Friday, September 19, 2014

McFarland Chess Books

Disclaimer: I have NO financial interest in their books.

I received a catalog of chess books by McFarland Publishing in the mail today and can highly recommend their books. I have a couple and am impressed with the quality, but be aware that they are pricey. For example, Alekhine’s Best Games 1902-1946 by Skinner and Verhoeven which contains 2,543 games will cost you $125; I don’t think there are any notes, just game scores with diagrams. Prices are generally in the $45 range!  Looking through the catalog, I could have spent about $500!

There are books with biographies and annotated games on the great, near great and obscure players:  Botvinnik, Nimzovich, Capablanca, Victorian players, Emil Kemeny, Kashdan, Arthur Kaufmann, W.H.K. Pollack, Adolf Albin, Julius Finn, Amos Burn, James Mason, Albert Hodges, James A. Leonard, Walter Penn Shipley, Steinitz, Frank Marshall, Thomas Frere, Reshevsky, Reuben Fine and more.  Next year they will be publishing books on Samuel Lipschutz, Vera Menchick and Ignaz Kolisch.

McFarland is a publisher of academic and nonfiction books ranging from history, military history, sports, literature, etc. Check them out at McFarland Publishing.  If you live in Europe, Australia, Asia or Africa you can check them out at Eurospanbookstore.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekly Deals by ChessOK!

From September 12 to September 18, the following special offers are available on

If you order products for more than $120/€100, choose one download programs for up to $25/€20 each as a bonus! Specify the bonus product(s) you want to receive in the comments field when filling the order form.

Download for $40 off

Download for $40 off
Other Specials:

Buy 1-year access to Lomonosov Tablebases at a 30% discount!

Buy one of 3 packages available in the Combo Packages section of their combo shop:

Complete Chess Strategy (Chess Strategy 3.0 + Chess Guide for Club Players + Chess Guide for Intermediate Players)
Complete Chess Opening (Opening Lab + Encyclopedia of Opening Blunders + How to Win Miniatures at Chess)
Complete Attack on the King (Attack on the King I + Attack on the King II + Advanced Defense).

Each of them contains 3 courses, but you only pay half the price if you order one of the packages while this offer is in effect!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Great Bargains on Playing Software

Fritz 13 - download, no waiting for shipping! Available from Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Download size is 3.3 GB and should take 45 minutes - 5 hours on broadband. Database contains over 1.5 million games, over 10 hours of video instruction. Fritz is, in my opinion, the best GUI available because it is the easiest to use. I recommend using the top-rated Stockfish 5 engine which is available for free download from the Stockfish site.

Chess King 3 2013 version with Houdini 3. 5 million game GigaKing Database, free updates 2013 classical and random playing modes, supports up to 6 cores and 4 GB of hash, 1500 puzzles. The Houdini 3 engine is worth the price $29 alone!

NOTE: When evaluating positions it’s always a good idea to get the opinion of at least TWO engines. The two I recommend are: Houdini because it gives the most realistic evaluation and is strong in the ending even without the use of tablebases. Stockfish is currently the top-rated engine and is very good in middlegame planning and tactics, but it is not as strong as Houdini in the endings. One word of caution: it’s evaluations usually are considerably higher than other engines.

Critter 1.6 - Another excellent free engine for double checking evaluations is Critter which is available for download from the Critter site. Critter's evaluations are closer to Houdini and it's only slightly weaker than Stockfish and Houdini. The SSDF complete engine rating list is probably the most accurate because of its slower time controls (40 moves in 40 minutes vs. the 40 moves in 4 minutes) and the standings there are:
1-Stockfish 5, 4 CPUs (3286)
2-Houdini 3 4 CPUs (3264)
5-Critter 4CPUs (3175)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Other Games

Learn to play Go!! It's fascinating!

You can play Go online at online-go

Cribbage is Fun!

Need to learn how to play Go, Cribbage or anything fast? Here's an interesting book…

Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill but when will you  find that much time and energy? To make matters worse, the early hours of practicing something new are always the most frustrating. That's why it's difficult to learn how to speak a new language, play an instrument, hit a golf ball, or anything else. It's so much easier to watch TV or surf the web... In The First 20 Hours, Josh Kaufman offers a systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition: how to learn any new skill as quickly as possible. His method shows you how to deconstruct complex skills, maximize productive practice, and remove common learning barriers. By completing just 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice you'll go from knowing absolutely nothing to performing noticeably well. This method isn't theoretical: it's field-tested. Kaufman invites readers to join him as he field tests his approach by learning to program a Web application, play the ukulele, practice yoga, re-learn to touch type, get the hang of windsurfing, and study the world's oldest and most complex board game.

Chess Opening Essentials: The Ideas & Plans Behind ALL Chess Openings, The Complete 1. e4 (Volume 1) by Stefan Djuric et al

Helps develop a solid understanding of fundamental opening ideas and gives you the ability to choose the opening that suits your style and taste. While this is not a book masters would be interested in, it is an outstanding resource for players that are looking for a general reference that explains most major lines in e4 openings. One of the best features are the conclusions of each line which gives the reader an idea of play in the middle and endgame. Highly recommended!!