Saturday, May 22, 2010

WHEN IS 2008 THE SAME AS 2010?

Batsford just released (finally released?) Anatoly Karpov's Find The Right Plan. Co-authored by Anatoly Matsukevich (I feel "sorry" for these guys who do a lot of the work but who get second billing).

Although it's not easy to tell who wrote what, this book is a step up from Karpov's usual stuff. One reason is that most of the games which are studied do not include Karpov's games! Let's face it, most of us will never play like Karpov and except for the stubborn, he's not that understandable.

What the book IS about is full games, short games, and game fragments as well as an exercises section. Chess planning is not that easy but the authors offer some great tips. I really need to do a deeper probe of the book, perhaps in The Chess Reports #107 because there are just too many good things which can't be covered in a blog. But I'll add a couple more: "Until the center is blockaded, operations on the flank may be premature." Notice he says may. But isn't that a point worth remembering? These things are mentioned throughout this 256 page book. Here's another, related one: "The main weapon against a mobile pawn center is to blockade it."

The retail is $22.95. The G&L CHESS price is $19.50 and for those who own 2010 Gold Cards the price is $17.25, a savings of $5.70.

The translation from the Russian was done by Sarah Hurst, but the copyright page says the book was available in the UK in 2008 but, as far as I know, it's only available NOW in the US. This is a typical Batsford tactic. What can they gain by this? The only thing I can think of is they didn't yet have a distributor in the US but that doesn't cut it anymore because Sterling, in NY, has been handling their books for years, including, this one. Batsford does not think of their authors.

Now on to something else from Batsford. I also got in more of two other titles: Andy Soltis' excellent The wisest things ever said about chess with over 250 annotated positions (retail $21.95, G&L $18.50, Gold Card $16.50) and Irving Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move, every move explained. This book has been printed and reprinted more than 20 times although this is not mentioned on the copyright page. Each time Batsford reprints around 3,000 copies. What really amazes me, and is so unbelievably ignorant of Batsford, is that they don't print 5,000. This is the "secret" number where publishers get their best cost/book benefit. Then they wouldn't run out of the book and therefore irk so many people! But Batsford, may have another idea... and that is to raise the price every couple years but that really hasn't been done egregiously. So what other possibilities are there? In one game in the above mentioned Karpov book a game is headed as being the Alekhine's Defense (and played in the game by Alekhine), but it ISN'T!! It's 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4; the Giuoco Piano or Italian Game. I've heard rumored many times that Batsford doesn't use a proofreader for their chess books anymore. So, you may ask, "What has that got to do with anything?"

Actually, a lot. It shows just how clueless they can be and that reprinting a book in a timely fashion just doesn't occur to them because it is an "insane" publishing policy of theirs. (Some old guard people quote the "that's the way we've always done it" argument to death!) The pricing for this at $21.95 is the same as for the Soltis book. Although the idea of Chernev's book is good, the design of the book is ugly and makes studying it a chore rather than a pleasure. Batsford simply doesn't care! I think THAT must be their plan and their policy.

One last thing. As I burn lots of DVDs on a weekend to be ready for next week's shipments, I am re-proofing the disks I will be using as my "master discs." One I am working on now is from Andrew Martin's Busy Man's Chess Openings. The disc on the ...b6 is truly absolutely fabulous. I've obviously heard and seen this video many times but as I relook again, I am simply mesmerized by how GOOD it really is! Soon they will be re-released and depending on the package you order, the pricing policy will be unprecedented by TPi (Thinkers' Press, inc.). Please WATCH THIS SPACE.

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