Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Beefing up calculation.

The book Practical Chess Analysis from Mark Buckley is very disappointing.
It is a nice read, but the exercises aren't checked with the computer. I have a second hand version from 1999, may be there is a newer version?
I have done 2 exercises, costing me 2 hours each. I couldn't find my way in both problems. When I checked the solutions from the book with Rybka, the solutions were flawed. Again 4 hours spilled by an incompetent author.

Before I adopt mature man's play and a mature man's opening repertoire I want to investigate the road of brilliant chess. So I'm looking for complex problems from real games with lots of lines to calculate and a clear solution in the end. Computer checked.

Suggestions anyone?


  1. Bummer. I was just sitting down to take a look at it. Perhaps you could post one of the examples so we can discuss it. Sometimes the computer is wrong (as far as practical choices go: they don't consider flexibility for instance).

    The 1999 book is the most recent. Perhaps he needs to computer check. I'd be curious to see what Sancho and Patrick think.

    Do you have Soltis' book 'How to choose a chess move'? It's my favorite 'thought process' book: he expands on Kotov and makes more realistic suggestions.

  2. Screw rybka. THe book is an insight into how the author evaluates chess positions. The author's playing strength is 2400+. Keres was 2700, give or take. Rybka is 3000+ at least. Last I checked, Rybka didn't write a book explaining how to evaluate a position. More importantly, YOU ARE NOT A COMPUTER and will NEVER think like Rybka, and will NEVER calculate as accurately as Rybka. Therefore Rybka is completely irrelevant when it comes to learning HOW to evaluate positions. Rybka's utility is limited to "What is the numerical evaluation of this particular, exact position?"

    Incompetent author? I disagree and almost take offense to that. Look at my recent results, which i partly attribute to Buckley. And to my own brilliance, hehe. ;)

    As for suggestions, you will never find anything that suits you. And i think you prefer it that way.

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  4. Patrick,

    "Screw Rybka"?

    I actually checked the exercise from the next post and Rybka 2.3 seems to agree on all variations. Only with the suggestion "or bxc4 Rd8" Rybka likes bxc4 Nd5! better. I totally agree that a chess engine will not teach you chess, but it certainly is a useful tool to help yourself in getting better, provided you use it in a proper way, which I suspect did not happen in Tempo's case.

  5. Patrick,
    the a position is about winning a pawn.
    The author agrees with Keres that you can win a pawn.
    I don't saw it after two hours of analysis that you can win a pawn.
    Rybka shows that the pawn is not lost at all. As I already thought.
    Rybka shows that defender didn't made the best move.
    Which Keres didn't see.
    And the author didn't check the line of Keres.
    Then the author is incompetent since he spills my time.

  6. I'm with Patrick, I didn't pick up this book to work on exercises. I bought it to gain insight. Mainly on how a systematic approach will benefit my play in terms of time analyzing over the board. If I threw a book out the window every time I encountered a flaw in analysis I'd end up with just that, a tall stack of books outside my window. Included in the stack of discarded authors would be Bronstein, Karpov, Fischer, Alekhine, Kasparov, Keres, Kotov, Botivinnik, Fine, etc.
    Besides the first thing he (Buckley) says is never agree with the author's analysis.

    Just read the text portion and try to formulate your own approach based on the author's ideas. Buckley has some very practical advice hidden between the examples.

    It really makes a ton of sense when you think about it. You wouldn't start construction of a house without a minimum of a set of blueprints and a planned approach. Why should examining a chess position be any different? Thinking Model, Blueprints, or Checklist, whatever you want to call it. It is just a way to avoid calculation redundancy by compartmentalizing your thoughts. Looking once and then moving along to the next step.

  7. Sancho/Patrick,
    I read the book first, without looking at the diagrams. It is a very interesting read. So in that sense he is competent.

    But I did only two exercises, and both were flawed. Of course it is possible that I just picked the only two flawed problems in the book.

    Usually I'm not so harsh. But that I used 4 hours to look for something that wasn't even there is very frustrating. Abusing the author helps me to get rid of that frustration. But it was not my intention to frustrate Patrick with my actions. I'm sorry for that.

  8. I'm not frustrated, I just think you completely missed the point of the book altogether.

    You will find your own way, so good luck with that.

    No need to apologize. I dont get emotional over chess nonsense. On the internet i am direct and don't bury my point with politeness and smiley faces. I think there are tons of misperceptions proliferated on all these chess blogs. Sometimes i roll my eyes and close the window, sometimes i write a comment. Probably i am too confrontational in my comments. Anyway, peace out, hehe...
    :) ;) :-o :-* :-D

  9. BTW, when Buckley says, "Describe this position"

    I spend about one minute (max) on it. It's just not efficient or practical to spend 2 hours on one chess position.