New Chess books October-November 2023 | Mechanics' Institute

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New Chess books October-November 2023

Rolf Martens : the chess genius, maoist and rebel / Axel Smith, Fredrik Danelius, Calle Erlandsson. 794.1092 M377a    

Recently retired MI Chess Club Director John Donaldson wrote of this book in a recent Chess Room Newsletter:  "... a marvelous tribute to a man who marched to his own drummer. Rolf Martens (1942-2008) never became an international master much less a grandmaster, but he enjoys a mythic status in his native Sweden. … Big things were predicted for Martens but he chose to turn his back on competitive chess for most of the remainder of his life, preferring to concentrate his energies on political activism on the far left. … Martens did return to chess, but it was an opening analyst, not so much as a player. His ever-inventive mind came up with a number of new opening variations – not just new moves. … a beautiful hardcover book printed on good paper with many crisp colors and black and white photos that are some of the nicest to ever appear in a chess book. Highly Recommended."  


The king-hunt / John Nunn & William Cozens. 794.12 C88 1996    

One of the most popular chess books in our collection, we recently acquired an additional copy while we keep a spare in the basement. Nunn with updates from Cozens examine in great detail that situation we often encounter in the middle-game -- when our opponent's King, for whatever reason, has left the safe corner behind the row of pawns. 


Tactics time : 1001 chess tactics from the games of everyday chess players / by Tim Brennan and Anthea Carson. 794.1 B83

Brennan and Carson set out to write a chess book that shows positions from low-rated players' actual games in order to expose beginning students of the game to the kinds of positions that they will actually encounter in matches and tournaments. Although learning from the great, instructive games of times past has proven a highly effective way to teach the finer points of chess, most players starting out in competitive play will not find themselves paired with Grandmasters. For those of us in the lower depths of the Elo pool, the exercises in this book will do the most good for teaching us to recognize the kinds of patterns that occur in the games we're playing. 


Keep It Simple 1.d4 : A Solid and Straightforward Chess Opening Repertoire for White / Christof Sielecki. 794.122 S571

Sielecki explains variations that are straightforward and easy to remember, and require little or no maintenance. He has created a reliable set of opening lines for chess players of almost all levels. The major objective is to dominate Black from the opening, by simple means. You don't need to sacrifice anything or memorize long tactical lines. Ambitious players rated 1500 or higher will get great value out of studying this extremely accessible book. (Adapted from description on the web site). 


Grandmaster secrets : openings / Andrew Soltis ; caricatures by Rob Long. 794.122 S691g

Soltis has written numerous books for the chess beginner. This one employs the Socratic method with a fictitious GM, Noah Tall, teaching a fictitious student, Pat Sayre. Those who studied Soltis' 365 chess master lessons (794.1 S69t) will find his approach in this book very similar. 


The great chess writer and teacher Jeremy Silman died on September 21, 2023. We wish to express our gratitude to his estate for kindly donating these books from his personal collection to the Mechanics Institute Library


Maneuvering : the art of piece play / by Mark Dvoretsky. 794.12 D98

Dvoretsky focuses on the use of the knights and bishops in all phases of the game. The format has each chapter start with a set of exercises followed by a detailed analysis of each position in the solution. These explanations have far more detail than the usual ones found in most chess puzzles/combinations books. 


Coaching the chess stars / by Vladimir Tukmakov. 794.15 T916

Tukmakov has coached many rising stars in chess. He writes about the process of coaching his students to develop their own creativity. "I [Tukmakov] hope that an inside look at this kind of work will be of interest to both specialists and chess fans." (quoted from description in the Thinkers Publishing online store)


Winning the World Open : strategies for success at America's most prestigious open chess tournament / Joel Benjamin & Harold Scott. 794.157 B459

In 1973 legendary organizer Bill Goichberg created the model for what would become an iconic American chess tournament. The deal at the World Open was plain and simple: high entry fees, big prizes, and no frills. Joel Benjamin and Harold Scott have delved into the tournament's history, examined hundreds of games and conducted interviews with what they call the Heroes of the World Open, players that won the tournament on multiple occasions. (Description from publisher)


Strategic chess exercises : find the right way to outplay your opponent / Emmanuel Bricard ; translation Tony Kosten. 794.1 B849

I recall during one of the first chess classes I attended at the MI Chess Club, FM Paul Whitehead told us that after having watched thousands of games and annotated thousands more he has found that when one player has a plan and the other player doesn't, the player with a plan wins -- even if it's a bad plan! Have a plan first, then see about making it a good one. 


Once you decide it's time to learn how to make a better plan, consider this book. According to the publisher it serves as "a practical exercise manual with carefully selected and tested training positions that teach you how to develop the right plan… The level of difficulty of the exercises varies as this manual is intended for a wide range of club players. The majority of the exercises are middle-game positions, but additionally there is a large section of endgame tests as well."


Posted on Jan. 5, 2024 by Steven Dunlap