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Groin Tarasov
Groin Tarasov

My System Chess Praxis _TOP_

"As a chess player, Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) belonged to the very best. In his peak years the Latvian-born maestro was ranked third in the world behind Capablanca and Alekhine. However, Nimzowitsch will first and foremost be remembered as the founder of the Hypermodern movement and the author of two undisputed masterpieces, unique landmarks in the history of chess.In My System, he expounded his theories of prophylaxis, blockade and much more, while providing ground-breaking insights in pawn structures. In the sequel Chess Praxis, Nimzowitsch demonstrated how he had successfully tested his theories in his games.[...]

My System Chess Praxis


As a chess player, Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) belonged to the very best. In his peak years the Latvian-born maestro was ranked third in the world behind Capablanca and Alekhine. However, Nimzowitsch will first and foremost be remembered as the founder of the Hypermodern movement and the author of two undisputed masterpieces, unique landmarks in the history of chess.

Watson starts with a discussion of various eformats whether they be PDF files, or based on ChessBase or PGN formats. He then looks at the features of the newer e+chess app, and at the new e+books version of Chess Praxis. More reviews should follow soon.

When it comes to books, I'm an old-fashioned reader, whether it comes to fiction or non-fiction. That is, I generally prefer to hold a physical book and turn its pages, just as I do a magazine or newspaper. Nevertheless, it's clear that as time progresses a higher percentage of published material will be coming to us in electronic form (with increased video content), including both original and reproduced content. Chess publication is no exception, obviously. We already have numerous chess news services and magazines online, for example. In addition, the word 'ebook' is used for a variety of formats used in electronic versions of chess books. The simplest is a PDF copy of an existing book. Most of these PDFs are scanned from existing books by individuals. This might serve a useful role of historical preservation of out-of-print books, but raises ethical issues when copies of books in print are distributed on the internet. Authors are deprived of royalties thereby, and should this practice become the norm it will seriously damage the market for conventionally-produced chess books. That is presumably one reason among several why chess publishers, looking ahead, are turning to electronic products which are potentially more secure. They can also have many more features, above all allowing the reader to click or tap through the moves in the book. Of course, the major publishers (and independent authors) also put their books up on devices such as Kindle and the Nook, as well as selling original publications on Amazon or on websites. I'll try to mention and discuss many of these alternate forms of publication in future reviews.

In this review, I'll be looking at an impressive newer type of ebook put out for IPad, Iphone, and IPod touch by e+books. First, however, I want to present some background about established electronic publications. As indicated by my reviews, they have become a major part of the chess publishing landscape over the past decade. As an author, player, and teacher, the introduction of electronic chess products by companies such as ChessBase, Everyman, and Chess Informant has been a godsend for me. For example, Everyman ebooks are very close copies of their original physical books, preserving all moves and wording, but they are presented in ChessBase database format, which means that they are readable by the established database programs (for example, ChessBase and ChessBase Reader) and PGN readers. This provides the convenience of being able to add or edit analysis, for example, and merge games and variations from other sources into their files. Everyman ebooks were formerly DVDs (there are still many chess products out there sold only on DVD, of course), but getting them directly from their website saves time and mailing expense. Everyman has more recently developed its Chess Viewer program/App for tablets and mobile devices; this enables customized ebooks to be read on IOS and Android platforms. The Chess Viewer can also read any PGN file from an external source. These new customized files, which are PGN versions, are downloadable and also readable by various readers, but must be purchased separately from the ChessBase format versions. I see 185 'traditional' ebooks listed on the Everyman site (for use in database programs or PGN readers), and it looks as though a majority of these are already available in the Chess Viewer format. Again, these are all reproductions of Everyman's physical editions. As far as I know, no works have been written exclusively for Everyman's electronic formats.

Naturally there are many other DVD and online products out there. Furthermore, with the widespread use of tablets and smartphones have come a slew of chess apps designed for them. I'm not an expert about what's out there, and will limit my comments to the IPad. Most apps for the Ipad and Iphone seem to be either for beginners or some kind of tutorial; there are also numerous playing apps. However, ebook reader apps are rare, and usually very primitive.

In this column I want to give an overview of the sophisticated e+Chess app by e+Books (I'll call them 'ePlus'), which can be used on both IPad, IPhone and touch IPod. I will also review one of its ebooks, a new translation of Chess Praxis. The app itself is free from the Apple itunes store; what you pay for are the books you choose to download. These books, once purchased, will be updated automatically as changes and revisions are made; this is a feature heretofore unavailable to chess fans.

What are the limitations of this program and format? First, you shouldn't confuse these ebooks with a database program, in which you can merge information from outside sources, do player and position searches, or send a game to a friend, for example. Furthermore, since this is a reader program, you aren't able to make or save changes in a local copy. The only thing I really miss, however, is an embedded analytical chess engine with which to assess positions and suggest the best moves. Fortunately, that feature is in the works and will be part of the e+Chess program in the future. As yet, there are only a moderate number of titles: I count 26 books, and in addition, there are articles from the New in Chess series Secrets of Opening Surprises, which I have reviewed in this column. You get a free sample book, Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals, and an interactive User's Manual. The good news is that this list is rapidly growing, and will expand dramatically soon, because ePlus is converting many of New in Chess' stable of hundreds of chess books for its app. For now, these books appear in the e+chess app store, and as time goes on, New in Chess will also be using its version of the app (produced for them by ePlus) to convert some of their books, which will appear in a distinctively New In Chess e-bookstore in the NIC app.

In his new translations of Nimzowitch's Chess Praxis and My System for ePlus (the latter book is just now appearing), Robert Sherwood has finally succeeded in rendering Nimzowitsch faithfully, something earlier translations have failed to do. Several books translated by Sherwood have been featured in these columns. For example, Avro 1938, Karlsbad 1907, and Pasadena 1932. His translation of Paul Morphy - a Games Collection, by Geza Maroczy, was eminently readable and is in fact also available in an e+chess edition. Sherwood's Chess Praxis translation sticks to the spirit of the writing, particularly insofar as the English text remains light-hearted and earthy. From Sherwood's Translator's Introduction:

Nimzowitsch's games are the essence of the book, and his ideas and opinions are largely contained in his annotations. There are 135 games; 109 are numbered, complete, and presumably 'main' games; the others include some fragments, but also complete games which are annotated in considerable depth. Nimzowitsch's opponents range from the superstars of his time (e.g., Tarrasch, Chigorin, Maroczy, Reti, Alekhine, Capablanca, Rubinstein, Spielman, Bogoljubow, and the like) to strong club players who play surprisingly well. I think that someone who has read My System thoroughly will be surprised to see that the games in Chess Praxis often bear little relationship with the themes and ideas expressed in the former book. Several of the examples in the chapter on overprotection, for instance, seem to be a bit of a stretch, but they are instructive in and of themselves. And in general, Nimzowitsch's insights are worthwhile whether or not they conform to the philosophic generalities expressed in his masterpiece. The excellent chapter on isolated and hanging pawns illustrates a number of subtleties that you won't find in most books covering the subject today. And the section "The 'Elastic' Treatment of the Opening: the Transition from One Opening to Another" contains a remarkably modern-looking set of examples in Indian Systems. About contemporary reaction to the concept of flexible opening play, Nimzowitsch has this typically sardonic passage: "This stratagem, introduced in his day by the author, was regarded by the wiseacres of the Tarrasch period as the product of decadence. For example, Therkatz, an amateur of sufficiently feeble ability as to have been placed in charge of a rather important chess column, asserted that to mask one's intentions in the opening showed a "lack of courage"!" 041b061a72


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