SERGEY BYSTROV, FIDE MASTER
"From notebook to textbook."
Hello dear chessfriends!
I guess, that some of you have already missed without stories about new books. Tired with forecasts and infinite comments to "great games", it is now to sit more conveniently in front of the screen and to plunge into the world of fairy tales and new discoveries, memoirs of the far and close childhood... Today we will speak of the books of the Petersburg author and teacher Vsevolod Kostrov. For the last some years he has written already more than twenty books personally, or in the co-authorship with other children's trainers. One may mark out two categories amoung them: textbooks and books of problems. Running forward I shall tell You that attetude to Kostrov's books, let's say it directly is defferent - from nonacceptance up to full delight! So we shall try to find out together for whom prolific are written textbooks. Last year his textbook for beginnings was published in two parts (with a working writing-book) and consists of 30 lessons. In the foreword of the book it is said: "...With the help of this textbook any child, who can read and write, is able to learn on his own to play chess well; any teacher will conduct a course of lessons under ready abstracts, and at the end of academic year all class will play chess". One should stop in more detail on the authour's last phrase. In 1991 Kostrov had to decide - under what program to conduct lessons at school. How to make so that to whole class would not bore studing chess as usual school subject during the whole year. In his opinion the programms available at that moment were designed only for facultative training of children in the cireles of Houses and Palaces of Pioneers, and in sports schools as well... So, the teacher has shouldered himself hard methodical work. How much successful his first experience has been it is difficult to judge, the abstracts of those lessons have removed onto the printed pages of the textbook, - "the birth" of a book has taken place which to this day is unique in Russia, suitable for conducting school lessons. The author results a fairy tale in each lesson. Its characters are shahs and kings, wise men and travellers, and their actions take place frequently here at our time. Such a technique helps to recreate a reality of events, adjusts contact "teacher - pupile" in conditions, when not all pupils "are mad on chess" at all. The foundation of Kostrov's methods is employing so-called "Basic Points (methods)". What is their essence? It is simplify presenting a matherial to a maximum to connect chessmen, definitions, and rules with elements of real life. For example, opposition of kings is a mirror; the king pushing a pawn to be a queen is some "locomotive-wagon", etc. One cannot but note that this approach is known for a long time, however, the technology and examples, which are used in the textbooks by Kostrov, are unique. Two last editions of this textbook (in total it has survived already five editions!) were published in co-authorship with the Ufa trainer D.Davletov in 1995 and 2001. The majority of children training according to this textbook express desire to attend chess lessons further on!
After writing a chess textbook for beginning, assisted by his adherents A.Bernshtejn and N.Jakovlev, Kostrov has already published "Textbook for chessplayers of the 2-3 categories", read of the second and third years of training. Simultaneously, just on the Moscow Olympiad "Chess problem book" (jointly with N.Yakovlev) was issued in 1994, which survived three editions. The last, third, one was published in 1998 5000 copies in number and was sold out in a recordly short time. This book designed for beginners up to 2nd categories chessplayers was illustrated with more than 500 diagrams of tasks for mating in one two, and three moves, of combinations on typical tactical techniques. In 1999 the Petersburg trainers supported by some publishing houses tried to re-create, to be exact to create the whole series of textbooks "from simple to complex", however, there appeared only two books in truth, one of them was made of two parts. This was "Chess. The textbook for chess- players of the first category and "CMS" (candidate masters of sports) by V.Kostrov and D.Davletov".
One should note that close co-operation of these two trainers has proceeded already for more than 15 years. They have studied together at chess section of the Moscow institute (GTSOLIFK) and as diplomaed trainers have devoted themselves to pedagogical and methodical work, writing and the edition of manuals.
Recently from under Kostrov's pen six more books have appeares under the common heading "Chess Test - Games". Four of them have been devoted to openengs, - open, semi-open, closed, and to gambits as well. Here is what the author writing about this series: "The books are intended, first of all, for children and their assistants trainers, therefore they bear within a teaching material, study of openings. If you want to torture quickly your ward, the most reliable way is to begin to explain to him numerous branchings of any opening. We know exactly that any of children will fall down from his chair in 15 minutes without mastering anything clearly. But let us try to turn a lesson into a competition who will guess more moves, that is still a champion! I think, any trainer can increase interest of pupiles so to play chess. Having analysed the results of Tests games, one can (but only to some extent, of course, the trainer, knows better the strong and weak sides of his pupils) draw a conclusion of power and knowledge of his learners engaged. Either one should work over an opening, or young chess players count variations insufficiently well, or there is no enought understanding of positional game. At the end of the book trainer and the qualified chessplayers (1st, 2nd category) are offered definite positions for playing.
They need attentive approach, as one should calculate a great number of variants in order to investigate positional peculiarities.
Written by the author somewhat later in 2001 a book "Can I beat Champion of the World?" acquaints children with all world champions, allows to follow the connection of chess history with creative power of chess kings, and to estimate the children's chess power with the help of tests. The three-part book "1000 chess tasks" problem solver" (in the co-authorship from P.Rozhkov) allows a trainer to work in detail over definite positions, conditions of lessons including, how to mate in one-two moves in various situations, to master tactical techniques: Pinn (king's pink), pawn endings and double impact. It is designed for beginners up to three-two- category players.
And last book having been done already in four parts, "2000 chess tasks for one-two category players", made up jointly with a sports master B.Beliavsky, contains more serious material on the same tactical techniques: part 1: pinn, double attack; part 2: deflection, decoying; part 3: chess problems; part 4: pawn endings. The text is duplicated in three languages - Russian, English and German. Points are put to one's account for deciions.
The witty system of helps allows the trained to perfect their tactical skill independently.
In conditions of one review it is impossible to describe all books compiled and developed by Kostrov and to explain the essence of his methodical innovation. Taking an occasion, I offer to address questions and proposals to the author through site BS-CHESS. Here you may still in more detail to familiarize yourself with the list of all of his books and order those still available on sale. V.Kostrov is grateful to all his collegues-co-authors N.Yakovlev A.Bernstein and D.Davletov, P.Rozhkov and B.Beliavsky for co-operation. Let us wish V.Kostrov and his collegues new methodical ways and creative achivments on the field of education of young chessplayers.
One should emphasize that the author himself creates an original model of his books participates in artistically decorating his projects...
It makes his books accessible in price and quite decent in quality. However, many have convinced already of it. Using textbooks and books of problem by Kostrov guys learn to play chess approximately in thirty schools of St. Petersburg, in other cities of Russia, near and distant foreign countries.
Read in the following releases "About modern litreture". "I met with Capablanca..." by G.Sosonko, SPB, 2001. Analysis of a new technique methods is given in the "Textbook of chess problems" by I.Slavin.