Improve Your Chess in 7 Days. Gary Lane.
£12.99 Batsford Chess ISBN 978-0-7134-9050-3
Artwork by Gerard Oswald.
Gary spotted some of Gerry's work on this site and got
in touch. The power of the Corner knows no bounds.
I have borrowed Gerry's complimentary copy.
First impression. I like it.
Plenty of space (windows is the technical term).
Inviting the reader to read it.
Day 1. So You Want to Improve Your Chess
Day 2. Understanding the Openings
Day 3. Strategy versus Tactics
Day 4. Creating an Attack
Day 5. Avoiding Blunders
Day 6. Mastering the Endgame (I skipped this bit)
Day 7. The Art of Swindling (The first chapter I read)
Each chapter is then split into sub headings.
For example in Chapter 2. Understanding the Openings.
You will be introduced to The Positional Player,
The Caveman and The Pirate.
Good examples, some as recent as 2007. A lot using the authors
own games. Who else is going to know exactly what happened
other than one of the players.
This is written for, I'd say players below 1800.
Those that have stayed on the same grade under 1800
for a season or two and need a leg up.
Gary tunes into the reader. He is writing for the weaker
player and not trying to impress his peers, a fault I find
with a lot of modern writers. The fashion seems to be to show
how clever they are rather than pass on any good advice.
Clear simple writing from someone who can write.
A bit of humour and the occasional anecdote are liberally
sprinkled throughout. I can see that a few of the lessons contain
those "ah-ha so that's where I have been going wrong" moments.
You will enjoy reading this book and something is bound
to stick. Even this old dog picked up an idea from a well
annotated Nakamura game. And no I'm not going to reveal
what it is. I'll catch one of you slobs with it in the future.
Groans & Moans.
A wee personal trifle rather than a nit-pick.
The misuse of Tal games.
In chapter 4. There is a Tal game. Tal - Koblencs, Riga 1957.
A great game, but I dislike genuine Tal games in this class of book.
Tal was a genius. A gifted genius.
I think giving one of his typical brilliancies can have the reverse
effect on a weaker player. They will be in awe of the game rather
than learn from it and then feel inadequate thinking they could
never come close to reproducing a game anywhere near it.
Gary does add after the Tal game.
"Though few, if any, can play like Tal..."
But by then the damage has been done.
That is my opinion. Tal is for the connoisseur, not for the student.
(Tarrasch, Nunn and the seldom used Spassky furnish the writer with
some wonderful clear cut, straight forward, easy to annotate examples).
Another Tal game (Ribli-Tal Montpellier 1985) also features but this
time Tal is called a Caveman. If this works and it aids the student
then OK. But using Gary's description of a Caveman.
"...an all-out attacker. No subtlety whatsoever..."
I fit the bill. I'm a Caveman. But Tal. A Caveman?
I fear that this very good book will get pulled up on this one
remark by reviewers from other publishing stables and
use it to pan the book ignoring all the other contents - the good
stuff that they cannot find fault with.
But don't let that detract from what I consider a very good book for
the stuck-in-a-rut player. It's a nice price too. 4 pints of beer.
So instead of going out one night. save the money, buy the book,
READ THE BOOK and enjoy your new understanding of the game.
Then find me and buy me a pint for pointing you in the
right direction. You will also have to buy Gerry a pint
for the artwork (worth the price alone).
Then you will have to put a crate of XXXX in the post
for Gary Lane and send it to Australia.
As I said I have Gerry's complimentary copy so give it a week
or two to hit the shops. Recommended.
Who is this?
Last C.C. I happened to mention that I came across a book in
a 2nd hand shop awarded to the Boroughmuir School chess team.
I had three replies.
Alastair White cleared up the signature I could not make out.
The signature you couldn't quite work out is David Itcovitz,
who was the youngest of the Boroughmuir team and quite a strong player.
I recall playing him a couple of times in tournaments.
He seems to have given up after leaving school but I see there is a
David Itcovitz in Kingston, Surrey, who is probably the same guy
(it is quite an uncommon name with that spelling).
He occasionally comes up having done well in Bridge Tournaments.
There is also a girl called Hannah Itcovitz who I think may be his daughter.
Thank you for that Alastair.
Brian McEwan recalled a schools cruise to the Med onboard the MV.Dunera.
He played in a chess tournament losing in the final to R.D.Waugh.
And Neil Anderson supplied the following couple of pictures.
The Boroughmuir Chess teams from 1968 and 1970.
Yes it's our very own Bill Marshall.
Now on the previous C.C. I made a wee mistake.
It was not Eric Holt who played for Bells a few years back.
It was Steve Balmer (who is the same sex as Eric Holt).
I met Steve outside the Cameo a few days later.
He was quite amazed that Eric played for Bells.
"How did he do?" he asked.
I then realised I had got the two of them mixed up.
"Not too bad." I replied.
Right, that is this week's correction out of the way.
And I have two games by Robert D. Waugh.
Two excellent games.
Both were played in the British U-18 BCF. The first in 1966
at Sunderland. The second in 1967 at Oxford.
First up is a French McCutcheon. Black picks up to two pieces
for a Rook plus a bucketful of centre pawns. White's passed
h & g pawns look threatening but Black has all the Queening
Squares covered and the central mass soon tells.
[Click here to replay the game]
M.Banks - R.Waugh
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4 5.e5 h6 6.exf6 hxg5 7.fxg7 Rg8 8.Bd3 c5 9.a3 Ba5 10.Qh5 Qf6 11.Nf3 cxd4 12.b4 dxc3 13.bxa5 Qxg7 14.Bh7 g4 15.Bxg8 gxf3 16.Qxf7+ Qxf7 17.Bxf7+ Kxf7 18.g4 Nc6 19.0-0-0 e5 20.g5 d4 21.h4 Bf5 22.Rdg1 Rh8 23.h5 Nxa5 24.g6+ Kg7 25.Rg5 Kf6 26.Rg3 e4 27.g7 Rg8 28.h6 d3 29.cxd3 exd3 30.Rxf3 Nb3+ 31.Kb1 Nd2+
This next one is a R.D. Waugh loss, but it's a cracker.
White's attack has hit a brick wall but he comes up with
a very imaginative double Rook sac.
In this position Black to play can draw with a counter sac.
40...Rxg2+ 41.Kxg2 Ra2+ and the King must stay on g1/f1 or g2/f2
and get checked to death.
If he tries to approach the Rook then Black will pick up the
c7 Rook with check.
If 42.Kh3 g4+ 43. Bxg4 and Black can take the Rook all White
has then is a perpetual 43...Qxc7 44.Qxh6+ Qh7 45.Qf8+
Black failed to see to this resource and walked into a
Queen and Bishop mating battery. Good instructive stuff.
[Click here to replay the game]
C.Hudson - R.Waugh
1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.d4 Nf6 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Nf3 exd5 9.cxd5 h6 10.Bh4 g5 11.Bg3 Nh5 12.0-0 Nxg3 13.fxg3 Nd7 14.a4 a6 15.Qc2 Rb8 16.Kh1 Ne5 17.Nxe5 Bxe5 18.Nd1 b5 19.axb5 axb5 20.Ne3 Qb6 21.Bg4 c4 22.Qe2 Bd4 23.Nf5 Bxf5 24.Rxf5 c3 25.bxc3 Bxc3 26.Raf1 Rb7 27.Bh5 Be5 28.h4 f6 29.Qf3 Rbb8 30.Bg6 Qc7 31.Qh5 Qg7 32.R5f3 b4 33.Rb3 Bc3 34.Rc1 Kh8 35.Bf5 Ra8 36.Qe2 Rf7 37.Qh5 Rfa7 38.Kh2 Ra2 39.Rxb4 Bxb4 40.Rc7 Qxc7 41.Qxh6+ Kg8 42.Be6+ Qf7 43.Qg6+
So that's that.
I love it when a small section of a previous C.C. build into something larger.
Anybody else got any more funny pictures of Bill?
The Halloween Gambit
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5
This 'opening' has re-surfaced and all the Trappers, Hackers and Slackers
are dropping a Knight in 4 moves for a really scary position.
One junior even had the audacity to show it to me!
"Look kiddo." I replied, I've played every gambit and bad move going."
and the added, "I played 4.Nxe5 against an I.M. (Mark Condie - I lost, 25 moves).
"What's your grade?" he asked.
So recalling something from Zebras when J.R. said
some of the best advice he had when he was a junior came from a 1300 player.
I said I was 1300.
(I'd like here to add that I have never been 1300 - My first and lowest
grade was 1720 in the year 1975. I never knew grades went as low as 1300.)
So with him suitably disarmed we played.
What's the first thing you must think when someone offers you a piece?
"What happens if I don't take it?"
[Click here to replay the game]
The Kid - The 1300 player
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 Bc5 5.Nxc6 dxc6 6.e5 Ng4 7.Ne4 Bxf2+
8.Nxf2 Nxf2 9.Kxf2 Qd4+ 10.Ke1 Qh4+ 11.g3 Qe4+
He gave up. After 7.Ne4 White is lost.
By the way if 10.Kg3 then g5 wins the White Queen.
Of course 6.e5 is a blunder but it's part of the Halloween strategy
after 4...Nxe5. I knew he would play it.
Both sides were happy. He learn't the hard way and
I won a game of chess.
I'm all for kids playing gambit chess. I encourage it.
Don't clog up their imaginations with technique.
Don't feel affronted if they look you in the eye and say
you are wrong. (even if you and 150 years of Chess theory are correct).
Follow their idea, let the spirit run. If you cannot demonstrate
a clear 100% refutation. Then you can try "Chess is not a game of luck,
Alekhine, Morphy, Tal and Fischer never played this."
If that fails, then pat them on the back and wish them luck.
We can tell them all day, until we are blue in the face,
to avoid setting opening traps but it's only when they play them
and get hammered do they really learn.
Here is Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff playing chess
from the film The Black Cat (1934).
I bet these two are playing the Halloween Gambit