Latest book reviews of 1 February

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
Chess Books

The chess biography of Marcel Duchamp (1887 –1968)
Volume one : The early chess career of Marcel Duchamp 1887 – 1925 by Vlatimil Fiala
Publishing house Moravian Chess
Post box 101,77211 Olomouc 2
Czech Republic

324 pages
Price: GBP 27.99

The artist playing chess master  Marcel Duchamp {1887 –1968} was a man who was obsessed with chess and art throughout all his life,
from origin  French born and learned the noble  game of chess from his brothers at the age of 13,where at the same time he learned to paint.{Alan Savage in his amusing booklet Reconciling chess: a Marcel Duchamp Sampler,Thinkers Press June 1998.}
This first volume from Fiala on Duchamp is divided into three major parts, and well  the introductory chapter
with the beginning of Duchamp’s chess career, the biography and his chess activities in Belgium and the USA and part three covers  Duchamp's remarkable chess year of 1925.
All these three  main chapters are further subdivide into major chess periods and cover for example interesting stories of Duchamp’s chess tournaments, as the Danish gambit tournament from 1922 which was one of the most important chess events of the New York chess scene of that time.
Fiala did a impressive fundamental research for the chess games from Duchamp and did there for travel around in libraries and newspapers all over Europe,  resulting in an impressive collection unknown games from this interesting chess playing artist.
Besides the games from Duchamp you shall find also find  a large collection included games from Duchamp’s his chess opponents, which gives the reader an excellent feeling of the so specific nineteen twenties chess atmosphere. 
The idea that Duchamp had given up art for chess has been proven a myth, but certainly there was a period between 1923 and 1935 that he did little else than playing chess.
Conclusion: This work from Fiala mainly only covers his chess career and if I may say in great detail but unfortunately does not cover any exciting  ground stories  as  Hans Ree once did in his magnificent  Grandmaster’s Chronicles Why chess,Mr.Duchamp?

Young Marshall,the early chess career of Frank James Marshall,with collected games 1893-1900 by John S.Hilbert.
Publishing house Moravian Chess
Post box 101,77211 Olomouc 2
Czech Republic

282 pages
GBP 27.99

The earliest years of Frank Marshall are shrouded in great mystery, lets be honest  what do me know more on the great Frank Marshall than his own autobiographical work,My Fifty years of chess or Andy Soltis well written work Frank Marshall United States Chess Champion?
In big lines Frank James Marshall learned the first moves of the game in Montreal, moved to Brooklyn and won there the New York State junior title and a little later the championship of the Brooklyn chess club.
This work from John S.Hilbert is one of those historical research works where every printed object
on Marshall is turned up side down and nicely brought up to print.
First of all the reader shall find a lot of new and forgotten information about Marshall but also even more important many interesting corrections on his chess career.
All together the biographical research on Marshall is good for 121 pages where Fiala did include some photocopy quality photo’s from Marshall.
Included in this work is a large collection of 173 Marshall games where many of them are annotated by Marshall himself.
Enjoyable for example is the simultaneous game between Steinitz and Marshall from the Montreal Chess club from the year 1893, after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Ne7 4.Ngf3 Ng6 5.c3 Be7 6.e5 f6!?  Marshall shows us that on the young age of sixteen he already was a upcoming chess master with a super aggressive style but above all young man with no fear at the board.
The excellent game annotations to this simultaneous game are from IM Richard Forster.

Conclusion: A great contribute to the young  young Marshall!

Opening for white according to Kramnik 1.Nf3 4 by Alexander Khalifman
239 pages
Price: GBP 15.50

ISBN 954 8782 26X

Opening for white according to Kramnik 1.Nf3 5 by Alexander Khalifman
271 pages
Price: GBP 15.50
ISBN 954 8782-24-3

Two very interesting repertoire  books from ChessStars a main chess publisher from Sofia which easy can be compared with publishers as Gambit or New in Chess the repertoire works you find in these books easy reach the level of a upcoming candidate master.
The material is well balanced with a lot of text mixed with latest played lines, as the fourth book that covers a complete repertoire for white against the  Queen’s gambit accepted, Slav Defence, Semi-Slav defence and miscellaneous lines as for example 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 c6 3.c4 dxc4 4.a4 b5 5.e3 e6 6.axb5 cxb5 7.b3 where black has the choice out the moves 7..Bb4 & Nf6 no important theoretical  head lines but good enough for 99 pages of this heavy loaded book.
Usually all repertoire lines in these books end far in the middle game and end with a clear instructive explanation of the position, as the  exciting black’s main continuation of the sharp Botvinnik system with 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4  Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.g3!? which ends on move 32, where white has an extra pawn and black keeps chances for a draw.
Book five which is by the way the last in the series “Opening for white according to Kramnik” covers the good old Queens gambit  declined with out 3…Nf6.
There are only three large chapters in this book but good enough for over the 270 compressive  pages where chapter  one covers the lines where black delays  the move 3…Nf6, part two explains lines where black refuses 4…Be7 and part three is devoted to the classical lines of the Queens gambit, this chapter is nicely packed in 125 pages of this book.
Conclusion: Excellent made high quality repertoire books!

Ideas behind modern chess openings by Gary Lane
Batsford Ltd, London
176 pages
Price GBP 14.99
ISBN  0-7134-8712-7

A complete other repertoire book than the above mentioned is this light club player repertoire white work from Gary Lane based on the principles of the so called London System, that arises usually after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4,
first popularised at the London 1922 tournament, where this idea for white has attracted attention from time to time by players who are searching for a non book system, though it is by no means an innocuous set-up.
Every chapter in this work from Gary Lane has a small introduction, example games and a small summary of the played lines.
Lane is creative with his choices and alternatives as his famous 150 attack {1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Qd2 }, a peculiarity of the English grading system where the 150 translates to an 1800 Elo rating, is certainly an awkward system for black to meet.
Pleasant to mention are the off beat lines as the ST.George, Englund gambit and the refreshing Clarendon court,
1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5!? which reminds us after 3.e4! with the Staunton gambit.
The aim of this work lays around the middle level of play lets say the serious club player who wants to start with
some easy to learn but dangerous sub lines!
Conclusion: A easy to go but creative made repertoire book!

Batsford chess puzzles by Leonard Barden
Batsford Ltd, London
176 pages
Price GBP 14.99
ISBN  0-7134-8712-7

A selection of 300 ever best published chess  puzzles taken from  Leonard Barden’s famous newspaper columns  as the Evening Standard, Guardian and the Financial times, classified  under different themes as test your talent, first round  knockouts, checkmates in two, Longer mates, winning tactics, learn from the champions, beat the masters, missed opportunities, strategic chess, Endgame challenges and tough nuts and party tricks.
The material is not only divided in ascending order of difficulty but every puzzle also contains a very entertaining summary.
Conclusion: One of those puzzle books you nearly can’t put down!

World chess championship matches Anthology Part I,II & III
Russian chess house
Available by Convekta Ltd.
Pages,311,327 & 295
Fax:+44 1628486777
For price information see above mentioned webside.
ISBN 5-94693-007-9 {Part one}
ISBN 5-94693-008-7 {Part two}
ISBN 5-94693-009-5 {Part three}

A nice made trilogy from all the world championship games  in hardcover from the Russian chess publisher Russian Chess House.
The three volume anthology contains all the games of the world chess championship matches between 1886 & 1998, all annotated in the so called  languages symbolic notation.
The editorial team included many interesting annotations to the games as in the first part old analyses from  forgotten chess  players as Schalloppand Hooper and often  analysed by the editorial team into the context of today.
Part one covers the period Steinitz – Zukertort till Euwe –Alekhine 1937,Part two with the heroes of the sixty and seventy and  where part three covers the nearly never ending dynasty of Karpov.
Included in all works is a introduction of four languages and a index  overview from all played  openings in the well known ECO symbols.
Conclusion: A highly instructive collection masterpieces lovely printed and well packed in hardcover.

Chess School 2
Russian chess house
Available by Convekta Ltd.
Pages 255
Fax:+44 1628486777
For price information see above mentioned webside.
ISBN 5-94693-006-0

A Hugh collection of 1187 tactical chess combinations mainly all taken from the practise
but also some astounding compositions from Troitsky and Horrwitz all careful selected
in levels of difficulty  by Sergey Ivashchenko.
The material is quit all round from middle till endgame positions where the aim lays in
development of your tactical skills.
The solutions don’t cover any text but only some analyses in symbolic notation,but usually the solution is simple and speaks for it self’s.
Conclusion: A very compressive exercise book with over 1187 exercises!

Starting out: the French by Byron Jacobs
Everyman Chess  

176 pages
Price $ 16.95
ISBN 1-85744-229-6

The French is one of those openings where you must be prepared to defend some time before you think about a  attack, so I would like to consider  it as one of those typical black openings where black can easy end with a dangerous counterattack or at least with a superior pawn structure.
To understand these typical French  manoeuvres and strategies it is necessarily to study the so important  basic principles  of the French opening, and these simple but well written starting out books from Everyman  offer a excellent first understanding of these important major key principles.
The author Byron Jacobs feels very comfortable with the French opening and enjoys  to explain in a instructive way the secrets of the French defence, included are besides the tips and exercises a large collection of 81 complete  games.

Conclusion: A fine work for those who want to take up the French defence!

The French defence by Alexander Kalinin
Russian chess house
Available by Convekta Ltd.
Pages 261
Fax:+44 1628486777
For price information see above mentioned webside.
ISBN 5-94693-004-4

The Sicilian defence by Alexander Kalinin
Russian chess house
Available by Convekta Ltd.
Pages 261
Fax:+44 1628486777
For price information see above mentioned webside.
ISBN 5-94693-003-6

Two new openings book from GM Alexander Kalinin covering the French and Sicilian defence,written in great detail with all the necessarily  strategies and planes filled up with for example all kind of tricky  tricks compressed together on a  large amount of latest played material but than unfortnatly all without any text explanations.
The aim of the publisher lays by publishing books without words but prefers to work with the symbolic notation,
where the author on his turn  tries to concentrate on complete games from the last ten years.
These two combinations give you quick  the feeling of being overloaded with analysed database games which makes it very difficult to memorise or even to work throw.
Conclusion: Some lines as the French advance are good for over the 31 pages
but it does not reach the level of the Gambit chess books!
Personal I would just  prefer the Openings 2002 CD from Convekta!

Classic Review

William Steinitz Chess Champion. A Biography of the Bohemian Caesar by Kurt Landsberger
1995 Second printing with corrections
McFarland & Company,Inc.,Publishers Box 611
Jefferson,North Carolina 28640.
487 pages
Price $ 55,=
ISBN 0-859950-758-1
Order Line 1-800-253-2187

After my review from The Steinitz papers letters and documents of the first world chess champion edited by Kurt Landsberger I was overwhelmed with e-mail question’s of  “Is the older work from Landsberger on William Steinitz Chess Champion still available?”
And for all those readers I have excellent news, McFarland & Company supported me with this nearly forgotten work on Steinitz.
Steinitz was not only the first World chess champion but also undefeated in match play for nearly 30 years as the author describes” Steinitz”s fame  did not rest even chiefly on tournament play, he was the greatest match player ever. Steinitz was a man who burned with ambition to prove that he was the best in the world, he was always ready to accept any challenge.
Steinitz played 29 matches between 1862 & 1896,winning 27 of them. Many where against players below the top rank of master, but he polished them of quickly. Between his two  matches with Zukertort,1872 and 1886,he lost three match games out of 56 played. Altogether he won 180 match games, lost 81 and played 62 draws.
It is nearly unbelievable what Landsberger did dig up about his far relative I assume it must have been years of research, nearly every place where Steinitz has lived have been visit and if possible photographed.{There is an excellent collection of 46 photos and drawings in this book.}
In Steinitz most affluent period he lived in a lovely house in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.
Interesting to mention the aggression from Steinitz on the chess board, after Ruben Fine Steinitz
had a intellectualised aggression above all qualities, fighting on the chess board, in the chess columns ,arguing
with his friends, attributing anti-Semitism to his enemies.
In 1897 Steinitz managed to arrange a another match with Lasker,this took place at Moscow and again Steinitz
was defeated, and this was to much for him. He became so intensely excited that he was placed in a private asylum
for the insane in Moscow.
After returning to the United States Steinitz never again engaged in active chess play, he devoted his whole energies to other things as his wireless telephone.
His theory was that he could use his willpower to convey words at any distance, on Tuesday August 14 1900
Willem Steinitz died in the Manhattan State hospital, on Ward’s Island.
For months he was insane. The last years of his live where especially tragic.
Included in this work is a collection of 15 intensive analysed games from GM Andy Soltis.
Conclusion : A magnificent work on William Steinitz!

Chess Cards
Price see above mentioned webside

From Chess Assistant I received a creative  made collection of 24 chess art cards
designed by the famous Veronika Kasatkina who did the excellent covers from for the above mentioned books from Russian chess house.
I assume she also did the eye catching fronts from  ChessAssistant 6.0 & 7.0.
Any way on the front side of these cards  there is magnificent made  chess design where the back side is used for one of the best  commented game of one of the world champions, maybe we can speak from a crossing art chess design.
Conclusion: A fine collection creative made chess cards from   Veronika Kasatkina!

Chess CD's

ChessBase Fritz Powerbook 2003

Euro 49,99 

The new  ChessBase Fritz Powerbook 2003 {CTG Key} is good for over the 7.6 million opening positions
derived from over  750,000  played games where the closing date of the game material or latest chess theory  lays by the end of November 2002.
These powerbooks are the most compressive computer generated theory files that money can buy at this moment, besides the important headlines  line you shall find all played sub lines with rating and performances of the players. 
Till ChessBase6 and Fritz5 ChessVase used the older fbk books so the newer CTG keys runs from up
Fritz6 and ChessBase7.
The required space for these heavy loaded PowerBook’s  lays about 645 MB where the PowerBook on it’s
self  is good for 550 MB.
Conclusion: With the powerbook Fritz has suddenly access to a very large openings database which makes playing chess against the computer much more fun, also it is great advantage to have the powerbooks running in your Chessbase database program!

ChessBase magazine extra issue 91
January 2003
ISSN 1432-8992
Price DM 25 per issue
ChessBase reader and Chess engine Crafty engine 18.11 is included!

ChessBase magazine Extra is good for a small collection of 9253 latest played games.
Some buy these CD’s for the games but of course you can go just as good for the free Twic files.
But than you have to do without the interesting multimedia files as these from  the Man vs Machine match of Bahrain, where you shall find under the avi folder 469 MB of video files!
The multimedia reports are from Frederic Friedel and the annotations to the above mentioned game come from
GM Karsten Mueller.
The game material runs from St Petersburg till Reggio Emilia with the closing date runs around the begin of this month.
Included are besides the well known CBH files all games in the older CBF format.
Conclusion: Excellent material!

Chess  Magazines

British Chess Magazine issue 1
Volume 123
January 2003
Price: £3.25


The first thirty one pages of this refreshing issue are going to the on the spot coverage of the  Bled Olympiad
with high class annotations from  John Emms, Luke McShane, Paul Motwani, Sam Collins and Leighton Williams.
Included are besides the photo coverage full details of all the home countries, squads, medallists etc.
Other contents are the first weekend of the 4NCL {British Team championship},Reviews and new books,
Congress Diary,News in Brief,Spot the continuation, Quotes and Queries, Endgame studies,Fortcoming events, Letters to the editor, Index volume 122 etc.
Conclusion: Excellent coverage of the Bled Olympiad!

ChessMail issue 1/2003
Chess Mail Limited, 26 Coolamber Park
Dublin 16 Ireland
Basic Subscription 40 Euros.
{For eight issues.}

This first 35 pages of this ChessMail issue are completely devoted to professor Zagorovsky (1925-1994}
the fourth world champion correspondence chess, in this heavy loaded issue you shall find people who knew him
and wrote about him. For a objective look of Zagorovsky’s style and achievements the Scottish FIDE GM Paul Motwani was special hired in by Tim Harding and if I may say Motwani’s contribution on Zagorovsky is one of the best I ever saw in ChessMail!
Anyway it is good for nearly thirteen pages of highly chess enjoyment.
Personal I did get the feeling  that GM Paul Motwani was been influenced by the numerous highly instructive
games from Zagorovsky before he made a definitive selection for this well written article.
Other readable contributions on Zagorovsky are from his grandchild Tanja Zagorovskaya, Dr Fritz Baumbach {Vladimir Zagorovsky remembered.},Our Vladimir Pavlovich by Sergey Grodzensky  and Mister world champion by Nol van’t Riet.
The remaining pages go to:  Millennium Email tournament ends, Chess friend sever is launched, CC records and curiosities, Champions league news,Heidenfeld memorial ends and a super article from Rune Degerhammar on Heidenfeld  a tournament in Memory of a man with a master’s touch.

Conclusion: One of the best issues I ever saw!