40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
A valuable insight into the personal and chess development of a great player,
This review is from: Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part 1: 1973-1985 (Hardcover)
Following his five volumes on past world chess champions and his four books on "Modern Chess" (of which three were devoted to his five matches against Anatoly Karpov), this is the first of three autobiographical volumes on Kasparov's career, concluding at age 21 with the abrupt end in February 1985 of the first Karpov-Kasparov world championship match, following his crushing victories in the Interzonal tournament in 1982 and in Candidates' matches against Beliavsky, Korchnoi and Smyslov in 1983-84.
There are 100 games, of which the first ten Kasparov played under his birth name of Garik Weinstein. Most are complete games, but a few are endgames. There is very detailed analysis aided by the judgments of many analysts over time plus computer analysis alongside Kasparov's reasons for the moves he made and his judgments about them with hindsight. The quality of most of the games and all the analysis is as formidable as one would expect from the man who was perhaps the greatest ever player - an opinion shared by many of today's grandmasters, including current world champion Anand. Of course, others will advance the claims of Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Fischer, and perhaps Botvinnik and Tal. Given that some of these never played each other, and that no two ever played each other when both were at their prime, then it must ultimately be a matter of opinion.
Alongside the games there is a full and frank account by Kasparov of his childhood and later teenage years. On the quality of his chess as a junior Kasparov often resorts to quotes from others. Many of these are inevitably very favourable; for example, the prediction in the British newspaper The Guardian by Leonard Barden in February 1975 (when Fischer was still world champion) that Karpov would be the next champion, and that the 11-year old Garik Weinstein was clear favourite to be the champion after Karpov. Barden predicted this would happen in 1990. In fact it happened in 1985. That the young boy's great talent was fully recognized by others is shown by the fact that at the age of twelve his trainer, after a year of pleading, persuaded his family to change his name from Weinstein to his mother's name of Kasparov. The reason advanced was that nobody with such an obviously Jewish name as Weinstein would be allowed to become a challenger for the world championship given the anti-Semitism at the time in the Soviet Union and the emigration of thousands of Jews.
However, the book is not a triumphalist collection of quotes and games. Kasparov gives many critical observations by others about faults in his play, particularly impulsiveness. He even quotes his trainer describing how the young Kasparov ran sobbing to the arms of his mother after performing disappointingly in a tournament. Among the 100 games there are several losses by Kasparov and a number of draws, and throughout the book Kasparov is his own severest critic when he played a bad move or missed the best continuation.
This book is a fascinating read and a valuable insight into the personal and chess development of an immensely talented child who became the youngest ever world champion aged 22. I look forward to parts 2 and 3, covering the period of Kasparov's peak and his domination of tournament chess over a twenty year period.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2011 7:15:29 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2011 12:37:50 AM PST
Derek Jones says:
Yifan Hou holds the title of "women's world chess champion". Kasparov held the title "world chess champion" which is open to men and women, and Judit Polgar has participated in a candidates' tournament. If Yifan Hou were to win the open title before she is 22 then she would indeed be the youngest holder of the (undisputed) title held by Kasparov (and now Anand) but until then she holds the very different title of women's champion.
Using your logic one would have to select a world junior chess champion to be called the youngest ever chess champion, for "junior" is as valid a title as "women's".
Posted on Dec 14, 2011 12:37:28 AM PST
Andreas Weitzäcker says:
It`s a very informative review which makes me want to read the book myself.
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