by Nigel Davis
looking for a different opening to reinvigorate my White
repertoire when I hit upon the 160 page volume by Nigel
Davis on the Veresov (1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Bg5) and
thought I would try it out and read the book at the same
time. It was a pleasant marriage as I had good results and
the ideas in the book guided me along the way. Playing
blitz chess on ICC I managed to face seven of the eight main
variations. In every game (or nearly so) I felt better
prepared than my opponent, even if for the most part this
was just a move or two deeper into the opening. Davis made
me feel comfortable in this opening.
I think I will keep this in my opening preparation, at least
for a while.
Chess, Everyman Publishers plc, distributed in North America
by the Globe Pequot Press, PO Box 480, 246 Goose Lane,
Guilford, CT 06437-0480, has published The Veresov by
Nigel Davis, ISBN 1 85744 335 7 at $19.95 for the soft
the opening was friendly to me – but what of the book. I
rather liked this book, but I that may be in spite of the
book itself. First, the acknowledged champion of the
Veresov, Lev Alburt, had only two of his games quoted in the
book. I should also have been concerned that many of the
examples were woefully dated – the first ten main entries
were games from 1974, 1993, 1989, 1976, 1987, 1980, 1971,
1977, 1972, and 1947. Though other variations had more
up-to-date examples, this seemed to be the general pattern:
older examples without too much concern for the most recent
theory. That set all right with me, as I wasn’t much
familiar with any of the theory before, though I had faced
the Veresov six or seven times before.
Still, I thought Davies did an adequate (B-)
job of presenting the material;
it was fun trying an opening that opened up new (for me)
ideas and modes of play,
and I was never snowed under by reams of analysis. I think
if you are rated under 1900,
this could add a valuable fillip to your chess strength.
A. J. Gillam
If you want a no-frills book that will teach
a student how to play chess – the rules, the basic
checkmates, tactics, and good, practical advice with a
minimum of words and a maximum of chess, this book is for
that student. There are 175 pages of instruction, most of
it visual in this book. There are quizzes, with answers,
that demonstrate the lesson just presented. The diagrams
vary from the usual one per page to ten per page. Pins,
discovered check, double checks, castling, en passant --
it’s all here, explained simply and completely.
B. T. Batsford Ltd., 64 Brewery Road, London,
England, has published Starting Chess by A. J.
Gillam. Lawton, ISBN 0 7134 8821 2 at $16.95 for the soft
This must have been one of the last chess
books that Batsford published in their chess selections.
Its simplicity and conciseness has much to recommend it.
The psychology of chess is a relatively
unexplored territory. There are so many
different kinds of minds deeply exploring our game and yet
we know so little
about what goes on between those synapses. I am reminded of
“What goes on inside of the mind of the Grandmaster” where
the great Master thinks,
“I go there, he goes there, and bing, bang bop, it’s
has the most difficult task – exploring verbally a
game through the darkness of psychological language.
Everyman Chess, Everyman Publishers plc,
distributed in North America by the Globe Pequot Press, PO
Box 480, 246 Goose Lane, Guilford, CT 06437-0480, has
published Chess Psychology by Angus Dunnington, ISBN
1 85744 326 8 at $19.95 for the soft cover.
Despite the difficulties, this is an
interesting book. Dunnington doesn’t supply us with answers
as to how to cure psychological chess problems. Instead
what Dunnington does is identify these psychological
factors. Some of the most common include noise, time
trouble, gamesmanship, lack of sleep, blitzing moves, style,
familiarity with kinds of positions, “natural” moves,
superficiality, impatience, originality, space, and other
topics any serious chess player has wrestled with. His
examples are clear for the most part, leading the reader to
see the chess that fits in with the mental state. This is a
good book that may be of value to you as
long as you don’t need to be helped across the street.
MY GREAT PREDECESSORS, PART
by Garry Kasparov
I was tempted to review
this book in four words – Outstanding!
Buy this book! – but that would not do justice to Volume III
in this outstanding series.
I have read many chess books of chess history, but
Kasparov’s series ranks at the top
of the list for many reasons. Volume III covers Petrosian
and Spassky, and their main competitors, Gligoric,
Polugaevsky, Portisch, and Stein. Their titanic struggles
are well documented here, warts and beauty marks alike.
These are great conflicts, and it is
interesting to see how computers have affected the way we
view these games. Kasparov’s painstaking analysis shows us
just how difficult chess can be even for the very top of the
Some stereotypes of both
Petrosian and Spassky are neatly exploded by Kasparov.
We learn that Petrosian was an outstanding tactician and
attacker and that the
universal style of Spassky was slanted toward the romantic,
school of the distant chess past. Kasparov presents the
(and what games they are!) to sustain his argument.
It struck me how much
chess has changed since the games of Volumes I and II in the
series (up to Tal) – of the first five games of Petrosian’s
given in the book, four are draws! But these are not
bloodless draws either; they are full fledged gladiator
fights with every weapon at their disposal.
Of course Petrosian’s
famous exchange sacrifices are well-covered here.
And Spassky’s gambits -- in a period of over thirty years,
he did not lose a
single King’s Gambit, and he played it often and well
against the world’s best.
Chess, Everyman Publishers plc, distributed in North America
Globe Pequot Press, PO Box 480, 246 Goose Lane, Guilford, CT
published Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors, Part
III by Garry Kasparov,
ISBN 1 85744 371 3 at $30.00 for the hard cover.
So are there any
drawbacks to Volume III compared to Volumes I and II? As
the subject matter os not the same: Petrosian and Spassky
are different from Steinitz, Alekhine, Tal, Capablanca,
Lasker – you know the list – it is not fair to compare
them. Volume III is a little slimmer, but the analysis is
just as detailed and interesting. The commentary and
insight is strong. There will always be the nit-pickers.
Those who can only see the flaws will miss the 99% of this
book that is outstanding. This is an great series about
Great Masters. Outstanding! Buy this book!
PLAY DYNAMIC CHESS
I don’t believe a book
reviewer should read other book reviewers’ book reviews
before he reviews the book he is going to review. (I also
believe writers shouldn’t repeat themselves). But, by
accident I read a review of Valeri Beim’s How To Play
Dynamic Chess that appeared in Chess Today (and
if you aren’t already subscribing, tell your wife or
girlfriend to get you a subscription as a gift). The review
was full of praise for Beim’s work, and now I faced the
problem of reviewing the book, too. Should I react and look
for flaws? Should I parrot the earlier review? I decided to
just jump in and see what Beim had to say.
Gambit Publications Ltd., distributed in the
US by BHB International, Inc.,
302 West North 2nd Street, Seneca, SC 29678, has
published How To Play Dynamic Chess
by Valeri Beim, ISBN 1 904600 15 8 at $27.50 for the soft
All right, at the risk of sounding like my
brother wrote this book,
I will say that this is a diamond. If you are looking to
and you are rated above 2000, this book may well be worth a
bundle of Elos.
If you are rated below 2000, it may also be of value, but
much of the book is
designed for the Master level. It is so easy to read and
that a 1300 player may be fooled into thinking he completely
Beim writes. Then again, he might just actually
understand. I will give just three quotes
(out of many I could have used) from the book:
“It is very hard for the ordinary chess
amateur to determine the quality of annotations by prominent
players. Quite often thet are miles away from accuracy.”
Heresy! And yet, anyone who reads My Great Predecessors,
Volume III, will understand immediately what Beim says.
“…a more promising position …doesn’t
guarantee that he will emerge with
advantage from the tactical crossfire. The most important
factor here is skill in
calculating variations….It follows that you shouldn’t grudge
the time spent on
training your powers of calculation if you want to improve
as a player.” At last,
a reasonable explanation of Teichmann’s “Chess is 99%
“I will take the risk of stating that
coordination constitutes the overriding principle
in chess, to which all other principles are subordinate.”
Beim has the games,
a mixture of classic games and recent examples that
demonstrate his ideas.
This is a rich and valuable contribution to chess strategy.
Buy this book!