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Think Like A Grandmaster Paperback – 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Batsford; Algebraic ed edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713478853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713478853
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the book that has spawned a large number of other books on the subject of the Grandmaster's thinking processes. It is a classic and for that reason gets 3 stars from me. However, I do believe that the premise upon which this book is based is flawed and for that reason I do not give it a higher rating. Let me explain what I mean.

In this book, Kotov outlines his theory on why GMs are better than IMs, why IMs are better than FMs etc. It all has to do with analysis. They analyse better. Yes, yes, yes. He is right. They do. But why do GMs analyse better? This is the key question. I think Kotov got the answer wrong.

Kotov claims that he was a poor analyst, but that he improved by doing regular exercises in which he analysed complex positions, writing down all the variations. Each position was analysed only once to create a "Tree of Analysis". Candidate moves are chosen and then each move analysed one by one, branch by branch until the analysis is complete. The problem with this idea is that if flies in the face of contradictory evidence that this approach works. I DO agree with Kotov that improvement in analysis is the key to becoming a stronger player. I do not agree that his method will do more than produce a small change in your playing strength.

The contradictory evidence:

1) As so clearly pointed out by Richard Reti in his classic "New Ideas in Chess" even if there is a choice of only 3 moves at each branch point in the tree of analysis, the number of branches becomes so thick that it is impossible to analyse each branch. What distinguishes a titled players analysis from the analysis of a weaker player is the ability to EXCLUDE irrelevant moves, not include ALL moves. Humans will never be like computers in this regard.
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Format: Paperback
There are many books out there that claim to teach the Intermediate level player how to look for the best move during middlegame play but fall short of fulfilling their end of the bargain. This book is one of the ones that goes above and beyond what the title promises. Even as far as to show you how to create a PLAN (contrary to what "How To Reassess Your Chess" by IM Jeremy Silman states in regards to books that show one how to form a plan; also another great middlegame book by the way). However, there are some mistakes that must have occured when transposing the original descriptive notation to algebraic notation. But if your're looking to 'really' improve as a chess player then you have to expect to run accross some mistakes along the way. A word of advice: Ignore the mistakes the minute you find them and just forge ahead! There are some great ideas given in the examples of games from many Russian Grandmasters that if looked for in ones own games it WILL help to improve ones overall rating. That is of course, if you're willing to study this book thoroughly by not only setting up the positions given in the book on your own board but also by incorporating the suggestions given into your own chess strategies. So, if you want to know how to train your mind to think like a grandmaster, buy the book!
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Format: Paperback
This is a classic. Alexander Kotov analyses the way Chess players analyse! This is a highly original book which attempts to look at the thought processes of grandmasters, and provided recommendations and tips for thinking faster and more effectively through the maze of variations one encounters during chess games. Tips include being systematic by enumerating candidate moves at the outset, and following each variation once and once only to avoid going backwards and forwards between variations.
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Format: Paperback
Many other GMs criticize this book as an unrealistic way of trying to analyze. Notice that they say unrealistic, not wrong. They think that it's impossible to analyze so many moves like the computer. But IMO they are forgetting one thing: that Kotov is writing this book for amateurs who have no real intuitions and pattern recognizition abilities to magically 'feel' the position and how the tactics and strategies should go. For amateurs who use this method they will start by trying to analyze a certain position to the fullest extend, then with practice they will develope the natural intuition that the Grandmasters have. That I believe, is the point of Kotov's book here: to give weak players a guidance to how to develope this intuition that virutally all the GM nowadays have that enable to to omit moves that are just wrong.
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Format: Paperback
There are many books out there that claim to teach the Intermediate level player how to look for the best move during middlegame play but fall short of fulfilling there end of the bargain. This book is one of the ones that goes above and beyond what the title promises. Even as far as to show you how to create a PLAN (contrary to what "How To Reassess Your Chess" by IM Jeremy Silman states in regards to books that show one how to form a plan; also another great middlegame book by the way). However, there are some mistakes that must have occured when transposing the original descriptive notation to algebraic notation. But if your're looking to 'really' improve as a chess player then you have to expect to run accross some mistakes along the way. A word of advice: Ignore the mistakes the minute you find them and just forge ahead! There are some great ideas given in the examples of games from many Russian Grandmasters that if looked for in ones own games it WILL help to improve your overall rating. That is of course, if you'rewilling to study this book thoroughly by setting up the positions given in the book on your OWN board and incorporate them into your daily play. So, if you want to train your mind to think like a grandmaster, buy the book!
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