Also, it looks at those situations where the king departs from a castled position, either for defensive purposes (e.g. the opposing forces are about to batter on the door and the king does a runner) or as a preparation for attack (e.g. both players have castled on the kingside and one marches their king out of harm’s way, before advancing the kingside pawns and opening lines on that side).
The crucial point about Zurich 1953 is that it was an elite tournament before such events became relatively common: 15 leading players participated, none of them weak or decidedly inferior to each other, over a period of about two months. Many of the 210 games played are now considered classics, and all except for a very few have moments of great interest.
To illustrate the range of the book, one chapter looks very specifically at sacrifices and different kinds of compensation, another at how to aim for decision-friendly positions, where there are clear, straightforward plans and the moves are relatively easy to come by.
Anyway, there’s a nice account here (in chapter 15) of Fischer looking for an apartment in Reykjavik in his last years, complaining and kvetching all the while. (Brady writes that, ‘Before he made a move, everything had to be perfect.’ Just as with his chess.) Read in a certain light, it’s hilarious and you could very well imagine it as a Woody Allen sketch. Now what does that tell you?
width = “80” height = “110”> This book contains pretty much all of Schlechter’s available games – about eight hundred in number – arranged chronologically by tournament and match; and there is also a section devoted to miscellaneous games: exhibition games, games played at odds, etc. Just the bare score of the game is given; there are no, or to be precise, very few annotations.
We follow his chess career from prodigy to young pretender to world champion; and even though the loss to Alekhine took the wind out of his sails for a bit, renewal and revitalisation followed soon after. He continued to show his calibre at Carlsbad 1929, Moscow 1936, Nottingham 1936 and elsewhere.
It is an entertaining read, not least for Gormally’s digressions on various topics: an ICC addict’s typical day, the strength of computers, the conditions and prize money on offer at your usual weekend congress and psychology. And a few other topics an’ all.
One practical advantage to playing the King’s Gambit is that you cannot get sidetracked into other openings. If you play the Spanish or the Scotch, for example, you have to reckon with encountering the Philidor or the Petroff (amongst others) instead. There’s none of that here: with 2.f4 White sets out his stall and determines the future course of the play.
One especially fine section of the book concerns itself with Miguel Najdorf’s blindfold simultaneous displays of the 1940s; and the authors are to be highly commended for their research in bringing to light the full scale of Najdorf’s achievement. They make a convincing case that Najdorf should be regarded as the holder of the world record (on 45 boards), rather than Koltanowski, the generally accepted record holder.
It’s uncertain whether White’s pawn superiority in the centre will turn out to be a strength or a liability. But what’s meant by ‘safest’ here are those lines that are relatively straightforward, positionally based and, insofar as is possible, not dependent on long forcing tactical variations to make them viable.