Chess books on the Kindle

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Commentary Articles

I recently purchased a chess book on the Amazon Kindle.  I’m preparing for my first team match in a 45/45 league on ICC and I’m actually playing the top board.  I want to do well, and I want to do my team proud.  I’m actually doing a bit of preparation for the first time in a long time for this game.  I play black against an opponent that is arguably weaker than myself based on ratings, but we all know that really isn’t much of a factor when you are 100-150 points away from your opponent.  Needless to say, I’m a bit nervous.  I’m used to 30 minute time controls, and the 45 / 45 time control (45 minutes, plus 45 seconds for each move) means that my opponent will not make the mistakes you might make in other areas.  It also means that my weakest area, the opening, will be exploited.

I wanted to brush up on different ideas as black.  Nothing so deep that it’ll make my game worse, but something I can look at and be prepared for say the first 10 or so moves.  I ended up deciding on Mastering the Chess Openings: Volume 2 by John Watson

I won’t speak to the content of this specific book, only because there is enough to keep me busy for a while.  The only thing I will say, is that it’s very well organized and a lot of it is in plain English, and doesn’t just give you line after line after line to memorize.

What I will talk about is how this book is different on the Kindle than in print.

The book has been completely re-formatted for the eBook screen.  They have DOUBLE the amount of diagrams in order for you to never be too far from seeing what they are talking about if you don’t have a board near you.  Usually chess books are separated into two columns per page and have maybe a diagram or two on the pages.  When looking at the kindle version – and this is the Kindle paperwhite, not a tablet – the diagrams are on almost every other page it seems, so the need for a board is minimal if you have at least some sort of rudimentary visualization skills.  That will definitely help you if you are on the go and want to just do a bit of brushing up on things.

Let’s talk a little about finding different lines or openings.  Each major line is hyper linked.  Each opening name is hyperlinked.  You just have to touch the line and you’ll be zapped away to the part of the book where they look at it in depth.  When looking at the Nimzo-Indian for example, they talk about transposing into the Queens Gambit Declined.  Want to know what they are talking about there?  Just touch the link when they mention Queens Gambit declined and you are there.  It’s brilliant.

Price is also a good thing too.  In Kindle format, it was $9.99, in paperback format, it was $24.17.  So it seems for the trade off of having an electronic version of the book and not a physical copy, you get MORE for your money!

It’s obvious that they took their time in making this an enjoyable and satisfying learning experience.  After looking at more chess books on the amazon store, it seems that Gambit books for the most part have re-designed each book they put on the Kindle, it’s just not a scan and port copy.  If they are one to go by on the Kindle, chess books are for certain going to have a bright future in electronic media.  Both price point, and content beat out the paper counter part.

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