Sunday, 22 April 2007

Thinking chess books

One of the Chess Tales' readers has asked me if I could recommend a list of "must-have" chess books. I've started thinking hard, but believe me it's not easy. For example, opening books pre-dominate in chess literature, but with so many openings out there, and everybody having their own favourites, it's difficult to make general recommendations. I've set myself a target though: a top 10 by next Sunday. Keep watching this space!

In the meantime, let me talk about a book that came out recently and has been fighting Kasparov's "Life Imitates Chess" toe-to-toe for the review column inches: "The King's of New York" by Michael Weinreb.

This is not your usual chess book, but more a chronicle of the lives, relationships, and ups and downs of a 'wrong side of the tracks' but highly successful school chess team. Edward R Murrow school is in Brooklyn, New York and draws its students from a diverse range of cultures; the chess team, coached by a former hockey professional, includes a Lithuanian and a Puerto Rican amongst others.

I have to admit I haven't read the book, but it would great to hear the thoughts of any Chess Tales' reader who has. Email me on roger AT 21thoughts DOT com.

You can also check out what the newspapers have been saying about the book, whose subtitle is "A year among the geeks, oddballs and geniuses who make up America's top high school chess team":

"Geeks, oddballs and geniuses", Daily Telegraph (UK) 19th April

"Mad hot chessboard", NY Times (US) 4th March

"Chess with God (and others)", The Guardian (UK) 21st April

"He was more fun in the pawn squad", The Guardian (UK) 22nd April


Paul D said...

Roger, this topic has great potential. I remember the Expert panel at a British Chamionship being asked a similar question (I think it was Blackpool '88). Without exception they went for Zurich Candidates '53. There are several diferent versions available, with slightly different annotations, but in terms of assembling such a high quality field, stil la stand-out event.

Add My 60 memorable games, Pawn Power in Chess, Art of the middlegame, Think like a Grandmaster, etc. Agree opening books have little longevity (perhaps Ideas behind the Chess Openenings)

Roger Coathup said...

Paul, I was going to email you for ideas (and steal them!).

I've been flicking through Zurich '53 again this week (and about to post a game from there): it was first name on my 'team sheet'.

I noticed the game Bronstein-Smyslov with 5 rounds to go (and Bronstein still able to catch Smyslov) was a non-entity in which Bronstein played the Exchange Lopez and made only one comment to the effect that the line was known to be a draw. Was he under 'orders' from the Soviets to let Smyslov win the event at this stage?


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