Posts Tagged ‘Igor Stohl’

The beauty of a move lies not in its appearance but in the thought behind it.  –  Aaron Nimzowitsch

And so too with literature. Occasionally in chess literature we stumble upon a book based upon a concept that appears so self-evidently sound, it demands that we take a deeper look. When I then saw a plethora of rave reviews for the aforementioned text, I was powerless to resist locating it on amazon, and then as if like a robot, began punching in the numbers on the credit card, salivating in stupor, awaiting its delivery with…something or other.

More seriously, I intend to marginally break rank here. I don’t write for anyone or anything other than the joy of writing, which gives me a greater level of freedom than those within literary circles within chess. Some thoughts on that: book reviews tend to suffer from time pressure and lack of interest, and more importantly a lack of freedom. It is in the interests of a titled player not to be too critical of a text published by the company which employs him. Some criticism is both necessary and acceptable as long as the bar is raised accordingly. By this I mean an average book becomes a good book, a good book becomes a great book, and a terrible book becomes a bad book. A lack of time is more pernicious than may first appear. Personally I like to take my time to think more deeply about certain issues, as the answer isn’t always apparent. Sometimes we don’t know for sure how we feel about something until we’ve had a good night’s sleep. Of course, being rubbish at chess means that my understanding of the game is much less than titled opposition, but having invested my entire life into education, having always been an avid reader and lover of writing per se entitles me to an opinion, one which I believe is informed enough to express. In previous posts I durstn’t refer to a text without quoting from it, as I didn’t want to drag the culture of chess literature into the gutter -as its never been there before honest!-but this time it has to be that way. More importantly, I will keep this brief as the text allows me to do this.

The text in question has clearly had a lot of thought put into the construction of it, although some explanation upon how the ‘modern’ era is defined would have been nice. Is there any reason why the author chooses 1993 as a starting date I wonder? The games are chronologically ordered and fascinating without being exceptional due to  the primary purpose of the text being instruction. The quality of the annotation and commentary is consistently high, which makes reading the book an absolute pleasure. Furthermore, Stohl does a good job of choosing lesser known games, and making them, as the title says, instructive. Some of them cannot be found on-line, even though the players are well-known.

A solid effort by Stohl and well-worth buying. He should be very proud of himself. My suggestion for an active reading process with this book is to play through each game carefully, then spend time thinking about how the game is instructive in the context of the modern game. It’s not as easy to do as you might think.


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