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Gyula Breyer: The Chess Revolutionary

Gyula Breyer: The Chess Revolutionary

Author: James Adams

Pages: 882! – Hardcover

Publisher: New In Chess

Revolutionary indeed. This fantastic work of Adams covers what was missing in the chess literature of the not-well-known the Hungarian master Gyula Breyer. A work that took from the author more than 30 years to achieve it. What could be inside those 880+ pages other than some old games or tactical positions? I will try to summarize it as: Chess History.

Yes indeed. The short life of Breyer (1893-1921), due to his health problems, mainly heart ones, revealed what others couldn’t do in  normal (?!) life time. In a 10 years chess career, he forced (my impression) the other masters, being grand ones or Champions, to look at the board in different way, the artistic way. It is due to him that Réti invented the system that caries his name (The Réti system). Réti admitted that, without Breyer the modern chess couldn’t exist. With Breyer, Nimzowitsch, Reti, Tartacover, Alekhine and Bogoljubov (although the later denied this), the new revolutionary modern chess wouldn’t exist (just to note that Réti is of Hungarian origin). He went far to attach (?), symbol of a weak move, to 1.e4, explaining in details why it is weak (look at the d4 and f4 squares), as well as for 1..d5 in replay to d4.  His proposed solutions are: 1..e6! against 1.e4, (the French defense that he adopted as his main weapon in his chess life), or 1..c5, the Sicilian, and the only hope for White is to play 2 d3 against it as the Open Sicilian is losing. Food for thoughts.

Against 1d4, the Nf6 move (the Indian setup) constitutes the base of the hypermodern chess. It is the Budapest Gambit that he analyzed and put it in practice. It is Breyer who invented what we called now the (minority attack) on the queen side. It is in his game with Max Euwe in 1920 that the German term  Switchenzug (in between move) was use for the first time in chess literature.

What about his own variation in (or against) the Spanish Opening? After : 1e4 e5 2Nf3 Nc6 3Bb5 a6 4Ba4 Nf6 5O-O Be7 6Re1 b5 7Bb3 O-O 8 c3 d6 9 h3, now Nb8!! 10 d4 Nbd7. His improvement over Chigorin variation (Na5 followed by c5) amazing a lot of modern masters, especially the Soviet ones. It was used by the young Spassky in order to win an amazing game against Mimic. How it reached Spassky, I will let you know, dear reader, to discover it by yourself.

This was a very short list of what Breyer contributed to chess theory. But what about other elements and topics? Like chess as art or Science? Or why Rubinstein’s approach to the game was distinguished? And Alekhine? How one can beat this guy?

In his essays and reports, he explained the strategies adopted by Lasker and Capablanca for their world championship match, and what each one of them adopted as elements to get profit to the maximum in their negotiations, and how much dull the match was, not presenting the chess world with anything new.

Breyer, in his writings, uncovered what others didn’t dare to mention, even in the modern era, especially the conspiracy between the top players (Tarrasch, Mieses, Rubinstein, etc.), to dominate the top standings in the tournaments of the early 1900’s.

The book is very rich of Breyer’s games (not just the won ones), with a lot of commentaries and analysis, being the contemporary or modern ones. A huge work was invested in the translation of documents from Hungarian, German, etc. language to English.

A nice chapter in which Adams collect the most chess compositions and chess problems composed by Breyer, a true artist.

This book is another chef-d’oeuvre accomplished by Jimmy Adams after his Zukertort and Chigorin ones.

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