Latest book reviews of 1 September 2004.

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
John Elburg

Chess Books

Rethinking the chess pieces by Andrew Soltis

Batsford Ltd London
223 pages
Price $ 21.95
ISBN 0-7134-8904-9

Grandmaster Andrew Soltis has managed to create in these 223 pages a very readable insight of different piece values techniques as the great Jose Capablanca once described  that a knight becomes weaker as pieces are traded off but a rook becomes stronger, simple said the value of pieces changes with the movement of the pieces.
In chapter eight we can study the techniques of queens versus pieces where we can say in general terms the pieces have the overhand  if they coordinate well and find targets to attack on.
The queens has the edge if it can use checks and forks,if we look at the following position: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. Qe2 Nc6 6. e5 Nxd4 7. exf6 Nxe2 8.fxg7 Rg8 9. Ngxe2 Rxg7 10. Bh6 Rg8 11. O-O-O In this position black has after Soltis a substantial edge where even computers favour black’s solidly.
A other interesting position that we can study in this book is chapter nine Bishops vs Knights vs Pawns,Slavic model where can learn after the moves: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. f3 Bb4 8. e4 Bxe4 9. fxe4 Nxe4 10. Bd2 Qxd4 11. Nxe4 Qxe4+ 12. Qe2 Bxd2+ 13. Kxd2 Qd5+ 14.Kc2 Na6 15. Nxc4 some instructive secrets between a bishop and three pawns.
If I may citrate Soltis: The player with the piece in piece –vs.-pawns often has more ways to win and it may take many games of experimentation to discover the right strategies.
One of the most successful so far, following a swap of queens, is to trade one pair of rooks and to soften up Black’s pawn structure on the light squares for the benefit of the bishop (such as a5-a6 on the queenside and g2-g4  after …f5 or h2-h4-h5 after ..g6 on the kingside).
The book contains two sections {Piece values and Material Imbalances} which are devided with ten different chapters as “Pawn equals one, knight, Equals three” Mobility and targets, Board range, Cooperation and redundancy ,The Personalities of the Pieces, Transactions, The exchange,Queen versus pieces,Bishops vs Knights vs.pawns and Rook Versus Pieces.

Conclusion: All together a very instructive read on value of  pieces!

Concise middlegames by Neil McDonald
Everyman Chess

240 pages
Price  $ 15.95
SBN 1-85744-356-X

A new concise chess book from the English Grandmaster Neil McDonald covering  a pleasant introduction in to the world of middle game strategies and attacks readable explained by the author at the hand a large collection middle game positions all in the  handy pocket  size of 11.5 x 13 centimetres.
At first sight  you would probably not expects to find eleven compact written chapters as Tactics and calculation, First thoughts on Strategy, Attacking the king, All about defence, General ideas on planning,Winning piece strategy, Pawn structure and model thinking, Winning pawn strategy, Exchanging pieces and simplification, Knight and bishops and at last Nimzowitsch favourite  the Blockade.
Even that it is all very and compressive there is enough explanation in words left for a first understanding of this material, there for I would like to recommend  this book for all starters   and local chess players who like to improve there skills in a very easy way of understanding.
Conclusion: A very understandable middlegame book!

Inside the chess mind by Jacob Aagaard
Everyman Chess

157 pages
Price $ 24.95
ISBN 1-85744-357-8

Again a new exercise book from the famous Danish chess teacher Jacob Aagaard who digs this time in the mind of the following chess players: Grandmasters (Arthur Jusupov & Peter Heine Nielsen!},a international master Jesper Hall, two chess masters Dr.Ivo Timmermans & Tom  Skovgaard, two chess amateurs and the famous Fritz8 t15 who have to solve ten different test positions which are good for over 150 pages of this book.
The idea of this book reminds me at the book of the Dutch professor de Groot who did a lot of research on this subject.
To work throw all these exercises with all the different opinions  is not a easy task and the reader is advised by the author to work with paper and pen and maybe even better with a tape recorder!
All the players give a interesting difference of analyses but also the evaluations of Fritz8 who is running on a 2.2 Ghz Pentium 4 with 512 Ram is very interesting specially his weaknesses.
As for example when Fritz tries to push the draw out of the horizon by manoeuvring around.
It tries to hold on the advantage as long as possible. Obviously a weakness of the program but it seems that the programmers had to choose between some unpleasant side effects.
Conclusion: A book that I would certainly  like to recommended for  the more ambitious chess student!

How to play dynamic chess by Valeri Beim
Gambit Publications Ltd.
175 pages
Price $ 27.50
ISBN 1-904600-15-8

After lessons in chess Strategy GM Valeri Beim concentrates in this work completely on dynamics all deeply  explained at the hand of a large collection instructive games.
The material is divided in five large chapters and well Dynamics, Devolpment, King moves for attacking purposes, Breakthrough and Initiatives.
The reader shall find in this book many classics as Smyslov – Euwe, The Hague/Moscow Wch 1948, Tal – Portisch,Bled 1965, Morphy – Hampton,London 1858, McConnell – Morphy New Orleans 1850.
Pleasant enough there are also new ones as Beim – Herzog,Vienna 2003 and Kasparov – Timman from Wijk aan Zee 2000 where Timman played the so surprising 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. e5 Qe7 7. Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 9. Nc3 Qe6 10. Qe4 Bb4 11. Bd2 Ba6 12. b3 Bxc3 13. Bxc3 d5 14. Qh4 dxc4 15. Be2 Nd5 16. Bxc4 g5!?  Where we cam learn from the author that black is trying to hold an inferior position.
But with 17.Qd4 Bxc4 18.Qxc4 0-0-0!? in place of Timman’s inferior 18…Nf4 but  with the move from the Dutch Piket 18….0-0-0! black has no problems at all, unfortunately this move is not mentioned in this book from Beim and that is quite a pity.
This work from Beim is very practical written and the reader only has to play throw these games and with every game his understanding of dynamic play will grow.
Conclusion: A book that is overloaded with instructive annotations!

The grandmaster’s mind by Amatzia Avni
Gambit Publications Ltd.
176 pages
Price $ 23.95
ISBN 1-904600-19-0

Digging in the mind of the chess player is at the moment very popular and in this well written work from the psychologist & FIDE master Amatzia Avni we can follow some top chess players as Lev Psakhis,Alon Greenfeld,Gady Costeff,Yona Kosashvili, Alik Gershon, Alexander Mikhalevsky, Gadi Rechlis, Boris Gelfand, Ofer Comay, Zvulon Gofshtein, Dov Zifroni and Ilia Smirin how they one for one  reveal in enjoyable interviews there personal thinking process.
The most fascinating of all is of course how does a chess professional find new ideas?
After Avni: Exceptional ideas frequently rest upon simple justifications: concrete analysis, discarding alternatives, or the wish to create practical chances.
Each interview of this book is based on a face to face meeting with practical which gives the reader a wealth  of practical  insights and many useful recommendations as thinking like a grandmaster may put one on the right track but for actually becoming a formidable player a host of other ingredients are required!
Conclusion: A very practical written book!

The dynamic Reti by Nigel Davies
Everyman Chess

144 pages
Price $ 19.95
ISBN 1-85744-352-7

GM Nigel Davies concentrates in these 65 annotated Reti games mainley on all major lines as the close Reti (1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7) open Reti (1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 dxc4 or 3…dxc4},Reti Slav {1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6), Reti Benoni {1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4},Reti accepted {1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 dxc4},Symmeterical English, 2…Nf6, Reti King’s Indian {1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.b4},Reti Dutch and others.
The chosen material from Davies is quite classic as for example Reti – Capablanca New York 1924 but this game is certainley a must for every starter on the Reti!
For those who are searching latest played games on the Reti I can say that the major part of these games comes from the 21st century and the aim of this work lays by a good understanding of  the material above latest played lines.
Conclusion: A pleasant  coverage of the Reti!

More simple chess by John Emms
Everyman Chess

144 pages
Price $ 19.95
ISBN 1-85744-343-8

More simple chess is a follow up from Emms Simple chess where the reader is invited in the world of  problem pieces,inside trading, of minor importance,dancing queens, concering kings,rampant rooks and soluions to the exercises all explaned at the hand of complete games and overloaded with  a wealth of instructive text.
In this work we can learn that some players as Karpov & Fischer have instinctively skills to know which piece needs to be exchanged and how to bring the best out the remaining ones!
Conclusion: A very enjoyable strategy book!
Blunders and how to avoid them by Angus Dunnington
Everyman Chess

144 pages
Price $ 19.95
ISBN 1-85744-344-6

The English International Angus Dunnington concentrates in this book completely on bluders and how to avoid him.
The chosen material from Dunnington is very practical and well filled with a lot of latest played games as for instance the game Akopian – Kramnik,Wijk aan Zee 2004, where Akopian played the chocking move 29.Rh7!!! {1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bg7 10. h3 Ne5 11. f3 Nbc6 12. Bf2 Be6 13. Qd2 Nxd4 14. Bxd4 Qa5 15.a3 O-O 16. h4 Ng6 17. hxg5 hxg5 18. b4 Qc7 19. Ne2 f6 20. Bb2 Bf7 21. Nd4 d5 22. exd5 Qe5+ 23. Be2 Qxd5 24. O-O-O Rfc8 25. Bd3 Ne5 26. Be4 Qa2 27. Nf5 Nc4 28. Qc3 Rc7}
The material is divided is twelve different chapters as traps and pitfalls ,sense of danger , psychology, the king’s defense , checks, faulty plans, danger of simplification, draw, endings, time trouble, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, expect the unexpected, typical blunders, mega blunders and at last the twilight zone.
There is a loot to learn from mistakes and studying this book could certainly help you to avoid them specially with the readable suggestions from the so experienced Angus Dunnington!
Conclusion: A very useful book on blunders!

Chess CD's
Encyclopaedia of chess openings D, fourth edition
Chess Informant
 £ 36.50

For the first time in history of the chess Informator there is a electronic release from the encyclopaedia of chess openings part D {The fourth edition but than specially expanded wit a lot of extra material and covering all lines that can arise after the moves :1.d4 d5 & 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 followed by 3..d5 with the Queen’s Gambit,Slav,{QG Accepted,Orthodox, Tarrasch,Tartakower, etc.}Gruenfeld,Queen’s Pawn etc.}
Usually new releases from the Informator come in a specially made reader version as the Chess Informant reader or the Chess Expert lite version but for this Encyclopaedia of chess openings Chess Informant has decided to give all buyers a full version of there impressive made Chess Informant Expert 5.1
It includes many interesting features as exporting games from Chess Informants 1-88 to PGN, merging games, Importing PGN files to there own CIE format which gives in this program a much better data access.
Those who like to edit there games or do publishing for there chess club have probably enough with this expert version because it has many tools for crating theoretical articles and it can easy be saved in the known RTF text format.
To work with the electronic version of the Encyclopaedia of chess openings part D requires some experiences as how to run the free included chess engines,{Crafty 17.9,18.7 & Ruffian}
Click throw to the games and open the engines with a click of your mouse.
Unfortunately it is not possible to do a engine set-up as we see them in professional database programs but this program comes very close to it!
The installation of Chess Informant expert 5.1 is impressive it rebuilds under the installation your lite version to a full one included all the Informators and openings Monograph’s!
Included on this Encyclopaedia is a expert base from 6817 games  {Without comments} a Chess Informant base with 15487 Informator games {Plus all the annotations!}a D4 tree and a impressive test your skills file from around 234 exercises!
Believe me when you are used to this program you want for no money in the world go back for the book!
Conclusion: Better than the printed book!

Chess Magazines

British Chess Magazine No.8
Volume 124
August  2004
Price: £3.25

Starting with: The first four rounds of the Fide World championship{Michael Adams missed his way in Tripoli after reaching the finale of the heavy loaded World championship.}The whole coverage with photo's and games good for 15 pages!
Paks Hungary where the great Korchnoi won before Berkes,Belyavsky,Nevednichy,Portisch and Acs!
Furness on chess, Women’s world championship, Armenia versus the world { The tournament concept was an imaginative one: a match between Petrosian’s homeland Armenia and the rest of the world!}
Congress Diary {South lakes congress} Quotes and queries,Problem world, Reviews and new books, Spot the continuation etc
Conclusion: A top ten chess magazine!