17 July 2011

Book in progress - Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953

This is an uber-classic by David Bronstein, one of the tournament participants. The 1953 Candidates' tournament, one of the strongest and most important in chess history, is fully documented game-wise by the author, who presents all of the games in the book. The extent of his annotations vary with how interesting he considered the game, which I think is a pretty good way to go about things, given the huge number of games he was analyzing.

One of the especially valuable things I find about this book is the author's insights into his own thinking process and that of his fellow players.  This is an element of player-annotated games that is lost in third-party analysis.  Bronstein's level of analysis is also very useful for a Class player, in that he provides frequent narrative insights and only goes into specific variations where he felt it was important.  Since he was not writing the book as a training tool (unlike Irving Chernev in Logical Chess: Move by Move), Bronstein is not addressing a particular audience, other than the chessplaying public.

I am currently going through the book with a portable chess set at the office during lunchtimes, which seems to be working out well.  Spending around 20 minutes per game - usually I only have time to go through one game a day - allows for a useful mental break in the workday along with some productive chess study.  Naturally, this means that the book isn't going to get finished very quickly, but it's serving an excellent purpose nonetheless.

I'll make additional observations once the book is completed.  This is my third attempt at finishing the book, which has in the past defeated me due to its length and the time required to work through it a piece at a time.  One interesting thing that's worth mentioning now is an incident which reinforces how valuable studying well-annotated games can be.  One of the earlier games covered by Bronstein featured a maneuver in which white penetrated into his opponent's queenside with the move Qa7, something which Bronstein highlighted.  Not a week later, I was going through a contemporary high-level international tournament game on the Chessbase news site, when what should appear but almost the same exact maneuver with Qa7.  A minor but telling point about the book's enduring relevance.

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