Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane
By Hans Ree
Foreword by Jan Timman
Russell Enterprises, 2013
interesting book, bringing together 40-odd articles Ree has written over the years, mostly for New in Chess magazine. Profiles of one sort or another predominate, whether of world champions (Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov), near-world champions (Bronstein, Kortchnoi, Timman), cultural figures associated with chess (Duchamp, Nabokov) or Dutch players whom Ree has known (one indeed, Euwe, being also a world champion). Ree writes about tournament play and the chess club, De Kring, as well. And, like the current world champion (see Carlsen’s recent interview on Norwegian TV) and the Austrian artist Gottfried Helmwein, Ree seems to have a soft spot for Donald Duck.
One sentence struck me. He writes of Euwe that, despite his solid establishment status, he preferred to mingle with bohemians rather than ‘respectable plodders’. It struck me because that’s a strand or a subtext running through many of the essays: in the Netherlands, uniquely perhaps, chess is an arena where the bourgeois and bohemian worlds meet.
The essay about Murey is beautiful and, in my view, the best in the book.
About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org