The styles of the greats (and not-so greats) hold a special interest. There truly is no "one best way" to play this game.
I prefer to think of games between humans and computers as human-as-conceptual-thinker vs. human-as-tool-maker.
I don't care at all about ratings, especially across generations, save for their ability to produce a ranking amongst peers.
All the famous chessplayers, "champions" and challengers alike, deserve to stand side-by-side in historical value, as each great player has enriched all those who have come after them. After all, the more recent the player, the more shoulders of giants he had from which to view this amazing game. Alongside the very best belong the great authors of chess tomes, without whom our vision of chess would be collectively darker.
FWIW, a few books have greatly helped me when first starting out. These are Seirawan's Winning Chess Strategies, Alburt's Chess Position Pocketbook (they should make all the other puzzle books the same size IMHO) and Bronstein's Sorcerer's Apprentice. Other influential authors include Aagaard, Hansen, Khmelnitzky, McDonald, Suba and Van Perlo, whose Endgame Tactics has personally garnered more points than perhaps any other book.
I have my own simple rules for improvement, yet since chess is complex, I only get so far. Here they are:
1. Study lots of endgame tactics (two pieces and pawns), to understand how the pieces interrelate.
2. Solve mates to understand piece (dis)harmony in offense and defense of the king. King safety to me is <the> issue in most games.
3. Pick or create an opening system that can work vs most anything (KIA/KID/Pircs, Stonewalls, Dragon/Benonis) and study the basic plans. My choices are discussed in <The Rep> game collection.
When I play OTB, I have one basic rule which helps me see the position more clearly, both tactically and positionally: <improve my pieces, keep or make my opponents' pieces bad, trade wisely>. Every pawn push, capture, piece lunge and sequence is with this in rule in mind. It serves as the foundation for my best chess.
This is one of my favorite games, played some time ago.
<[Event "www.ChessWorld.net server game"]
[Site "www.ChessWorld.net "]
[Termination "Black resigned"]
1.c4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.d3 O-O 6.e4 fxe4 7.dxe4 d6 8.Nge2 Nbd7 9.O-O c6 10.Rb1 Qc7 11.h3 b6 12.Be3 Ba6 13.Qa4 Bb7 14.Nf4 Qc8 15.Ne6 Nc5 16.Nxc5 bxc5 17.e5 Nd7 18.exd6 exd6 19.Ne4 Nb6 20.Qc2 Qf5 21.Rbc1 Rad8 22.Rfd1 Qe5 23.Rd2 d5 24.Qd1 d4 25.Bg5 Rd7 26.f4 Qf5 27.g4 Qf7 28.Nxc5 h6 29.Nxd7 Qxd7 30.Bh4 Rxf4 31.Bg3 Rf8 32.c5 Nd5 33.Rxd4 Bxd4+ 34.Qxd4 Qg7 35.Qd2 Kh7 36.Re1 Qd7 37.Qe2 a5 38.Bd6 Rf7 39.Be4 Nf4 40.Qe3 Nd5 41.Qd3 Qe6 42.Qg3 Qf6 43.Be5 Qe6 44.h4 Re7 45.h5 ♗lack resigned 1-0
Crucial parts of the game to me were the moves 17-24, and giving back the exchange to stuff his play with 32.c5
Outside of chess I'm a fitness and health professional, and a coach of both soccer and wrestling.
Here are some websites you might find interesting. Goodbye for now, and enjoy.
quick and easy dip: http://www.robertmoore-phd.com/inde...
immersed to near-drowning: http://www.jameshollis.net
The heart is not a pump http://www.lifeisapalindrome.com/co...
Views on technology
a way forward, and a corrective for current practices http://www.patternliteracy.com
http://www.meltmethod.com Hand and Foot series is worth its weight in gold
The Gift (Hyde) Explication of Gift Economy
The Tree (Tudge) Why Trees Matter, a bit dense
The Biology of Belief (Lipton) Epigenetics Primer
Gaia's Garden (Hememway) Permaculture primer
Stories worth trying:
Flaubert's Parrot (Barnes)
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (Murakami)
Invisible Cities (Calvino)