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  • #91
    Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post

    Yes its nostalgia and a certain fascination based on interesting character and entertainment value but I will tell you this. I used to use Bobby Fischer's My Memorable 60 Games as a training exercise for my best students. Why - in short so many great strategic lessons in his games and high tactical alertness and accuracy. If he initiated a combination it fit into the strategy of a position. AND his analysis was so accurate and clear. First I would assign a game without notes and the students had to identify candidate moves and provide analysis. Only then would they look at the game in My Memorable 60 Games and discuss analysis. This got them to understand the games in great depth and they stuck in their memory. Those that did the work added a minimum of 100 rating points, usually a lot more. As all of them were 1600 or above this was pure gold.
    Thank you for these insights, Hans.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
      Upcoming Chess Books

      May 30, 2021

      I grew up with Bobby Fischer playing internationally as an underdog. I followed his play at Portoroz 1958 in CHESS magazine as a WCC qualifier and then, again at Curacao in 1962.

      It wasn’t the “crazy” Fischer but the combinative Fischer during these years and it was a great story.

      I reported his simul at Hart House in 1964.

      Jumping ahead, I was studying in England when Fischer played Taimanov in Vancouver in 1971 and followed the games via Leonard Barden’s columns in The Guardian.

      The 6-0 score was totally unexpected. I was talking to Bernard Cafferty shortly thereafter and I asked if there was anything about it in the Soviet Press. Bernard said that they were “as quiet as the grave”.

      Eventually, I followed the games of the match at Reykjavik with stories in the British papers and on television every day. Almost everyone I met had some opinion of the play.

      This was an exciting era for chess and the culmination of a 14-year run.

      I get that many modern players think that Fischer was a crazy anti-Semite and should be totally ignored. One friend says that he blames Fischer entirely for not having a WCC match with Karpov and that is disgraceful.

      I won’t try to defend Fischer but I still admire his best games and especially the play in his youth. He was bold, imaginative and relentless.

      Now Taimanov, who was criticized for his match preparation and for his devastating loss, spent twenty years thinking about the match and his play and wrote his book in 1992. I can’t wait to read what twenty years of brooding and analysis has told him.

      It has been announced that Tibor Karolyi has in preparation a book entitled The Road to Reykjavik. This is expected in October. A further volume on Fischer-Spassky 1972 is devoted to that match.
      Thank you, Wayne, for sharing this personal slice of history.

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      • #93
        Upcoming Chess Books

        June 6, 2021

        Winning

        By Nigel Short

        Quality Chess (2021)
        Hardcover
        416 pages
        In English

        Publisher’s Blurb

        Grandmaster Nigel Short realised that every tournament win has a unique narrative and challenge. In this exceptional chess book, Short discusses eight of his foremost tournament wins, describing the drama with insightful game annotations and entertaining anecdotes. For those wanting to win in chess, this book is the place to start.

        The Author

        English GM Nigel Short was one of the most successful chess players of the 1980s and 1990s and was still in the top 100 well into his 50s. The peak of his career came in 1993, when he challenged for the World Championship in a match against Garry Kasparov.

        From the Introduction

        This is my first book, and it has taken a global pandemic for me to write it.

        Some of you may be puzzled by this statement. Dozens of tomes have been published about me, and in a few of them, I have even been listed as the author. While it is true that I have composed, with pleasure, many hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles, I must confess that all books with my name on the cover – and with profound apologies to those who bought them – were all ghost-written.

        All, that is, except an old, theoretical treatise of unexceptional quality called simply: The French Defence.
        The story of that monograph is quite interesting, as it negatively affected my attitude towards chess publishers for decades afterwards.

        In the late 1980s, I was approached by the veteran New Zealand International Master, Bob Wade, to write a pamphlet on the French Defence, for a series on opening trends that he was producing with his chum, Hilary Thomas (best known, at the time, as an author of the collected games of Mikhail Tal).

        As I was then one of the strongest players in the world, it was undoubtedly a coup for the publisher that I accepted; particularly as the pay was rather modest. I asked Bob how long he thought it would take. He answered, somewhat optimistically, as it would transpire: “About a weekend.”

        To my great surprise, I was then handed paper printouts of over 2,000 games, asked to arrange the material and, if possible, add some deep and meaningful comments. If I had not been concerned about the deforestation of the Amazon prior to that moment, I certainly was thereafter.

        More than a tad suspiciously, I began work on this project, and it was quickly confirmed that I had been totally duped. It was a Sisyphean task, barely distinguishable from slave labour. After a couple of weeks, and more, I was nowhere near finishing the job. Having been so grossly misled, I submitted an incomplete manuscript, albeit with a strange, irrational feeling of guilt, and informed Bob that was all he was going to get.

        When The French Defence duly appeared in print, it was not a pamphlet of no more than 60 pages, as the contract specified, but a whole book! I generally got on pretty well with Bob, but this was the only time I was really annoyed with him. However, he had such a bumbling affable manner, I was never quite sure how much of the blame for this deception was his, or that of his business partner, and so I forgave him.

        The format of Winning is highly unusual. Indeed, I believe it is unique in the vast literature of chess. Rather than attempting to squeeze my entire career into a single volume, and failing miserably, or produce an entertaining, but grossly distorted, “best games” selection, in which I might con you into believing that I am a brilliant player; I have chosen instead to focus in detail on eight tournaments spanning several decades. Each a case study if you will.

        The happy coincidence that I won all these events satisfies the author’s vanity, but at the same time I hope the inclusion of each partie, in order, will also serve a useful and instructive purpose. For it is only by examining all the games from a tournament that one gets a proper appreciation of how an event unfolded.

        The selection is subjective and can by no means be described as the definitive list of my eight greatest tournament victories; although it also includes some of those. These are basically just some events that I am proud of in one way or another. As I have won over 70 tournaments, I could easily have chosen others. With the exception of the Anzali tournament (Chapter 8), which featured the rather rare Scheveningen System format, all the events contained herein were round-robins. This was a deliberate choice, as I am intending (if the book sells) that matches and open tournaments will be covered separately in future editions.

        I hope, first and foremost, that the reader finds this book enjoyable. For a book that spends all of its life on the shelf is, frankly, worthless.

        Contents

        Foreword by Peter Svidler

        Introduction

        1 My Lucky Number 1 - Wijk aan Zee 1987
        2 Don’t Stop me Now - Reykjavik 1987
        3 We are the Champions – Amsterdam 1991
        4 Happy – Tallinn/Parnu 1998
        5 Bulls on Parade – Pamplona 1999-2000
        6 An der Schönen, Blauen Donau
        7 China Girl – Taiyuan 2003
        8 A Hard Day’s Night – Anzali 2016

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        • #94
          This book will be a keeper with endless hours of enjoyment. Having not yet seen this how can I say that? Knowing Nigel - he is a wordsmith, an excellent story teller and raconteur and Ive attended his lectures and simuls so I know that he has excellent insights and knowledge to share.

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          • #95
            Upcoming Chess Books

            June 6, 2021

            Genna Remembers

            By Genna Sosonko

            Thinkers Publishing (2021)
            258 pages
            In English
            Both hardback and paperback

            Publisher’s Teaser

            (From Sosonko’s Introduction)

            Half a century ago I left a country whose red color dominated a large portion of the world map. One way or another, the fate of almost every single person described in this book is forever linked with that now non-existent empire. Many of them ended up beyond its borders too. Cultures and traditions, and certainly not least of all a Soviet mentality, couldn’t have just left them without a trace. Having been transplanted into a different environment, they had to play the role of themselves, apart from certain corrections with regard to the tastes and customs of a new society. Nevertheless, every one of them, both those who left the Soviet Union and those who stayed behind, were forever linked by one common united phenomenon: they all belonged to the Soviet school of chess.

            This school of chess was born in the 20’s, but only began to count its true years starting in 1945, when the representatives of the Soviet Union dominated an American squad in a team match. Led by Mikhail Botvinnik, Soviet Grandmasters conquered and ruled the world, save for a short Fischer period, over the course of that same half-century. In chess as well as ballet or music, the word ‘Soviet’ was actually a synonym for the highest quality interpretation of the discipline.

            The Soviet Union provided unheard-of conditions for their players, the sort of which their colleagues in the West dared not even dream. Grandmasters and even Masters received a regular salary just for their professional qualifications, thereby raising the prestige of a chess player to what were unbelievable heights. It was a time when any finish in an international tournament, aside from first, was almost considered a failure when it came to Soviet players, and upon their return to Moscow they had to write an official explanation to the Chess Federation or the Sports Committee. The isolation of the country, separated from the rest of the world by an Iron Curtain, was another reason why talent and energy often manifested themselves in relatively neutral fields. Still, if with music, cinematography, philosophy or history, the Soviet people were raised on a strict diet that contained multiple restrictions, this did not apply to chess. Grandmasters and Masters, all varied in terms of their upbringing, education and mentality, were judged solely on their talent and mastery at the end of the day. Maybe that was why the Soviet school of chess was full of such improbable variety, not only in terms of the style of play of its representatives, but also their different personality types.

            The system was built as a gigantic chess pyramid, at the base of which were school championships, which were closely followed by district ones. Later, there were city championships, regions, republics, and finally – the ultimate cherry on top – the national event itself. The Championships of the Soviet Union were in no way inferior to the strongest international tournaments, and collections of the games played there came out as separate publications in the West.

            That huge brotherhood of chess contained its very own hierarchy within. Among the millions and multitudes of parishioners – fans of the game – there were the priests – Candidate Masters. Highly respected were the cardinals – Masters. As for Grandmasters, well…they were true gods. Every person in the USSR knew their names, and those names sounded with just as much adoration and admiration as those of the nation’s other darlings – the country’s best hockey players. In those days, the coming of the American genius only served to strengthen the interest and attention of society towards chess, never mind the fact that by that point it had already been fully saturated by it.

            I was never indifferent to the past. Today, when there is that much more of it than the future, this feeling has become all the sharper. The faster the twentieth century sprints away from us and the thicker the grass of forgetting grows, together with the verified power of the most powerful engines, that world of chess will be gone soon enough as well. It was an intriguing and colorful world, and I saw it as my duty to not let it disappear into that empty abyss.

            The Author

            Gennadi "Genna" Sosonko (Russian: Геннадий Борисович Сосонко, Gennady Borisovich Sosonko; born 18 May 1943) is a Soviet-born Dutch chess player and writer. He has been awarded the title Grandmaster (GM) by FIDE and is a twice Dutch champion.

            Born in Troitsk, Russia, Sosonko won the Leningrad juniors' championship in 1958. He legally emigrated from the Soviet Union to the Netherlands via Israel in 1972.

            Sosonko has authored six non-technical chess books centering heavily on his chess life in the Soviet Union and his relationships with and memories of both leading Soviet players and lesser-known characters in chess history.

            (2001). Russian Silhouettes. New in Chess
            (2003). The Reliable Past. New in Chess
            (2006). Smart Chip from St. Petersburg: And Other Tales of a Bygone Chess Era. New in Chess.
            (2013). The World Champions I Knew. New in Chess
            (2017). The Rise and Fall of David Bronstein. Elk and Ruby Publishing House.
            (2018). Evil-Doer: Half a Century with Viktor Korchnoi. Elk and Ruby Publishing House.

            Contents

            Introduction

            Chapter 1 An Opening of Four Knights and Two Jackasses
            Chapter 2 The Panov Attack
            Chapter 3 A Border under Lock and Key
            Chapter 4 Note
            Chapter 5 The Plane Ticket
            Chapter 6 Are Cranes Not Better in the Sky?
            Chapter 7 The Duke
            Chapter 8 Everybody’s Favorite Uncle
            Chapter 9 Carus Amicus (The Life and Death of Sergey Nikolaev)
            Chapter 10 The Diviner and Two Kings
            Chapter 11 With Your Shield or On It
            Chapter 12 Making It in Life
            Chapter 13 ‘Black-Print’ and ‘Bisects’
            Chapter 14 For Ages 55 & Over Only
            Chapter 15 Magnus Carlsen & Others

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