Friday, November 6, 2015

Analyze You Chess by Colin Crouch

      I rarely buy chess books anymore because 1) I no longer care to study and 2) like most players I learned that I was throwing money down a rat hole buying chess books with good intentions, but never reading them. This recent purchase was an exception. 
     According to the blurb Crouch believes the key to sustained improvement lies in the critical analysis and assessment of your own games. Each and every game you play provides a significant learning opportunity, and this opportunity should never be squandered. In this book which is actually a sequel to Why We Lose at Chess Crouch examines what can be done to maximize results and increase one's rating. Magic words for chess players, increase your rating. 
     The focus is on improving decision making, how to plan after the opening, how to maintain objectivity, improving endgame skills, the psychological aspects of the game, and more. Crouch looks at his own games (not because they are perfect, but you always understand your own games best) and his style is entertaining and a lot of fun to read and I think that's why I liked this book so much. 
     His focus is on games he blew...wins that were drawn, draws that were lost. Don't look for a lot of tactical play because Crouch is essentially a positional player with a limited opening repertoire and a love of the Scandinavian Defense. Still, the games are thoroughly annotated and I especially liked his prose explanations which is a change from much of the computer analysis you often see. Instead of bare bones computer analysis Crouch explains what he was thinking during the game which gives us a lot of insight into how master really think. I like that; it's almost like you are having a conversation with an IM.  Although there is a certain IM that I am familiar with whom I have seen analyzing in rapid fire fashion and playing moves so fast you could hardly  follow his hand.  Then after telling everybody, "See, black is lost." and before you could see anything, he would already be resetting the pieces back to their original position.  He had some students, but none of them ever improved much...I wonder why.
     There are some editing issues, but that seems to be something we have to live with these days. Good for anybody below master. Check out Amazon's Look Inside feature and it'll probably convince you that it's an excellent book!

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