Please vote for Black's next move. See here for further details:
By GM Dejan Bojkov and GM Vladimir Georgiev
By Harald Fietz, Josip Asik and Anna Burtasova
Verlag Schach Wissen Berlin
Dismantling the Sicilian
By GM Jesus de la Villa
New in Chess
Revolutionize Your Chess
By GM Viktor Moskalenko
New in Chess
The Rules of Winning Chess
By GM Nigel Davies
The Colle-Zukertort Revolutionized
By David Rudel
The Giants of Power Play
By GM Neil McDonald
Play The Alekhine
By Valentin Bagdanov
World Chess Championship 2008
Anand v Kramnik
The Battle of Bonn
By GM Raymond Keene
Batsford’s Modern Chess Openings Fifteenth Edition
By GM Nick de Firmian
Sharpen Your Chess Tactics in Seven Days
By IM Gary Lane
Starting Out: Sicilian Sveshnikov
By IM John Cox
Winning Chess Strategies
By GM Yasser Seirawan with IM Jeremy Silman
Art of Attack in Chess
Let’s Play Chess
A Step-by-Step Guide for New Players
By Bruce Pandolfini
2nd Edition Revised and Enlarged
Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book New Enlarged Edition
Tibor Karolyi and Nick Aplin
By GM John Nunn
Kasparov: How His Predecessors Misled Him About Chess
John Nunn's Chess Puzzle Book
New Enlarged Edition
Secrets of Positional Play
By GM Mark Dvoretsky and GM Artur Yusupov
The ABC of the Leningrad Dutch
By IM Martin
The ABC of the Anti-Dutch
By IM Martin
(All by ChessBase)
True Combat Chess
Winning Battles Over The Board
By IM Timothy Taylor
How To Play Against 1 e4
By GM Neil McDonald
By GM Alexei Shirov
Facing the World Champions
By GM Vlastimil Hort
Power Play 8: Knights and Bishops
By GM Daniel King
Mastering the Chess Openings
By IM John Watson
Play the Sicilian Kan
By GM Johan Hellsten
The Greatest Ever Chess Tricks and Traps
By IM Gary Lane
Dangerous Weapons: Flank Openings
By IM Richard Palliser
GM Tony Kosten
FM Dr. James Vigus
Over to you, The Rest of the World! Please vote for Black's next move by leaving a comment here or by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 6.00 p.m. 28th December 2007.
Black is obliged to copy your moves. Under those circumstances, how soon can you force a checkmate?
The answers will follow sometime in 2008!
Meanwhile, to all those reading this at home…what are you doing in my house!?
This extraordinary position arises after the moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.Qd2 Qh4+ 9.g3 Nxg3 10.Qf2 Nxf1 11.Qxh4 Nxe3
The featured game in the book focuses on 12 Ke2 but a note acknowledges that 12 Qf2 - freeing h4 for the advance of the White h-pawn - is probably stronger. Perhaps it would have been better to use a game with 12 Qf2 as the feature game and games with the technically weaker 12 Ke2 should have formed the basis of the branched notes.
It seems to me that this book falls somewhere in the gap between the ‘Starting Out’ series and something more detailed. As such, it will probably fall between two different target audiences too. It’s not that the material given is bad by any means; it just feels a little bland and uninspiring.
The Complete Chess Workout
By IM Richard Palliser
Train your brain with 1200 puzzles!
In the introduction, IM Palliser explains his desire to produce a book of chess puzzles for the ‘less experienced or even average club players’.
In some ways, it’s a difficult book to review; every time I started I got caught up trying to solve the puzzles! That’s exactly the effect such a book should have on the reader.
‘Spending as little as 10-15 minutes a day on one’s tactical ability really can reap dividends’ is an excellent point and this book should keep you going for quite a few days, if not weeks.
The 1200 puzzles are split across a number of chapters, namely:
1. Warming Up
3. Opening Tricks and Traps
4. Skill in the Endgame
5. Loose Pieces and Overloading
6. Fiendish Calculation
7. Test Yourself
Chapter seven is split into ten tests (indeed, the title of the chapter changes to ‘Ten Tests’ from that listed on the ‘contents’ page) with points awarded for successful calculation by the reader.
Readers from North East England will be happy to spot the names and games of several local yokels. For example…
R. Donner v F.N. Stephenson
Black to play
D. Wise v J Blackburn
British League 2005
White to play
I always like to see examples of play from ‘real life people’ (if you know what I mean) and there’s a great freshness about this book’s selection of material.
Naturally, there are still plenty of positions from top-level Grandmasters and World Champions but not all end the way form would suggest…
A. Huzman - G. Kasparov
White to play
You don’t need the solutions to these samples - go ahead and try them yourself. Then go and buy the book for the other 1,197 puzzles.
This is 318 pages of pure fun.
For further details of Everyman chess books, please visit: http://www.everymanchess.com/
* Got to knock a point off here though; ‘Guisborough’ is the correct for the town and chess club (although Lord and Lady G. retain the older spelling)
…in which the support point at d4 may be successfully used by White pieces (especially Knights). The definition includes the prerequisite that the opponent isn’t able to attack the critical square with a pawn.
5. A prickly customer: The Hedgehog
Hedgehog structures provide a lot of flexibility for the defender. The key game of this chapter is a titanic struggle between GM McDonald and chess legend GM Bronstein.
6. Dr Jekyll and Mr Steinitz
The Jekyll and Hyde character of the Isolated Queen’s Pawn. Sometimes it’s a great strength, providing supported outposts in the opponent’s camp but sometimes, inherently stripped of support, it dies a horrible death. The key game of the chapter sees Steinitz badly misplaying an IQP position in a World Championship match against Lasker.
7. The dilemma of d5
Black’s dilemma in structures arising from the Queen’s Gambit (and other openings ) is the subject of this chapter. Should Black release the tension or attempt to hold fast in the centre? Spin-off sections include a discussion of the Minority Attack.
8. Roaring lion and crouching tiger
This chapter takes a look at certain Indian defence structures which enable White to expand dynamically with an unfettered pawn centre. This the lion might roar forwards but there are often dangers from crouching tigers along the way.
Each chapter starts off with a pertinent quote or two to set the scene but these are not always by chess players; chapter seven begins with the lyrics ‘Should I stay or should I go’ by The Clash.
As usual with a book from the pen of GM McDonald, the material is bang up to date. For example, the crushing Catalan victory by Kramnik over Carlsen (Dortmund 2007) receives over six pages of instructive annotation. Indeed, the former World Champion is well represented here with five of his games on display.
This is an instructive book by a thoughtful writer. Club players who would like to improve their play and are tired of stuffing endless opening lines into their heads will find much of interest here.
.…7 …Nf6 was in vogue, with the idea that the natural looking 8 Ne5 would be nullified by a delayed …Nbd7, whereupon White may well lose time after a retreat or an exchange. I’m by no means ’a child of Informator’ (or whatever the equivalent is these days) but I didn’t know that theory had already turned against this idea. So anyone interested in that line for Black should really have a peep at the suggestions given by GM Wells and avoid any forthcoming unpleasant surprises.
There’s plenty of verbal notes aimed at giving the reader a real understanding of the ideas involved, rather than just trying to copy a load of Grandmaster moves.
The coverage is thorough; this is not ‘just’ a repertoire book. For example, against the (still underrated) Panov-Botvinnik Attack (1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 c4) GM Wells take a good look not only at the trendy lines involving an early …Nc6, but also the Karpovian favourites with …Nf6/…e6 and even the completely unfashionable …g6 variations.
Incidentally, the author also lays an old ghost with the dismissal of the Gunderam Attack (- or ‘bowling Gunderam' as we used to say ‘down the club'; popular at club level from time to time thanks to it being recommended in an old Keene and Levy repertoire book). The antidote given here should spoil White’s fun…
…unless, as White, you would see the funny side of playing this position.
Avoiding the whitewash approach so often adopted to make everything in a particular opening look like a forced win (a common error in opening manuals), this book includes plenty of White wins to, demonstrating admirable objectivity.
All in all, this is an excellent guide to the Caro-Kann Defence with lucid explanations.
An expanded version of 101 Brilliant Chess Miniatures takes the game count up to 125. All of the games are post-1970 and feature top-level players. Each game is given a page or two and the notes are generally brief.
The 16 page introduction contains the real meat of the book, diligently highlighting the causes of quick defeats over 16 pages. Unfortunately the bulk of the book doesn’t live up to the early promise. From pages 25 to 252 there are lots of crushing victories but with little in the way of further instruction as to how to adopt such methods in one’s own games.
As a collection of sparkling miniatures it’s fine, but it comes across as something of a pot-boiler, with little in the way of ‘Grandmaster Secrets’ on display. One for entertainment rather than self-improvement, methinks.
Some of the games are very well known but here’s a couple of snippets from some others that caught my eye…
Tal v Olafsson
Las Palmas 1975
One would expect to find Tal’s name throughout a book on crushing miniatures but here he is on the receiving end. Olafsson uncorked: 22 …Qf4!! here, exploiting White’s back-rank weakness. Tal couldn’t hold on much longer: 23.Re7 Rf8 24.Qa5 Rd1+ 25.Ne1 Qg5! and again! 0–1
Emms v Summerscale
22 Rxh7! and perhaps you, dear reader, can work out how White wins from then on.
50 Ways to Win at Chess
By FM Steve Giddins
Billed as a sequel to 50 Essential Chess Lessons, 50 Ways to Win at Chess follows the same format and presents a fine selection of instructive games with fine notes.
The games are grouped according to theme, namely:
Attack and Defence
Other Aspects of Strategy
Psychology in Action
Each game typically receives between two and four pages, with explanatory notes being, in the main, verbal rather than long strings of analysis.
It’s good to see some lesser-known games, including some from English events. At first glance, the exhibition game between David Howell and Vladimir Kramnik might seem an odd choice for deep annotations but it is in fact an excellently chosen example offering a real insight into the secrets of the Berlin Defence.
FM Giddins gives nearly a whole page of explanatory notes on the subtleties of this position. I certainly had a better understanding of this line after I’d read about it. I had no idea White had to be so careful to avoid standing worse.
The layout is easy on the eye, with new games starting on new pages and plenty of diagrams.
One final point: Steve Giddins is a ‘only’ FIDE Master but this book is further proof that titles don’t matter much when it comes to writing about chess.
I know some players who don’t trust written analysis by non-GMs (perhaps a little naïve; ghost writers exist in all genres and the name on the cover doesn’t always prove the ownership of the pen) but anyone reading this fine book should happily revise their opinion on whether or not ‘GM’ needs to precede an author’s name to make it a worthwhile book. Definitely the pick of this month’s bunch.
For further details of Gambit books, please visit: http://www.gambitbooks.com/