Wednesday, March 10, 2010
QUALITY CHESS' BEST BOOK?
I just got in a book that I really like. The authors are two guys who have not really thrilled me in the past, but something happened this time... they went overboard on the really good stuff. I'm not saying that their other writings are not good, just that this one is way good!!
There are almost a dozen MAIN characters (chapters) in this book, and all of them are in the "shadows" of their main character, perhaps their boss, their student now or at another time, and that über character will end up being someone very important such as Topalov or Kasparov--or, some other incredible facet of chess.
Most of the names in this book you have not heard of (unless you subscribe to Kingpin or have read SQUARES) but you will or should. These are (or were for those like Honfi who are not with us) very bright chess players who are gifted in chess at all kinds of levels such as correspondence, studies, training, and even blitz.
There are even photos (!!) on great paper to show you the inside of the inner circles around such commanding presences such as Kasparov. Book production-wise think of San Luis 2005.
To quote Karolyi from his preface:
"Most of the people featured in this book have recorded significant achievements, yet they remain virtually anonymous to the great majority of chess fans."
Other features are stories of problems, solutions AND their originators. This is a book you will like within 30 seconds of opening it. Being a lover of good typography, this is one of their best.
Here are some names to show you I am not making this up:
Alexander Shakarov (top drawer Kasparov aide)
Karsten Mueller (a tremendous person and friend)
There are testimonials that show Karolyi and Aplin did not choose chumps for their subjects in this 382 page book which retails for $29.95 (my regular discounted price is $25.50 and the Gold Card price is $22.50 + $4 for shipping).
There is really too much meat in this book for this short commentary to do it justice. Just know that... you'll really get your money's worth. Very many annotated games and lots of commentary which really fleshes out their subjects. I'll probably have to reorder.