Latest book reviews of 1 November 2004.

Wilhelminalaan 33 


The Netherlands.
John Elburg

Chess Books

Mastering the Najdorf by Julen Arizmendi & Javier Moreno 
Gambit Publications Ltd.
224 pages  
Price $ 27.00

ISBN 1-904600-182  

The Najdorf 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6  is very very complicated opening and many chess players consider it as the the Rolls Royce of chess openings and there for spending a large time of there life searching for the  “truth” by analysing  these variations to thirty or more moves deep.
Once is was the favourite of the great Bobby Fischer and some even say that this opening must even have been called after him instead of the Argentine grandmaster Miguel Najdorf.
This work from the Spanish authors Julen Arizmendi & GM Javier Moreno does not learn you  to memorize the Najdorf but leads you throw a selection repertoire Najdorf lines where both authors are not shy to explain all the necessarily strategies that go with this opening.  
Not covered is the Najdorf poisoned pawn variation with it’s dazzling variations but there for both authors prefer a more reliable system  with the queen to c7.
Some older readers shall recognize this set-up with some old games from Botvinnik on the Richter Rauzer variation with a earlier h6 but than with a important tempo up as for example  the famous game between Timman & Kasparov from Niksic 1983.
The reader shall find in this repertoire book a excellent answer to every possible even the silly move from Ivanchuk with 6.Rg1 where the both authors recommend for black 6…e5! and than 7.Nb3 Be6 8.g4 d5!
 All together I would like to recommend this book for all  players who like to take up the Najdorf!  

Conclusion: A repertoire book that is overloaded  with latest played Najdorf  lines!    

Play the 4.f3 Nimzo-Indian by Yuri Yakovich

Gambit  Publications Ltd.
128 pages 
Price $ 23.95 
ISBN 1-904600-16-6

The Russian grandmaster from Samara concentrates in this well made openings book on the Nimzo-Indian defence with 4.f3 {1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3} a line that made its first appearance at the beginning of the 1930s. 
If white get the chance to play 5.e4 than he has nearly won the first battle with his impressive pawn front so black is forced to strike back in the centre with 4…c5 or 4…d5.
Interesting enough the author starts in chapter one with the hypermodern 4…Nc6 and after 5.e4 d5!? and after 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e5 Ng8! 8.f4 Nh6! and black seems to have adequate counter play. 
Even that there is no bibliography and only a brief introduction in this book I found really everything what a white player needs to know how to handle this line and the  black player can completely focus on the most critical lines with 4…d5 5.a3 Bxc3 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5! 8.Qd3 b6! where he is forced to go for a positional pawn sacrifice.  
Included throw this book are useful  short openings summary’s and a chapter with 14 instructive games.  

Conclusion: A very dangerous openings guide!    

365 ways to checkmate by Joe Gallagher
Gambit  Publications Ltd.
208 pages
Price $ 23.95
ISBN 1-901983-95-1

For all who are searching for a entertaining checkmate puzzle book than I would like to recommend this enjoyable read from the English GM Joe Gallagher.
The six chapter checkmate puzzle book is divided by the author in difficulty and the most positions  are pleasantly taken  from latest played games.
Included are all kind of 9extra hints and extra puzzle’s to see if you have learned from the mating attacks.
Conclusion: A very refreshing puzzle book.

Reuben Fine: A compressive Record of an American Chess Career,1929 – 1951 by Aidan Woodger

McFarland & Company,Inc.,Publishers Box 611
Jefferson,North Carolina 28640.

392 pages 
Price $65  
ISBN 0-7864-1621-1

Even that Fine’s playing career was not very long he made an extraordinary impact at the age of 26 in the chess world by playing 17 tournaments in the Netherlands, England, Norway, Sweden, Soviet Russia, Belgium, Latvia and Austria.
At the age of 36 still among the strongest players in the world he gave op professional chess to devote himself to a great career in psychoanalysis.
The English Aidan Woodger a former field archaeologist  has nearly completely divided this book on finding all Fine’s games even that there is a brief biography where we can find some personal information about the great master as for example that Fine has been married for five times.
In 1937 Fine married for the first time with the Dutch Emma Keesing, a reporter for the newspaper “ Het Volk” who was the daughter of the Dutch publisher of the famous Chess Archives.
Some described Miss Emma Thea Keesing as something between Shirley Temple and Mae West.
Fine was  Euwe's second during the 1937 world championship match where he  later wrote, "Had a match between  Alekhine and myself  been arranged in 1939, right after the AVRO tournament, there is little doubt in my mind that I would have won."
It is clear that Fine was unmistakable for Euwe and the famous professor Arpad Elo retroactively calculated that he his rating was at that time so around the  2660  while Alekhine’s rating was that  time only sinking.
The author has managed to dig up around 882 Fine games all pleasantly chronological ordered and well analysed with contemporary sources.
It is very enjoying to go throw these “forgotten games” where a small 659 games are from Reuben Fine’s tournament and match games, where a other 180 other games and game fragments as rapid, correspondence, exhibition etc.
Interesting to mention is Fine as correspondence chess player in the Library of Congress,Washington contains in one of Fine notebooks a record of 24 correspondence games started by him as early as April 1934.
Apparently only 13 or 14 of these games were definitely completed.
Interesting to mention is that Fine was considered as the fastest player alive and this could explain his seven move loss against Harry Borochow.
Reuben Fine was a erratic young master who experimented quite a bit in the opening,even playing moves as 1.f3 {Chess Lists Second edition}
Funny enough there is a story that Fine never studied a chess book until he become a master!
Included in this wonderful made book a brief biographical about Fine’s opponents,Fine’s career results, bibliography etc.
Conclusion: A very important reference work on Reuben Fine!

My great predecessors Part 3 by Garry Kasparov
Everyman Chess
332 pages
Price $ 30,-
ISBN 1-85744-371-3

Part three of My great predecessors from Garry Kasparov is devoted to the world champions Tigran Petrosian (1963-1969), the man with the deeply prophylactic play  and former chess prodigy the outstanding  Boris Spassky (1969-1972).
Kasparov does not discuss in this volume the arrival of Fischer and there for I only can  mention four of Fischers games in this book but there is a nice discussion of other great competitors from that time  as for example Gligoric,Portisch,Stein and Polugayevsky.
Kasparov does not only analyse the highlights of these players but also describes  the style of the player as for instance  Spassky who has after Kasparov a leaning towards sharp attacking play,and possessed a splendid feel for the initiative.These habits were, I think, cultivated in him by his first trainer Zak, and then developed and consolidated by Tolush.
And a liking for pretty attacks which can be traced throughout Spassky’s chess career.
From the three time candidate semi finalist Bent Larsen I can only mention three games in this book and well his famous match of the century  lost with 1.b3 against Spassky, Portisch – Larsen from Rotterdam 1977 and Spassky – Larsen candidate match Malmö 1968.
The games throw this book are truly excellent analysed but for me the book could have a 100 pages more as the first two parts!
Conclusion: A book with outstanding analyses!

Checkmate my first chess book from Garry Kasparov
Everyman Chess

96 pages
Price $ 12.95
ISBN 1-85744-358-6

One of the greatest  chess players of all time the great Garry Kasparov does not only guide you in this eye catching learning book, throw the first  principles in chess, but also learns you  in all these readable lessons to play a real  game of chess.
The book is quite suitable for young children but they must be  able to read to understand all the lessons from the world number one in chess.
Conclusion: A very complete learning book on chess!

Learn from legends – chess champions at there best by Mihail Marin
Quality Chess
312 pages
Price $31.99
ISBN 91-975243

The strong Romanian  by Mihail Marin who had in 2001 a impressive Elo from over the 2600
explains in his second chess book how he was influenced by the eight chess heroes Rubenstein, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Tal,Petrosian, Fischer, Karpov and Korchnoi.
For instance from Akiba Rubenstein he learned the use of so called long plans which was not truly understood by other  players from his time.
Many positions and complete games in this book cover important endings as for instance the game Karpov –Kasparov World Championship match 9 of Moscow 1984 which is covered by Marin with nearly ten pages of great depth.
Of course many games in this book as for example from Fischer are published many times before but the author has managed to create on paper highly understandable analyses  which are a must for every serious chess student.
Each chapter in this book focuses on the he way a great player treated simplified positions with  certain material balance as the above mentioned games only there is a exception made for the great Viktor Korchnoi who is in a certain way summing up for the rest of the players from this book.
There are around 65 game fragments and 7 complete game where three of them are from Korchnoi.
Included is short biography of the heroes from Marin and I hope soon from the readers soon too.

Conclusion: A very good book to  understand master play in chess!

The Scandinavian defence by James Plaskett
Batsford Ltd London

192 pages
Price $ 22.95
ISBN 0-7134-8911-1

The former English champion James Plaskett has managed to create in this twelve chapters a very exciting overview from the Scandinavian defence with even minor  lines as the Iceland Gambit {1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.c4 e6}and  Portuguese variation{1.e4  d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4!?}
Chapter 3 covers the 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 and it seems quite playable for black after 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nf3 Bf5 7.Ne5 e6 8.g4 Bg6 9.h4 Nbd7 or even 9…Bb4!?
Plaskett does not cover move to move annotations as Wahls did in his “Modernes Skandinavisch” but prefers more bright lines and creative made ideas as for example 1.e4 d5 2.Nc3 or 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qe5 the so called Patzer variation that you usually only see in gambit magazines and after the English candidate Grandmaster  Andrew Martin it is certainley worth a try.

Conclusion: A very exciting openings book!     

Chess CD's

Fritztrainer middlegame by Jacob Aagaard
€ 29.99
System requirements: PC 233,64 MB RAM,CD-ROM drive,sound card,mouse,Windows XP,2000,ME,98,Windows Media player 9.

The great Danish chess teacher Jacob Aagaard concentrates on this latest ChessBase fritz trainer middlegame  DVD completely on positional play with it’s pieces pawns and squares.
Positional play is a very important basic in chess and with the help of  these six multimedia  lectures from Aagaard you shall certainly develop a better under standing of this subject.
Simple click with your latest ChessBase program as Fritz8, {ChessBase9}Shredder 8,Junior 8, Hiarcs9 or Tiger 15 on ChessMedia file and let all the four hour of chess  fun come over you.
The material van Aagaard is divided in the following material Intro: 1:42 (Basic positional ideas)
Lesson 1: 36:57 (Weaknesses 1) Lesson 2: 15:15 (Weaknesses 2) Lesson 3: 25:13 (Piece play 1)
Lesson 4: 17:01 (Piece play 2) Lesson 5: 24:39 (Piece Play 3) Lesson 6: 27:17 Prophylactic thinking) and at last a impressive collection of 50 {multimedia!} exercises to test your positional skills.
I have seen many multimedia files but this one with the integrated multimedia files truly beats everything!

Conclusion: A very instructive multimedia DVD!

Chess Magazines

British Chess Magazine No.9
Volume 124
October  2004
Price: £3.25

This BCM October number starts with the second Staunton Memorial that was held
in the palatial London haunt of Howard Staunton and his rivals and won by Daniel King & Jonathan Speelman. But the high light of this heavy loaded  issue certainly goes to the Games department from Jonathan Rowson.The reader shall find here two excellent fully annotated games from the brand new English Champion.{All together good for seven pages of pure chess enjoyment!}
Others readable contributions are Congress Diary from Colin Crouch; Biel Super GM; Ukrainian championship; Phillip Stamma {Part one of a two part article by John Roycroft}Furness on chess and not to forget the regular contributions as Reviews and new books etc.

 Conclusion: A heavy loaded  BCM magazine!

ChessMail issue 7/2004

Chess Mail Limited, 26 Coolamber Park
Dublin 16 Ireland
Basic Subscription 42 Euros.
{For eight issues.}

The highlight of this Chessmail issue goes to the fascinating story from the correspondence Grandmaster Heinrich Burger who  was a former DDR spy. On the 23rd of May he was sentenced to a stay of seven years in Jail but was later exchanged against four other people who where arrested in the DDR.
Interesting to mention is the master spy  Heinrich Burger had permission from the Attorney General to play correspondence chess! Strange enough they allowed him to play corr.chess against the enemy. Normally Heinrich Burger does not mention this dark period from his life even with his best chess friends but for ChessMail he made a exception.
Other readable contributions are: Yates qualifies for the BCM final.{IN 1908,the ‘British Chess Magazine’ organised a postal tournament open to all players in the United Kingdom where the great F.D.Yates was one of the participations}CC master Tournament news; Readers annotate there games; ICCF’s rules philosophy and appeals, Rochade team: strong substitute needed; More cases with opposite colour bishops {The monthly endgame clinic from Tim Harding}Chess book reviews {What makes a grandmaster different? etc.

Conclusion: A must for every serious correspondence chess player!