Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   Report Post  
Old May 3rd 06, 09:36 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
 
Posts: n/a
Default Keene confronts his critics

WINNING WITH THE NIMZO-INDIAN

By GM Ray Keene

I have spent some time rooting out the ratpackers and gathering
material for my forthcoming Hardinge Simpole book "Winter of
Discontent."

Now, for my next chapter, I address Randy Bauer's criticism of my
book Winning with the Nimzo Indian. I trust he did not think I would
ignore his tirade, a cunning piece of linguistics --apparently damning
but in reality boiling down to just two propositions:

a) I didn't write the book Bauer wanted me to write.

b) Bauer's chess prowess is too low to follow what I in fact wrote.

In his rhodomontade Bauer has supplied opinion dressed up as fact with
the occasional distortion thrown in! This is a far more subtle attack
than, for example, Taylor Kingston's assault on my Nimzowitsch book. He
simply stumbled into elephant trap after elephant trap of factual
refutation.

1. Page one of the introduction clearly states it is a companion volume
to How to play the Nimzo-Indian co-authored by myself and IM Shaun
Taulbut (former European junior champion, silver medallist in the
British championship and gold medallist in the World Students'
championship). I think this may have been overlooked by some critics.

2. However, Winning with the Nimzo also stands alone in its own right.
I see nothing in the entire canon of western literature, technical or
otherwise, that prohibits sequels that don't repeat some material from
the original. Doubtlessly if I had repeated myself from How to Play the
Nimzo Indian, I would have been attacked for that instead

3. In this book there is a perfectly good contents list. I don't
believe in complicated indexes for opening books. I am always wary of
transpositions in such "complete" indexes and prefer to use organic
games for people who want to understand chess strategy and not be spoon
fed variations neatly packaged with a guaranteed win for people like
Bauer.

Sorry, chess is a bit more complex than that. Writers can guide
you down paths that have worked before -- winning strategies as I put
it on the front cover of the latest edition -- but the complexity of
chess is such that deviations can occur literally anywhere.

4. The bibliography contains 19 referencesof sources that were actually
consulted in writing the book.

5. Index of games is certainly an amendment worth considering in the
next edition.

6. Bauer doesn't like the complete games format for opening books. I
think I may say that my very first book Flank Openings, universally
hailed as a classic, introduced this method which has been widely
copied . It gives readers a chance to play through annnotated games for
ideas, alternatives and variations. The notion came to me as a teenager
when I read Peter Clarke's classic book on Tal .

I suddenly realised that studying those complete games where Tal
was black vs 1 d4 was an ideal way to learn the Modern Benoni. Using
that method I reeled off 15 straight wins with this defence which
showed me its value. If it worked for me as a young player, it could
work for others too. If Bauer dislikes this approach or my notes, I
'm afraid it comes down to a difference of opinion.

7. I am accused of giving a game way past the decisive moment and
meandering on when the agony could have been stopped. Maybe Bauer is
referring to my inclusion of Alekhine - Sultan Khan, London 1932, with
Alekhine's own notes. This is so little known that I thought the whole
game worth repeating for historical purposes. I never saw it before
researching this book and felt that readers might be interested.

8. I am accused of under analysing the so-called main line which
occurred in, for example, Reshevsky-Larsen, Dallas 1957. The truth is
that I had written everything I wanted to say about this in How to Play
the Nimzo Indian and this main line had ceased to be a major highway of
theory at the time Winning With the Nimzo was produced. However, a
postal player called Markauss found a couple of interesting but not
deeply tested ideas. I cited them, but a good new idea does not have to
be backed up with reams of notes showing how clever the author is.

I recall that Bobby Fischer made a throwaway comment precisely one
move deep about the possibility of ..Nh5 in the Austrian attack Pirc in
his 60 Memorable Games. I picked up on this and played what I believe
was the first ever game with this move (Safvat - Keene, Siegen Olympiad
1970) and later made a living out of it including a win over Gligoric.
Thank you, Bobby!

9. I am told my chapter on the ...b6 variation is confusing (pages
111-116). It contains revolutionary material based on my watching
first hand a Bobby Fischer vs. Portisch game and their post mortem in a
razor sharp line. I thought this material was sensational. Bauer says
it's confusing. I suppose it all depends on your perspective.

10. My chapter 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 was the highlight of
the book. I went to Linares where Kasparov, Spassky, Short, Beliavsky
and Gelfand were competing -- all experts in this line. I watched
their games and jotted down notes from the post mortems and produced
what I thought was red hot analysis straight from Olympus to my
readers. How many other opening monographs have involved a foreign trip
for research purposes?

Yet Bauer and Vince Hart tell me the emphasis is all wrong, some of
it too long, some of it too short, and quite confusing. Since they are
both honorable men, when they say they are confused, I believe them!

11. I have looked closely at this chapter and have in fact found two
things wrong on page 22 and on page 25. Modern practice favours would
have been better a better way of putting it than modern practice has
seen.

Apart from that I find their attack personal, idiosyncratic, and filled
with prejudice dressed up as holy writ.

Bauer and Hart utterly fail to point out concrete errors or poor
analysis. They probably would have preferred a book listing lines in a
tree that lead to an automatic win for whichever colour they are
playing. Victory by auto pilot. But it's not that sort of book.

Sorry, guys, my book is clearly not for you.

-- GM Ray Keene

  #2   Report Post  
Old May 3rd 06, 02:07 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
Randy Bauer
 
Posts: n/a
Default Keene confronts his critics


wrote:
WINNING WITH THE NIMZO-INDIAN

By GM Ray Keene

I have spent some time rooting out the ratpackers and gathering
material for my forthcoming Hardinge Simpole book "Winter of
Discontent."

Now, for my next chapter, I address Randy Bauer's criticism of my
book Winning with the Nimzo Indian. I trust he did not think I would
ignore his tirade, a cunning piece of linguistics --apparently damning
but in reality boiling down to just two propositions:

a) I didn't write the book Bauer wanted me to write.


That is correct. I was hoping for something with a lot more attention
to detail, original work, and assistance so that the reader can
actually assimilate the material. A higher content per page count
would have also helped.

b) Bauer's chess prowess is too low to follow what I in fact wrote.


So, Keene was writing this book for internationally titled players? I
wonder how many copies he sold to them.

Given that I was an active tournament player at the time with a rating
between 2200-2300, Keene's assertion is hollow.

It reminds me, though, of discussions I have often had with my
children: when they are confronted by poor behavior they usually
indicate that I "just don't understand."

In his rhodomontade Bauer has supplied opinion dressed up as fact with
the occasional distortion thrown in! This is a far more subtle attack
than, for example, Taylor Kingston's assault on my Nimzowitsch book. He
simply stumbled into elephant trap after elephant trap of factual
refutation.


I've reviewed a couple hundred books over the past 15 years, and I have
received many compliments from players who have followed my
recommendations and found the books I recommended to be helpful. While
Keene claims that I have supplied only "opinion" I have provided the
rationale for my opinion and cited books (and authors) that do a far
better job at it than Keene in this book.

1. Page one of the introduction clearly states it is a companion volume
to How to play the Nimzo-Indian co-authored by myself and IM Shaun
Taulbut (former European junior champion, silver medallist in the
British championship and gold medallist in the World Students'
championship). I think this may have been overlooked by some critics.


The introduction states: "These champions, with both Black and White,
have used the Nimzo-Indian to win! Now, you can too, by basing your
play on the strategies OUTLINED IN THIS BOOK, the companion volume to
How to Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense, by Raymond Keene and Shaun
Taulbot." (emphasis added)

Now then, let's note a couple of things: first, the sentence does not
say you have to read the two books together, it says the strategies
outlined in this book will allow you to win with the Nimzo-Indian.
Second, as I noted in my original critique, there is no way to know
these are "companion volumes" that must be studied together from the
book's titles, from the book's back cover, or, as Vince Hart has
pointed out, from the book's contents! There is not a SINGLE CROSS
REFERENCE to How to Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense in the book.
Incredible! If all the missing content is found elsewhere, shouldn't
the author take the time to tell us that? At least Nunn and Burgess in
their books on the Classical King's Indian, had the grace to tell us
why they weren't covering important lines and where to find the
coverage. I guess they didn't dismiss their audience as having "chess
prowess too low to follow" what they wrote.

2. However, Winning with the Nimzo also stands alone in its own right.
I see nothing in the entire canon of western literature, technical or
otherwise, that prohibits sequels that don't repeat some material from
the original. Doubtlessly if I had repeated myself from How to Play the
Nimzo Indian, I would have been attacked for that instead


In chess writing, material generally builds upon previous works and
theory; I did not criticize Nunn's The Complete Pirc because it carried
forward analysis from his The Pirc for the Tournament Player.

3. In this book there is a perfectly good contents list. I don't
believe in complicated indexes for opening books. I am always wary of
transpositions in such "complete" indexes and prefer to use organic
games for people who want to understand chess strategy and not be spoon
fed variations neatly packaged with a guaranteed win for people like
Bauer.


The ad hominem will be a prominant feature in our Raymond's replies.
Later, Keene will reference his own The Flank Openings as an excellent
book, and I have also mentioned it as one of Keene's better works. It
is quite interesting that The Flank Openings, 4th edition contains both
an extensive (over 3 pages!) opening table of contents and an index of
annotated games.

As for being spoon fed, I much prefer a fork, and I much prefer writers
(I mentioned several in my original review) who take the time to assist
the reader within and between games. While Keene is apparently above
that concept, others, many of whom are also GMs (Nunn, Gallagher,
Wells, King and Ward spring to mind) seem to have a greater
appreciation for their customer, the average player.


Sorry, chess is a bit more complex than that. Writers can guide
you down paths that have worked before -- winning strategies as I put
it on the front cover of the latest edition -- but the complexity of
chess is such that deviations can occur literally anywhere.

4. The bibliography contains 19 referencesof sources that were actually
consulted in writing the book.


I still find it odd that the only BOOKS on the Nimzo-Indian that were
consulted were written or co-authored by Keene. As noted in the
original review, Gligoric, a GM of some repute and a renowned 1.d4
player, had written a book on the Nimzo-Indian in 1985 -- wouldn't we
expect an author to consult such a source?

5. Index of games is certainly an amendment worth considering in the
next edition.

6. Bauer doesn't like the complete games format for opening books. I
think I may say that my very first book Flank Openings, universally
hailed as a classic, introduced this method which has been widely
copied . It gives readers a chance to play through annnotated games for
ideas, alternatives and variations. The notion came to me as a teenager
when I read Peter Clarke's classic book on Tal .


Yes, but Flank Editions did NOT use a column format, which is my
complaint -- lots of chewing up of unnecessary space, sometimes half a
column, for moves in a game long since decided.

I suddenly realised that studying those complete games where Tal
was black vs 1 d4 was an ideal way to learn the Modern Benoni. Using
that method I reeled off 15 straight wins with this defence which
showed me its value. If it worked for me as a young player, it could
work for others too. If Bauer dislikes this approach or my notes, I
'm afraid it comes down to a difference of opinion.


Fair enough. I agree that the games versus variation tree approach is
a matter of taste and have written that comment in numerous previous
reviews. However, there are ways to minimize the defects and
accentuate the positive aspects of either approach. For example, some
books using the tree of variations approach will still include the
balance of games that make up the key variations in notes, or have a
separate section for complete games. Some books using the complete
games format will limit the "column chewing" by including the less
relevant closing portion of a game in a note rather than a column (I
mentioned the example of Well's book on the Semi-Slav as an excellent
example of this approach).

The point is that Keene's book doesn't give us this "best of both
worlds." It is a criticism that gets to content per page, and this
book has far less than other books that I cited in my original
critique.

7. I am accused of giving a game way past the decisive moment and
meandering on when the agony could have been stopped. Maybe Bauer is
referring to my inclusion of Alekhine - Sultan Khan, London 1932, with
Alekhine's own notes. This is so little known that I thought the whole
game worth repeating for historical purposes. I never saw it before
researching this book and felt that readers might be interested.


It is far from the only example. Reti-Nimzowitsch, Berlin 1928 has not
a single comment after black's move 35, and we then get nearly a whole
column devoted to moves 36-57. Bogolyuvov-Nimzowitsch, Carlsbad 1929,
only one throw-away comment after move 32, eating up almost a whole
column to get to the conclusion at move 50. Polgar-Remlinger New York
1986, with just a single brief comment after move 29, ending on move 45
and chewing up almost another whole column. Crouch-Suba, Calderdale
1990, where after move 15, the second half of the game (ending on move
32) has just one brief note, again chewing up nearly a whole column.
Speelman-Karpov, Linares 1991, where there are no comments after move
32, game ending on move 52, chewing up over a half column. Et cetera.

8. I am accused of under analysing the so-called main line which
occurred in, for example, Reshevsky-Larsen, Dallas 1957. The truth is
that I had written everything I wanted to say about this in How to Play
the Nimzo Indian and this main line had ceased to be a major highway of
theory at the time Winning With the Nimzo was produced. However, a
postal player called Markauss found a couple of interesting but not
deeply tested ideas. I cited them, but a good new idea does not have to
be backed up with reams of notes showing how clever the author is.


While I am happy for Keene that he had written all he wanted to say
about the main line, I am less happy that the reader wasn't considered.
One gets the impression that Keene doesn't write for the paying
customers, which I find appalling.

I'm glad other authors do not feel the same way.

The variations that arise from the main line make up fully one-third of
Gligoric's book, and the chapters form a literal "who's who" of Nimzo
practitioners from both sides -- besides the "Main Variation" we have
the "Nimzowitsch Varition" (I'm not making this up -- Keene doesn't
feel the need to cover the variation Gligoric christens the Nimzowitsch
Variation), The Larsen Variation, the Averbakh Variation, the Parma
Variation, the Bronstein Variation, and the Smyslov Variation!
Granted, his one game does cover the Karpov Variation, but I think
Gligoric's coverage is far closer to what this line merits than what
Keene feels the need to write about.

I recall that Bobby Fischer made a throwaway comment precisely one
move deep about the possibility of ..Nh5 in the Austrian attack Pirc in
his 60 Memorable Games. I picked up on this and played what I believe
was the first ever game with this move (Safvat - Keene, Siegen Olympiad
1970) and later made a living out of it including a win over Gligoric.
Thank you, Bobby!


A nice story, but I wonder what exactly it has to do with this book.

9. I am told my chapter on the ...b6 variation is confusing (pages
111-116). It contains revolutionary material based on my watching
first hand a Bobby Fischer vs. Portisch game and their post mortem in a
razor sharp line. I thought this material was sensational. Bauer says
it's confusing. I suppose it all depends on your perspective.


It probably could have been both sensational and not confusing, but
IMHO that is the author's ultimate responsibility. Just claiming the
reader "doesn't get it" only takes you so far.

10. My chapter 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 was the highlight of
the book. I went to Linares where Kasparov, Spassky, Short, Beliavsky
and Gelfand were competing -- all experts in this line. I watched
their games and jotted down notes from the post mortems and produced
what I thought was red hot analysis straight from Olympus to my
readers. How many other opening monographs have involved a foreign trip
for research purposes?


Vince Hart posed a number of specific analytical problems with the
chapter. While I'm sure you were there solely for research purposes,
perhaps, given those issues, which you fail to address, it was a poor
use of resources for this book.

Yet Bauer and Vince Hart tell me the emphasis is all wrong, some of
it too long, some of it too short, and quite confusing. Since they are
both honorable men, when they say they are confused, I believe them!


11. I have looked closely at this chapter and have in fact found two
things wrong on page 22 and on page 25. Modern practice favours would
have been better a better way of putting it than modern practice has
seen.

Apart from that I find their attack personal, idiosyncratic, and filled
with prejudice dressed up as holy writ.

Bauer and Hart utterly fail to point out concrete errors or poor
analysis. They probably would have preferred a book listing lines in a
tree that lead to an automatic win for whichever colour they are
playing. Victory by auto pilot. But it's not that sort of book.


First, Hart did point out areas where the analysis was lacking, and I
pointed out coverage issues. However, my biggest beef is the "slap it
on and dash it out" feel of the book. I played these lines and had a
"been there, done that" impression of the book. I would contrast it
with Daniel King's Winning with the Najdorf. I also play those lines,
and King's book was full of fresh insights, new ideas, inside
discussion that make the book far more interesting and useful. This
book doesn't stack up to the other excellent titles I mentioned in my
critique, all books comparably priced and usually with far better
content to pages ratios.

Sorry, guys, my book is clearly not for you.


Who, exactly is it for? Vince Hart was a B-A player, I was a Master.
Is it solely intended for players below B-strength, and what will they
get out of it? Are experts your audience (I doubt it). My guess the
book is mostly for players who aren't very demanding.

Randy Bauer

-- GM Ray Keene


  #5   Report Post  
Old May 3rd 06, 06:24 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
Vince Hart
 
Posts: n/a
Default Keene confronts his critics


Randy Bauer wrote:
wrote:
WINNING WITH THE NIMZO-INDIAN

By GM Ray Keene

I have spent some time rooting out the ratpackers and gathering
material for my forthcoming Hardinge Simpole book "Winter of
Discontent."

Now, for my next chapter, I address Randy Bauer's criticism of my
book Winning with the Nimzo Indian. I trust he did not think I would
ignore his tirade, a cunning piece of linguistics --apparently damning
but in reality boiling down to just two propositions:

a) I didn't write the book Bauer wanted me to write.


That is correct. I was hoping for something with a lot more attention
to detail, original work, and assistance so that the reader can
actually assimilate the material. A higher content per page count
would have also helped.

b) Bauer's chess prowess is too low to follow what I in fact wrote.


So, Keene was writing this book for internationally titled players? I
wonder how many copies he sold to them.

Given that I was an active tournament player at the time with a rating
between 2200-2300, Keene's assertion is hollow.

It reminds me, though, of discussions I have often had with my
children: when they are confronted by poor behavior they usually
indicate that I "just don't understand."

In his rhodomontade Bauer has supplied opinion dressed up as fact with
the occasional distortion thrown in! This is a far more subtle attack
than, for example, Taylor Kingston's assault on my Nimzowitsch book. He
simply stumbled into elephant trap after elephant trap of factual
refutation.


I've reviewed a couple hundred books over the past 15 years, and I have
received many compliments from players who have followed my
recommendations and found the books I recommended to be helpful. While
Keene claims that I have supplied only "opinion" I have provided the
rationale for my opinion and cited books (and authors) that do a far
better job at it than Keene in this book.

1. Page one of the introduction clearly states it is a companion volume
to How to play the Nimzo-Indian co-authored by myself and IM Shaun
Taulbut (former European junior champion, silver medallist in the
British championship and gold medallist in the World Students'
championship). I think this may have been overlooked by some critics.


The introduction states: "These champions, with both Black and White,
have used the Nimzo-Indian to win! Now, you can too, by basing your
play on the strategies OUTLINED IN THIS BOOK, the companion volume to
How to Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense, by Raymond Keene and Shaun
Taulbot." (emphasis added)

Now then, let's note a couple of things: first, the sentence does not
say you have to read the two books together, it says the strategies
outlined in this book will allow you to win with the Nimzo-Indian.
Second, as I noted in my original critique, there is no way to know
these are "companion volumes" that must be studied together from the
book's titles, from the book's back cover, or, as Vince Hart has
pointed out, from the book's contents! There is not a SINGLE CROSS
REFERENCE to How to Play the Nimzo-Indian Defense in the book.
Incredible! If all the missing content is found elsewhere, shouldn't
the author take the time to tell us that? At least Nunn and Burgess in
their books on the Classical King's Indian, had the grace to tell us
why they weren't covering important lines and where to find the
coverage. I guess they didn't dismiss their audience as having "chess
prowess too low to follow" what they wrote.

2. However, Winning with the Nimzo also stands alone in its own right.
I see nothing in the entire canon of western literature, technical or
otherwise, that prohibits sequels that don't repeat some material from
the original. Doubtlessly if I had repeated myself from How to Play the
Nimzo Indian, I would have been attacked for that instead


In chess writing, material generally builds upon previous works and
theory; I did not criticize Nunn's The Complete Pirc because it carried
forward analysis from his The Pirc for the Tournament Player.


On the other hand, if an author does not intend complete coverage, he
can make that clear as well. In "New Ideas in the Alekhine Defence,"
Graham Burgess explains that 'the aim of this book is to present the
most important of the new material that has accumulated since my
previous book on the subject, 'The Complete Alekhine' . . . was
published." Burgess provides frequent cross-references to the
earlier work throughout the book.

I would note that the reference to the companion book does not appear
on "Page one of the introduction" as Keene now asserts. The
introduction begins on page nine and does not contain any reference to
the earlier work and never suggests that the earlier work should be
consulted in conjunction with "Winning with the Nimzo-Indian. The
reference quoted appears on page seven.

I would also note that "now you can too" language certainly sounds to
me like he is marketing the book to amateur club players rather than
titled professionals.



3. In this book there is a perfectly good contents list. I don't
believe in complicated indexes for opening books. I am always wary of
transpositions in such "complete" indexes and prefer to use organic
games for people who want to understand chess strategy and not be spoon
fed variations neatly packaged with a guaranteed win for people like
Bauer.


The ad hominem will be a prominant feature in our Raymond's replies.
Later, Keene will reference his own The Flank Openings as an excellent
book, and I have also mentioned it as one of Keene's better works. It
is quite interesting that The Flank Openings, 4th edition contains both
an extensive (over 3 pages!) opening table of contents and an index of
annotated games.

As for being spoon fed, I much prefer a fork, and I much prefer writers
(I mentioned several in my original review) who take the time to assist
the reader within and between games. While Keene is apparently above
that concept, others, many of whom are also GMs (Nunn, Gallagher,
Wells, King and Ward spring to mind) seem to have a greater
appreciation for their customer, the average player.


Sorry, chess is a bit more complex than that. Writers can guide
you down paths that have worked before -- winning strategies as I put
it on the front cover of the latest edition -- but the complexity of
chess is such that deviations can occur literally anywhere.

4. The bibliography contains 19 referencesof sources that were actually
consulted in writing the book.


I still find it odd that the only BOOKS on the Nimzo-Indian that were
consulted were written or co-authored by Keene. As noted in the
original review, Gligoric, a GM of some repute and a renowned 1.d4
player, had written a book on the Nimzo-Indian in 1985 -- wouldn't we
expect an author to consult such a source?

5. Index of games is certainly an amendment worth considering in the
next edition.

6. Bauer doesn't like the complete games format for opening books. I
think I may say that my very first book Flank Openings, universally
hailed as a classic, introduced this method which has been widely
copied . It gives readers a chance to play through annnotated games for
ideas, alternatives and variations. The notion came to me as a teenager
when I read Peter Clarke's classic book on Tal .


Yes, but Flank Editions did NOT use a column format, which is my
complaint -- lots of chewing up of unnecessary space, sometimes half a
column, for moves in a game long since decided.

I suddenly realised that studying those complete games where Tal
was black vs 1 d4 was an ideal way to learn the Modern Benoni. Using
that method I reeled off 15 straight wins with this defence which
showed me its value. If it worked for me as a young player, it could
work for others too. If Bauer dislikes this approach or my notes, I
'm afraid it comes down to a difference of opinion.


Fair enough. I agree that the games versus variation tree approach is
a matter of taste and have written that comment in numerous previous
reviews. However, there are ways to minimize the defects and
accentuate the positive aspects of either approach. For example, some
books using the tree of variations approach will still include the
balance of games that make up the key variations in notes, or have a
separate section for complete games. Some books using the complete
games format will limit the "column chewing" by including the less
relevant closing portion of a game in a note rather than a column (I
mentioned the example of Well's book on the Semi-Slav as an excellent
example of this approach).

The point is that Keene's book doesn't give us this "best of both
worlds." It is a criticism that gets to content per page, and this
book has far less than other books that I cited in my original
critique.

7. I am accused of giving a game way past the decisive moment and
meandering on when the agony could have been stopped. Maybe Bauer is
referring to my inclusion of Alekhine - Sultan Khan, London 1932, with
Alekhine's own notes. This is so little known that I thought the whole
game worth repeating for historical purposes. I never saw it before
researching this book and felt that readers might be interested.


In the introduction to the chapter, Keene states that this game is "a
fine example of the easy rewards White may gather if Black plays
passively." On the other hand, when White gains an advantage after
Black's ninth move, Keene says "[a]s the following play shows, however,
it is not easy to transform it into a decisive one." That does not
sound like easy rewards to me. In fact, Keene says the outcome it
still in doubt until Black blunders on move twenty-six.

Another example of the confusing comments in this "highlight" chapter
is Keene's statement in the introduction that he recommends 4...c5
5.dxc5 Na6 6.a3 Bxc3 7.Qxc3 Nxc5 as a "tactical line" for "ambitious
black players." Then, in the Alekhine game he says "I would prefer
5...Nc6 6.Nf3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Qxc5 with approximate equality." Twenty-five
pages later, he discusses his first recommendation again: "Ever since
it was discovered that the quiet answers to 4.Qc2 were not as equal as
had been thought, Black players have been looking for sharp ways to
disrupt the build up." This seems to contradict the improvements he
suggested for Black in the Alekhine game, but it is not clear at all.



It is far from the only example. Reti-Nimzowitsch, Berlin 1928 has not
a single comment after black's move 35, and we then get nearly a whole
column devoted to moves 36-57. Bogolyuvov-Nimzowitsch, Carlsbad 1929,
only one throw-away comment after move 32, eating up almost a whole
column to get to the conclusion at move 50. Polgar-Remlinger New York
1986, with just a single brief comment after move 29, ending on move 45
and chewing up almost another whole column. Crouch-Suba, Calderdale
1990, where after move 15, the second half of the game (ending on move
32) has just one brief note, again chewing up nearly a whole column.
Speelman-Karpov, Linares 1991, where there are no comments after move
32, game ending on move 52, chewing up over a half column. Et cetera.

8. I am accused of under analysing the so-called main line which
occurred in, for example, Reshevsky-Larsen, Dallas 1957. The truth is
that I had written everything I wanted to say about this in How to Play
the Nimzo Indian and this main line had ceased to be a major highway of
theory at the time Winning With the Nimzo was produced. However, a
postal player called Markauss found a couple of interesting but not
deeply tested ideas. I cited them, but a good new idea does not have to
be backed up with reams of notes showing how clever the author is.


While I am happy for Keene that he had written all he wanted to say
about the main line, I am less happy that the reader wasn't considered.
One gets the impression that Keene doesn't write for the paying
customers, which I find appalling.

I'm glad other authors do not feel the same way.

The variations that arise from the main line make up fully one-third of
Gligoric's book, and the chapters form a literal "who's who" of Nimzo
practitioners from both sides -- besides the "Main Variation" we have
the "Nimzowitsch Varition" (I'm not making this up -- Keene doesn't
feel the need to cover the variation Gligoric christens the Nimzowitsch
Variation), The Larsen Variation, the Averbakh Variation, the Parma
Variation, the Bronstein Variation, and the Smyslov Variation!
Granted, his one game does cover the Karpov Variation, but I think
Gligoric's coverage is far closer to what this line merits than what
Keene feels the need to write about.

I recall that Bobby Fischer made a throwaway comment precisely one
move deep about the possibility of ..Nh5 in the Austrian attack Pirc in
his 60 Memorable Games. I picked up on this and played what I believe
was the first ever game with this move (Safvat - Keene, Siegen Olympiad
1970) and later made a living out of it including a win over Gligoric.
Thank you, Bobby!


A nice story, but I wonder what exactly it has to do with this book.

9. I am told my chapter on the ...b6 variation is confusing (pages
111-116). It contains revolutionary material based on my watching
first hand a Bobby Fischer vs. Portisch game and their post mortem in a
razor sharp line. I thought this material was sensational. Bauer says
it's confusing. I suppose it all depends on your perspective.


It probably could have been both sensational and not confusing, but
IMHO that is the author's ultimate responsibility. Just claiming the
reader "doesn't get it" only takes you so far.

10. My chapter 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 was the highlight of
the book. I went to Linares where Kasparov, Spassky, Short, Beliavsky
and Gelfand were competing -- all experts in this line. I watched
their games and jotted down notes from the post mortems and produced
what I thought was red hot analysis straight from Olympus to my
readers. How many other opening monographs have involved a foreign trip
for research purposes?


Vince Hart posed a number of specific analytical problems with the
chapter. While I'm sure you were there solely for research purposes,
perhaps, given those issues, which you fail to address, it was a poor
use of resources for this book.

Yet Bauer and Vince Hart tell me the emphasis is all wrong, some of
it too long, some of it too short, and quite confusing. Since they are
both honorable men, when they say they are confused, I believe them!


11. I have looked closely at this chapter and have in fact found two
things wrong on page 22 and on page 25. Modern practice favours would
have been better a better way of putting it than modern practice has
seen.


In fact, "modern practice favours" is the way he puts it on page
twenty-five, but in the next two games, modern practice seems to favour
a different move which Kasparov uses to beat Korchnoi and Spassky. I
have no idea what error Keene is referring to on page twenty-two.



Apart from that I find their attack personal, idiosyncratic, and filled
with prejudice dressed up as holy writ.

Bauer and Hart utterly fail to point out concrete errors or poor
analysis. They probably would have preferred a book listing lines in a
tree that lead to an automatic win for whichever colour they are
playing. Victory by auto pilot. But it's not that sort of book.


First, Hart did point out areas where the analysis was lacking, and I
pointed out coverage issues. However, my biggest beef is the "slap it
on and dash it out" feel of the book. I played these lines and had a
"been there, done that" impression of the book. I would contrast it
with Daniel King's Winning with the Najdorf. I also play those lines,
and King's book was full of fresh insights, new ideas, inside
discussion that make the book far more interesting and useful. This
book doesn't stack up to the other excellent titles I mentioned in my
critique, all books comparably priced and usually with far better
content to pages ratios.

Sorry, guys, my book is clearly not for you.


Who, exactly is it for? Vince Hart was a B-A player, I was a Master.
Is it solely intended for players below B-strength, and what will they
get out of it? Are experts your audience (I doubt it). My guess the
book is mostly for players who aren't very demanding.

Randy Bauer

-- GM Ray Keene




  #6   Report Post  
Old May 3rd 06, 11:11 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
Skeptic
 
Posts: n/a
Default Keene confronts his critics

b) Bauer's chess prowess is too low to follow what I in fact wrote.

This is quite funny coming from Keene of all people, as his natural (in
fact, practically only) audience is weak(er) amateurs.

  #7   Report Post  
Old May 3rd 06, 11:18 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
Skeptic
 
Posts: n/a
Default Keene confronts his critics

I still find it odd that the only BOOKS on the Nimzo-Indian that were
consulted were written or co-authored by Keene.


How much do you want to bet that, if one goes through the previous
Keene tomes Keene "consluted" for this book, you'd find generous
portions of them which were cut-and-pasted into this "new" book?

Reply
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules

Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Keene reviews Kingston (part 1) [email protected] rec.games.chess.politics (Chess Politics) 443 June 11th 06 09:30 AM
Keene reviews Kingston (part 1) [email protected] rec.games.chess.misc (Chess General) 445 June 11th 06 09:30 AM
Kingston replies to Keene Taylor Kingston rec.games.chess.politics (Chess Politics) 19 May 6th 06 01:12 AM
Kingston replies to Keene Taylor Kingston rec.games.chess.misc (Chess General) 18 May 6th 06 01:12 AM
Kingston replies to Keene Taylor Kingston rec.games.chess.misc (Chess General) 1 May 2nd 06 05:55 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2019 ChessBanter.
The comments are property of their posters.
 

About Us

"It's about Chess"

 

Copyright © 2017