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Old September 6th 05, 08:42 PM
Skeptic
 
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Default Misleading Book Titles.

I was browsing chess books in a store the other day, and noted two extremely
misleading chess titles. By "misleading" I do not mean "lousy book", a book
that fails to do what it intends to--I mean a book where there is no
connection between the book and the title.

The first was Eric Schiller's "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening", by
Eric Schiller, described on the cover as "the world's leading writer on
chess openings." The table fo contents instantly shows that this "complete"
book deals solely with the Caro-Kann! The second is "Pandolfini's Ultimate
Guide to Chess: Basic to Advanced Strategies with America's Foremost Chess
Tutor". The table of contents shows "Basic strategies" actually means "how
the pieces move", while "advanced strategies" means "centralize your king in
the endgame", "avoid doubled pawns", etc.

This is, simply, false advertising. Apparently, either the authors or the
publishers of these books decided that a book with "complete" or "ultimate"
in the title (and "leading writer" or "foremost teacher" next to the
author's name) would sell better, at least to their target
market--beginners--who do not know enough about chess to know they are being
misled.

Compare this to Capablanca, for example. When he wrote a book for beginners,
how did he call it? "Chess Secrets of the World Champion"? "The Ultimate
Chess Course from the World's Leading Chess Expert"? "The Complete Chess
Strategy Guide from the World's Foremost Player"? No--he simply called it
"Chess Fundamentals".

But then again, Capablanca was a gentleman.


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Old September 6th 05, 08:45 PM
 
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Geez...get a life.

- Mike Petersen

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Old September 6th 05, 08:54 PM
Chess One
 
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"Skeptic" wrote in message
...
I was browsing chess books in a store the other day, and noted two
extremely misleading chess titles. By "misleading" I do not mean "lousy
book", a book that fails to do what it intends to--I mean a book where
there is no connection between the book and the title.

The first was Eric Schiller's "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening", by
Eric Schiller, described on the cover as "the world's leading writer on
chess openings." The table fo contents instantly shows that this
"complete" book deals solely with the Caro-Kann! The second is
"Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess: Basic to Advanced Strategies with
America's Foremost Chess Tutor". The table of contents shows "Basic
strategies" actually means "how the pieces move", while "advanced
strategies" means "centralize your king in the endgame", "avoid doubled
pawns", etc.


I just reviewed an Everyman title which the cover described as
'comprehensive' but the author's own introduction described as 'a sketch',
and which the cover said was 'wild and aggressive', while the introduction
asserted 'sensible investment'.

This is, simply, false advertising. Apparently, either the authors or the
publishers of these books decided that a book with "complete" or
"ultimate" in the title (and "leading writer" or "foremost teacher" next
to the author's name) would sell better, at least to their target
market--beginners--who do not know enough about chess to know they are
being misled.


Yes - its good to read reviews if they are honest - especially since slim
titles are almost as expensive as ones double their size. Although in
reviewing another book recently it was clear to me that at least 50% of the
'reviewers' had no idea what was between the covers, and even those who
looked inside didn't actually bother to read much, and understood even less.

The Everyman title was incidentally 128 pages, copyright 2003, and cost
$19.95 in the USA. The Everyman site has listed the title as having 144
pages...

Compare this to Capablanca, for example. When he wrote a book for
beginners, how did he call it? "Chess Secrets of the World Champion"? "The
Ultimate Chess Course from the World's Leading Chess Expert"? "The
Complete Chess Strategy Guide from the World's Foremost Player"? No--he
simply called it "Chess Fundamentals".

But then again, Capablanca was a gentleman.


So he was, and 'disinterested' - but we should be aware that many chess
books from only a few publishing houses are reviewed by each other's
writers - so that it might incline me to slam your book because it might
compete with mine, or with my 'house-colleague'. Maybe this is even
justified on occasion, but how gentlemanly to have said that one was in the
exact same market at the same time with a competing product?

Cordially, Phil Innes


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Old September 6th 05, 10:28 PM
Skeptic
 
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Perhaps you can tell me this: who actually WRITES the cover / back cover
blurb on most chess books?

It seems that if an author writes a book about, say, the French defense,
publishers today think the cover must proclaim "WIN WITH THE FRENCH!", while
the back cover blurb must say "The world-famous super-expert on the French,
Grandmaster so-and-so, will show you in this book how to beat all your
opponents in fifteen moves or less as black, so you will add 1200 points to
your rating in three weeks."

I don't see the point of such fluff, and I suspect that, usually at least,
it's not the authors who are responsible for such nonsense, but the
publishers' marketing people.


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Old September 6th 05, 10:39 PM
Bruce Leverett
 
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Skeptic wrote:
I was browsing chess books in a store the other day, and noted two extremely
misleading chess titles. By "misleading" I do not mean "lousy book", a book
that fails to do what it intends to--I mean a book where there is no
connection between the book and the title.

The first was Eric Schiller's "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening", by
Eric Schiller, described on the cover as "the world's leading writer on
chess openings." The table fo contents instantly shows that this "complete"
book deals solely with the Caro-Kann!


You are misunderstanding.

The idea of "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening" is not to teach you
about all the different defenses, but to teach you one defense that
would be "complete" -- you wouldn't have to learn any other. This is
not a false or misleading title. Some years ago a whole bunch of books
came out with titles along the same lines: "Complete Defense to XXXX"
or "Complete Opening System for White". The idea in every case was to
enable a player to get by with just a very narrow opening repertoire.
The book you are quoting is just one of those.



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Old September 6th 05, 10:47 PM
Taylor Kingston
 
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Bruce Leverett wrote:
The idea of "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening" is not to teach you
about all the different defenses, but to teach you one defense that
would be "complete" -- you wouldn't have to learn any other. This is
not a false or misleading title.


I would agree. If the book examines the Caro-Kann in sufficient depth
and breadth, it could reasonably be billed as offering a "complete
defense" to 1.e4.
The cover blurb's claim that Eric Schiller is "the world's leading
writer on
chess openings" is another matter. Schiller might be considered so only
in terms of quantity, definitely not in quality.

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Old September 6th 05, 11:14 PM
Sam Sloan
 
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On 6 Sep 2005 14:47:41 -0700, "Taylor Kingston"
wrote:


Bruce Leverett wrote:
The idea of "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening" is not to teach you
about all the different defenses, but to teach you one defense that
would be "complete" -- you wouldn't have to learn any other. This is
not a false or misleading title.


I would agree. If the book examines the Caro-Kann in sufficient depth
and breadth, it could reasonably be billed as offering a "complete
defense" to 1.e4.
The cover blurb's claim that Eric Schiller is "the world's leading
writer on
chess openings" is another matter. Schiller might be considered so only
in terms of quantity, definitely not in quality.

Taylor Kingston claims that he never attacks Eric Schiller, but he
always does except of course when he is attacking one of his other
favorite targets, which include Larry Parr, Larry Evans, Ray Keene and
me.

Here, the claim is that Schiller is the "world's leading writer on
chess openings". I feel that the "world's leading writer" would be the
one who either writes the most or is read the most. It is not the
strongest player or who writes the best. Since Schiller clearly writes
the most and is probably read the most, his publisher is certainly
entitled to call him "the world's leading writer".

Sam Sloan
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Old September 6th 05, 11:15 PM
irvin
 
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When Max D'lugy was USCF President he stopped by a chess table in Washington
Square Park where Roman Dzindzichashvili was giving me 5-1.5 time odds for a
small wager. We struck a conversation and I eventually asked him how he felt
about the USCF selling books with "mutually-exclusive" titles like "Winning
with the Sicilian" and "Beating the Sicilian". He laughed a bit and we
dismissed it as regular publisher's hype.

The bottom line: buyer beware. Salespeople will present their products in
the most favorable light, even if that means bending/stretching/raping the
truth.

--
Irvin
-------------------------
http://www.pixel69.com


"Skeptic" wrote in message
...
I was browsing chess books in a store the other day, and noted two
extremely misleading chess titles. By "misleading" I do not mean "lousy
book", a book that fails to do what it intends to--I mean a book where
there is no connection between the book and the title.

The first was Eric Schiller's "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening", by
Eric Schiller, described on the cover as "the world's leading writer on
chess openings." The table fo contents instantly shows that this
"complete" book deals solely with the Caro-Kann! The second is
"Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess: Basic to Advanced Strategies with
America's Foremost Chess Tutor". The table of contents shows "Basic
strategies" actually means "how the pieces move", while "advanced
strategies" means "centralize your king in the endgame", "avoid doubled
pawns", etc.

This is, simply, false advertising. Apparently, either the authors or the
publishers of these books decided that a book with "complete" or
"ultimate" in the title (and "leading writer" or "foremost teacher" next
to the author's name) would sell better, at least to their target
market--beginners--who do not know enough about chess to know they are
being misled.

Compare this to Capablanca, for example. When he wrote a book for
beginners, how did he call it? "Chess Secrets of the World Champion"? "The
Ultimate Chess Course from the World's Leading Chess Expert"? "The
Complete Chess Strategy Guide from the World's Foremost Player"? No--he
simply called it "Chess Fundamentals".

But then again, Capablanca was a gentleman.



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Old September 6th 05, 11:48 PM
Taylor Kingston
 
Posts: n/a
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Sam Sloan wrote:

Here, the claim is that Schiller is the "world's leading writer on
chess openings". I feel that the "world's leading writer" would be the
one who either writes the most or is read the most. It is not the
strongest player or who writes the best.


One must concede that Sam is at least consistent. Not only does he
observe no discernible standards of quality himself, but he actively
prefers writers whose work is shoddy.

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Old September 7th 05, 03:54 AM
Skeptic
 
Posts: n/a
Default

X-no-Archives:yes

"Taylor Kingston" wrote in message
oups.com...

Bruce Leverett wrote:
The idea of "Complete Defense to King Pawn Opening" is not to teach you
about all the different defenses, but to teach you one defense that
would be "complete" -- you wouldn't have to learn any other. This is
not a false or misleading title.


I would agree. If the book examines the Caro-Kann in sufficient depth
and breadth, it could reasonably be billed as offering a "complete
defense" to 1.e4.
The cover blurb's claim that Eric Schiller is "the world's leading
writer on
chess openings" is another matter. Schiller might be considered so only
in terms of quantity, definitely not in quality.


I see both of your points, but I still think the title is deeply misleading.

Let's use an analogy. Suppose someone writes a book, "The Complete French
Cook Book". You open it and find out, to your amazement, that it contains
ONLY recipies for souffles. The excuse is that, since there are so many
different types of souffles in the French kitchen, one could limit oneself
only to them and still be able to cook apperizers, entrees, and desserts, so
it is "complete"... as long as one is willing to only eat souffles. Or how
about a book--"The Complete guide for Car Repair"--which deals only with
repairing Ford Pintos, excusing the title by saying that, after all, if you
voluntarily limit yourself to only driving a Pinto, then it IS a "complete"
guide as far as your concerned?

Surely you'd feel cheated? "Complete" implies broadness, variety, many
options--strictly speaking it implies looking at ALL options and varieties
of something, (although by that definition no "complete" book or guide is
ever really "complete"). To say a book is a "complete" reply to 1. e4 as
long as you limit yourself strictly to the Caro-Kann is (to paraphrase Henry
Ford) like claiming that the model Ts come in a "complete" range of colors,
as long as one is willing to only ask for black-hued colors. The differnce
is, Ford was kidding.

Seems like a marketing thing to me. Another book about the Caro-Kann? (Yawn)
who cares? But wait! If you agree only to play the Caro-Kann against 1.e4,
you now have a "complete reply to 1.e4"--just what the average 1400-player,
sick and tired of 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5/c4
play-until-somebody-hangs-material games is looking for! It's a goldmine!


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