Monday, February 8, 2010


Recently someone told me they liked chess books better than chess DVDs because there is so much more in the books. Yep, that's true. And you can fan through the book instead of reaching for your remote or mouse to change videos.

And, I've pointed out before that you can take books anywhere (almost--I don't think skydiving and reading a chess book [or more weird, playing chess] would be that interesting, though I am sure some one has done it).

But DVDs have a couple REALLY good points too. For some reason, I've noticed some books don't exactly go out of their way to identify a critical opening variation that is currently hotter than a pistol. They talk around it, talk about its fashionability, and that a lot of games have been played, and so on... but one thing a DVD tends to do is FOCUS on critical stuff (unless it is a Best Games DVD).

For example, if you look at former world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov's DVDs (three of them) on the French Defense, he gets right down to business. When he works on the Winawer, especially Botvinnik's Bishop retreat to a4 (Botvinnik probably did not originate this, but he did play it), Rustam shows the really critical variations and comes right out and says, in effect, Black will not survive while showing a game with the intrepid Artur Yusupov.

In fact, if DVD makers want to go one step further, they could put a couple of these video clips up front and tell you from the get-go, "there are problems here in the X-Y-Z." This could be done for the Sveshnikov Sicilian, the Gruenfeld Exchange, and doubtlessly, many other systems.

Then, when you get into that you can start seeing the value of previous tries, why some are rejected, and others reinstated. Today, and not later after a futile search of the internet to find more inaccurate reportings by weak players who have nothing else to do.

Kasparov quit playing the King's Indian. Occasionally one would read about this but many had figured he was having a harder time winning with it (in his style). Apparently the game that did it was in 1997 against Kramnik, which he lost. After that he didn't play it, and others were playing it less and less. Then Kasimdzhanov and Radjabov came along and began winning with it, and now it is ever more popular.

Most opening books don't tell stories. Instead, variations are pumped out like raw sewage in too many cases. When a DVD is made, there is always that chance a story may be told (some tell stories better than others--Korchnoi is one of the good ones). This makes certain points more easily retrieved.

Books and DVDs, they both have their innate value. I use both. DVDs generally cost more unless you have the G&L GOLD CARD ($50 for 2010). If you want to know more, send me an email and I will drop the February Update list in your email lap. Available now.

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