I cringe at superficial writings as appeared in the article, Chernev and Soltis Revisited. It is typical and reason for creating my website and 537 blogs to date. Yes, I am rather proud of my articles, most of which are original in nature and where I actually scooped many more professionals with deeper and in-depth writings such as my series on Howard Staunton that was, to me, having greater interest than that published much later in the pages of New In Chess. My article on the history of chess clocks, on my own system of “square count” instruction and my own thoughts on evaluation of the pieces, the proper way to resign a game, etc.
In general, the article was okay except for murdering the English language. My objection? The last paragraph: “So many good chess books have been allowed to fall into obscurity over the years. Sometimes this is because the books have gone out of print, while in other cases, it is because today’s players cannot decipher the older descriptive notation. Kudos to publishers like Batsford and Mongoose for bringing some of them, like the three discussed in this review, back into the spotlight.” Really? Times do not alter experience. We kids years ago cut our baby teeth on the English Descriptive Notation. And my USSR opponents, among others sent me tournament books written in their own descriptive notation as well as chess books. In fact, I gave IM Isaay Goliak, a Russian immigrant, my copy of a famous opening book as a gift for which he was most grateful as he missed such writings in his own language.
Notice that I highlighted one of my pet peeves. Does the writer suppose that a child or adult cannot easily decipher a notation that, in my opinion, except for setting up chess problems, never proved superior except as a way to incorporate it as an internationally recognized notation? Such standardization made it most beneficial for publishers.
And as I reviewed notations in a previous article, my collecting of game scoresheets by players often saw slop and recording mistakes that made deciphering what the player recorded as difficult, if not impossible.
GM Andy Soltis says, “More and more chess content is disappearing. How come?” Well, for example, he gives many sites that dealt mainly with chess diagrams, game play, and general chess articles devoted to games, tournaments, etc. Even those by GMs like Kasparov. Either they have been scaled back, became inactive or simply vanished. My whole series was based upon teaching chess to novices in the family circle or school age kids who might play at school. As a chess organizer over six decades, I had feedback from many parents who told me that they liked chess but found it very difficult to understand from the books that taught the game like those of Fred Reinfeld. They just couldn’t learn to associate how to play the beginning and if lucky enough to even solve the mysteries of the endgame.
I don’t intend to rehash what I have written about my square count philosophy, planning from move one, what I devised from reading both Capablanca and Alekhine treatises, as well as my theory on valuation of pieces. That all materialized in my study of the game and how I taught myself to play chess as a youngster isolated in a rural community life far from the lights of big cities. I present this only as a note to new readers and suggest reviewing my articles from series that began in 2007.
To maintain interest over the years, I decided to write from the beginning the values formulated that great men like Lasker, Tarrasch Steinitz and Nimsowitsch penned that I extracted from their teachings and annotations and personally embraced. Since I had taught myself as a child, I was able to translate the queries during my productive chess life into a need for making chess principles as Tarrasch noted: “chess like love, like music, has the power to make people happy.” and was able to put into life’s walk itself–more than just a game by using its principles related to human experience and, hopefully with our Lord’s blessing, my efforts will add to my readers joy, something of myself in friendship.