The judges this year were faced with a particularly difficult choice as all the four books listed had considerable, but differing merits. The choice finally fell on a two volume work which had taken the author no less than eight years to write.
The book is ‘Attacking Chess Volumes 1 and 2’ by Jacob Aagaard, published by Quality Chess at £23.99 each. These constitute a substantial work totalling 720 pages in all, excellently laid out and printed. The volumes are written in a lively manner, which keeps the reader entertained as well as interested.
The genesis of the book is found in the introduction to Volume 1. Aagaard felt that the role of intuition had been undervalued in chess writing. Good players not only calculate but also have a feeling for what might be possible in a given position, which can be described as intuition. Aagaard also felt that there was a shortage of good books on attacking play – by which he means attacking the King. There are many excellent titles on combinations, but Aagaard is looking for the conditions when an attack may be possible (King in the middle is an obvious example) and how that attack may be prepared and prosecuted. In other words Aagaard is trying to develop the reader’s attacking intuition.
Volume 2 is, in the words of the author, “what to do when the attack is up and running”.
Whilst doing this, Aagaard introduces new concepts and ideas into the text. To help in this process he gives preview diagrams of the positions to be discussed, which the reader is invited to consider before reading on, a valuable learning tool.
The author has obtained the games and positions for both volumes from a wide range of contemporary sources, many of which were new to the judges. It is also clear that throughout Aagaard has provided fresh commentary and analysis. The reader can simply enjoy the many fascinating positions or study in depth, but either way there are many hours of pleasure to be found in these two books.
Aagaard has written a significant and original treatise on the fine art of attacking play and is a worthy winner of the Book of the Year 2010.
– R B Edwards J Farrand D Friedgood – 27th September 2010