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Zuk and Nimzo

It has been a while that I didn’t write reviews of books that I read (and applied on a chess board). Training, preparing pupils for their national championships, following the latest chess news, social obligation, all this put me away from the laptop keyboard. But now, I found enough time to share with you my opinion of some books I read recently. I focus in this article on a couple of biographical books, and will keep the historic and the Openings ones for the next articles.

Johannes ZUKERTORT: Artist of the Chessboard by Jimmy Adams – 540 pages (Publisher: New In Chess)

The author has made a great job. Some 70 pages were dedicated to the biographical and historical environment of the Artist, his debates with Steinitz, and the rest is focused the games played by Zukertort, most are his wins. Some losses and draws were included for the missing opportunities by our hero after conducting a fantastic middle game plans.

It is important that, after reading (and playing) game after game, not to get bored by the repeated romantic Evans Gambit or Italian openings (not to mention the King’s Gambit). I am sure you will learn a lot from it, especially when you see how our hero is improving a certain line from both side. The tactical lessons and motives are all there: forks, deviations, attractions, skewers, etc. as well as the strategic ones (over-protection [before Nimzowitsch was even born], passed pawn, opening files, strong and weak squares, etc.). What attracted me most is his skill in creating attacking positions, especially on the g and h files, as well as connecting his attacking plan between the queen and the king sides.

The book also contains some pictures of his opponents, which add some flavor.

Another attraction of this biography is the relation between Zukertort and his mentor the famous Adolf  Andersson and the publication of their games (some were played off-hand, or after pressure of the pupil to challenge his mentor), and the rumors that surrounded their publication.

Although the Artist lost to Steinitz in the first official World Championship (+5 -10 =5), I will let you discover the reasons for his defeat (he was leading 4-1 in the first part of the event).

Did you know that Zukertort can speak 12 different languages? And he learned the Arabic language just to be able to read the old manuscripts of the Arab heritage, as he was so addicted to the history of chess and his ancestors.

A collection of jewels. A great joy to read.

Aron Nimzowitsch 1928-1935 (annotated games & Essays): Edited by Rudolf Reinhardt – 415 pages – Publisher: New In Chess)

As the cover said “the unauthorized sequel to My System and Chess Praxis”. And I can’t but agree. The influence of Nimzowitch’s writings on the modern chess, since the 1920’s, is so great. I am sure that every chess player has been influenced by My System (the classical book that turned a lot of middle motives 180 degrees) or part of it.

Some of the contents of this book were known. But a lot of new documents, articles and analysis were published for the first time, especially the ones written by Nimzowitsch himself. His philosophical approach to the game, or the preparation for a certain tournament are revealed for the first time (after translation from Danish or Russian languages).

What I liked in some of the articles is the one when Nimzowitsch mention in it that he traveled to Berlin to analyze with Emmanuel Lasker a variation of his famous Opening in order of preparation of the Antidote found by Bogoljubow!!

The book contains all the games played by Nimzowitch between 1928 till 1935. Some games were analyzed not by Nimzowitch himself, but also by other contemporary masters  as well.

I will let you discover, dear reader, by yourself, who was the player that Nimzowitsh was nearly always nervous to play against, what he chose as white against his Opening and the game that pushed Fine to say (to whom?): “You beat Nimzowitsch. Did that cause his death? “

All in all, a must for serious reader and researcher.

See below what is waiting for me to be read.


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