Birthday of FM Stephen William Giddins (29-01-1961)
Here are his games from chessgames.com
We reviewed his most recent book, co-authored with IM Gerard Welling : Side-Stepping Mainline Theory
From the publisher:
“Attacking your opponent’s king is not just a shortcut to victory, it’s also one of the most enjoyable and gratifying experiences in chess. If you want to win more games you should become a better attacker. Studying typical attacking motifs and ideas easily brings dividends while you are having a good time. Michael Prusikin presents the prerequisites and the rules for a King attack in a lucid and attractive manner. In 15 thematic chapters he teaches you how to assess the nature of the position, identify the appropriate offensive patterns, find the preliminary moves and conduct your attack in a clear and effective way. Battering rams, obstructive sacrifices, pawn storms, striking at the castled position, sacrificing a knight on f5, Prusikin demonstrates the most important patterns of attack with lots of clear and well chosen examples. Next, Prusikin tests your newly acquired insights and your attacking intuition with exercises covering all the themes and motifs. You will find that studying Attacking Strategies for Club Players is both entertaining and rewarding.
Michael Prusikin is an International Grandmaster and a FIDE Senior Trainer from Germany. In 2009 he was the co-winner of the German Championship. Several times he has been voted German Chess Trainer of the Year. He writes the tactics column in the German magazine SCHACH.”
In his foreword to this book, GM Alexander Khalifman explains that the subject of attack on the enemy king has been the subject of many recent books, many of which suffer from a combination of defects: lack of originality, exaggerated sensationalism, complication and subjectivity. I wouldn’t disagree in principle, but who doesn’t love any book featuring ferocious attacks, brilliant combinations and beautiful sacrifices? Khalifman believes this book is different because it explains how to set up an attack.
Here’s what Prusikin has to say in his introduction:
… the theme of this book is not basic attacking motifs. I assume you are already familiar with these or I would recommend that, if so inclined, you read the classic The Art of Attack by Vladimir Vukovic or its modern counterpart Essential Chess Sacrifices by David LeMoir. In this book we shall address the strategic requirements for a successful attack on the king and some lesser-known attacking motifs, though no less relevant in practice. I hope this will be both interesting and useful for players with an Elo rating between 1500 and 2300.
Chapter 1 is just two pages long. We learn the prerequisites for successfully attacking the king: lead in development/uncastled opposing king, space advantage in the vicinity of the opposing king, few defensive pieces near the opposing king, and weakened pawn protection. Then we have some tips for carrying out a successful attack: use all your pieces, open lines, don’t be afraid to sacrifice and don’t waste time.
Chapters 2 to 16 each feature a different attacking idea, with some brief instructions and some examples from play.
Chapter 2: King in the centre.
Here’s an extract from a game which particularly impressed Prusikin, between a 17-year-old Egyptian and a higher-rated 16-year-old Iranian (Fawzy – Maghsoodloo Abu Dhabi 2017).
An astonishing sacrifice, the idea of which doesn’t reveal itself until you have seen White’s 19th move.
16… axb5 17. axb5 Qb7 18. Rxa8+ Qxa8
And now what? Why has White actually given up the piece?
The next hammer blow, a left-right combination in boxing parlance.
A) 19… gxf5 20. Qh5 +-
B) 19… exf5 20. e6! +-
C) 19… Bxe5 20. fxe6 fxe6 21. Nf7+-
20. fxe6 f6 21. Bxe5 fxe5 22. Rf7 Bf8 23. Nxh7
23. Qf1 Bc5+ 24. Kh1 Ne7 25. b6 Qc6 26. Qf6! Rg8 27. Rxe7+ Bxe7 28. Qf7+ Kd8 29. Qxg8+ Qe8 30. Nf7++– was the alternative solution.
23… Bc5+ 24. Kh1 Ne7
Fawzy would have had to demonstrate similar, perhaps even more beautiful motifs after the defensive move 24… Be7 25. b6! Kd8 (25… Nh6 26. Nf6+ Bxf6 27. b7 Qb8 28. Qxd5 Nxf7 29. Qd7+ Kf8 30. Qxf7#) 26. Qf1 Nh6 27. Qb5 Qb7 28. Rf1!! (Wonderful geometry: the rook swings to the a-file!) 28…Rxh7 29.Ra1 Bf8 30.Ra7 Nf5 31.Rxb7 Rxb7 32.Qxd5+ Nd6 33.Qc5 and White wins.
Threatens 26. Rf8+ but at the same time ‘eyes up’ b5 – the queen in all her glory!
25… Nf5 26. b6!! Qc6 27. b7 Ba7 28. Qxf5+!
Not the only way to win, but certainly the most spectacular and at the same time the most convincing solution!#
28… gxf5 29. Nf6+ Kd8 30. e7+
What a game! The modern-day ‘Immortal’!
(A few comments on this extract: 1) I’ve omitted a couple of diagrams from the book 2) Prusikin doesn’t mention that Black could have held the position by playing 17… Rxa1, which he might have found had he foreseen 19. f5! and 3) if you have MegaBase you’ll find the same annotations (in German) there.)
Chapter 3: Obstructive sacrifice: a sacrifice to impede your opponent’s development: for instance White playing a pawn to e6.
Chapter 4: Attacking the king without the queen: attacks in queenless middlegames or even in endings.
Chapter 5: Pawn storm with opposite-side castling.
Chapter 6: Pawn storm with same-side castling.
Chapter 7: Using the h-pawn against a fianchetto.
I was very struck by this miniature: Gomez Sanchez – Otero Acosta (Santa Clara 2017). I’ll pick up the game with Black about to play his 9th move in this very typical Réti Opening.
The first game of this chapter, Steinitz – Mongredien, was probably the first time that the fianchetto, rather unusual at the time, had been attacked in such a daring way. Here too, the Steinitz attack seems to pose considerable problems for the Réti set-up.
(There’s a long note here, concluding that 9. cxd5 is probably White’s best move here, which I’ll omit from this review.)
9… h4 10. Nxh4?
The beginning of the end. Once again, the only feasible defence was to open the centre: 10. cxd5! exd5 11. e4, although even here White would have had some difficult practical problems to solve, for example: 11… hxg3 12. hxg3 d4!? 13. Ne2 Qa5! with the idea of switching to h5. Black gets a dangerous attack.
10… Rxh4! 11. gxh4 Nh5 12. Qe1?
The final mistake. 12. f4 Nxf4 13. Qe1 would still have offered resistance, although Black would have had a clear advantage.
Blocks the f-pawn; 12… Qh4? 13. f4.
13. Bc1 Qxh4 14. h3 Nf4 15. Bxf3 Qxh3 0-1
I suppose Prusikin might have mentioned that the idea behind Black’s 12th move is well known from, for example, a famous Fischer – Benko game.
Chapter 8: Using the g-pawn to destroy your opponent’s king protection.
Chapter 9: The nail in the coffin: a pawn on f6 or h6 in front of an opposing castled king.
Chapter 10: Doubled g-pawns, which can be used as an attacking weapon, or, on the other hand, can weaken the king’s defence.
Chapter 11: Using pieces to attack the castled position.
Chapter 12: The Grand Prix Attack: attacking a king behind a fianchettoed bishop with f4-f5, Qe1-h4, Bh6 etc.
Chapter 13: The knight on f5: sacrificing a knight on this square where it can be captured by a pawn on g6.
Chapter 14: Long bishop on b2: how a fianchettoed queen’s bishop can help your kingside attack.
This example is taken from Zsuzsa Polgar – Chiburdanidze (Calva Ol W 2004)
Here we join the game at its culmination: the dark-squared battery is already set up, the g-pawn has chased away the knight on f6 and with her last move … g7-g6 Black has carelessly weakened the long dark diagonal. In spite of all this, achieving the said culmination is anything but easy.
14. Nxe5!! Nxe2!
Was the Georgian former World Champion relying on this counter-attack?
A) 14… Qe7 15. Be4!! dxe5 16. 16. Bxb7 Nxe2! 17. Kxe2 Qxb7 18. Qxe5 f6 19. Qe6+ Qf7 20. Qxf7+ Rxf7 21. Bxf6+-
B) 14… dxe5 15. Qxe5 f6 16. Qxf4 gxf5 17. gxf6+ +-
If the first knight move was obvious, now comes the real ‘hammer blow’!
After 15. Kxe2? dxe5 16. Bc2 (16. Qxe5?? Re8) 16… Nc6 the advantage would have switched to Black.
15… Nxc3 16. Nh6+ Kg7 17. Bxc3+ Rf6 18. Bxf6+ Qxf6 19. gxf6+ Kxh6 20. Be6+-
Black could have resigned here but struggled on until move 39.
Chapter 15: Interference: specifically here playing a minor piece to the opponent’s back rank to block out an opposing rook.
Chapter 16: Breakthrough on the strong point: sacrificing on a square which appears to be very well defended.
At the end we have the seemingly obligatory quiz: 50 puzzles for you to solve. While some involve finishing off your attack, others require you to find a plan to put your attack in motion. You’re not told which is which.
You’ll see from the extracts above that, at one level, this is a lovely book crammed full of dashing attacks on the enemy king and beautiful sacrificial play. The expertly annotated examples are conveniently grouped by theme and with some helpful snippets of advice on how to identify when an attack of this nature would be appropriate, and how to carry it out.
As such it will, as the author suggests, appeal to anyone from, say, 1500 to 2300 strength. The themes won’t be new to stronger and more experienced players but they’ll still benefit from seeing them in action. While the author points out that the explanations at the start of each chapter are short to allow more space for games, they sometimes seemed rather perfunctory to me.
I’m also not sure that the book is entirely free from the flaws Khalifman has noted in other volumes of this nature. Yes, it’s a bit different from other books in the way it’s organised, and, while many of the games, including quite a few from Prusikin’s own games, were new to me, there were also some frequently anthologised chestnuts.
I’m also not convinced that the book is free from exaggerated sensationalism. The annotations, and sometimes the exclamation marks, perhaps tend towards the hyperbolic. As Khalifman rightly points out, ‘you don’t learn anything abut physics or chemistry by watching a fireworks display’, but the examples do tend to be firework displays rather than the more mundane attacks that are more likely to occur in your games.
It’s a large and complex subject, and, to do it full justice based on 21st century chess knowledge, you really need 400 or 500 pages rather than the 192 pages we have here.
The book was originally published in German and has been competently translated by Royce Parker, so the language problems sometimes apparent in books from this publisher don’t arise here. The production standards are high, and there’s a refreshing lack of typos.
It’s an entertaining and instructive book which will be enjoyed by a wide range of readers, but is it an essential purchase? Probably not.
Richard James, Twickenham 9th June 2022
Official web site of New in Chess
From the publishers’ blurb:
“GM Jan Werle is a professional chess trainer, coach and author. In 2008 he became EU Champion in Liverpool and reached his peak rating of 2607. Afterwards he finished his law studies, obtaining Master’s degrees in Civil and Commercial Law, and embarked on a career as a lawyer. However his main passion, chess prevailed, and led to a comeback. He gives chess lessons to pupils worldwide, individually and in groups. He enjoys teaching and helping his students and watching them improve. He combines teaching with playing in tournaments, keeping up his own level. Jan likes to meet new people and see new places and has been travelling to tournaments across the globe since an early age. He has played in all age categories in the World and European Championships finishing 3rd in the U-16 Championship in 2000 and 2nd in the U-18 in 2001. In 2004 he beat FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov and has won several strong international opens such as the Essent Open in Hogeveen in 2007, the Oslo Open and 8th place in the Gibraltar Masters in 2020, the strongest open in the world, with a score of 7/10 and a tournament performance of 2743. ”
Defence is a difficult subject to write about. What do we mean by defence, anyway? We have to defend if we have the worse position, but we also have to defend if our opponent is creating threats. If our opponent has made an unsound sacrifice for an attack, we might have to defend when in a winning position.
For these reasons there have been relatively few books written about this important aspect of chess, so it’s good to be able to welcome this new volume. Let’s take a look inside.
Chapter 1 doubles as the Introduction.
In this book I try to shed light on how to put up tenacious resistance, as well as why most defenders aren’t able to do so. There are so many books written about the attack and the initiative, not to mention opening books. But isn’t the hardest discipline in chess the defense of a weak position?
Technically speaking, one of the reasons why defense is such a difficult discipline, is that the attacker has several good moves at his disposal to choose from, whereas the defender is bound to pick one single move which enables him to ‘survive’.
Werle also discusses chess psychology, and, in general, sports psychology, subjects of particular interest to him, and with which he has personal experience.
There is an increasing understanding of the role psychology plays in chess, and, when your opponent is putting you under pressure, this is especially important. As you’ll see, this is discussed at length here.
Chapter 2 is again relatively short, looking at two forms of ‘inaccurate defence’: being too passive (and gradually getting crushed) and being too active in positions where you need to sit tight. It’s no coincidence that Werle’s examples of undue passivity come from older games: we know a lot more now about the virtues of active defence and the need to create counterplay, even at the cost of material.
Chapters 3, 4 and 5 constitute the heart of the book, each providing an in-depth look at defence in very different ways.
Chapter 3 offers The rise of defense in chess history, taking us all the way from Greco to Carlsen, with many instructive examples along the way. The author is particularly interesting when writing about Steinitz and Lasker, both of whom had much to say on the subject as well as demonstrating defensive skills in many of their games.
He then moves onto Botvinnik and Smyslov, both also giants of defensive play. I was taken by this example from a fairly well known Botvinnik (black v Liublinsky Moscow 1943/44) game.
Here, Botvinnik played what has now become a stock exchange sacrifice.
Botvinnik gives this move an exclamation mark, citing the advantages of the repaired pawn chain and the passed pawn, as the closed nature of the position deprives the white Rooks of any activity. However, in the ensuing lines there occur many concrete ‘computerish’ breaks which gives the Rooks a (perhaps better than) level playing field compared to the minor pieces.
Lyubinsky (sic) prefers to take the Rook with his Knight and to retain his Bishop. A questionable decision, since the Knight would have been well placed on the blockading square d3, according to Botvinnik.
After 26… Bc8 27. Bxd4 cxd4 28. Nc1! he would have kept a large advantage, but for the same reason after keeping the Bishop instead of the Knight on the board. In essence, White has to open the files on the queenside.
26… Bc8 27. Nxd4 cxd4 28. Bf2?
When Botvinnik mentions that his opponent is saddled with a dark squared Bishop (instead of the Knight) and thus completely without counterplay, Botvinnik missed several potential interesting and dynamic ideas to open the queenside files, assuming White was just obliged to await further developments.
White could have refuted this notion by, for example, 28. Bd2! with the idea of b3-b4. 28… c5 29. Rab1 f5 30. a3 Be6 31. Rb2! Now there is no way to stop the b3-b4 pawn break, when the files and ranks are opened, and the Rooks become ‘monsters’. 31… f4 32. b4! axb4 33. axxb4 cxb4 24. Rdb1 when White has a winning advantage.
Chapter 4, Emotions in Chess, looks at defence through the lens of sports psychology. Comparisons are made with other sports, notably tennis, with players such as McEnroe, Agassi and Federer discussed. We learn about debilitating emotions: anxiety, anger, relief and pride, how emotions might be triggered and how to cope with them.
Examples demonstrate how our emotions might affect how we play: particularly being too cautious or not sufficiently decisive.
Then Werle explains how we can control emotions by relaxation or a variety of cognitive techniques.
Any serious competitive player will find this chapter, concerning an increasingly important aspect of chess, very helpful.
Chapter 5 takes us back to the chessboard, looking at Defensive Strategies. Sometimes we can use prophylaxis: preventing our opponents from carrying out their plans. Sometimes we just have to wait to see how our opponents are going to improve their position. On other occasions, though, we need to be proactive, looking for counter-attacking moves which will turn the tide.
Back in Chapter 3, Werle discussed Korchnoi’s massive plus score with the black pieces against Tal to demonstrate what can happen when a brilliant attacker comes up against a brilliant defender. There are several examples scattered throughout the book.
Here is a striking example, from Moscow 1971.
In this position Korchnoi played:
Fantastic prophylaxis against h4-h5! Black can take now on e5 as the discovered check on h7 is out of the question. Not good was 16… Rfd8?, as after 17. h5 Nf8 18. h6 g6 19. Qxc4 Black would have been left with weakened black squares around the King and an isolated c-pawn.
Werle goes on to demonstrate the remainder of the game, which Korchnoi won on move 40.
(Checking this with Stockfish 15, though, the engine claims that 16… Rfd8 17. h5 Nf8 18. h6 Ng6 19. hxg7 Bc6 is fine for Black.)
Alekhine was a pioneer of risk-taking in defence, as Werle demonstrates in this example (Lasker – Alekhine Moscow 1914).
This unexpected, brutal move must have come as a shock to Lasker. White might have expected something like 13… Ne5 instead. White keeps an advantage with 14. Qc3 protecting f3. Black faces real issues completing his development. Or 13… Qe6 for the sake of bringing the Bishop out. 14. Re1! Bxc5 Who tricks who? 15. Qxd7+! Apparently, White tricks Black. Either way, there follows a Knight fork on f6 or c5.
As storm clouds gather above Black’s position, Alekhine finds a creative solution for the problem of his king’s position. He could have played 14… Kb8 here to defend the pawn on a7, but then the game wouldn’t last for long after White plays simple developing moves: Bf4, Rd1-d3-b3/a3.
This move is not approved by the commentators, but nonetheless it achieves its intended effect in the game. The point is that Alekhine places his knight as actively as possible, directed towards the enemy’s king.
15. Kg2 Qe6
And here is the mistake: White is seduced into taking the pawn. Annotators, starting with the players’ contemporary Siegbert Tarrasch, indicated that a much safer move was 16. Bf4 initiating a strong positional idea. 16… Kb7 17. Bxe5 – after taking the strong knight on e5 White will develop a quick attack against black’s King with Re1 (threatening Nd6+) – Re3-Rb3, meanwhile Black has issues developing his bishop on f8.
The ‘standard’ 16… Qg6+ fails without a fight after 17. Bg5! White will prevent the King’s escape via d7 on the next move. 17… f6 18. Rad1 And there is not much to do against the mating threat on a8.
With this beautiful queen move, Alekhine is not only threatening to take on f3, but also at the same time vacating the escape route c8-d7-e6 for his King!
The game resulted in a draw by perpetual check a few moves later.
This extract (I’ve omitted another three diagrams) gives you some idea of the flavour of the annotations here.
Chapter 6 offers what is these days the almost obligatory quiz to test your defensive skills, with 22 questions where the defender has to make a critical decision.
All in all, this is an excellent book which will interest all serious competitive players. If you have an interest in sports psychology you may well consider it an essential read. The book is exceptionally well researched and the examples are well chosen, although, as they’re mostly taken from grandmaster practice you might consider them more suitable for stronger players. The book itself looks good. It’s illustrated with many photographs, some of only tangential relevance, and important sentences and quotes are highlighted in callout boxes.
My one problem – and this might not annoy you as it does me – is that, as with so many chess books, the proofreading is well below the standard I’d expect from books on other subjects. You can perhaps tell from some of the extracts above that the text isn’t always fluent and sometimes the meaning isn’t entirely clear at first reading. But beyond that there are many other minor issues: inconsistent spellings (Tal is Mikhail and Mihail on the same page), inconsistent use of capitalisation of names of chess pieces, even in the same sentence, and so on. I appreciate (in part from being on the other end at the moment) that this process takes time and costs money: perhaps omitting it is a necessary sacrifice to make books like this economically viable.
If you don’t find this an insurmountable problem, I’d recommend this book as a brave and original take on a complex and difficult aspect of chess.
Richard James, Twickenham 25th May 2022
Book Details :
Official web site of Thinkers Publishing
From the back cover:
Senior International Master Mike Read competed 115 times for the England and Great Britain teams at correspondence chess, including playing on board one for England in the 13th Olympiad.
In this, his fourth book, he aims to instruct his readers by dissecting 110 games played by local players at all levels of chess. In doing so, he isolates typical mistakes and explains the methods of taking advantage of them.
Philidor wrote that pawns are the soul of chess. In one sense, yes, but in another sense the soul of chess is the mass of club and tournament players, without whom the chess world wouldn’t function. Yes, it might be inspirational to look at games played by top grandmasters, but it’s always been my view that club standard players will learn more from games played at their level than from GM games.
Mike Read shares my opinion. Here’s how he starts his introduction.
One of the surest ways for a club player to improve his playing ability is to study annotated games featuring players of similar strength to themselves. The mistakes, and the instructive methods of taking advantage of them, will be familiar to them from similar happenings in their own games. Meanwhile the notes to such moves will educate the aspiring player in both how to avoid typical errors, and also how to take advantage of them when it is his opponent who is unfortunate enough to err.
Mike was a strong junior in the 1970s who graduated to correspondence chess which he played with great success up to the year 2000, playing on top board for England and obtaining the title of Senior International Master. You don’t get to that level without being an excellent analyst.
It is reasonable for the reader to enquire as to why my correspondence chess career ended at a time when I was still being reasonably successful. The truth is that, during the 1990s, I suffered three nervous breakdowns. I managed to continue to keep on competing during the first two of these and, in fact, had my most successful chess years during the second of them, even though I was barely capable of coping with even the simplest aspects of day to day life. However my third breakdown, which occurred in the period 1999 to 2000 was too much for me to deal with and I was forced to abruptly retire from the game that I love at the beginning of the new millennium.
I was in an absolutely desperate situation at this time, but chess was to prove to be a major factor in my eventual recovery. A number of local players, recognising the severity of the predicament that I was in, made a great effort to assist me and get me out of the house where I had been languishing alone for several months. I do not feel I would ever have recovered, had it not been for the support of the Norfolk chess community.
Contained within these pages are 110 games, played by Norfolk players of all strengths from superstars of local chess such as John Emms, Owen Hindle and Robert Bellin down to some of the county’s lower graded (but still very talented as you will see!) enthusiasts. All of the games I have included feature top quality opportunities for the aspiring player to learn a lot, and all also feature some very fine chess!
The book is published through Amazon: Mike Read is selling it as cost price as he has no interest in collecting royalties from its sales.
The games are presented, unusually, in ECO code order, so you get all the Sicilian Defence games, for example, together. The annotations, which were produced without computer assistance, are excellent, scoring highly for both clarity and accuracy as well as instructive value. Many readers will, like me, appreciate the human touch. If you look at the sample pages on Amazon you’ll get some idea of their flavour.
Most of them are tactical, often involving spectacular sacrifices, which will delight anyone (and that probably means all of us) who enjoys combinative play.
This was the first game Mike analysed. He witnessed it taking place and decided to annotate it to thank his friend Grant Turner, who had helped and supported him during his breakdown. (If you click on any move you’ll be able to play through the games in this review on a pop-up board.)
Another of Mike’s friends, Brian Cunningham, was responsible for the production of this book. In this game he demonstrates that the Stonewall Attack can be a potent weapon at lower club level.
At the other end of the spectrum, here’s a game played by Norfolk born GM John Emms.
I know many readers enjoy collections of games played at amateur level, finding them both more entertaining and more instructive than higher level encounters. If you’re one of these you’ll be entranced by this book.
There are also many readers who like to support authors who prefer to self-publish their books. An admirable sentiment, I think, and if you fall into this category, again you certainly won’t be disappointed.
The word that first comes to my mind when considering this book is ‘generous’. Mike Read generously offers this book at cost price. The size is generous, his tributes to his friends who saved his life after his third breakdown, scattered within the introductions to these games, are also generous. The annotations are also generous in every respect. Mike is generous in his comments about the winners’ play, and also, very often, about the losers’ play as well. You might think that a more critical approach might have made the annotations even more instructive, but this would have been out of place given that they were originally written for a local chess magazine.
Anyone rated between, say, 1000 and 2000 will certainly learn a lot from this book, but stronger players will also benefit. And anyone who just enjoys playing through entertaining games will, like me, fall in love with this book. Don’t be put off by the title, which makes it sound rather dull and didactic (didactic, perhaps, but certainly never dull), or the lack of an illustration on the front cover. It’s what’s inside the book that really matters.
At another level, the book is also a wonderful tribute to all Mike Read’s friends within the Norfolk chess community (a few of whom, sadly, are no longer with us), who helped him when he was going through a very difficult time. Many will find Mike’s story inspirational, and that, again, is a powerful reason why you should buy this book.
It’s my view, and I’m sure Mike, even though he was a chess champion himself, would agree, that, ultimately, chess is less about prodigies, champions and grandmasters, but about forging friendships and building communities of like-minded people who enjoy the excitement, beauty and cerebral challenge of chess.
I’d urge all readers of this review to do themselves a favour, and do Mike a favour as well, by buying a copy. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m sure you will too. The Amazon link is here.
Richard James, Twickenham 11th May 2022
Official web site of Amazon Publishing
From the publishers’ blurb:
“The revolutionary Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900) considered himself to be in the vanguard of an emerging, late-19th century ‘Modern’ school, which embraced a new, essentially scientific vitality in its methods of research, analysis, evaluation, planning, experiment and even belligerent fight. Steinitz, who dominated the chess world in the shadow of a more directly attacking, openly tactical and combinative, so-called ‘romantic’ age, established a much firmer positional basis to chess. A pivotal change! This book follows that story, both before and beyond Steinitz’s early ‘modern’ era, focusing closely on the subtly varied ways in which the world’s greatest players in the last two centuries have thought about and played the game, moving it forward. The author reflects on all sixteen ‘classical’ world champions and others, notably: C-L. M. de la Bourdonnais, Adolf Anderssen, Paul Morphy, Siegbert Tarrasch, Aron Nimzowitsch, Richard Réti, Judit Polgar and the contemporary Artificial Intelligence phenomenon, AlphaZero. Be inspired by this exploration of the ‘modern’ game’s roots and trajectory!”
“Craig Pritchett (b 1949) is a former national champion and international master (1976), who represented Scotland in nine Chess Olympiads (1966-1990), including four times on top board (1974-1980). Gold medal winner on top board for Scotland at the European Seniors (60+) Team Championship in 2011, he continues to compete regularly at Senior and Open events. Chess Correspondent for the Scottish newspaper The Herald (1972-2006) and East Lothian Life (since 2005), he has taught and written widely on chess, specialising latterly on the historical development of chess thought and the fascinatingly wide differences in players’ chess styles. A University of Glasgow graduate in Modern History and Politics and a Chartered Public Finance Accountant, he also worked for many years in UK central government audit. President of his local Dunbar Chess Club, he has also long been associated with three major chess clubs: Edinburgh West, Barbican 4NCL and SK Berlin-Zehlendorf.”
From the author’s introduction:
This book takes the reader on a journey from early 19th century developments in the game up to the present-day.
Today’s top players still borrow from the best games and ideas of past generations. Do join them!
I wrote this book primarily to explore, confirm and convey my own understanding of this grand sweep of chess history.
What we’re offered here, then is a brief history of top level chess from 1834 to the present day, looking at both the development of chess ideas and the world championship itself. As you’d expect, the text is illustrated with games, annotated in a refreshingly straightforward fashion, and there are also a few photographs of the book’s heroes. An ambitious project, following in the footsteps of many other authors from Réti onwards. Not the first book of this type I’ve reviewed here either: but I wasn’t particularly impressed with this offering from two years ago.
We start then with Bourdonnais and McDonnell from 1834. Pritchett is impressed with their ‘calculating powers and creative imaginations’, and you will be too.
Most readers will have seen the extraordinary 62nd game before. I decided to ask Stockfish 14 to have a look. The notoriously hard to please engine was also impressed, but had one issue.
Here, Bourdonnais played 25… Qe3+, when 26. Rf2 would have held, according to both Pritchett and Stockfish. Pritchett also mentions that 25… Ba6 27. Qxa6 favours White: Stockfish 14 thinks Black’s winning after 27… e4!. A remarkable position which you might want to look at yourself. Perhaps Craig was using an older engine.
The theme of tactical brilliance continues with Anderssen, and, inevitably, we see the Immortal and Evergreen Games. Of course most readers will have seen them many times before, but there will always be those new to chess history who will relish witnessing them for the first time.
We then move onto Morphy and Steinitz, which is where the story becomes more complex and therefore more interesting. Pritchett is good at outlining Steinitz’s professionalism, opening research and patience at accumulating small advantages.
Pritchett describes this game as an early ‘hypermodern’ masterpiece, created decades before the term itself even existed, of a most insightful and visionary kind. (Click on any move of any game in this review for a pop-up board. I’ve used Stockfish 14 to annotate the games: readers might like to compare them with the author’s annotations in the book.)
This takes us into what, for me, is the strongest part of the book, covering the last few decades of the 19th and the first few decades of the 20th century. It’s excellent that Pritchett includes sections on Tarrasch and the Hypermoderns along with Lasker and the other world champions. Readers of Ray Keene’s masterpiece Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal will be aware that he wrote insightfully about the feud between these two players who had very different views about how chess should be played.
Almost half a century on, Keene’s contemporary Pritchett, takes a rather different approach, seeking to find a synthesis between the two. He quite rightly praises Tarrasch’s books Dreihundert Schachpartien and Die Moderne Schachpartie, although accepting that he could at times be over-dogmatic.
If you’ve never studied the games of the 1893 Tarrasch – Chigorin match do yourself a favour and have a look. One of the greatest matches in chess history, in my opinion.
Pritchett offers us the 4th game, although his annotations fail to point out Chigorin’s missed wins at moves 29 and 32.
Moving on from Tarrasch, via Lasker, to Nimzowitsch, Pritchett is just as complimentary about My System and Chess Praxis as he is about Tarrasch’s books, telling us that together they offer a wealth of insightful exposition of the new paths that the game was beginning to take in a post-classical era.
The contrasting champions Capablanca and Alekhine then follow, as stylistically different as Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch were in terms of their ideas and both interpreting their teachings in different ways.
Euwe only merits a very short chapter, and, as you might expect, the Pearl of Zandvoort, the Dutch champion’s most famous game, is demonstrated.
Botvinnik then takes us beyond the Second World War and into the latter half of the 20th century, at which point the tone of the book seems to undergo a gradual change.
As FIDE took over the organising the World Championship (with a break between 1993 and 2006) Pritchett’s narrative becomes more a list of world championship matches than a study of the development of ideas. We meet Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian and Spassky, four players with very different styles. Then, of course, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Carlsen.
The book ends with chapters on Judit Polgar, understandable in these days where representation is considered so important, and Alpha Zero, whose games add a totally new dimension to the development of chess ideas.
Pritchett quotes this Petrosian game, along with a 1966 interview from Sovetsky Sport, in which Petrosian, when asked what he valued most in chess, replied with the word Logic. I like only those games where I have played in accordance with the demands of the position … logical “correct” play. Botvinnik and Smyslov might both have agreed, but Tal? Probably not.
A different approach might have been to consider the period from 1948 onwards through looking at openings rather than players. You could discuss, for instance, the increasing popularity and development of dynamic openings such as the Sicilian and King’s Indian Defences in the post-war years, followed by the effects brought about by computer usage from, say, 1990 onwards. You’d be looking at the world champions, but also players such as Bronstein and Larsen who also, like Tarrasch and Nimzowitsch in their day, had an impact on the development of chess.
It strikes me that the history of the world championship and the development of chess ideas are two very different, but obviously interconnected subjects. From my perspective as a student of chess history, this book rather falls between two stools. The first half is written more from the latter perspective and the second half more from the former perspective. Inevitably so, perhaps, given the difficulty of telling a long and complex story within the confines of a relatively slim book.
If you’re knowledgeable about chess history, you’ll be familiar with the stories and have seen most of the games before. But if you’re new to the subject, this book, which will appeal to players of all strengths, would be a good place to start. It’s accessible, well researched and written, with well annotated games and well produced, although with a few typos and errors which might have been picked up at proof stage. Not all the analysis stands up to the scrutiny of Stockfish 14 but for most readers that won’t matter. Recommended for those unfamiliar with the subject matter, but perhaps superfluous for those who will have seen most of it before.
Richard James, Twickenham 31st March 2022
Book Details :
Official web site of Thinkers Publishing
From the publishers blurb:
“Vasily Smyslov, the seventh world champion, had a long and illustrious chess career. He played close to 3,000 tournament games over seven decades, from the time of Lasker and Capablanca to the days of Anand and Carlsen. From 1948 to 1958, Smyslov participated in four world championships, becoming world champion in 1957.
Smyslov continued playing at the highest level for many years and made a stunning comeback in the early 1980s, making it to the finals of the candidates’ cycle. Only the indomitable energy of 20-year-old Garry Kasparov stopped Smyslov from qualifying for another world championship match at the ripe old age of 63!
In this first volume of a multi-volume set, Russian FIDE master Andrey Terekhov traces the development of young Vasily from his formative years and becoming the youngest grandmaster in the Soviet Union to finishing second in the world championship match tournament. With access to rare Soviet-era archival material and invaluable family archives, the author complements his account of Smyslov’s growth into an elite player with dozens of fascinating photographs, many never seen before, as well as 49 deeply annotated games. German grandmaster Karsten Müller’s special look at Smyslov’s endgames rounds out this fascinating first volume.”
I’ve always considered Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) one of the more underrated world champions. I enjoy the combination of logic and harmony in his games along with his endgame expertise, so I was looking forward to reading this book.
Terekhov suggests in his introduction that Smyslov is arguably the least known of all world chess champions.
Perhaps the primary reason for Smyslov’s relative obscurity was his character. Smyslov was a reserved and deeply private man who did not strive for the spotlight.
Another factor was Smyslov’s playing style, which was classical and logical, but not necessarily flashy. To make a comparison, both Smyslov and Tal were world champions for only one year, but Tal won millions of fans for his dashing style and remains an iconic figure to this day, whereas Smyslov’s popularity largely waned after the period when he held the championship.
Up to now there have been few books, apart from those written by Smyslov himself, about his games, and they have limitations, partly because they were written in the pre-computer age and partly because they lacked biographical detail.
A few years ago, I decided to write a book that would fill in these blanks. Initially, it was conceived as a traditional best games collection, interspersed with a few biographical details. However, it quickly became apparent that Smyslov’s long chess career cannot be covered in a single volume. I amassed an extensive library of books, tournament bulletins and magazines which cover Smyslov’s chess career from the 1930s onwards. I also kept unearthing new material, including Smyslov’s manuscripts and letters.
What we have here, then, is the first volume of a hugely ambitious project, a combination of biography and best games collection, taking Smyslov’s career from his first competitive games in 1935 through to the 1948 World Championship Match-Tournament. A second volume will take the story up to 1957, when he became world champion, and further volumes will cover the remainder of his career, up to his last tournament games in the 21st century and the endgame studies he composed towards the end of his life.
What you don’t get is Smyslov’s complete games: you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want them.
The book comprises ten chapters, each covering a different part of Smyslov’s career. Each chapter in turn is divided into biography and games.
There are 49 complete games in this volume, all annotated in considerable depth. Terekhov has used an impressive range of sources: Smyslov’s own annotations, Soviet chess magazines and other contemporary sources, later commentators such as Kasparov, and skilfully combined these with computer analysis using today’s most powerful engines. Many annotators make the mistake of going overboard with reams of computer-generated variations, but Terekhov avoids this pitfall. While not everyone wants this sort of detail, the annotations in this book are some of the best I’ve read. A nice touch is that you also get brief biographical notes on his opponents.
The scope of the biographical sections, too, is impressive. There’s a lot of fascinating material from Soviet sources with which most readers will be unfamiliar. You’ll learn a lot from this, not just about Smyslov’s life, but also, in general, about how chess in the Soviet Union was promoted and organised in the 1930s and 1940s. You’ll expect full reports of the tournaments Smyslov played in, along with cross-tables. They’re all there, along with much more chess: many snapshots from games, some endgame studies, all illustrated with a profusion of photographs, many of which will be new to most readers. There’s plenty there to keep every chess lover happy.
Let’s look at a couple of the snapshots.
Here’s a remarkable position from the game Panov – Smyslov 12th USSR Championship 1940 demonstrating his defensive skills.
Smyslov continued with the extraordinary 19… Nc6!!?.
This desperate move evokes the memories of Spassky’s famous Nb8-c6 in a strategically lost position against Averbakh (Leningrad 1956), but Smyslov came up with the idea 16 years earlier!
20. dxc6 bxc6 21. Ba4 Rcb8 22. Qxa3
At first glance, White is completely winning, as he is a bishop up and Black does not even have a single pawn to show for it. However, even the engine agrees that Black has some initiative in exchange for the piece, although far from full compensation.
Smyslov eventually won this game after Panov blundered on move 41. If you buy the book you’ll see for yourself what happened.
In the 1941 USSR Absolute Championship, Smyslov found himself a pawn down in a minor piece ending against Lilienthal.
At some point, Smyslov took a brilliant, although practically risky decision to sacrifice both of his pieces for the remaining Black pawns. The game transposed to the following rare endgame, which was studied in great detail by the Russian composer Alexey Troitsky:
This position was evaluated by Troitsky as a draw and modern tablebases confirm this assessment. However, defending this position in practice is no fun, as a single bad move can lead to a forced mate. Smyslov managed to hold it and the game was agreed drawn on the 125th(!) move.
But there’s much more than chess in the biographical sections. The game was so popular in the Soviet Union that Smyslov received fanmail from young female admirers, some of which have survived. Here’s Klara, writing to her hero in 1941. Can you send me a photo of yourself, even if a tiny little one, but with your signature? If you cannot give it to me, please send it to me so I could take a look – I will return it. If you only knew how I want to see you, hear you talk – but alas – these are just dreams which cannot come to life for at least another year…
Most poignantly, we have a letter Smyslov wrote to the mother of his friend Bazya Dzagurov in 1942, asking for news of her son, who had been serving in the war. How are you doing? Do you have anyone left by your side? Is there any information about Bazya? I heard that you have not received letters from him for a long time, but I don’t know anything for certain. Please write to me about your life and let me know something about your son and my friend. Tragically, Dzaghurov had lost his life several months earlier.
Right at the end of the book there are a few bonuses. Chapter 11 introduces us to Smyslov’s wife Nadezhda Andreevna, Appendix A covers the Smyslov System in the Grünfeld Defence, and Appendix B, contributed by GM Karsten Müller, tells us more about Smyslov’s Endgames.
Here are a couple of short game which you’ll find annotated in the book. Click on any move for a pop-up board.
Although Smyslov’s fame rests mainly on his positional and endgame skills, he could still play aggressively when the opportunity arose, and some of his earlier games featured here are quite complex.
In this game (Moscow Championship 1939) he scored a quick attacking victory against the now centenarian Averbakh.
Here’s a highly thematic game from the 1945 USSR Championship.
I’ve said before that we’re living in a golden age of chess literature. There are several reasons for this, two of which are relevant to this book. Firstly, we have much greater access to archive material than ever before, and, secondly, powerful modern engines ensure accurate analysis. This is an outstanding and important work which should be on the shelves of anyone with any interest at all in chess history. Excellent writing, painstaking research and exemplary annotations, along with first class production values (barring the inevitable one or two typos and errors): the book is an attractive and sturdy hardback which will look good in any library.
Congratulations are due to Andrey Terekhov, and also to Russell Enterprises. Very highly recommended. I can’t wait to read the next volume in the series.
Richard James, Twickenham 3rd March 2022
Book Details :
Official web site of Russell Enterprises
From the publisher:
“I have aimed to find a good balance of verbal explanations without ignoring the hardcore variations you have to know. In case you find some of the analyses a bit too long, don’t be discouraged! They have been included mainly to illustrate the thematic ideas and show in which direction the game develops once the theoretical paths have been left. That’s why I have actually decided to cover 37 games in their entirety, rather than cutting off my analysis with an evaluation. I believe that model games help you to better understand an opening, but certainly also the ensuing middle- and endgames.”
“Robert Ris (1988) is an International Master from Amsterdam. He has represented The Netherlands in various international youth events, but lately his playing activities are limited to league games.
Nowadays he is a full-time chess professional, focusing on teaching in primary schools, coaching talented youngsters and giving online lessons to students all around the world. He has recorded several well received DVDs for ChessBase.
Since 2015 he has been the organizer of the Dutch Rapid Championships. This is his fourth book for Thinkers Publishing, his first two on general chess improvement ‘Crucial Chess Skills for the Club Player‘, being widely appraised by the press and his audience.”
End of blurb.
In July 2021 we reviewed The Modern Sveshnikov by the same author and publisher. Robert sees his new book as a companion volume to the Sveshnikov volume. Indeed these two volumes taken together form a Black repertoire against 1.e4 using the Sicilian Sveshnikov.
This of course raised an issue with the book’s title. When we first received this book we were puzzled that only 2…Nc6 was considered (and why not 2…e6, 2…d6 etc.) which would be odd for a book suggesting it was for the second player dealing with the non-open Sicilian lines. The Preface clarified our confusion.
As with every recent Thinkers Publishing publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. With this title we return to the matt paper of previous titles. (You might have noticed from previous reviews that we encourage the use of the more satisfying glossy paper!)
Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text. The diagram captions have returned.
There is no full Index or Index of Variations (standard practise for Thinker’s Publishing) but, despite that, content navigation is relatively straightforward as the Table of Contents is clear enough. However, we welcome an Index of Games.
Here are the main Parts:
A small plea to the publishers: Please consider adding an Index of Variations! We say this because of highly detailed level of analysis.
So, the first thing to bear in mind is that Black wishes to play the Sveshnikov Variation and therefore will play 2..Nc6 if possible. Chapter 1 therefore starts with:
We note an error in the above entry in the Table of Contents which has 4…g6 instead of 4…Bg7 and the publishers acknowledge this error. 4.0-0 is the most popular alternative and then the capture and 4.c3 trails in third place.
The treatment of the material (for all Parts and Chapters) is by way of 36 (the Preface states 37) complete model games analysed in depth until around move 20 – 25 at which point the remainder of the moves are given without comment. This pattern is repeated throughout and is a successful one.
It might have been entertaining to pitch these chapters against the recent Rossolimo work by Ravi Haria but you will have to buy both books to amuse yourself in this way!
(from the aforementioned title:
Section 5 covers 3…g6 which is arguably the critical continuation. The author offers two different systems against this line: either capturing on c6 immediately or playing 4.0-0 and 5.c3.
so clearly both authors agree and identify 3…g6 4.bxc6 and 4.0-0 as the lines for student study.
Having examined the Rossolimo, which occupies the bulk of the content, we move onto the perhaps less critical but popular Alapin variation in Part II which, following,
is subdivided into three chapters viz:
The “Other Systems” include a) d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 and 5.Bc4 plus
Curiously the third most popular fourth move of 4.Bc4 (a favourite of Mamedyarov) is not given independent treatment but this omission is probably not too troublesome.
Part III, Anti-Sveshnikov Systems consists of four chapters:
with Chapter 8, Various Anti-Sveshnikov breaking down into:
of which a), The King’s Indian Attack is more likely to be seen at club level.
Again, an interesting exercise would be to take some of content of this book and put it up against the suggestions of Gawain Jones in his Coffeehouse Repertoire 1.e4 Volume 1. An exercise for the student! We’ve always imagined a tournament based on books ‘playing’ each other could have some academic merit.
Finally, we find ourselves in Part IV, Odds and Ends which covers exotic 2nd move (after 1.e4 c5) alternatives for White namely:
with a model game each. One could be picky and ask about 2.Ne2, 2.d3 but these are fairly transpositional.
However, for a repertoire book arguably there is at least one glaring omission and that is 2.d4, The Morra Gambit. We looked in the Alapin section for potential transpositions but without luck.
This book is a welcome addition to the author’s companion volume and provides a fine repertoire based around the Sveshnikov. As a bonus players of the Accelerated Dragon and Kalashnikov variants will also find material of benefit. More than that players of any flavour of Sicilian will find useful material in Part IV.
John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, 26th January, 2022
Book Details :
Official web site of Thinkers Publishing
From the publisher:
“Grandmasters Kotronias and Ivanov are renowned as leading theoreticians and chess trainers. They offer a unique and world-class repertoire based on 1.d4! They advocate an ambitious approach for White, with the aim to fight for an advantage in any position. This is their first joint effort; they tackle the ever-popular Queen’s Gambit Accepted and their sidelines in Volume 1A and 1B.
We at Thinkers believe their job could not have been done any better.”
“Vassilios Kotronias was born in 1964 and is the first Greek Grandmaster. He is a former top-50 player and has represented both Greece and Cyprus in many chess Olympiads, mostly on the 1st board. He has also authored several chess books, his most notable work being a 5-Volume work on the King’s Indian Defense.
He has been extraordinarily successful in individual competitions overall, winning prestigious events such as Gibraltar, Hastings, Capelle la Grande (in a tie) and numerous other closed and open tournaments. He did qualify several times for FIDE’s knock-out World Cup tournament and participated often in European Individual Championships, as well as club events. He won trophies with prestigious chess clubs in the leagues of Greece, Serbia, Italy, Sweden, Hungary etc.
As a trainer he has coached the Greek National team and strong world class players like Alexei Shirov, Veselin Topalov and Nigel Short. ”
Mikhail Ivanov, was born in 1969, Bryansk, Russia.
He earned his Grandmaster title in 1993 and won countless chess events in the European chess circuits. We remember him being among the winners of one the largest opens in Europe (the Neckar Open, now better known as the Grenke Chess Open), 2002 with L.Aronian and winning this event in 1998. He played for several different European clubs in the Bundesliga, Austria, Iceland, Finland, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Czech Republic, etc. During the European Club Championship in Ohrid (2009), he took 3rd place on the 2nd board. He mainly focused now on coaching and writing.”
End of blurb.
As with every recent Thinkers Publishing publication high quality paper is used and the printing is clear. With this title we return to the excellent glossy paper of previous titles.
Each diagram is clear and the instructional text is typeset in two column format, which, we find, enables the reader to maintain their place easily. Figurine algebraic notation is used throughout and the diagrams are placed adjacent to the relevant text.
There is no Index or Index of Variations (standard practise for Thinker’s Publishing) but, despite that, content navigation is relatively straightforward as the Table of Contents is clear enough.
Here are the main chapters:
The first thing to notice is that this is a repertoire book from the perspective of the first player and that it is designated Volume 1A. Volume 1B will treat the remainder of the QGA repertoire for White and later to be published volumes 2-5 will cover the other lines for White. Eventually there will be six volumes (1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4 and 5) in total.
So, clearly this is part of an ambitious project going into immense detail suited to the active tournament player and the project is to provide an active repertoire for White based around 1. d4 and 2. c4 where possible. Reviewing the repertoire based around one out of six volumes is, of course, not possible.
Interestingly Kotronias is usually a 1.e4 player and declares that he was motivated to
dive into new waters
for this project whereas Ivanov is almost the opposite with 616 games starting 1.d4, 447 with 1.Nf3 and 78 with 1.c4 which makes for an unusual collaboration.
Chapter 1 kicks-off with the Chigorin Defence with 3.Nf3! being recommended:
which fits in nicely also with someone who plays a 2.Nf3 or even 1.Nf3 move order. 3.Nf3 is the most popular move in Megabase 2022 with 4704 games just edging out 3. Nc3 and 3. cxd5.
Of course 3…Bg4 IS the main line but for the sake of completeness we would have included 3…e5 (as played by Morozevich) with at least a mention as it is very much in the spirit of the Chigorin.
The most interesting point in this line is what should White play here:
boiling down to the eternal motif of
and the authors spend considerable effort looking at these two (plus the curious 10.Bg2!?) options. In the main the early analysis is verbose and rich with explanation. To find out if 10.Rg1 or 10.Rb1 receives the ultimate seal of approval you will need to purchase the book. The analysis at say move 10 onwards is highly detailed but also with helpful explanation.
So, if you are new to the Chigorin (or not) with White the depth is excellent.
Chapter 2 visits that club player favourite, the Albin Counter-Gambit:
and we get to the tabiya of
where all of Black’s sensible options are discussed in depth.
The Baltic (or Grau) Defence is the next subject of discussion and this time the authors put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons with the off-the-wall suggestion of 3.Qb3!?
which certainly wastes no time in hitting the Baltic’s Achilles heel, the b7 pawn. 3.Qb3!? scores 61.4% over 243 games and is preferred by Sokolov and Novikov. The authors follow 3.Qb3!? with the more main stream 3.cxd5! as the main repertoire recommendation.
It is not often we encounter a new opening name and the Mamedyarov System meant nothing to us before we looked it up. This would appear to be their new name for what chess.com classifies as the Austrian Defence:
which Shakhriyar Mamedyarov has essayed 51 times scoring a noteworthy 63.7% with the Black pieces, The authors utilise 18 pages on this unusual choice so that White players will not be caught unawares.
The remaining chapters cover 1. d4 d5; 2.c4 dxc4; 3.e4 with either 3…c5 or 3..b5 from pages 126 – 319 which is a stunning amount of analysis and detail.
Noteworthy is that Duda used one of the authors TNs in his 2022 game with Sergei Karjakin at Wijk aan Zee to good effect:
and the full game was:
Seeing as this is merely part 1 of a projected 6 parts we have a feeling this could easily be described as an epic series of tomes. It remains to be seen what is included and what, if any, lines are omitted. The level of coverage is unusually flexible in that it caters for players new to lines and then provides a huge level of detail.
We very much look forward to receiving the rest of the series.
A small plea to the publishers: Please consider adding an Index of Variations! We say this because of highly detailed level of analysis. A minor observation is the enthusiastic sprinkling of !s after moves: clearly this is a matter of taste.
John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, 22nd January, 2022
Book Details :
Official web site of Thinkers Publishing