I was elected to Lead, not to read!

Sherwood, Russell  Sunday, May 13, 2018

I've written many Chess book reviews over the years but have often felt that the method used to score them has been rather weak - a typical 1 to 5 rating system. So I sat down and considered what I look for in a Book (or Video or podcast or blog....)  and then asked a few others for input. From this came the list below

  1. Value for Money – If I am going to have to pay £25 for a book, I will expect much more than something I get for £5
  2. Spelling/Grammar/Readability – Speaks for itself!
  3. Originality – Do we really need another book of type X?
  4. Content – How useful/interesting is the stuff in the book (or video)?  I could write an opening treatise in an evening using ChessBase and a few basic tools but it would only be a dump of games/lines with very little explanation.
  5. Credibility – Why should I take notice of this author? A little subjective this but would you rather read a book on the Najdorf by Kasparov, Davies or Sherwood?
  6. Durability – How well will the book stand the test of time? Some do very well indeed, whilst others (say most Opening books older than a few years, date very quickly).
  7. Would I buy it (again)?
  8. Relevance to CC - As a CC player how relevant is this book? (Thanks to Neil Limbert for this one)

Answering and scoring these criteria should give a much more objective measure of the value of a book to the CC player.  I've written a number of new reviews and reworked some older ones and will start to publish these over the coming weeks.

In addition, in the spirit of a certain popular TV Car Show, I will set up a leaderboard.

If you wish to review a book let me know and I will let you have more detail on the scoring system!


So for a really good book, we are looking for one which is good VFM, which is readable (Good spelling and Grammar should be a given), with Original Great content. The Author must be credible and the content must stand the test of time (which means if it’s an opening treatise it needs to be fairly new, whereas Game collections can be much older)

Updated Sunday, May 13, 2018 by Russell Sherwood

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