I have two chess opening books:
- Starting Out: Alekhine’s Defense, by FM John Cox
- Starting Out: Queen’s Gambit Accepted, by GMs A Raetsky and M Chetverik
I started playing the Alekhine and scoring points right off the bat. I started playing the QGA online and did not start scoring points, and many months later I still don’t. In the QGA, for the most part, I get crushed in every manner imaginable by players of all strengths.
Here are possible explanations, or factors at any rate:
– The Alekhine is a very concrete attempt to confuse your opponent with weird imbalances and antipositional moves. I am relatively good at this kind of play. The QGA is an attempt to gradually equalize by putting your pieces on good squares. I am not good at that.
Okay, that might be the whole story. But:
– John Cox is an FM; the other guys are GMs. Maybe the FM, as a weaker player, is better at anticipating the really basic questions that people like me need to address. The GMs might automatically write for a higher-level audience.
Yeah, maybe, but:
– The really interesting question is whether Cox as a so-called Westerner (he’s English) fundamentally writes in a manner that’s easier for me as a Westerner to grasp. Have you read Russian or Ukrainian or Georgian literature and history etc? Is it possible that there’s a barrier not of language per se but rather of East-versus-West world view or cognitive style? That even though they’re writing in perfectly good English, I don’t really understand their points?
(Here’s betting if Denys weighs in as a Ukrainian living in the US, he finds a nice way to say “Your first theory was best – you just suck positionally.” :)