ECF Book of the Year 2012 – shortlist

The judges this year had a wide range of differing volumes to choose from. Two of the books selected offer an interesting comparison of the early years of two chess giants, whilst a third caused a lively discussion amongst the judges.

Advanced Chess Tactics
Lev Psakhis Quality Chess pp 365
£24.99 hardback, £20.99 softback

This volume would be better described with the word “chess” replaced by “attacking” as it consists of attacking games against various game formations, eg Benoni, isolated Queen’s pawn and so on. The value lies in the deep annotations of the selected games. Instructively, the attack by no means always runs faultlessly. The author was twice Soviet Champion and is now an experienced Israeli trainer. His writing combines erudition with wise observations on practical chess playing

Fighting Chess with Magnus Carlsen
Adrian Mikhalchisin & Oleg Stetsko Edition Olms pp 280
£19.99 softback

This book is lifted from the conventional by the two authors being experienced Russian trainers, who are fascinated by Carlsen’s chess talent. They give examples of the weaknesses in his early games, now eliminated by the World’s number one, as well as some of his current triumphs. There is a 40 year time gap between the young Kasparov and Carlsen, but the similarities and differences are fascinating

Gary Kasparov on Garry Kasparov Part 1:1973- 1985
Everyman pp 520 £30 hardback

This is the first of a three volume work devoted to the author’s chess career and deals with the early part of it up to his first match with Karpov. He describes in detail the astonishing progression of how a boy from Baku reached a world title match with Karpov in the short space of 12 years. Even though the story is well known, it remains an enthralling read. In addition, the book is beautifully produced and printed by Everyman.

Move First, Think Later
Willy Hendriks New in Chess pp254 £18.99 softback

One of the most unusual chess books published in recent times. The author approaches his subject from a perspective of philosophy, psychology and modern learning theory.
His central thesis is an attack on how chess is taught in conventional text books. The judges disagreed about the validity of some of his arguments, but unanimously agreed that this original book is worthy of the Short List. If the above sounds too serious, Hendrik’s writes in a humorous style and there is plenty of good chess to enjoy!

– Ray Edwards Julian Farrand David Friedgood 5th September 2012

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