Adjoran on Opening Books (and how to write them.)
"That's what I call "fortnightly books". Here is how to produce them:
Take three existing "works" on your subject, mix them up a little bit,
add a lot of fresher games (don't forget to steal the annotations),
and finally - to make it look better - put in something analysed
by your latest Fritz (or whatever).
One gets the impression that those who have already read at
least one chess book feel an irresistible urge to write one as well."
Of course he is right, but there again possibly wrong.
Most opening books are guff, one step above toilet paper.
The Batsford stuff from the 70's and 80's were actually
one step below toilet paper. They did tremendous harm.
People would fill their head with variations that would
never see the light of day. I play over hundreds of Edinburgh
League games. Theory is over after 5 or 6 moves.
The better player wins. Yes even from theoretically worse positions.
Where opening books do help are the sharp gambit lines.
The Latvian, King's Gambits, Blackmar's etc.
If you play these then you need to know variations and ideas.
The ideas are most important, the spirit of the opening.
I'm often asked to recommend a chess book.
Tarrasch's Best Games by Reinfeld quite simply one
of the best Chess books ever written.
The notes are from Tarrasch. He annotated practically
every game he played. Reinfeld cropped them and fashioned
them into pure layman's terms. This was something Reinfeld
was good at. He was a teacher by trade.
Here he was given the perfect raw materials for his
industrious pen. He does not fail, he excels himself.
Mention Tarrasch and you think of Nimzovitch. The enemies.
I always thought it was a great pity that Reinfeld did
not translate 'My System.' He did 'Hyper Modern Chess' which
is Nimzovitch's games, another good book.
The 'My System' which is offered to the English speaking world
is dry muck. Ask any German who has seen what we have.
They shake they head in pity and then get angry that such a
masterpiece has been butchered in such a way.
Keene's best book 'Nimzovitch a Reappraisal'
recommends learning German and then read 'My System.'
I reckon Reinfeld would have caught the humour that
Nimzovitch displays in the original rather well.
Also the layout would have been more readable.The British
version is bland, squished up and uneasy on the eye.
OK rant over - back to Tarrasch.
Tarrasch,S - Walbrodt
Here is a good game from the book.
It was played at Hastings 1895.
The scene of Pillsbury's greatest triumph.
Tarrasch makes some slack opening moves and
soon finds himself in a wretched position.
His Knights have been forced back interfering with
his development and he must sit await the Black onslaught.
So Tarrasch digs in and makes it as difficult as possible.
Walbrodt builds up a wonderful attack, his 23 Kh8
freeing g8 for a Rook and pushing forward the g-pawn
was the correct idea.and Tarrasch admits he is busted.
Here Walbrodt blunders with 29...gxf4.
Tarrasch states Black should play 39 g4 and then rush
forward the h-pawn. It wins in all lines.
The big blunder comes on move 33...Nh5
He should have played N(g7)-e6.
Walbrodt has but one idea in mind. Sacrifice on g3.
He is oblivious to Tarrasch's cunning counter stoke.
The final position is as wonderful as it is tragic.
[Click here to replay the game]
S.Tarrasch vs. C.Walbrodt
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 8.Qe2 exd4 9.Nxd4 Bd7 10.0-0 Be7 11.b3 0-0 12.Bb2 b5 13.a4 b4 14.Nd1 c5 15.Nf3 Bc6 16.Nd2 d5 17.e5 Ne8 18.Ne3 Qd7 19.Rad1 d4 20.Nec4 Qe6 21.f4 f5 22.Na5 Bd5 23.Qd3 Kh8 24.Qg3 Ra7 25.Nac4 Rg8 26.Rde1 g5 27.Re2 Bd8 28.Qd3 Rag7 29.g3 gxf4 30.Rxf4 Rg5 31.Ref2 Ng7 32.Nd6 Qxe5 33.Nxf5 Nh5 34.Rxd4 Nxg3 35.Nxg3 Rxg3+ 36.hxg3 Rxg3+ 37.Kf1 Rxd3 38.Rg4
Another book I recommend is any book that has tactical
puzzles in it. Any book? Yes, anything that gets you
staring at the board working things out. Invaluable.
Of course some are better than others.
This is a dodgy one. The choice of positions are bad.
Chessboard Delight by Commis Mansfield
Some of the tests in here are tough and
have many unclear variations to pick out.
First let's see a good example.
This is from a Taimanov simultaneous display.
A nice piece of clockwork chess. Everything just
falls into place. An ego booster with a clever 4th move.
1.Bc4 Qxc4 2.Rxg7+ Kh8 3.Bxe5 Qxc2 4.Rf8+ Rxf8 5.Rxg6+
4 Rf8+ deflects the e8 Rook from the Bishop on e5.
A good instructive puzzle,
But look at this one. A sac on f5 is staring you in the face.
I saw the main line but also found a Black defense
(that is not mentioned in the solution). So I rejected
the whole idea. It's a mess compared to the previous one.
In the end I gave up and eagerly sought the solution expecting
to see some wonderful unexpected combination.
Keene - Kovacevic (place and year not given). White to play.
The game went
1.Bxf5 gxf5 2.Ra7 Qxa7 3.Nxc6 Qd7 4.Nxe7+ Kg7 5.Qh5 Black resigns.
I saw this idea but what about giving the Black Queen up?
After all, White has sacced a Rook and Bishop.
3...Ba3 4.Nxa7 Bxb2
I could see nothing clear for White. It's certainly
not a position where Black resigns. I hate things like
this and so most of the puzzles in this book remain undone.
Some of the solutions run to 11 moves and are unclear with
many tricky unmentioned sub variations.
I'd give this one a miss, it's frustrating.
What kind of christian name is Commis anyway?