Dr. John Nunn is a mathematician, a grandmaster, and a delightful writer. His Secrets of Practical Chess (1998) is particularly fine book in that many of the concepts it develops are applicable far beyond the chessboard, especially when dealing with situations of overwhelming complexity. A quick sampler:

On the more chess-specific fronts of openings, middlegame play, and endings, GM Nunn offers a wealth of useful advice, illustrated in many cases by specific examples from his own games, both good and bad. Nunn is also quite savvy with respect to computers and how they can be used to improve one's understanding of a chess situation.

Nunn's prose is a pleasure to read. For example, in concluding his discussion of how to handle a bad position, he writes:

Defending well after having made an oversight requires especially cool nerves. We have previously discussed the possible causes of oversights and the warning signs which can indicate when danger is near. Suppose, despite this advice, you nevertheless overlook a surprising and strong move by your opponent. The first piece of advice is to stay calm. It is all too easy to bash out an instinctive response, either through uncontrollable nervous agitation or in an attempt to persuade your opponent that you had foreseen his move and had a ready reply. This is a mistake. The correct approach is to spend a few minutes just calming your nerves. Don't get caught up in a mental loop of self-recrimination --- you don't have time for this while you are at the board. Try to forget about the history of the position, and just consider the current state of affairs on the board. A calm look will very often show that your opponent's move is not nearly as strong as you feared at first and that there are still fighting chances. Then you can choose one of the defensive techniques outlined above and continue the struggle.

Good advice when facing many tight spots elsewhere in life ...

TopicRecreation - TopicLiterature - 2003-06-20

(correlates: CorrelationLog, Bo Leuf, KnowledgeAndConsistency, ...)