Product reviews for Chess Improvement

R. B. Ramesh, chess coach

Most chess books try to deliver what the author believes to be the target audience’s expectation. In the process, few compromises are likely to be made, especially when the author believes that certain aspects of what they feel necessary to be conveyed may not be palatable for their readers. But Chess Improvement stands apart in this aspect as it takes an intense, personal, self-critical look into various aspects of self-improvement in chess. The authors relay their experiences in their chess careers in combination with the recent perspective obtained from Carol Dweck’s Mindset.

The first thought that came into my mind while reading Chess Improvement was that it is an honest book. The authors have aimed to relate their thinking processes to the concept of mindset and come up with theories that can explain why chess players do what they do. I was especially impressed by Peter Wells’ self-introspection on the issue of time-trouble, tracing its origins to a combination of perfectionism, fear of making mistakes, and lack of self-belief. Most readers who have played chess under chronic time-trouble habits will easily relate to this explanation.

For most players, learning in chess is not an automatic outcome of their effort in preparation, and many can struggle with transferring their acquired chess skills into strong moves during an over-the-board game in a tournament. The ability to handle our fluctuating emotions, pressures during a tournament, swinging confidence as per the results of individual games, worrying about the rating – these are just a few of the challenges faced by most upcoming players. Knowing oneself under the prism of mindset can give a better understanding of the reasons for our behaviour and possible solutions to handling ourselves effectively.

I would strongly recommend Chess Improvement for anyone who wants to understand himself or herself better and embark on their chess journey with clarity in their mind.

Bethan | 24/11/2021 14:51
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