I got the two new books I ordered from amazon. "Simple Chess" by Stean, and "Excelling at Chess Calculation" by Aagard. I did a cursory read of the two and here are my assessments.
1. Simple Chess - This book is really, really good. Reading between the lines, the book is not simply a positional manual trying to teach basic positional concepts. It is actually trying to teach you a style of play. This style of play is aptly named "Simple Chess", hence the title of the book. The greatest exponent of this style is Capablanca, he whose dictum is to "Keep it simple". To give an example on how good this is, lets take the chapter "Outsposts" as a sample. Now, outposts are about the most elementary of positinal concepts, and I am quite sure all sufficiently advanced chess players know of it. I myself have read about it from "Best Lessons of a chess coach" and "Judgement and Planning", and I thought, I can't learn anything new here. But the book proved me wrong. The explanations are outstanding. I mean, I know about outposts, but why dont I find it in my games? Reading the book, I realize that my understanding of it is quite superficial. I am almost tempted to study botvinnik. I can't praise this book enough. This is classic! Buy it! Read it! Watch you rating climb! =>
2. Excelling at Chess Calculation - If I am not doing the 7 circles, I might have found this book noteworthy. Sure the book has some interesting ideas and stuff but, its nothing new. If not for the 100 exercises found at the back of the book, I might have consigned this to the cabinet, never to be opened again. Originally, my intention on buying this book, was to use it as a workbook on solving candidate move problems. Sort of like the stoyko exercises that Mr. Heisman recommended. On hindsight, I might have been better served buying a specialized book of that genre like "Analyze Now" or others. I intend to work thru the 100 problems of course, no use wasting money. But I cannot recommend this book. At least not with people at my level.