This article refers back to "Games and Their Theory," by GM Nigel Davies. 

Learning a game like checkers (or chess) is like learning a language: The squares are the letters, a move is a word and a combination is a sentence (actually the patterns are very much handled by the brain and memory like words and proverbs!). A game is like a story, and a tournament is like a collection of stories or like a novel, depending on the style of the player. (That is why a stranger to this game will not understand the two checker players when they talk about a game or a position.)

Just like a language that can be learnt by reading a textbook or by practicing with people that already speak it fluently, you can learn checkers either by reading books or by playing and talking with other players in tournaments or matches.

Both ways can be used and both ways can (and should) be combined.

In Germany, I only had some weak checker players to play with in my former chess club (only one of them was strong enough to reach 1500 + on yahoo), and with only one strong player that was working here in Dortmund (though he was not a master or master candidate either), I had no choice but mainly to stick to the books! It is different, for instance, in the Czech Republic, as their players are much more "players" then "readers," but this is because they have more competitions to enter.

So I guess it depends on your "socialization" as a checker player and your personal preference, and which way you prefer, or how you combine them.


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