Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Middlegame in Chess by Reuben Fine

 In Fine's opinion, who was the greatest player who ever lived? He was, of course. He also claimed that he knew everything there was to know about endings and it was all in his book, Basic Chess Endings. Fine was a pathetic figure, but at one time he was one of the greatest players in the world.  Born in 1914 was only 23 at the time of his victory at AVRO 1938 and there was a good possibility that he could have become World Champion except World War II intervened. After the war his tournament career was practically over, but he could write about chess.  He died on March 26, 1993 
Fine and Reshevsky

     This 448 page legendary work by Fine was republished by Sam Sloane of Ishi Press last year. It's a completely revised and corrected edition in algebraic notation. NOTE: Do NOT purchase the revision by Burt Hochburg which has just about every mistake you can think of, two or three typos, incorrect moves or diagrams per page and is a disgrace to chess literature. 
     Back to the book...Fine discusses, among other things, the elements of combinations which includes example of how the individual pieces can contribute, pins and discovered attacks, etc. Mating attacks, how to analyze, material advantage and how compensate for a material disadvantage and nine different Pawn structures. Space and mobility where he discusses open files, semi-open files, long diagonals, two Bishops, weak squares, outposts and other positional factors are discussed. Next there are chapters on attacking the castled and uncastled king, the art of defense and how to play balanced and unbalanced positions. He concludes a chapter on how to continue from the opening and finally, with an excellent chapter on the endgame. Positions are taken from a host of games by well-known players but those of Alekhine, Capablanca, Euwe, Fine, Lasker, Nimzovich, Reshevsky and Rubinstein predominate. Worth studying.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

   I just finished a book titled Chess Story by Stefan Zweig. It was originally published under the title The Royal Game and was first published in German in 1941. Zweig was an Austrian Jew born in Vienna in 1881 and in his time one of the world's most translated writers. He left Austria in 1934 with the rise of the Nazis, and became convinced that the world was fighting a losing battle with evil. The Royal Game, whose underlying theme is the power of evil, was the last story Zweig wrote. He completed while in exile in Brazil and sent off to his American publisher only days before his suicide in 1942. In 1942, during the months of his exile in Brazil with his second wife, and during the time that they played over master games, Zweig wrote his last book, completing it just days before he and his wife’s double suicide.
     You can read the reviews and look inside on the Amazon site. It's a short book but a great read that was worth the ten dollars.