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Old 12-13-2012, 05:15 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
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Amateur's Mind?

Hey guys,

I've been working on my tactics a good amount and am ~1200 on ICC but still have no real idea what I'm doing re: longer-term planning.

At what point do you think it makes sense to start reading a book like Silman's Amateur's Mind? I definitely have a long way to go tactics wise and don't want to focus on material that's too advanced for me.

On the other hand, it would be nice to have a bit more structure to my game / idea of what's going on...
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:30 AM   #2
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Re: Amateur's Mind?

I don't know that particular book, but in general I don't think it can hurt, and reading about chess will bear fruit in the long run.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:06 PM   #3
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Re: Amateur's Mind?

I can bear in quite well on that book. When I started to want to get better (my USCF was stagnant around 1050 in middle school), Amateur's Mind was the first book I picked up. At the time, I liked the texture of it and that's why I picked it up. I read through it the first time and didn't really understand the material that was being presented.

The second time I read it, I got serious about it. Both of my brothers had finished in the top 5 of their respective grade levels at states, and I had been playing chess longer so I wanted to do that as well. I would spend an hour after school reading that book over a physical chess board. I also wrote notes on a little notebook that I had about why certain moves were good, any lines that I might calculate, stuff like that. I really took the time to digest the material. I saw improved results the more I went into the book.

But I wouldn't read Amateur's Mind without planning to read How To Reassess Your Chess afterwards. Both of these books are really stepping stones into deeper chess thought. AM pretty much overviews and previews concepts that you'll learn in HTRYC. HTRYC goes much deeper into the concepts from AM and gives you the solid background. I wouldn't recommend reading HTRYC first because there is a bunch of information in it for a 1200 player, whereas reading AM will get you familiar with the topics so that you will have at least a small understand, which helps big time.

When reading AM, one of the things I would do would be to make the move I would make in the given position, just like the Amateur does, and then explain it in words on my notebook. I would compare it to the Amateur's move and also to what Silman says about their move and his other candidate moves. I would keep this process going until the end of the game, trying to hark upon what the chapter was introducing. If you work with both of those books, along with some chess problems, you will definitely improve. Those made me go from 1050 USCF (after being in the USCF for 5 years) to 1700 USCF in about a year. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:32 AM   #4
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Re: Amateur's Mind?

Everything from Silman is awesome. However, I personally would recommend working through How to Reassess your Chess and the How to Reassess your Chess Workbook before going through Amateur's Mind.

If you really like Silman's method of teaching, try Chess Mentor on too. I believe a lot of the content/method is from him. I think you have to be a premium member though.

Like ohsnapzbrah (from Hawaii?) I improved a lot from Silman. Currently I'm USCF 2000 but a little higher online, probably in good part from his books.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Re: Amateur's Mind?

it and reassess your chess were both great for me. i haven't gotten the new edition of reassess yet, but if it's anything like the last one, it's going to be really good.
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