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Vasily Smyslov: Endgame Virtuoso Paperback – June 1, 1997
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This book was published in the 21st century when Fritz and Rybka, et al have become the ultimate chess authorities.
I've never had a use for all of the analysis in books like ON MY GREAT PREDECESSORS because all of that analysis doesn't help me to understand chess any better. I also read reviews of many works where reviewers criticize books for having flaws discovered by computer analysis. Unless the book is a monograph on cutting-edge opening theory, this is besides the point for me: I want to understand the play and how to think. I don't think less of Irving Chernev's books because some engine doesn't agree with all of his analysis. John Nunn's endgame works are computer-checked, but I can't really learn much from them.
Having said all of this, let me get to ENDGAME VIRTUOSO.
I now understand how Smyslov reached the Candidates Final at 63 years old: the 7th World Champion relied on his feel and understanding of positions to navigate his way through games and tournaments, and one gets the impression that he did not so much think in variations, as much as he used variations to prove his understanding of the events unfolding before him. The book has sections on Pawn Endings, Minor Piece Endgings, Rook Endings, Queen Endings, etc. and a section which contains dozens of complete annotated Smyslov games.
Each game or game fragment will have some explanatory notes which identify the most important features of the position in question. Smyslov tells us why some positional factors have more significance in the given situation than others, and he will give a (brief) variation or two to illustrate this if necessary. There is no extensive branching of subvariations or the like.Read more ›
This book ended up being my bug beater...