Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Bobby Fischer’s Conquest of the World Chess Championship by Reuben Fine

There was a time, long ago, that Fine was one of the best analysts in the world, but after he quit playing in 1952 he degenerated, apparently in frustration over his failing to have become world champion and, possibly, he had other psychological problems. 
     This book is proof of Fine's loss of the ability to objectively analyze games. In his analysis Fine even attempts to explain the psychological motivations behind the moves as if he had been inside the players' heads. 
     The first 92 pages are history where he writes about the world championship from 1938 to 1948 and the controversies with the death of Alekhine and several other top players of the day. The whole purpose is Fine's attempt to prove he should have been the World Champion. 
    One of his biggest errors is his claim that Spassky's preparation for the match was superior to Fischer's. Really?! Spassky was totally unprepared for Fischer's openings! When Fischer played the English as white and the Alekhine as black, Spassky was totally flummoxed. The fact that Fischer was better prepared was proven by his “surprising” choice of openings and his quick play. Spassky used a lot of time in the openings, got into time trouble and made mistakes. 
     Fine also claims that no really great games were played in the match which is absolutely wrong. 
     Jeremy Silman wrote that this is without doubt one of the worst chess books ever written, but then admitted that he loved it and advised that “if you see this book in a used bookstore, grab it and prepare for a lot of fun.” Dr. Anthony Saidy advised the publisher,“Do NOT even think of reprinting this terrible book.” I agree with Silman!

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