Terry Francona, Manager of the Boston Red Sox, often talks about the importance of players having a respect for the game (Baseball) to show it through their actions on and off the field . His highest praise is when he says a player plays the game the right way. He consistently talks about this in press conferences and I'm sure this follows through in what he says to his team and individual players. He is a class act. (yes, I am a Boston Red Sox Fan)
This reminds me of one reoccurring themes in Jacob Aagaard's Attacking Manual 1 & 2 , A short excerpt from the beginning of each book appears at these links. 1 & 2 . I think of this theme as Respect for Chess , it's complexity and the difficulty to play it well. In these two books, he shows this and discusses this in many ways. I have found these ideas to be extremely well stated, interesting and good food for additional thinking. I have liberally quoted from his books in this blog. (The book quotes are italicized)
His following statement speaks to the trivialization of difficulty of the game among the general chess book reader and player.
I have included something I have not seen in other books. Before each chapter I have selected a number of diagrams representing positions from the coming chapter for you to consider, should you feel so inclined. It is my experience as a trainer, as well as someone who has had to work to improve, that “reading and nodding” (Daniel King) can create a false impression of how difficult chess really is. By thinking over these positions for up to 10 minutes each, you will have a first impression of what your intuition has to say about these positions, before I say what I think about them. Though we might never meet, this is a way for us to have a constructive dialogue.
I've noticed in general (but not universally) better players ( than I ) talk differently about the game and are more accepting of ambiguity. I've notice this in players I've talked to at tournaments as well as a friend I have analyzed with on playchess.com. (Thanks J!) They are slower to make sweeping statements about a position and stay uncommitted longer to the value or discrediting a move or plan. I think Rowson has some interesting thinks to say about this trait of better players in his book Chess for Zebras.
Much in chess is unknown or unknowable or at least it can vary greatly from game to game. Respect that these things are still being worked out and talking in ideas. As he wrote in the following.
He is also respectful to the readers needs and desire to improve and structures the book with this in mind.
Aagaard teaches mainly through game annotations and the selection is interesting in that most of these games have a poor move or two often on both sides of the board. Most games are recent and are played by GM's.
At the end of book 1, as a preface to 50 study positions , he asks you to approach things in a special way.
It is for this reason, i suggest that you look at the next 50 exercises with the attitude of simply thinking about them and enjoying the thought process. Chess is about thinking and improvements in chess come from improving the way you think. Do not test yourself as you should not try to reach a certain outcome but instead enjoy looking at these hopefully interesting positions.
I find it reassuring that a GrandMaster who won the British Championship, writes great books , plays and train at the high level acknowledges that chess is a damn hard game and writes an advanced book (target audience 1700 +) that I can understand (somewhat) and enjoy.
I plan on working with this book further as well as study my more basic tactical themes and problems. The reality of my play is I'm still missing some basic tactics and need to build my base so that I have the chops to better use the ideas in this book.