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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grandmaster Reading Material

I’ve often wondered what, if any, chess books do GM’s read? One time at a major tournament I spent some time in the bookseller’s room observing. I watched to see what types of books players picked up and browsed or actually purchased.

The results weren’t too surprising. Lower rated players gravitated towards opening books and books on tactics. Masters tended to browse books of famous player’s best games, endgame books and because this was way back when, tournament books. I don’t remember any GM’s being present, so can’t say what they looked at

But I’ve always wondered what books are in a GM’s library. Funny but I’ve met and talked to quite a few GM’s over the years but never thought to ask one what was in his library. So when the May issue of Chess Life magazine arrived I found the book review on Viktor Moskalenko’s Revolutionize Your Chess: A Brand-new System to Become a Better Player by GM Alexandra Kosteniuk interesting. She didn’t highly recommend the book but she wrote:

“Every time I open a chess book, I hope to find something that will help me become a stronger chess player. Don’t be surprised by my declaration; even world champions still have the desire to play better chess and are ready to do almost anything to reach that goal.

However, my experience has been that the likelihood of finding some magic secret in any particular chess book is quite low. In order to get as much as possible from even the greatest of chess books, you will need to spend quite a lot of time on it, sinking into every single move and idea it contains, page by page to the very end. Nevertheless, there is still a glimmer of hope in my heart and I keep opening up chess books hoping to one day find the ultimate truth that will make me a better player.”

Interesting. Apparently they read the same stuff as the rest of us.

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