Wednesday, April 21, 2010


My choice would be Alex Yermolinsky.

I've met Yermo (as some call him)... a gracious, willing, and fun guy at my Chess Festival in 2004 when he filled in for GM Karsten Mueller (who couldn't come because of illness).

But that is not the main reason I would choose to play like him. I am rereading his Road to Chess Improvement... what a book!

I am busy preparing for my next tournament appearance, May 15th (gee, I hope I do well!) I pulled several books from my shelves and this was the main one and not just because he writes about the Benko Gambit (from the white side) but because of his attitude, his writing style, his giftedness, and his explanatory abilities. Reading Yermolinsky is a Big Pleasure. He doesn't write much in the book world. I think he did one other book, a Chess Explained title.

I'll be getting more of those and I have his "Road..." book reordered.

This morning I went through a game I looked at last night: Yermolinsky-Kreiman (a student of Alex's). Why do I like this game? Easy. (see page 85)

1) It reminds me of my attempts to play like a very much stronger player;
2) It has errors of judgment in it--by both sides;
3) It has some interesting resources to pull everything off;
4) It has quirky moves to make you think; and
5) It has a snappy ending (48 moves).

The notes are those delectable parts of a sandwich, without which, it just doesn't taste as good.

That was ONE game. His thoughts on chess, its variations, how to improve, and all the rest are jammed into this 224 page monster. And, Gambit does something they are reluctant to do: put tables and charts inside to further explain Yermo's theses.

I asked Yermo years ago to do a book for TPi and he said he had nothing left to say. Maybe true then, but now that time as passed, is it still true?

This is a fantastic book--extremely well written as Yermolinsky captures our American colloquialisms. If every chess book were written like this, we'd all be broke.

Worth having, worth rereading. Which grandmaster would you like to be... answer below if you wish.

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