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  • #46
    Upcoming Chess Books

    January 4, 2020

    New in Chess 2020

    Four books from this publisher this year

    Winning Quickly with 1.b3 and 1…b6

    By Ilya Odessky

    International Master Ilya Odessky is the world’s leading expert on the 1.b3 and 1…b6 chess opening systems. Despite their apparent calm, these openings are extremely sharp. Now Odessky presents his findings and achievements of recent years. His baffling traps will help you crush your opponents in the opening, with both White and Black. Ilya Odessky will entertain, amuse and surprise you in this highly unusual chess opening book full of ultra-romantic chess.

    Publisher: New in Chess, 2020
    Format: Paperback, 352 pages
    Language: English

    The Author: Ilya Odessky is an International Master from Russia, a well-known chess coach and a prolific author. His previous book published by New In Chess was ‘Play 1.b3: The Nimzo-Larsen Attack, a Friend for Life’.

    Expected May-June of 2020

    Hein Donner The Biography

    By Alexander Munninghoff

    Publisher’s blurb: Hein Donner (1927-1988) was a Dutch Grandmaster and one the greatest writers on chess of all time. He was born into a prominent Calvinistic family of lawyers in The Hague. His father, who had been the Minister of Justice and later became President of the Dutch Supreme Court, detected a keen legal talent in his son. But Hein opted for a bohemian lifestyle as a chess professional and journalist. He scored several excellent tournament victories but never quite fulfilled the promise of his chess talent.

    Hein Donner developed from a chess player-writer into a writer-chess player. His provocative writings and his colourful persona made him a national celebrity during the roaring sixties. His book ‘The King’, a fascinating and often hilarious anthology spanning 30 years of chess writing, is a world-wide bestseller and features on many people’s list of favourite chess books.

    The author Harry Mulisch, his best friend, immortalized Hein Donner in his magnum opus The Discovery of Heaven. In 2001 the book was adapted for film, with Stephen Fry playing the part that was based on Donner. Included in Hein Donner is the interview in which Harry Mulisch tells about his friendship with Donner.

    After suffering a stroke at the age of 56, Donner lived his final years in a nursing home. He continued writing however, typing with one finger, and won one of the Netherlands’ most prestigious literary awards. Alexander Münninghoff has written a captivating biography of a controversial man and the turbulent time and age he lived in.

    Publisher: New in Chess, 2020
    Format: Paperback, 224 pages
    Language: English

    The Author: Alexander Münninghoff is an award-winning author from the Netherlands. He wrote the acclaimed biography of the man that was dethroned by Hein Donner as Dutch champion: former World Chess Champion Max Euwe. His memoir ‘The Son and Heir’ with the complex story of the Münninghoff family in the 20th century, is an international bestseller.

    Expected May-June 2020

    The Best I Saw In Chess

    Games, Stories and Instruction from an Alabama Prodigy Who Became U.S. Champion

    By Stuart Rachels

    Publisher: New in Chess, 2020
    Format: Paperback, 372 pages
    Language: English

    Publisher’s blurb: At the U.S. Championship in 1989, Stuart Rachels seemed bound for the cellar. Ranked last and holding no IM norms, the 20-year-old amateur from Alabama was expected to get waxed by the American top GMs of the day that included Seirawan, Gulko, Dzindzichashvili, deFirmian, Benjamin and Browne.

    Instead, Rachels pulled off a gigantic upset and became the youngest U.S. Champion since Bobby Fischer. Three years later he retired from competitive chess, but he never stopped following the game.

    In this wide-ranging, elegantly written, and highly personal memoir, Stuart Rachels passes on his knowledge of chess. Included are his duels against legends such as Kasparov, Anand, Spassky, Ivanchuk, Gelfand and Miles, but the heart of the book is the explanation of chess ideas interwoven with his captivating stories.

    There are chapters on tactics, endings, blunders, middlegames, cheating incidents, and even on how to combat that rotten opening, the Réti. Rachels offers a complete and entertaining course in chess strategy. At the back are listed 110 principles of play—bits of wisdom that arise naturally in the book’s 24 chapters.

    Every chess player will find it difficult to put this sparkling book down. As a bonus, it will make you a better player.

    The Author: Stuart Rachels (b. 1969) is an International Master who retired from chess when he was 23. He works as an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Alabama and has edited new editions of books by his father, the famous philosopher James Rachels.

    Expected March-April of 2020

    Sultan Khan

    The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire

    By Daniel King

    Publisher’s blurb: Hardly anyone paid attention when Sultan Khan arrived in London on April 26, 1929. A humble servant from a village in the Punjab, Khan had little formal education and barely spoke English. He had learned the rules of Western chess only three years earlier, yet within a few months he created a sensation by becoming the British Empire champion.

    Sultan Khan was taken to England by Sir Umar Hayat Khan, an Indian nobleman and politician who used his servant’s successes to promote his own interests in the turbulent years before India gained independence.

    Sultan Khan remained in Europe for the best part of five years, competing with the leading chess players of the era, including World Champion Alexander Alekhine and former World Champion Jose Raoul Capablanca. His unorthodox style often stunned his opponents, as Daniel King explains in his examination of the key games and tournaments in Khan’s career.

    Daniel King has uncovered a wealth of new facts about Khan, as well as dozens of previously unknown games. For the first time he tells the full story of how Khan, a Muslim outsider, was received in Europe, of his successes in the chess world and his return to obscurity after his departure for India in 1933.

    Publisher: New in Chess, 2020
    Format: Paperback, 372 pages
    Language: English

    The Author: Daniel King (1963) is an English chess grandmaster, coach, journalist and broadcaster. He has written 16 chess books on topics ranging from opening preparation to the self-tutoring How Good is your Chess? and Test Your Chess.

    Expected March-April of this year

    Comment


    • #47
      Upcoming Chess Books

      March 3, 2020

      Duchamp's Pipe: A Chess Romance: Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski

      Celia Rabinovitch

      Art, chess, and an $87,000 pipe frame an inside look at the relationship between Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp and chess Grandmaster George Koltanowski.

      Spanning three decades, two continents, two world wars, and the international art and chess scenes of the mid twentieth century, Duchamp's Pipe explores the remarkable friendship between art world enfant terrible Marcel Duchamp and blindfold chess champion George Koltanowski. Artist and cultural historian Celia Rabinovitch describes each man's rise to prominence, the chess matches that sparked their relationship, and the recently discovered pipe that Duchamp gave to Koltanowski. This tale of genius and resilience offers fresh insights into the essence of the gift in the bohemian underground. Rabinovitch invites us to discover the chess wizard and a Duchamp slightly off pedestal--and ultimately more human.

      Paperback, 256 pages
      North Atlantic Books, 2020

      The Author: Celia Rabinovitch, an artist, writer, and scholar, weaves the artist's experience into a nuanced understanding of modern art, history, cultural anthropology, and comparative mythology. She has taught at the University of Colorado, California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Stanford University, and as invited speaker at Cornell University, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and has been an artist in residence at Syracuse University and the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Duchamp's Pipe is her second book.

      Publisher's Blurb - Spanning three decades, two continents, two world wars, and the international art and chess scenes of the mid-twentieth century, Duchamp's Pipe: A Chess Romance: Marcel Duchamp and George Koltanowski explores the remarkable friendship between art world enfant terrible Marcel Duchamp and blindfold chess champion George Koltanowski. Artist and cultural historian Celia Rabinovitch describes each man's rise to prominence, the chess matches that sparked their relationship, and the recently discovered pipe that Duchamp gave to Koltanowski. A pipe now worth $87.000.

      This tale of genius and resilience offers fresh insights into the essence of the gift in the bohemian underground. Rabinovitch invites us to discover the chess wizard and a Duchamp slightly off pedestal - and ultimately more human.

      This 290-page book is a must-have if you are interested in Duchamp. And it brings to life the story of George Koltanowski, a Belgian-born American chess player, promoter, and writer. Koltanowski set the world's blindfold record on 20 September 1937, by playing 34 chess games simultaneously, making headline news around the world. He also set a record in 1960 for playing 56 consecutive blindfold games at ten seconds per move.

      ____________

      A selection of books concerning Duchamp and chess

      1 L'opposition et les cases conjuguees sont reconciliees
      M Duchamp and V. Halberstadt
      L'Echiquier (1932)
      112 pages

      2 The imagery of chess
      Julien Levy Gallery (1944)
      4 pages

      (Invitation for the opening in the Julien Levy Gallery, George Koltanowski played simultaneously blindfold chess against 5 opponents, Marcel Duchamp was referee}

      3 Marcel Duchamp
      Robert Level
      Neuaufl (1972)
      234 pages

      4 Sur Marcel Duchamp et la fin de l’art
      Jean Clair
      Gallimard (2000)
      335 pages

      5 The chess biography of Marcel Duchamp
      Volumes 1-2
      Vlastimil Fiala
      Moravian Chess (2002-2004)

      6 Marcel Duchamp: the art of chess
      Francis M. Naumann
      Readymade Press (2009)
      133 pages

      7 Tom Hackney: corresponding squares: painting the chess games of Marcel Duchamp
      Bradley Bailey
      World Chess Hall of Fame
      Francis M. Naumann Fine Art (2016)
      44 pages

      8 Music and chess: Apollo meets Caissa
      Achilleas Zographos
      Russell Enterprises (2017)
      224 pages

      Comment


      • #48
        Upcoming Chess Books

        May 23, 2020

        Emanuel Lasker

        Volume 2: Choices and Chances. Chess and Other Games of the Mind

        Authors: Richard Forster, Michael Negele, and Raj Tischbierek


        The second part of the monumental trilogy about the second world champion Emanuel Lasker, 1868-1941. The German version of this book was published in one big volume, which had more than 1,000 pages and became a bestseller. The English version is published in three parts and this is the second one. The book contains many annotated games, almost 200 photos and illustrations, in the 70 pages of Lasker’s biography, part 2. There are separate chapters on Lasker’s stays in Holland and at the famous New York 1924 tournament, which Lasker won with 16 of 20 against Capablanca 14.5, Alekhine 12 etc. The other chapters deal with Emanuel Lasker and Game Theory, his knowledge of board games like Lasca (Lasker invented it), Salta, Go, Checkers, Bridge etc. Several indexes at the end.

        Exzelsior Verlag, Berlin 2020
        Hard Cover, 464 pages
        Language: English + Figurine notation

        _________

        Vladimir Tukmakov has published four books before in English:

        Coaching the Chess Stars
        Thinkers Publishing 2019

        Risk & Bluff in Chess, The Art of Taking Calculated Risks
        New in Chess 2015

        Modern Chess Preparation
        New in Chess 2013

        Profession: Chessplayer
        Russell Enterprises 2006

        These should be in the library of every collector and chess professional.

        To these, a fifth book will soon appear:

        Modern Chess Formula The Powerful Impact of Engines

        By Vladimir Tukmakov

        The author discusses how to make the computer work most effectively in chess preparation. Vladimir Tukmakov using many annotated games of the world’s top players, shows how such a top player builds his opening repertoire and his opening philosophy. He explains how top-level players solve problems in the middle game, why even top-class players make mistakes. He is a respected coach of Karpov, Korchnoi, Giri, So and teams from Azerbaijan and the Netherlands. He himself was formerly one of the world’s top players. The book was first published in Russian with the title Igray (ne) kak computer.

        Thinkers Publishing 2020
        Paperback, 496 pages
        Language: English + Figurine notation

        _________

        The next book was discussed in post number 11 of USSR vs The Rest of the World, 1970

        https://forum.chesstalk.com/forum/ch...the-world-1970

        The Match of the Century USSR vs World
        50th Anniversary Edition

        By Tigran Petrosian and Aleksandar Matanovic

        A substantially updated/enlarged edition of the book, which was published shortly after the match in 1970, compiled by Douglas Griffin and Igor Zveglic. The book contains all 40 games, mostly annotated in detail by the players themselves, now all in English (in the original edition, the comments of the Russian players were only in Russian). In this edition, there are also new translations of articles from the Russian press, background information of the match and preparation of the Soviet team, extended biographies of players, excerpts from later interviews, etc. The Match of the Century was played on 10 boards, 4 rounds. Five world champions and the best players of the time took part: Spassky, Petrosian, Korchnoi, Polugaevsky, Geller, Smyslov, Taimanov, Botvinnik, Tal, Keres, Stein, Bronstein on the side of the USSR and Larsen, Fischer, Portisch, Hort Gligoric, Reshevsky, Uhlmann, Matulovic, Najdorf, Ivkov, Olafsson, Darga on the side of the World.

        Chess Informant, 2020
        Hardcover, 256 pages
        Language: English + Figurine notation

        I advise you to get a copy soon if you want one because there was a press run of just 1000 copies and my European bookseller is all sold out.
        _________

        Old Wine in New Bottles

        By Mihail Marin

        The book is a collection of essays on various strategic and tactical topics. Most of these articles were originally published in Chess Informants, however there are some appearing for the first time. Mihail Marin belongs to the most successful authors of recent years. He wrote more than 10 books of which some became bestsellers, for example Learn from the Legends (which reached 3 editions), or the trilogy The English Opening 1-3

        Part One

        Basic Principles

        A few twin games and one golden rule – Development!
        Strong king in the centre

        Part Two

        Tactics

        Is chess a matter of memory? Lasker’s double bishop sacrifice
        The Achilles heel of the chessboard – f7/f2 weak points
        The b4 pawn- a brave foot soldier

        Part Three

        Strategy

        Exchanging the double pawns
        Removing an outpost by an exchange sacrifice
        The positional queen sacrifice and the strong passed pawn
        The central pawns attack

        Part Four

        The Attack

        Attacking with simple moves
        Exchanging queens during a sacrificial attack
        The necessity to attack
        - e5x f6! How dramatic can it be

        Part Five

        Middlegame plans of specific openings

        The Hedgehog
        Pianissimo or Fortissimo?
        Fire on Board – Sicilian Scheveningen structure
        Son of Sorrow

        Part Six

        The individual and joined abilities of the pieces

        The versatility of the knight
        Are all rook endings drawn?
        The unfaithful queen
        The knight endgames extravaganza
        A rare but thrilling endgame
        The Spanish knights

        Chess Informant 2019
        Hardcover, 384 pages
        Language: English + Figurine notation
        ________

        In the Zone
        The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

        By Cyrus Lakdawala

        The book contains 119 deeply annotated games of the greatest players during their greatest triumphs. Cyrus Lakdawala takes you on a trip through chess history looking at peak performances of some of the greatest players who ever lived: Morphy, Steinitz, Pillsbury, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Tal, Kasparov, Karpov, Caruana and Carlsen. They all had very different playing styles, yet at a certain point in their rich careers, they all entered the one and simply wiped out the best players in the world. Bibliography, index of players.

        These chapters give some idea of the games you are to see:

        Paul Morphy, First American Chess Congress 1857
        William Steinitz, 7-0 Match Victory over Joseph Henry Blackburne
        Harry Nelson Pillsbury, Hastings 1895
        Emanuel Lasker, New York 1924
        Jose Raul Capablanca, New York 1927
        Alexander Alekhine, Bled 1931
        Botvinnik, The Hague/Moscow 1948
        Fischer, US Championship 1963/64
        Mikhail Tal, Riga Interzonal 1979
        Garry Kasparov, Tilburg 1989
        Anatoly Karpov, Linares 1994
        Fabiano Caruana, Sinquefield Cup 2014
        Magnus Carlsen, Grenke Chess Classic 2019

        New in Chess 2020
        Paperback, 400 pages
        Language: English + Figurine notation

        Comment


        • #49
          I looked up Cyrus Lakdawala. He's written 46 books! He writes well and a lot. I enjoy his writing.

          Comment


          • #50
            Upcoming Chess Books

            May 30, 2020

            Fischer in Cuba

            It was only last week that I heard that two volumes had appeared entitled Fischer in Cuba. I knew that he had been in the Havana Olympiad in 1966 but how on earth could one spin this into 500 pages of text?

            I now have the two volumes on the desk in front of me and I shall begin.

            Fischer in Cuba Vol. I: Ten Years of Close Encounters

            By Miguel Angel Sanchez & Jesus Suarez

            The Bowker Team, 2020
            Paperback, 266 pages
            _________

            Fischer in Cuba Vol. II: Additional Games

            By Miguel Angel Sanchez & Jesus Suarez

            Obispos, 2020
            Paperback, 243 pages

            From the introduction by the authors:

            During his eventful life, Robert “Bobby “ James Fischer was directly related to Cuba three times. He arrived by ferry to Havana on Saturday, February 25, 1956, two weeks before he turned 13 years old. This was his first trip abroad.

            The second time occurred in August 1965, when the American, already 22 years old, played by teletype from the distant Marshall Chess Club in New York in the tournament in memory of the former World Chess Champion Jose Raul Capablanca, which was held in the Cuban capital.

            In the dawn of October 24, 1966, nearly ten years and nine months after his first trip to the island, Fischer stepped on Cuban soil via Mexico as a member of the United States team in the 17th Chess Olympiad held in Havana. In this, his last visit to Cuba, he was twenty three years old.

            The first Volume of this book covers Fischer’s incidents in Cuba, including all his official games, both in the tournament Capablanca In Memoriam of 1965 and in the 1966 Chess Olympiad.

            We also analyze the only two games of his trip to Cuba in 1956 that has survived the passing of time: the one played against Jose Ramon Florido in the match between the chess clubs Capablanca and Log Cabin, and another played the next day.

            Both have historical importance: with Florido, it was his first victory against a well-known player, in addition to his first one abroad. The other game, because it was in his first simultaneous exhibition with the participation of adults, and his first outside the United States.

            This work has two important introductions by Grandmasters Leinier Dominguez and Andy Soltis, in which they leave, respectively, enlightening comments and interesting impressions in their views about the book.

            On the other hand, we can assert that many details mentioned in this book were unknown until now. Its reconstruction was based on interviews with reliable and identified sources related to the activities of the American player in the Caribbean island.
            _________

            In the Second Volume of this book we include a study of Fischer: First of his style and second, of his openings.

            In order to facilitate the readers an approach to the development of Fischer’s openings, as well as the similarities and differences in their treatment, there is a selection of Additional Games, which also reflect the strategic lines used in similar situations both by the American and by other Grandmasters.

            Two important witnesses of Fischer’s travels to Cuba were Pedro Urta, who sailed on the same ferry that took Fischer to the capital of the island in 1956; and Gaspar Gonzalez Lanuza, who as an officer of the Ministry of Culture received and accompanied Fischer during his brief stay of two days in Cienfuegos. Both graciously offered their testimonies in interviews in Havana during 2017.
            ________

            Apart from the seven games that appeared in the Notes of the First Volume, the four in one Appendix in the Third Chapter and the two in Fischer’s Treatment of the Openings, we have included more than 1,500 Additional Games about the lines that Fischer used in his encounters in Cuba, as well as others that reinforce the narrative of the book.

            Of these games, more than 250 are from the American Grandmaster, most of them commented.

            The Authors: Miguel A. Sanchez and Jesus Suarez have worked together on chess projects since 1963, as editors of the Cuban Magazine Jaque Mate, as well as recently in the exhaustive and acclaimed biography of Jose Raul Capablanca. Now, they combine their experiences for this thorough and informative description of the contacts of a leading player, Bobby Fischer, with Cuba.
            _________

            Younger readers may not know about the Log Cabin Chess Club.

            The journey to Cuba was part of a tour to various cities in the United States, where seven members of the Log Cabin Chess Club clashed against amateur chess players in Tampa, Miami and Hollywood, all in Florida as well as in Clinton, North Carolina.

            At least three members of the Log Cabin were characters worthy of an anthology. The first was the neo-Nazi Elliot Forry Laucks. The second was the swindler Norman Tweed Whitaker. The third was the no-less peculiar Regina Wender-Fischer, mother of the child and watched by the FBI.

            In the basement of his home in the village of East Orange, New Jersey, Laucks founded a chess club. He covered the walls of his place with thick logs. Such design as a rustic cabin in the wood helped him to name his association Log Cabin Chess Club. He piled club members into his car along with their baggage and took off cross-country, never caring for a moment about the condition of the vehicle.

            Norman Whitaker is also mentioned above. He was an American International Master of chess, a lawyer, a civil servant, and a chess author. He was convicted of several crimes, was disbarred from the practice of law, and served several terms in prison. His most infamous criminal escapade was a confidence trick involving the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932.

            Those who would like to read more about him can get the book: Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chess Master by John Hilbert, Caissa publishers, 2000. My friend Dale Brandreth told me that he had a whole trunk of material that had belonged to Whitaker and he thought it should be published and was, in the above book.

            McFarland published Jose Raul Capablanca: A Chess Biography in 2015. The author is Miguel A. Sanchez, a journalist and historian in Cuba, who also wrote several other books about Cuban contemporary history. He lives in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

            It is hard to classify the two volumes of Fischer in Cuba. The first is interesting from a historical and anecdotal perspective, the second shows the great influence of Fischer on contemporary players. I doubt as to whether they will ever be popular or be reprinted. I say get them while they are available because they will probably disappear after a few years and you will never be able to buy them again unless you pay premium prices.

            Comment


            • #51
              https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-be...stuart-rachels This book is listed in post 46 above but I enjoyed this article and will be getting the book.

              Comment


              • #52
                This one, due in Dec, promises to be interesting.

                Timman's Triumphs: My 100 Best Games Paperback – Dec 1 2020


                by Jan Timman (Author)

                https://www.amazon.ca/dp/9056919172/

                Comment


                • #53
                  Timman is a very good analyst, and he includes some nice anecdotes in his stories about tournaments. He skips over many tactical lines which are too complicated for me to see without either silicon help or working harder than I want to :P ... but that may be because he's annotating for a more skilled/less lazy audience than me.

                  Timman has published his annotated games so many times that it will be a tough call for him to choose between repeating some games and notes and (as he did in Timman's Titans, where he annotated many of his games vs World Champions) saying that readers could find the game in another one of his books.

                  Originally posted by Amit R View Post
                  This one, due in Dec, promises to be interesting.

                  Timman's Triumphs: My 100 Best Games Paperback – Dec 1 2020

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    The blurb says only 10% of games from "Chess The Adventurous Way" made it to the new book, so hopefully there won't be much overlap with his other collections.

                    Originally posted by John Upper View Post
                    Timman is a very good analyst, and he includes some nice anecdotes in his stories about tournaments. He skips over many tactical lines which are too complicated for me to see without either silicon help or working harder than I want to :P ... but that may be because he's annotating for a more skilled/less lazy audience than me.

                    Timman has published his annotated games so many times that it will be a tough call for him to choose between repeating some games and notes and (as he did in Timman's Titans, where he annotated many of his games vs World Champions) saying that readers could find the game in another one of his books.


                    Comment


                    • #55
                      A few more ...

                      Sep 1, 2020
                      Best Lessons of a Chess Coach | Paperback
                      Sunil Weeramantry | Ed Eusebi

                      Oct 1, 2020
                      World Champion Chess for Juniors: Learn From the Greatest Players Ever | Paperback
                      Joel Benjamin

                      Magnus Carlsen: 60 Memorable Games | Paperback
                      Andrew Soltis
                      Batsford | Batsford

                      Oct 14, 2020
                      600 Modern Chess Puzzles | Paperback
                      Martyn Kravtsiv
                      Gambit Publications, LTD | Gambit Publications

                      The Chess Endgame Exercise Book | Paperback
                      John Nunn
                      Gambit Publications, LTD | Gambit Publications
                      Games & Activities / Chess
                      Grades 8+
                      Release date Oct 14, 2020


                      Defend Like Petrosian: What You Can Learn From Tigran Petrosian's Extraordinary Defensive Skills | Paperback
                      Alexei Bezgodov
                      New In Chess | New In Chess
                      Games & Activities / Chess
                      Release date Oct 12, 2020

                      How to Become a Candidate Master: A Practical Guide to Take Your Chess to the Next Level | Paperback
                      Alex Dunne
                      New In Chess | New In Chess
                      Games & Activities / Chess
                      Release date Oct 5, 2020


                      Open Tournament Play Manual | 1st Edition | Paperback
                      Shabalov Alexander
                      Thinkers Publishing | Thinkers Publishing
                      Games & Activities / Chess
                      Release date Sep 3, 2020

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Upcoming Chess Books

                        July 1, 2020

                        Winning Quickly with 1.b3 and 1…b6

                        by Ilya Odessky

                        New in Chess (2020)
                        Paperback, 464 pages
                        In English

                        From the publisher’s blurb:

                        "I left chess in 2012. I did not touch it for several years. Then I decided to test my strength in Internet blitz. I started from scratch. The board floated before my eyes, and my knee twitched.

                        Less than two months later, I crossed the grandmaster rating mark. My opponents, among them lots of players with a big name, played chess better than me. Surprisingly though, I knew more. On a small island of chess theory, onto which I lured them, I was better equipped. Much better! About 30% of the games ended in wins around the 20th move. A quarter of the games simply ended in mate. In all games, I opened with the moves 1.b3 and 1…b6."

                        That’s how IM Ilya Odessky starts his new book, and you immediately know that this is not your regular chess opening work. In fact, Odessky confesses his hate for the traditional Botvinnik-era-inspired teaching books that he describes as reading like "military didactic manuals".

                        And Odessky does something that no author of an opening book has ever done: he admits that some of his lines may objectively be somewhat dubious. But not to worry: "We are prepared to set traps!"

                        In blitz and rapid games Odessky’s ideas will lead to spectacular play and many surprising wins. Ilya Odessky is a great writer and he will entertain, amuse and surprise you in this breathtaking journey full of ultra-romantic chess.

                        In a review that will be published in the next issue of the Yearbook, GM Glenn Flear writes: "Despite all the confusion, the mischievous almost anti-establishment joy in all this trickery is contagious. What tremendous fun!"

                        So you have been warned: Winning Quickly with 1.b3 and 1..b6 is not for the faint-hearted.

                        The Author - Ilya Odessky is an International Master from Russia, a well-known chess coach and a prolific author.

                        A selection of his books in English:

                        English Defence
                        Russian Chess House (2008)

                        Play 1.b3!: the Nimzo-Larsen attack: a friend for life
                        New in Chess (2008)

                        Soviet Chess Strategy by Alexey Suetin
                        compiled by Ilya Odessky
                        Quality Chess (2010)

                        Soviet Middlegame Technique by Peter Romanovsky
                        compiled by Ilya Odessky
                        Quality Chess (2013)

                        Comments - Ilya Odessky: Play 1.b3! It doesn't happen often that a chess author makes me laugh, but Ilya Odessky is one of them. But that's not all. Many reviews of his new book Play 1.b3!, published by New in Chess, are also extremely funny. The point is, most reviewers assume Odessky wrote an opening book, which only reveals they haven't even read the book. This book is not about a chess opening at all. If I had to classify it, I'd say it was perhaps a postmodern novel.

                        Or maybe a philosophical work with a comical twist. Or something in the confessional literature. Or a detective with a moral. Or maybe just a love story. Every time I pick up Play 1.b3! and start reading it, I find something which forces me to re-evaluate the classification I've just made. The following quote looks like it's straight from the preface, but in fact it's how the fourth chapter starts:

                        I must ask your forgiveness. Almost all of the examples (whether confirming or refuting my analysis), I have taken from the Internet. (...) Not that this bothers me - it is just a little unusual, that's all. There is no choice about this. It has been a long time since I sat down to play a tournament game. And, I am interested in the opening b2-b3 and wanted to write a book about it. Those players who employ 1.b3 nowadays look at it differently from me. I do not find my ideas being used in their games. And my ideas seem to me to be more interesting. It is nice to be able to try them out, even if it is only on the Internet.

                        Apart from the unorthodox placement of such a statement, Odessky's free prose style reminds me more of a surrealist piece of work than a textbook opening manual. This unorthodoxy, by the way, is something the author clearly likes. Chapter 11 starts with the following motto, taken from a remark by D.D. Shostakovich to Sofia Gubaidullina:

                        I would like you to continue on your incorrect path.

                        Or consider the strangely minimalist end of Chapter 15, where Odessky sums up the conclusions about the variation 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d6:

                        All White's problems, I am sure, start with the move 4.c4. It loses a tempo, it loses the thread of the game, it loses the independence of b2-b3. One must play 4.Bb5. But I really don't want to. Maybe 4.Nf3!? I don't know what else to say.

                        Finally, look how on page 210, Odessky introduces Chapter 21, one of the last chapters in the book:

                        A righteous man dies, and quite deservedly goes to Heaven. Soon he starts to find life there rather boring. One day, as he is out for a walk a long way from his own cloud, he finds himself in Hell. And, to his surprise, he rather likes it - green fields, beautiful girls, lots of nice entertainment, etc. The Devil says to him, 'You see? All that propaganda about fire and brimstone, it's all lies. Why don't you move here permanently?' The man agrees, saying 'I just need to pop home and pick up a few things, and I'll be back.' Soon he returns, walks through the gate, which slams behind him, and all he sees is fire, and the air is filled with screams of tormented souls. 'But what happened to all the green fields and pretty girls?' he asks. 'Fool,' replies the Devil. 'Then you were just on holiday. Now you've emigrated!' The previous chapters of this book were also just a holiday.

                        Let me get that straight: after 209 pages, Odessky finally comes to explaining 'the basics' of the so-called Nimzowitsch Attack! Before that, we've just been on vacation - but what a great vacation! Not only has Odessky told us great tales, sometimes with a lot of sarcasm or deep philosophical insight; has he given us honest and sometimes painful insights in his own chess career; but he's also shown us fantastic chess concepts and moves that are characteristic of the way Odessky is interpreting the move 1.b3

                        https://www.chess.com/news/view/review-play-1-b3

                        See also:

                        http://www.chessintranslation.com/20...urns-in-style/

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                        • #57
                          Thanks Wayne, this looks strangely interesting!

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