Category: Chess books

A review of Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna by Emmanuel Neiman

The strengths of the book include the freshly minted examples of classical tactical themes (virtually all games date from 2011 and 2012) and the systematic approach overall, as regards both the tactics and Neiman’s account of the thinking process (combinational vision, calculation, evaluation).

A review of The Greatest Ever Chess Strategies by Sam Collins

In the principal chapters (entitled respectively ‘Pawns’, ‘Bishops’, ‘Material’ and ‘Dynamic Factors’) Collins focuses on a select few interrelated topics, rather than aiming for an all-embracing but possibly superficial comprehensiveness.  And he writes about a topic only when he has something new or interesting to say about it, or when the strategic idea is little known or (in his view) underappreciated. 

A review of Opposition und Schwesterfelder By Marcel Duchamp and Vitali Halberstadt

Though much fewer positions are presented in the next section – just the four, in fact: three studies and the ending of the game Lasker-Reichhelm (1901) – it is the meaty heart of the book.  For 114 pages or so the authors discuss and analyse this quartet, showing how one can derive coordinate squares for the two kings from a situation of simple opposition.  To follow their arguments, you hardly need a set and board, since there are usually two diagrams to a page, about 200 diagrams altogether.

A review of Eminent Victorian Chess Players Ten Biographies By Tim Harding

We learn much about these men (they are all men, as it happens), as an instance about the exact nature of Evans’ historic contribution to nautical safety (the good captain invented the coloured lights system for ships travelling at night, as well as the celebrated gambit in the Italian Game), though as Harding readily acknowledges, there is much that remains unknown to this day. 

Lessons with a Grandmaster 2 by Boris Gulko and Dr. Joel R. Sneed

Picturesque pyrotechnics can be seen in many games, notably in the draws with Shirov and Vaganian and the two titanic encounters (resulting in a draw and a win for Gulko) with Bronstein. There are also two wonderful miniatures where Renet and Lputian (strong grandmasters both) succumb quickly, the games clocking in at just 19 and 20 moves apiece.

A review of M. Duchamp & V. Halberstadt: Spiel im Spiel / A Game in a Game / Jeu dans le jeu by Ernst Strouhal

Published in 1932, it is a book about those rare pawn endings where the distant opposition and the theory of coordinate squares plays a crucial role in determining the outcome. One can find helpful discussions of these sorts of positions in Pawn Endings, Maizelis and Averbakh’s classic text, and in one of Jon Speelman’s endgame books (I think, Endgame Preparation); and the Italian endgame theorist Rinaldo Bianchetti covered similar territory somewhat earlier.