The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery

(Second Expanded Edition)
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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890085025
  • Publisher: Silman-James Pr
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: Second Expanded Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 443
  • Sales rank: 238,696
  • Product dimensions: 11.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 2.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 22, 2011


    I learned the general rules of chess as a child, but never really learned to play the game. I am now 28 and quite the hobby hopper. I've recently become interested in playing chess. I was fairly good at weighing obvious risks and rewards, but had no ability to begin the game and develop my pieces into a favorable position, or realize non-intuitive moves with big payoff. I picked this book up and it has had a significant impact on my game. Even after the first two chapters on imbalances and knights/bishops, the number of games I was winning improved by quite a bit. One of Silman's tactics for doing this is by giving examples of things his students did wrong. Silman has received a bit of criticism for this, but I believe it to be an excellent way of learning. As with anything else, people ultimately learn to do things by failing. You then assess why you failed and move forward. I believe it's the book's intention to incorporate this. It has worked well for me. The book isn't intended for pure beginners. It assumes you have knowledge of how pieces can move and can read chess notation. It is for next-step beginners. Because it is ultimately still for beginners, I think the book can be improved by graphically displaying every move listed in the examples. I realize that would add a significant number of pages to the book, but some people, like myself, are visual learners (a supplementary DVD may be more logical). As the author talks about how a board could/should(n't) be played, the moves are listed in chess notation, often with comments, and it is quite a bit of work to go back and forth between the text and the page with the initial diagram. It also becomes a bit difficult to visually keep track of the pieces in your head as many of these examples are many moves long. Having said that, there's no harm in absorbing the book slowly. You learn a lot every step of the way and your game will see a noticeable improvement as you progress, regardless of how fast you peruse through the book. I highly recommend this book for a beginner looking to develop a head for the game.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2000

    If you are below expert strength,and you miss this book,then you'll probably never EVER improve!!

    One of the top 3 best books for an amateur ever written.This is an outstanding follow up book to Silman's 'How to Reasess your Chess'.I would recommend that a person should read How to Reasess your chess first and then should come to this book.It is so entertaining when you see that Mr.Silman gives a position to an amateur(900 to 2100) and asks him to play it against him.We see how the amateur thinks(and it seems as if we ourselves were analysing the position).Most of the time the amateur makes the same mistakes that I would make.Mr.Silman asks the student to explain every move he plays and the plan he has formulated in a position.Then he gives his own opinion.It seems as if Mr.Silman is sitting next to you and explaining everything personally.I tell you ,this book will force you to play correct and logical chess with every move based on a certain plan.You'll be forced to improve.This book will give a lower rated person confidence against a 2000 rated person since this book reveals that even 2000 rated people don't think much better than say 1700+ people.What I mean to say is that all these guys (1500-2000) make the same mistakes,shifting from one idea to another and reacting to opponent's threats while forgetting their own plans.This book will make every strategical concept and every position that could occur on a chess board seemingly easy.At least one would be playing with a certain plan at all times(not a hypothetical plan but a plan based on imbalances).Most amateurs know about imbalances and can probably even list them,but almost none try to make use of them in actual play.This book will force you to make use of such imbalances.I think I have said more than enough.Befor buying this masterpiece ,you could read the first chapter quickly and can judge for yourself.(and I am sure that you would be reading the next chapter at your home).Buy this,or quit serious chess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    Very good strategy book

    Learn more about strategy directed at the non-master (average chessplaying Joe). Well done in that the author has a good conceptual understanding on how the non-master thinks and where his/her typical misconceptions are. Not really a book on chess psychology, which has been already pointed out (getting the book Winning Chess Tournaments would be good for that as well as training material and methods).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2006

    More a book on chess stategy than a book on chess psychology

    This is a very good book when it comes to teaching chess strategy. Some excellent concepts are covered and this author has a good way of making things clear and touching on the important stuff that wins games. However, if you think you are getting a book that is going to teach you how the mind works and doesn't work in chess psychology this book really doesn't go there (e.g. 'retained immage', 'inert immage', 'forward immage').

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2004

    Lock Your Doors, Break Out Your Set and Roll Up Your Sleeves, It's Time to Go to Work!!!

    I bought this book a few years ago and now I can't wait to start playing again after a 10 year layoff. My last rating was around 1680 and after reading Silmans book from cover to cover, ( a first for me!)I feel I'll do just fine at the chess board. This book is a must if your serious about improving. Mr. Silman is clear and concise and there isn't the pages upon pages of analysis that I find more of a road block than helpful instruction. (Chess writers should read this book to see how it's done right!) True Mr. Silman can be harsh on his students but he's passionate about wanting them to succeed; and at under $20 it's like you have your own personal instructor. You can't beat that at any price! Highly recommended!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2000

    Finally, a book that teaches you how to solve problems

    I am a beginning chess player, but found the Silman style outstanding. Learning how to think about chess problem solving is so much more helpful than just memorizing moves. This book really improved my game, and more importantly, improved my enjoyment of the game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2000

    Excellent Instruction for Beginners and Club Players

    If you've ever sat at the board after the opening was played and wondered 'Now what?' this book is for you. Silman gives clearly written, easily understood guidance in determining what side of the board you should be playing on, what your plan should be, how to make your pieces better than your opponents, and more. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2000

    This book is a must if you seriously want to improve your game!

    This is the first chess book I have ever read but only after being halfway through the book I can already see a dramatic improvement in my game. Before reading this book, if I was presented with a problem position I would be lost in a daze. Silman offers clear explanations and chess rules that I swear by whenever I play a game.

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    Posted February 8, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

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