Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"The New Era of Chess Publishing"

...or so Robert Pearson terms it at his promising new chess blog where he discusses some new self-published books. Of course, he should mention as well himself and most other chess bloggers, who are using the most immediate (and least expensive, for both readers and writers) mode of publishing to share their ideas on the game. The sudden user-friendliness of blogging and desktop publishing have certainly sparked a revolution.

Of course, people have been using the web to share their chess ideas for quite a while. I have read a number of excellent forum postings over the years, especially at my favorite forum, Openings for Amateurs, monitored by Pete Tamburro (who shares a lot of his own analysis there). The old forum (where I once read a great posting by "Schliemann Mann," for instance, on the Scandinavian) has also been a vehicle for amateur analysis, though it gets tons of spam nowadays. Blogs seem to be supplanting forums to a large extent as the main vehicle for amateur analysis.

I have not read many self-published or amateur-authored chess books, but those I have read I have enjoyed. Several self-published books I own in second editions that became mainstream successes, such as Ariel Mengarini's Predicament in Two Dimensions, James West's Dynamic Philidor Counter-Gambit, and the Hatch's Dogs of War. One of my favorite self published works (which the author sent me personally years back) is by Adrian Skelton, whose analysis of the Jackal Attack in the French Defense even appeared in New in Chess. So there is some quality self-published stuff out there. And you have to ask yourself, which is better: a ten-year "labor of love" by an expert chess analyst like Mr. Skelton or a weekend job for pay by a GM? Consider that the GM may not want to tell his readers (some of whom may be future opponents) everything he knows about certain lines or that the success of his work may require him to make exaggerated claims ("the Blackmar Diemer Gambit is deadly!") and you start to realize that some amateur analysis may sometimes be more honest. And we certainly know that lots of GM analysis has been refuted... How many of you have found errors in the books you read? I know I have--especially if the book was written before the widespread use of chess computers or databases. Though amateur judgments may be less trustworthy than GMs, sometimes amateur ideas are just as good.

So welcome to Mr. Pearson, whose blog I have added to the long list of "amateur chess writing" that I read regularly....


Blogger Newvictorian said...

Thank you very much!

Wed Feb 08, 01:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Adrian Skelton said...

Thank-you for your comments on The Jackal Attack
In fact the book has been updated in 2005 to include the latest analysis on key lines and some fresh attacking ideas.
Adrian Skelton

Thu Feb 16, 06:09:00 PM EST  

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