Book of the Year 2014 – shortlist

This year the choice is between three books which reflect different aspects of historic giants of the game, offset by a vibrant collection of attacking games by a master of the genre.

Aron Nimzowitsch 1928 – 1935 Annotated Games and Essays
Rudolf Reinhardt (Ed) New in Chess £29.95
Nimzowitsch is remembered not only as a great player but the author of two of the most influential chess books ever written “My System” and “Chess Praxis” (see Petrosian below). Reinhardt collected over many years all the games, annotations and articles played or written by Nimzowitsch during the last seven years of his life that he could find. The blurb describes the contents well “The unauthorized sequel to My System and Chess Praxis” A historically valuable book, which also contains much stimulating and opinionated writing that is worth reading today.

Mikhail Botvinnik The Life and Games of a World Chess Champion
Andrew Soltis McFarland £29.99
The “Father of Russian Chess” was a man of many contradictions who lived (and survived) through the turbulent history of Russia in the last century as well as the poisonous politics of the Stalin decades. How he did this and became world champion is the subject of Soltis’s book rather than deep analysis of Botvinnik’s games. Soltis who speaks Russian has undertaken much research to try to understand the background and has written a fascinating biography of one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Petrosian Move by Move
Thomas Engqvist Everyman Chess £19.99
According to Kasparov, Petrosian had a very distinctive style, the key to which even the greatest players could not locate. Engqvist has made a determined effort to find it in this excellent selection of 60 best games of a much underrated world champion. Detailed annotations provide clues, but one of the answers might be that the first chess book Petrosian read was Nimzowitsch’s Chess Praxis.

Sacrifice and the Initiative in Chess
Ivan Sokolov New in Chess £21.95
The author states in the preface “that this is a book I have wanted to write for a long time”. He spent a long time selecting and refining his material to reflect his true subject, the intuitive sacrifice. Sokolov writes fluently and as an attacking GM himself he understands both the technical and human aspects of playing this way. A delightful book that both instructs and entertains at the same time.

– Ray Edwards Julian Farrand – 1 September 2014

Scroll Up