27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2006
I think this must be one of the literary classics of the chess world. The English is impeccable, in a slightly formal, sometimes quizzical, sometimes delightfully unexpected way. This should be no surprise from an author who weaves his creation around quotes from Shakespeare and the Bible - but Marin is Romanian, and lists books in various other Eastern European languages in his Bibliography.
It has never been easy to convince normal human chess-beings that defence can be exciting. However, looking at the chapter titles of this book, you might imagine that attack was the boring part! Sacrifices are exciting, right? No fewer than five (of the sixteen) chapters are devoted to sacrifices, and then there are chapters on perpetual check and stalemate, which are also almost always set up with sacrifices. There is also 'The King as a Fighting Unit' which has some examples that you will believe must be magical!
As befits a gentleman with such impeccable grammar, Marin is a lover of the classics. Time after time he demonstrates how the greats of yesteryear were every bit as insightful and as skilled in calculation as modern grandmasters. But this isn't a
historical collection; most of the games are from the cut-throat modern era, many of them Marin's own, with little anecdotes that place you right in centre stage in crucial matches. It's a really good feeling to win a game and earn a prize, but it's also great to be the guy that saves a half-point that wins the match for the team!
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
This is the fourth book I've read now on my chess defense quest. The first three being "The Art of Defense in Chess" by Soltis and the same title by Poluevsky and the third "How to Defend in Chess" by Colin Crouch. The first one by Soltis is the best in my opinion, followed by the reviewed book by Marin and then Poluevsky. Save your money on Crouch's book, it's not about defense at all, it is just a collection of Lasker and Petrosian's games where most the time they are attacking! Anyway, to the book at hand.
As another reviewer mentioned the biblical quotes to start sections is really cheesy, lame, and kind of stupid, but the book content itself is good. A few chapters like the last two on Endings and Resigning early are more about not quitting than defensive themes, but all the other chapters on defensive sacrifices, using the king, etc are pretty good and easy to read. I don't regret the purchase and it is hard to do that with Mihail Marin.
19 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2004
While this isn't a bad book, it's not in the same league as the Soltis and Crouch books. What's annoying about the book is the profusion of religious quotes. If you are going to write a book about chess, stick to chess. If you want to muse about religion and chess, go play on the church chess team.