Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

Current Book List: Chess, Chess, Chess


Although I was never fortunate enough to take part of the chess club… anywhere… I have always loved the game intensely. Some of my fondest growing up memories are of me and my dad playing chess for long hours at a time. However, I’ve never really progressed much through the years, and haven’t taken the time to try to improve. Well, having gotten my clock cleaned a few times on FICS, I’ve decided it’s time to read a bit.

  • So I started out with the deprecatingly-titled Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chess. Definitely a good book and I recommend it as a good first read. Towards the end, the author recommended some good “next” books to read. I was painfully aware that I was completely ignorant about opening sequences, so I pre-ordered…
  • Modern Chess Openings, 15th Edition. This was highly touted–both by the author of my first book and by those who have reviewed it on Amazon. I’ll say this… It’s very complete and completely overwhelming. I don’t yet have a nice chess set, and don’t really have a way to look at the board layout in the midst of all of the notations, so it’s just not manageable for me… yet. I definitely feel that it’s a solid book to have and will keep looking at it as I get more used to reading algebraic notation and being able to hold a mental picture of the board layout while reading.
  • The next book I’m reading through is the REALLY cool Tal-Botvinnik, 1960. I actually bought it on a whim as I was buying MCO, since I wanted to spend enough for free shipping… =;) But MAN, it is SO cool! It’s very well-done technically and Tal does a very nice job of explaining each move of the matches in detail, which is helping me learn all the more. But what’s really cool is the inside look into Tal’s mind! Tal’s writing style is easy and flows well and I’m really enjoying the behind-the-scenes look at how he prepared for the epic battle and what was going on in his head throughout the process. Awesome!
  • And lastly, probably in frustration with my inability to really dive into MCO and grasp it just yet, I found Winning Chess Openings (Winning Chess – Everyman Chess) at the local Barnes and Noble. I was looking for something that had a lot more description (you know… in words!) of the opening sequences. Now, to be fair, the level of depth that Yasser is able to achieve in this book can’t possibly rival MCO. But I am already enjoying the easy style that Yasser writes in, and I’m looking forward to get some good understanding of some of the more important opening series by both white and black.

Hm, also, as an aside… I’m trying out Amazon’s little referral thingey and I’m pretty disappointed. I think what’s absolutely needed is a firefox plugin like the tinyurl-creating one. You know… right-click on an Amazon page or picture or something and have it generate the HTML for you. And PLEASE, Amazon, stop using javascript to generate URLs!!! Having to go back and forth to your widget-creating thingey is PAINFUL. If you can’t do it all inline from your web browser without switching tabs… well, it just stinks. Okay, bye.

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....


  1. Hi, nice blog. πŸ™‚ I too enjoy chess very much as a hobby and must say your selection seems great. But, what you should note, although openings come first in the game, you should actually try to learn them last.

    Start of with endgame, when you get the hang of it (for example, the oposition, triangulation, defending bishop and rook pawns queening, etc), you go about middle game tactics and end up with openings.

    When you know where you’re going with it, the opening just seem natural and you can learn them with ease.

    Have fun playing! πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Dado, I play chess as a hobby too.
    could you please point me to some good endgame book?
    I didn’t know lots of term you use, like triangulation , defending bishop etc.
    Thank you

  3. @marco

    I can’t really point you to books, I’ve used the Academy tutorials included with Ubisoft’s Chessmaster (10th and 11th edition) by Josh Waitzkin. Chessmaster is one of my two reasons for using Windows at all. πŸ™ Sadly, I cannot find a real Linux alternative.

    I’ve even planned learning KDE development by trying to write a Chess Learning Enviroment which would include user contributed tutorials with interactive board, games database etc, it could be based on Tagua, I guess.

  4. thank you,
    I still haven’t finished Academy tutorial πŸ™‚

    When you play against CHESSMASTER, what it’s your level in ranked play? I’m playing against character at level ( ELO??) 1000
    see you.
    I still use windows for chess, photo, and GAMES πŸ™‚

  5. Hey guys! =:)

    @Dado: Yeah, I guess what you’re saying makes sense about learning endings first. I think I’ll read the short openings book first and see how that helps me. I think I’ll have a better understanding for where I should focus next, after putting the openings to practice and seeing where I fall short. =:)

    And yeah, I would actually REALLY like to get the best computer Chess teaching program I could find. It irritates me to have to launch a Windows VM to do it, but with VMware’s new Unity mode, it’ll be much less painful. At least the game will fit in with my other Linux programs without having to stare at a big box for the VM with only the game playing… I bought Chessmaster, The Art of Learning for my PSP and it’s pretty good, but is really frustratingly lacking in any kind of theory/system teaching and has no way to download and review matches, etc.

    @Dado: Is Chessmaster for Windows the best learning program you’ve seen?

  6. @Jason
    I had the exact same reasoning (read the openings first to see where it takes me) but at the end I had to go the endgame way to learn something, without it you’ll just try to memorize the openings which is NOT the way to go.

    I don’t know about CM for PS but the Windows version has a pretty good overview, from beginner to intermediate player, with the theory covered well. You even have a chance to learn/practice openings if you like. πŸ™‚

    I’d say Chessmaster is pretty good, I’ve also seen Chessbase and it’s decent, you study by example which can be nice, but you need the theory (like from CM) to fully understand it. I haven’t used Chessbase, though.

  7. We need a great opensource chess software that beats ChessMaster, ChessBase, ChessAssistant, etc.

    eBoard is decent for playing on FICS or reviewing a game. Knights (for kde) isn’t much better…

    I also agree that learning openings first is not the best idea. Learning some opening theories, however, would be beneficial.

    I mostly play correspondence now, since I don’t have the time to sit down and play an entire game.

    If anyone is interested in a game, you can find me at Red Hot Pawn:

    I’d be glad to have a game with you!

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