Move First, Think Later: Sense and Nonsense in Improving Your Chess

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WINNER: English Chess Federation (ECF) Book of the Year 2012 Award

RUNNER-UP: Book of the Year 2012

3rd Edition - with a new epilogue: 'The Discussion Continues'

The chess instruction establishment claims that all you need to do is concentrate on the characteristics of a position. Stick to some rules of thumb and good moves will pop up more or less automatically.

But that is not how it works, finds International Master Willy Hendriks. Chess players, both weak and strong, don’t first make a plan before looking at candidate moves. Trial and error is a very common and in fact highly effective way to get to the best move.

In his journey into the chess-playing mind, Hendriks uses recent scientific insights in the working of our brain. He raises a number of intriguing questions:

• Can you, too (whether you are talented or not), become a grandmaster?
• Why does a chess trainer’s advice often sound like a horoscope?
• Can you find strong moves by ticking off a to-do list?
• Is it possible to reach master level without ever making a plan?

Presents a wealth of valuable, no-nonsense training material. In this refreshing, entertaining and highly instructive book, Willy Hendriks shows how you can travel light on the road to chess improvement!

International Master Willy Hendriks (1966) has been working as a chess trainer for over 25 years. Inspired by recent developments in the cognitive sciences, he challenges the conventional wisdom in chess instruction.

The Judges of the English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award:
"One of the most original chess books the judges have seen for a number of years (..) both serious and highly entertaining at the same time."

Jacob Aagaard, former British champion:
"Thought provoking, deeply intelligent and beautifully human."

Vishy Anand, former World Champion:
"Hendriks says nobody thinks like Kotov (..) 'The forest of variations', that sounds lovely as an explanation after the game but nobody thinks like that during the game (..) Nobody is thinking in logical steps. We just take in large gulps of information and we work with that."

Steve Giddins, author of '50 Ways to Win at Chess':
“What a fantastic book! I have not enjoyed reading an instructional book so much in years. I was laughing out loud throughout, because it is very witty, but it is also a really important instructional volume.” 

Arthur van de Oudeweetering, ChessVibes:
"Hendriks uses many new examples to make his point (..) A very entertaining and provocative read. I'm sure readers will improve their chess."

Hikaru Nakamura, US Champion:
"For anyone interested in chess in a broader context, I highly recommend reading 'Move First, Think Later' by Willy Hendriks."

Martin Rieger, Rochade Europa:
"After reading this book you will feel like Neo in the film The Matrix, when he discovers that his life so far was an illusion and that his real life will start only now."

Marshtower Chess Reviews:
"Readers of all playing strengths should find plenty of interest here (..) It is, by turns, inspirational, maddening, entertaining, instructive and witty. But most of all, it is thought-provoking and that seems to me to be the main point of the book."

Vijay Raghaven, ChessCafe:
"You name your favorite 'improvement' writer and in all likelyhood you will find his theories trashed in Hendriks' extraordinary book."

Kuhan Chellappah, British Chess Magazine:
"It is light yet thought-provoking, controversial but not without substance, and most importantly it i

s a well written book that is truly fun to read."

Jeremy Silman, author of 'How to Reassess Your Chess':
"Mr. Hendriks keeps the reader’s attention at all times, often makes us laugh, entertains us with some really fine positions, and constantly makes us think."

Mark Crowther, TWIC:
"I can't really express just how much I enjoyed 'Move First Think Later' by Willy Hendriks."

GM Luke McShane:
"Much of the book consists in a well-considered critique of the 'nonsense', but there is a significant constructive aspect, too (..) Extremely readable."

Remco Heite, Leeuwarder Courant:
"The book is like a breath of fresh air. It is refreshingly different from the usual chess instruction, because of Hendriks' methodology as well as the way he lavishly enriches his exercises with anecdotes and curiosities. That's what makes the book so vivacious and readable."

Joe Petrolito, Australasian Chess Magazine:
"Hendriks takes to task the often vacuous and conflicting advice offered by chess authors that often resembles that found in self-help books."

Marco Kamphuis, Filosofie Magazine:
"Although MFTL is set up as chess instruction, it is primarily a clearly written, entertaining book on the chess playing brain."

Johan Hut, Gooi en Eemlander:
"Of course Hendriks knows very well that there are rules that help you to find good moves. But it is refreshing that he shows (..) that in many cases it is merely about intuition and calculation, and that quite a few trainers, commentators and chess journalists are just windbags."

Minze bij de Weg, Schaakmagazine:
"Undermining axioms, deep-rooted but not proven by research, is at the core of 'Move First, Think Later' (...) Its tone is humoristic."

More Information
Publication date : January 1, 2014
Number of pages : 256
Publisher : New in Chess
Weight : 475 gram
ISBN : 9789056913984