Six stars

One of my favourite sites on the net is, where you can get interesting articles and reviews of a high quality. About a year ago they changed their review system from five to four stars, without making it obvious for people like myself who suffer from mouse-clicking-too-fast syndrom. A number of 4/4 reviews were frustrating, not only because people believed it was 4/5, but also because there were books where the reviewer did not rate the books equally, but still they all got 4/4 (or quite close).

So I suggested Mark that they changed their rating system again to 6 stars and marked them as filled or not, so it was easy to understand and with some range. To be honest I stole the idea from the Danish newspapers, mainly Politiken. It has worked really well since, despite my 4/4 for my books were nicer than 5/6 I got since (what the fuck!).

At least we have a few other books that make the top mark from time to time. Both the Karpov’s Strategic Wins 1 and Karpov’s Strategic Wins 2 made it, recently Chess Tactics from Scratch and now Mayhem in the Morra!

I have to say that the pleasure of 6/6 beats 4/4 together with books you really do not respect quite a bit, even if there is a difference of taste and opinion you can use as a shield for your feelings. And when other companies get 6/6 for their books, I immediately get them from the London Chess Centre!

12 thoughts on “Six stars”

    1. No, because it makes a difference between books of different level. I almost like getting 5/6 for my own books more than I liked getting 4/4 in the past. At least I know that there is room for the reviewer to give different ratings. Remember that it is very seldom that anyone gets one or two stars, so an effective two star system is very limited.

  1. Gilchrist is a Legend

    I looked at the Morra Gambit book at a chess book store today. After browsing some pages I saw that the detail on this subject is quite astounding. I think someone else may have also asked, but how now could GM6a answer the Morra Gambit? Is there the option of choosing 2. c3 Nf6 and then transposing to the Morra in the 2nd edition now?

  2. Interesting question. How it’s possible to defend both sides of the board in a variation? Both 1 d4 and the Grunfeld? Both the Morra and the Sicilian? Both 1 e4 and the Caro Kann?

  3. garryk :Interesting question. How it’s possible to defend both sides of the board in a variation? Both 1 d4 and the Grunfeld? Both the Morra and the Sicilian? Both 1 e4 and the Caro Kann?

    I have always told lower-rated players in the area I live in that no matter what repertoire they have, there will always be a minimum of 1 variation of 1 opening that you must be able to play from both sides. Some repetoires may have more than 1 variation of overlap, but you can’t avoid at least 1. Now that could be some main line, like the Yugoslav Attack in the Dragon, or some variation of the Sokolsky (1.b4), but the overlap will be there.

    Therefore, all these questions about how do you respond to some line as Black when a book just came out as White (i.e. The Morra Gambit), keep in mind that not all repetoire books will give you an advantage. Even White. They will advertise +/= or better for all their lines, but the reality is, +/=, +/-, -/+, and =/+ are merely guesses. There is no such thing as a slight advantage for White or Black. Every position, even the starting position, is either =, +-, or -+. The problem is, it’s so complex that even a computer doesn’t know the correct answer. It is believed that a draw is more likely than a forced win for White or zugzwang in the starting position and a forced win for Black in the starting position, but nothing is proven.

    Therefore, expecting them to come up with lines, especially for Black, that always lead to a small edge is crazy. The same can be said about White repertoires. White repertoires should help players maintain an initiative, and point out possible mistakes by Black that would lead to a win. Black repertoires should help players maintain the balance, what pitfalls to avoid, and point out some common errors by White that would allow Black to get the initiative or even a won game.

    Even some lines in highly reputable books by Quality Chess have some questionable assessments. For example, the notes at the bottom of page 27 and top of page 28 in GM Repetoire 3 claim a large advantage for White, and he says a computer will not like the position, but I’ve played the position out many times, and it’s equal. Does this negate the quality of the book? Absolutely not! It just means you have to assess positions beyond just accepting the “+/-” that they give, which again, in a sense is artifical, either White’s winning, or White’s not winning! In that position, my belief is that White’s not winning.

    So how do you defend both sides of the same variation of an opening? Study the middlegame! In reality, the more openings you are “comfortable” playing from “either” side, the better off you are!

  4. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Is it known which contributors to GM6a and GM6b will be working on which chapters? Is it one contributor per individual chapter, or all four have a specific role within each chapter? Who chooses the repertoire choices with four writers?

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