I wondered what a reading list based on the 16 world champions would look like. The 25 books in the slideshow probably contain approximately 1,800 games. I imagine that a person who actually studied all of them could not avoid reaching a playing strength of international standard.
Although chess is lucky to have a rich written legacy from its lineage of champions, it is a shame that there are deficiencies in the list. For instance, there is no definitive book on Spassky, and Euwe's book on his own games has been out of print for 30+ years.
I've read only 1.5 of the books in the slideshow: Capablanca's Best Endings by Chernev and Alekhine's My Best Games 1924-1937-- though I've read portions of Lasker's Manual and Capablanca's Chess Fundamentals. I've also read The Art of Attack by Vukovic, which is essentially a treatise on the middlegame methods of Capablanca and Alekhine. (Vukovic wrote that no master up to the time of publication, 1965, contributed anything to his subject that was not already fully developed by Capablanca and Alekhine!)
I can also give honorable mention to other worthy books along the same lines:
- Beim, Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective
- Spielmann, The Art of Sacrifice
- Keres, Road to the Top & Quest for Perfection
- Bronstein, Sorcerer's Apprentice
- Larsen, Master of Counter-Attack
- Korchnoi, My Best Games
- Marin, Learn from the Legends
- Kasparov, MGP series
John Stuart approves
Newly updated and upgraded, here is the database that I use with SCIDvsPC
: MILLBASE994 <--click to download (125 megabytes)
The filename now refers to the TWIC number.
- Current as of today, December 1, 2013-- i.e., TWIC volume 994
- Contains over 1.6M games
- Contains historical games
- Contains modern (1990+) games between players with ELO ratings over 2200
- Also contains modern games where only one player has an ELO rating over 2400
- Annotated games slow down database functions like searches, possibly raise copyright issues, and have been purposely omitted
- MillBase is in SCID format only; works with SCID and SCID forks
- Download is compressed in 7-zip format at only 60% of uncompressed size
My goal with this database is to strike a balance of size and quality for regular use by chess hobbyists of all levels. At this point I also prefer and recommend SCIDvsPC over the original SCID.
Your suffering will be legendary.
“When you lose, you really feel a sense of self ... You actually feel that you are being taken apart
, rather than just your pieces.”
The rest of Vishy's interview
is published at the Financial Times. 'Tis one of the best chess interviews I've read in a while.
Other champions speak of what it feels like to win, or as Vishy paraphrases Fischer in the article, "to crush a man's ego." Vishy talks about what it feels like to lose. But then, the last two
decisive games between Anand and Carlsen were very painful, flesh-rendering ordeals.
I am looking forward to this match! I want Magnus to win, but I don't think he should be a 3-1 favorite as the oddsmakers have it. Anything can happen in a short match, and Anand, at number 8 in the Live Ratings
, is already playing on borrowed time and has nothing to lose.
I have now completed a video series covering all 37 games in this book, totaling almost 9 hours. I made the first 14 videos in December 2008, while still officially a Class "B" player. The quality is up and down, but I would single out 19
, and 12
as a few of the better ones. A few that are not so good are 4, 18, and 27.
As a training idea, I can recommend going over the raw game score without annotations and without an engine. Try to figure out the game for yourself-- especially try to see where the loser could have (1) avoided problems in the first place and (2) defused Spielmann's initiative. After you have reached your own conclusions, you can consult the video (or the book or an engine) to compare your conclusions. For this purpose I am giving the PGN file below. Here is also a link to purchase the book
SHAM SACRIFICESPositional Sacrifice:
leads to forced recovery of the sacrificed material with an improvement in position. Game 1 8:44 Spielmann - Pirc, 1931 Game 2 10:10 Spielmann - Schlecter, 1906 Game 3 13:11 Pirc - Spielmann, 1931 Sacrifice for Gain:
leads to an advantage in material, the sacrificed material being regained by force and with interest. Game 4 12:31 Bogolyubov - Spielmann, 1927
Game 5 10:58 Spielmann - Muller, 1933 Mating Sacrifice:
leads to checkmate or to a decisive gain of material. Game 6 21:16 Spielmann - Honlinger, 1929
Game 7 12:19 Spielmann - Tartakower, 1925
Game 8 11:22 Spielmann - Grunfeld, 1929
Game 9 12:17 Spielmann - L'hermet, 1927 REAL SACRIFICESSacrifice for Development:
aims at an unnatural acceleration of one's development. Game 10 16:26 Schories - Spielmann, 1905
Game 11 11:46 Bernstein - Spielmann, 1906Obstructive Sacrifice:
slows down the opponent's development. Game 12 9:23 Spielmann - Landau, 1933
Game 13 16:16 Spielmann - Honlinger, 1933
Game 14 16:08 Spielmann - Bogolyubov, 1932
Game 15 13:05 Spielmann - Walter, 1928 Preventive (Anti-Castling) Sacrifice:
intended to prevent the opponent from castling. Game 16 16:28 Spielmann - Duras, 1905
Game 17 13:42 Spielmann - Mieses, 1910
Game 18 18:05 Mieses - Spielmann, 1910
Game 19 25:10 Gereben - Spielmann, 1934 Line-Clearance Sacrifice:
aims at the early employment of rooks on open lines. Game 20 10:06 Spielmann - Flamberg, 1914
Game 21 16:55 Spielmann - Eljaschoff, 1903
Game 22 12:56 Spielmann - Grunfeld, 1922 Vacating Sacrifice:
procures access for a particular unit to a more favorable square. Game 23 19:30 Spielmann - Janowski, 1907
Game 24 17:19 Spielmann - Reti, 1912 Deflecting or Decoy Sacrifice:
lures or diverts enemy forces from the main field of battle. Game 25 15:18 Spielmann - Forgacs, 1910 (Castled) King's Field Sacrifice:
breaks up the hostile King's castled position. Game 26 18:16 Spielmann - Dekker, 1934
Game 27 10:38 Leonhardt - Spielmann, 1906
Game 28 11:45 Spielmann - Duras, 1907
Game 29 13:16 Spielmann - Bogolyubov, 1932
Game 30 16:52 Becker - Spielmann, 1926King-Hunt Sacrifice:
drives the enemy King into the open, where it is exposed to danger. Game 31 24:27 A. Rubinstein - Spielmann, 1912
Game 32 15:56 Spielmann - S. Rubinstein, 1933SACRIFICIAL VALUESThe Exchange Sacrifice Game 33 15:24 Treybal - Spielmann, 1922
Game 34 12:24 Spielmann - Tarrasch, 1923
Game 35 10:25 Spielmann - Tartakower, 1909The Queen Sacrifice Game 36 15:08 Spielmann - Maroczy, 1907
Game 37 10:32 Spielmann - Moeller, 1920
Four-hour commentary by Peter Svidler and Yasser Seirawan -- I'm surprised this has only 3,000 views. What a privilege to sit in on a commentary between two former World Top 15 players. It helps that Svidler has the diction of an Oxford professor. Full of extemporaneous insight and intuitive assessments.
Black to Play
Black is a talented 10-year-old kid rated about 1600 USCF. White is a lifetime 1800 with about 3,000 rated games under his belt. The kid has thoroughly outplayed the wily old veteran, but played the hideous ...f7-f6 from the diagram position at left. Like most endgame mistakes, this is a completely unnecessary pawn move. It opens the 7th rank and untethers the knight which can now be harassed. Correct was simply to activate the pieces-- i.e., Kf8-e7-f6 and then have a look around. Instead, this really, really, actually happened in a rated club game:
I see a lot of lame chess-related advertising in the legal field-- I could fill this blog with examples. But this one was particularly funny. Granted, we don't know what White played, but I would say that 1...P-KB3 is generally the absolute worst possible opening move. I've seen it once, naturally followed by 2...P-KN5 3.Q-R5#. I also like the man's "Thinker" pose-- as if 1...P-KB3 is the fruit of some deep, sophisticated reflection.
I donated toward this film's production about a year ago, and I truly enjoyed seeing it last weekend.
It even turned out to be a good "date movie," which may be the first time that term has ever been applied to a chess-themed documentary. But that is probably because Brooklyn Castle is not really about chess any more than the Batman movies are about flying rodents -- chess is just a prominent part of the scenery. On the most superficial level, it's a kids' competition movie that unconventionally has you rooting for the big bad favorites (I.S. 318, the Yankees of scholastic chess) rather than the plucky underdogs. Others may see it as a political advert for the funding of extracurricular programs. To me, though, the movie is about a handful of lovable (yes, lovable) Brooklyn kids who despite modest beginnings seem destined for greatness as if they are living out the early chapters of a Charles Dickens novel. Film critics may applaud the film for getting the audience to care about its characters, but that seems backwards to me, since these awesome kids are the ones responsible for making me care about the movie.
On a related note, I submitted an application last month to volunteer at the local Boys & Girls Club, but I was informed the club is not open on Saturday (my only free day). Seeing the movie reminded me that I should volunteer with kids somehow. I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere and now practice law in Beverly Hills. Without getting too personal, it is fair to say my parents were not exactly bankers, doctors, or lawyers and our version of a summer vacation was to drive a hundred miles and stay at a Holiday Inn. Without a point of reference, it can be difficult to realize (both meanings) what is achievable. This movie can help kids and communities to reach and dream beyond their immediate surroundings.
Here is a video interview with the film creator including excerpts from the movie!
I have updated the playlists and links to endgame videos, which you can access through the "Endgame" link in the top ribbon.
Like most people, I have nary the patience sit down and devote time to watching this stuff, so I have set up a laptop in a kitchen cabinet to play YouTube videos while I am cooking and doing dishes. I have also watched these while doing a menial task like sorting laundry. Of course you will want to make the video fullscreen.
Those who are serious can keep a notebook log of videos watched with a little note for retention.
This barnburner of a game is worth watching and re-watching due to its sporting and aesthetic value as well as the prestige of the participants. Here are four video presentations of the game with comments by presenters rated 2200, 2400, 2600, and 2800 (Kingscrusher; IM Andrew Martin; GM Suat Atalik; and GM Hikaru Nakamura, respectively).