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The difference between a good book and a bad one

Title: Calculate Like a Grandmaster – Learn from World-class Attacking Players

Author: Danny Gormally

Publisher: Batsford 2010

Pages: 256

Well, is it a Kotov’s books alike? The title is very attractive. Calculate like a GM. WOW. Who doesn’t want to calculate and reason like the big guys? Learn from the World-class attacking players. Ok. That is more close to earth and logic. Is the style of a World-class attacking player just attacking?! As you know, all the world players can approach each game with different manner, depending on the variation chosen or the pre-preparation of the game against a certain opponent. The book is a collection of some games of Tal, Shirov, Topalov, Morozevitch, Anand, Fischer, and few of the author’s. But does the book teach you how to calculate like Tal or Anand or Shirov? No way. In some games, the author chooses the critical moment where he investigates some 6-8 candidate moves with some variations, supposed to be calculated mentally. And that’s it. No mention of the other critical moment(s) in the same game. At a certain moment, he described a one-day-life of his, as a  lazy GM stuck to ICC. What is the relation of this with the book title? May be I missed something too deep.

The only positive things you can get for your money are some psychological (sic!) hints for how to be prepared psychologically for your tournament game; like not to give reason why you lost it, and prepare yourself on a daily basis for positive approach. And this was done in one or two columns.

Regrettably, the book doesn’t teach you how to (Calculate like a Grandmaster) and doesn’t teach you from the World-class attacking players. It is just a collection of nice games, which you can find in other games collection books with much better explanation.

Don’t waste your money in buying it.

On the other hand,

Title: Sicilian Taimanov Move by Move

Author: John Emms

Publisher: Everyman 2012

Pages: 368

Emms’ (The Sicilian Taimanov move by move) book is a very nice one. Witty style in writing, typical up-to-date and instructive  games, typical traps and plans, critical moments in the same game were mentioned, clear diagrams which your memory can absorb , questions-and-answers technique which help you to formulate a plan or find a tactical stroke, not to mention the author ‘s own approach , contribution and experience in the opening. This is a book from which you can learn how to calculate and teach you from World-class players, and enter the game with confidence. And it is just an opening book!! Not to mention the nice binding, papers and editing.

This new (Move by move) approach by the editors of Everyman Chess will fill the gap in every player’s opening repertoire library.

Highly recommended.

I have just started reading Sairawan’s (Chess Duels – My games with the World Champions), which will be my next book-review subject.

By the way, I bought a copy of the new classical (Zurich 1953) English 2012 edition. This is the first English language edition. The original one is in Spanish language. The author is no other than Miguel Najdorf!!! From the first look you can see what differentiates this one from the Bornstein’s: More witty comments, players’ biography, and pictures from the famous tournament, and much more. This is a must-buy book for the serious player.


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