Sunday, 7 November 2010

Chess Reviews: 161

Capablanca: A Primer of Checkmate
By Frisco Del Rosario
277 pages
Mongoose Press

This new book aims to merge the teachings of 'chess machine' Capablanca with those of C.J. Purdy, 'the technical writer'. There are two main sections:

1) The Art of the Checkmate

The standard checkmate patterns - such as Epaulettes and Smothered mate - are given in the first section. 27 complete Capablanca games are used to illustrative the checkmates in action (of course, not all of the games end in checkmate but the themes are still present).

2) Play Like Capablanca

The second section continues in similar fashion, with a comparable number of the third World Champion's chess battles given to demonstrate the ideas.

Capablanca finally gets a checkmate pattern named after him, which is demonstrated with this example:

Caablanca - Havasi
Budapest 1928

25 Rxf8

Threatening 26 Ng6 mate, while 25....Rxf8 26 Ng6+ Kg8 27 Rg7 is 'Capablanca's Mate'.

25 ....Nfd7 26 rf7 Rxb2 27 Nd5 1-0

As the title suggests, this is primer material and will suit club players and coaches. Capablanca completists will take an interest too.

Chess Blueprints:
Planning in the Middlegame
By Nikolay Yakovlev
176 pages
Mongoose Press

'...a rich collection of strategic tips and psychological advice to help you conduct the attack, defeat your opponent's aggression, and cash in on a tiny endgame advantage.'

Russian chess teacher Nikolay Yakovlev presents his material in six sections:

Strongpoints and Weaknesses

Play in and for the Center

Position Play



The Endgame

188 chess positions are offered for the reader's consideration and instruction, accompanied by questions on matters of evaluation. It's essentially a book full of mini-lessons.

Here's a typical example, taken from the section on 'Position Play'. Give it a try, dear readers.

Q. In the diagram position, from the game Winter-Capablanca (Hastings 1919), is the pin of the f6-knight dangerous for Black?

This books is again pitched at club players, but the level of material is a little bit more advanced than in the Capablanca book. The illustrative positions are taken mainly from classic games of chess and as such may appear familiar to well read readers.

It's a useful volume for improving players to dip into and coaches seeking a series of quick and easy lessons for their students.

Masters of Technique
The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction
Edited by Howard Goldowsky
286 pages
Mongoose Press

Chess fiction can be a difficult genre. This new collection aims to provide the reader with a collection of high-level short stories based around the great game.

In this volume, 12 authors serve up a varied series of stories. Some have greater chess content than others and the subject matter varies greatly too. For example, 'Steinitz' features the first World Champion, 'Samantha's Gambit' is like something from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'The Adventure of the Black Bishop' showcases the talents of Sherlock Holmes in a tale which skirts the dangerous area between pastiche and parody.

As with all short story collections, I found that some stories worked a lot better than others and I was thought some of the course language was ill-advised and unnecessary. However, it's an interesting collection and an attempt by Mongoose to produce something quite different from the norm.

All proceeds from this volume will go towards chess schools and clubs.

All of the books reviewed here are very nicely produced, as one has come to expect from Mongoose. 'Masters of Technique' is in hardback.

For more details about Mongoose Press titles, please visit their website.

No comments: