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  World Champion Alex Moiseyev Discusses the Meaning of Book Play The following communication was posted on George Miller's BBS on December 15, 2003.

It's disheartening to see many of our "young hopes" have a strange and completely wrong impression about studying books, published play knowledge, crossboard play, etc. For whatever reason, the statement book player has very low respect among our young guns, and I'm trying to change this incorrect opinion.

First of all, there are no "book moves" or "non-book moves". There are only "good moves" and "bad moves". Book moves and good moves overlap 90 to 95 percent of the time. The phrase, "I am not a book player," is equivalent to "I am not a good player." In other words, making book moves usually means making good moves.

Let's assume you don't study books but still want to make a good move. For the checkers fraternity at large, it took about 200 years to build the existing published play knowledge that we have today. You may need another 200 years to build your own sound published play from scratch. Crossboard skills are based on knowledge and experience. Intuition never comes from thin air! Intuition is not something bestowed by God. You can improve your intuition by consistently studying all phases of the game.

There are books that cover not only the opening phase of the game but also the midgame and endgame phases. If you study the strategy of the game rather than openings, you are still entitled to say, "I am a book player. I follow sound strategy and make sound moves." You can be proud of this.

If you want to beat your roommate or school buddy, you don't need to study books; just play on Yahoo!, and you'll be okay. But if you want to reach a serious level and to fight for the World Title (I am not saying win the World Title), you need to study books.

There are no exceptions among World Champions. Each had (and have) familiarity (at the very least!) with published play. Don't think that Ron King is not aware of published play. This is a great illusion. Don't think that Elbert Lowder is not an expert on published play. Wrong again!

The central goal of a checker player is to make the best move at all times, not to reach crossboard play. Checkers is not designed to offer a new, original game every time around.


Alex Moiseyev
Three-Move World Champion

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