4 Bxc4 20.Qc2 Re8= 0.23/13 ]
16.Qb3 Ne5 17.0-0-0 Nxc4 18.Rd8+ Bf8 19.Rhd1 Be6
"The start of desperate play. Black wins the Queen, but at what a price!" Tarrasch
[How about 19...b5 rubbing my hands together now the moves...b4 and ...Ne3 look juicy!! 20.Qc2 oh oh now if I play ...Ne3 white plays Qf2 pinning the knight to my queen and with my Queen being protected by the Bishop pinned to my king... 20...Kg7 looks ugly but solves a problem 21.Ne2 white seems to be wiggling free. 21...Be7 move your rook please! 22.R8d3 Bf6 I don't want to see that rook go to c3 23.Nd4 now he's going to chase my Queen away. 23...Qb6 OK I'll tuck my Queen away and start thinking about moves like ...Bb7,a5 & c5 Black has a Bishop and pawn for a Rook and some compensation is this what annotators call dynamic equality?]
20.Rxa8 Qg5+ 21.Kb1 Nd2+ 22.Rxd2 Bxb3 23.Rdd8 Bc4 24.Rxf8+ Kg7 25.Rfd8 b5 26.b3 Bf1 27.Rd7 Qc5 28.Nd1 b4 29.Rd2 Qe5 30.Rxa7 Qxh2 31.Rdd7 Kh6 32.Rxf7 Bd3+ 33.Kc1 Qe5 34.Kd2 Bxe4 35.Bxe4 Qxe4 36.Ne3 Qb1 37.Ke2 Qb2+ 38.Kf3 c5 39.Rad7 Qc3 40.g4 Qa1 41.Rxh7+ Kg5 42.Rd5+ Kf6 43.g5+ Ke6 44.Rdd7 1-0
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"Chess Praxis" Aron Nimzowitsch
Hyper-Modern Theory the easy way. The chapter introductions give the theory and the games illustrate it! Thumbing through lets stop at a famous game.
Nimzowitsch,A (2697) - Marshall,F (2622) [A61]
New York New York (4), 1927
1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.Nc3 exd5 6.cxd5 g6!
"The King's Bishop assumes control of the central point at e5, and with it the duty to prevent the advance of a central body of pawns (perhaps two pawns at e4 and f4)." -Nimzowitsch
dubbed "The Knight's Tour Variation" by John Watson and points out that it is relatively rare at top level and that the lines are under analysed for both sides so there is room for creativity. [7.e4 Bg7 8.Bd3 (8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 Nh5!? 10.0-0 is more precise according to current theory)
8...0-0 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Re8 (10...Bg4 is also possible Nimzowitsch) 11.h3= b6 intending ...Ra7 & Re7 " White preferred to play for complications with the move in the text, rather than to play 7.e4 with the probable out come that after completing their development, both players would have reached a deadlock.- Nimzowitsch]
[8.e4 Bg7 9.Nc4 Nb6 10.Ne3 0-0 11.Bd3 Re8 12.0-0 Bd7 13.a4 Rb8 14.a5 Nc8 15.f4 Qc7 16.Re1 b5 17.axb6 axb6= is the current main line.]
8...Nb6 9.e4 Bg7 [9...Nxc4 10.Bxc4 Bg7 11.0-0 0-0 12.h3 (current theory prefers 12.Bf4 or 12.Bg5) 12...Re8 13.Qd3 a6 14.a4 Bd7
"and Black would have been in a position to complete his development with Qc7, and the doubling of the Rooks on the e-file." Nimzowitsch]
"Black had not reckoned with this move, White intends to advance a4-a5 and to post his Knight anew on c4. From this point White appears to have the advantage" Nimzowitsch
10...0-0 11.Bd3 Nh5
[11...Nbd7 12.0-0 Ne5 13.Be2 Re8 14.Bd2 a6 15.a4 Rb8 16.a5 g5 17.b3 g4 18.Qc2 Kh8 19.Nc4 Nh5 20.Rae1 Rg8 21.Kh1 Nxc4 22.bxc4 Qxa5 23.f4 Qd8 24.g3 Re8 25.Bd3 h6 26.e5 b5 27.Ne4 dxe5 28.fxe5 bxc4 29.Nd6 cxd3 30.Nxf7+ Kg8 31.Qxd3 c4 32.Qe4 Nf6 33.Nxh6+ Bxh6 34.Qg6+ Kh8 35.Bxh6 Qxd5+ 36.Kg1 Rg8 37.Qxf6+ Kh7 38.Qh4 Rg6 39.e6 Rxh6 40.Qe7+ Kg6 41.Rf6+ 1-0 Gulko,B-Lobron,E/Biel 1987 (41). ]
[12...Qh4 13.g3 Qe7 14.Re1 Bd7 15.Nf5 Bxf5 16.exf5 Be5 17.Bf4 c4 18.Bc2 Rfe8 19.Qf3 a6 20.Bxe5 dxe5 21.d6 Qxd6 22.Qxb7 Nf6 23.Rad1 Qc5 24.Qf3 Qe7 25.Qc6 Rab8 26.Qd6 Qxd6 27.Rxd6 Kg7 28.fxg6 hxg6 29.Rc6 Nfd7 30.Rd1 Nf8 31.Na4 Re6 32.Rxb6 Rexb6 33.Nxb6 Rxb6 34.b3 Ne6 35.bxc4 Rb2 36.Bb3 Nd4 37.Rd3 Kf6 38.Kg2 Ke7 39.c5 f5 40.h4 a5 41.Rc3 Nxb3 42.c6 Kd8 43.c7+ Kc8 44.axb3 e4 45.Kf1 Rb1+ 46.Ke2 Rb2+ 47.Ke3 Ra2 48.Rc6 Ra3 49.Rxg6 a4 50.Kf4 Kxc7 51.bxa4 Rf3+ 52.Kg5 Rxf2 53.h5 Kd7 54.h6 Rh2 55.Kxf5 e3 56.Rg4 Rh3 57.Rd4+ Kc6 58.g4 Rxh6 59.Re4 Rh8 60.g5 Rh3 61.Kg4 Kd5 62.Re8 Rh1 63.Rxe3 Ra1 64.g6 Rxa4+ 65.Kf5 Ra1 66.Rd3+ 1-0 Toth,B-Lobron,E/Biel 1982 (66)]
13.a4 Nf4 14.a5 Nd7 15.Nc4 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 f5 17.exf5 Rxf5 18.f4 Bd4+ 19.Be3 Bxc3 20.Qxc3 Nf6 21.Qb3 Rxd5 22.f5 gxf5 23.Bg5 Rd4 24.Nb6+ c4 25.Qc3 axb6 26.Qxd4 Kg7 27.Rae1 bxa5 28.Re8 Qxe8 29.Qxf6+ Kg8 30.Bh6 1-0
A very modern game and Nimzowitsch's annotations hold up well in light of current theory.
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baseline, thank you...
for posting these games. I would be very pleased to see more games posted here with "layman" type annotations, ones that actually comment on the current position, and how it relates to accepted principles of development, strategy and tactics, instead of just rattling off the next 10 moves assuming that the reader will understand the underlying principles.
If the current forum system requires us to vote to keep threads alive, I now cast my vote for this, and all true "chess related" threads.
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In another thread I started I posed the question: What books would you need to go from novice to expert?. and got some interesting replies
1. Analyze your own games and use the books that will help you find your mistakes and improve.
It would be difficult to become better without playing through the annotated games of strong players.
You learn by playing!
No one became a GM by reading "How to Reassess your chess".
Playing through the games of the Greats is certainly entertaining way to acquire the finer points of chess. What I am trying to do here is just open a good book bring it up on my database and play through it. I'm not really doing a serious move by move investigation but rather just asking some questions that interest me and looking for an answer. Things like, Does anyone play this now? How does this assessment hold up to current theory? Wow the dogmatic Tarrash playing the Kings Indian? People were playing it 100+ years ago! I thought it was a modern opening?
No big deal but "Three Hundred Chess Games" by Tarrasch is one of the greatest chess books ever written. You'll find that in this book Tarrasch is not the dogmatic monster Nimzowitch painted but a real chess player with some of the same faults and problems we have.
I was going to look at a game by Capablanca from "My Chess Career" but I seemed to have misplaced my copy!! perhaps I'll pull out Alekhine next?
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Tarrasch was nowhere near as dogmatic a player as he was an annotator, and his games are still among the best for study. 300 Chess Games is still a very good game collection, but I feel there are better books on the market today. Tarrasch shows shades of his dogmatism in 300 Chess Games and The Game of Chess (for example: "This essentially made a shambles of this touted Defense system.", but in reality this variation is perfectly fine for Black).
Game collections since Nimzowitsch have really taken off. The best ones, IMHO, are Chess Praxis, My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine), One Hundred Selected Games (Botvinnik), and My Sixty Memorable Games (Fischer). I don't think Chernev is anywhere near as good as people make him out to be--his game selections are very good, but the annotations are often off the mark. There are other game collections as well these days, like Kasparov's recent series, and those by Smyslov, Petrosian, Karpov, etc., but I don't think any of them add much more to the works of Nimzowitsch, Alekhine, Botvinnik and Fischer.
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I think "300 CG's" by Tarrasch is an excellent book for Novice to lower club players to gain a solid foundation in classical chess.
Unlike "The Game of Chess" I don't find his comments overly dogmatic . Here is my spin on his comment:
"I confidently copied all these moves, which Louis Paulsen successfully made in his match against A.Schwarz, but to my growing amazement I saw how my opponent, without paying attention to the disdainful comments in the "Schachzeitung"' was able to generate a vehement attack - pawn storm. This was not at all in character with his usual playing style. This essentially made a shambles of this touted Defense system. This conventional belief in the soundness of the defensive system, caused me to lose numerous games later on and even more recently."
the Chessmetric's site shows Paulson as the #1 or #2 player from 861 through 1880. He must have been a towering figure to the Young Tarrasch. I have had the same feelings of dread playing the black side of the "Four Pawns Attack" even though I knew to modern line that gives black sufficient play. In fact it took another 76 years for someone to find the correct line against the "Four Pawns Attack" can we blame Tarrasch for feeling like Paulsen lead him down the wrong path? Not only that I think Tarrasch was playing a system that didn't fit his personal style, but you got to love him for trying it out. It shows that the Young Tarrasch was far more open minded than the 70 year old Tarrasch.
I agree there are better books on the market today, but what "game collection" would you recommend in its place for novices and lower club players? I've been scratching my head over that one for a couple of weeks. I have a very old copy of "300 CG's" in German given to me by a chess friend 30 years ago and I learned more from this book than "MSMG" by Fischer "MSMG" was just to advanced for me at the time.
A good second game collection to study might be "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings" by Chernev not because of the annotations rather the endgame's themselves! Now days you can play thru the ending then try them out your self against your computer.
I like "Chess Praxis" by Nimzowitsch because you get his ideas in the form of games with excellent comments and annotations.
"Alexander Alekhine's Best Games" Alekhine
AA had a very sharp style, more classical than hyper-modern, more dynamic than static. a very thought provoking book.
"Botvinnik one hundred selected games" Botvinnik
what better introduction to the soviet school of chess
"Paul Keres: The Road to the Top" Keres
wonderful comments and annotations he is just as critical of his own mistakes as those of his opponents, you can't cay the same for Alekhine!
"Zürich International Chess Tournament 1953" Bronstein
This book is just not to be missed!
"Vasily Smyslov: Endgame virtuoso" Smyslov
VS was without doubt the strongest player in the 1950's you'll learn a lot about endgame's from this book.
"The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal" - Tal
The Magician from Riga! what a great book.
"My 60 Memorable Games" Fischer
a classic now, but not a book for beginners
"Anatoly Karpov's Best Games" Karpov
someone once said "When you play Karpov nothing much happens, then you lose"
"Victor Korchnoi: My Best Games" Vol. 1 & 2 by VK
I read somewhere that Em. Lasker was Korchnoi's chess hero, well like Lasker he is a fighter. His annotations are brutally honest.
"Gary Kasparov's Fighting Chess" Kasparov,Speelman & Wade
Great games, but it would have been so much better.
"Secrets of Grandmaster Chess" John Nunn
A Modern Classic!!
"John Nunn's Best Games" Nunn
more of the same!!
"My Best Games of Chess" Vishy Anand
"The Road to Chess Improvement" Alex Yermolinsky
lots of Yermo's games and lots of good advice on how to improve.
Jumping Blue Blaze's I can't believe I'm still typing!
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I think "Best Lessons of a Chess Coach" by Sunil Weeramantry and "The Amateur's Mind" by Jeremy Silmanare both very good for beginners. For absolute novices, who know nothing of pawn structure, open files, etc., then pretty much anything will do. Chernev may even be best, because he does have a good selection of games. I find that it is generally more helpful to personally teach other players until they reach a level of sufficient understanding to understand books like "Best Lessons of a Chess Coach", though, before getting them to read anything. Generally one of the main differences between a novice and a beginner is the establishment of a work ethic.
Tal is a great annotator, undoubtedly the best I have ever read. Don't know how I forgot about him.
As to whether we can blame Tarrasch: we should not fault Tarrasch in that he is a very strong player, providing us with his games and annotations, and all annotators will make mistakes. But we can blame him in that his annotations do not link up with current theory as much as those of, say, Nimzowitsch or Alekhine. Many amateurs, upon hearing this, will skip over Tarrasch and forget about him, which I think is a mistake. Studying Tarrasch will undoubtedly increase one's playing strength simply because Tarrasch was a very strong master and annotator, and although his games have mistakes, they are the kind of mistakes that even a very strong player could make.
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I agree, I see Tarrasch as a good beginning, a way to absorb the teachings of Steintz and the classical school in a practical way. In fact I read where GM John Emms never read Nimzowitch's "My System" until after he became a GM! There are many paths to knowledge and I can think of none better than having a coach or teacher when you start. "Best Lesson of a Chess Coach" is a wonderful book! also "From Beginner to Expert in 40 Lessons" by Aleksander Kostyev and his follow up book "40 Lessons for the Club Player" Kostyev was director of the Chess School of Pioneers in the former soviet Union.