Chess Books versus Chess Simulations

There are two ways we may improve our chess opening skills and overall strategies—either with the aid of a book or an online chess simulation program. Here are the advantages of doing it through a simulation program.

Of course, books can teach us theories, principles, and strategies and they are cheaper compared to online simulation tutorials. With the latter we have to have the latest PC model, Internet connection, and download from a website. All these would cost us a lot. A book would cost us around 10 to 20 dollars.

However, we have to consider the following. First, simulation programs help us pinpoint our strengths and weaknesses so that we can quickly focus on improving our weaknesses and further develop or use our potentials right away. It would be a slow process to see where our play potentials are through manual trial and error. Simulation software shortens the process for us—something books cannot give us.

Practical wise, it would be hard to keep a book open while we manually simulate moves on the chess board. We either hold the book to read and then close it to perform the positions on an actual chess board, or we hold the book with one hand and do the manual simulation with the other—which are both very uncomfortable to do.

With online simulations the software takes care that everything is on screen and all we have to do is click and watch. Simulation software can also more ably present opening theories and strategies in graphical and easy to understand steps aided by picturesque animations and video effects—something book can never afford us.

An online chess simulation program has tools and features to aid our mental recall of pertinent chess moves and measures our progress in the same through actual plays. We can test the theories and principles through actual software simulated games, play them over again with different opponents, until we familiarize ourselves with the principles.

Reading them from a book is different. We can't play chess on a traditional board while we keep peeking at the book to verify moves and positions. Memorizing the theories and principles will often only give us mental blocks during actual plays and we find out too late that our minds actually took in so little information. We need a second or third reading of the book to refresh our memory on the information.

For good training the option should be an online chess simulation program.