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Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 (Dover Chess) Paperback – July 1, 1979
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David Bronstein – who had narrowly failed to depose Botvinnik as World Champion in 1951 – finished equal second in the tournament, and his book is regarded as a classic of chess literature. Whilst it is an extremely valuable reference book, the fact that its author was one of the contestant does have its limitations. Bronstein’s annotations are the chief flaw in the book, both because their style can be somewhat offputting and because they fail to provide enough fine details like where the loser of the game went wrong. Most especially – though this flaw is seen in other chess books as well – there are too few signs for good moves and errors than could have been known even before the extensive postmortem analysis. As a consequence, the reader lacks the understanding that could have been provided, especially as the book is not that long. The small-text style is unfamiliar to most readers and no doubt an acquired taste, but as said in the previous page is not used to perfect effect, and the lack of profiles of the players is felt as one goes through the games.
Nonetheless, what is in this book remains extremely valuable to any chess enthusiast – and might even provide him or her with motivation to analyse the games themselves as I used to have when reading chess books as a child.
1. The book serves as a fine introduction to the concepts of positional play. That is, by carefully going through the games, you will learn about positional thinking. A second or even third run-through will reinforce these ideas and they will begin to make sense.
2. The narrative explanations are actually better for a lower rated player because they are easier to follow and understand. The lower player gets lost in a maze of variants.
3. If something is not clear (this happened to me in many places, of course) then put it on your computer and explore the situation with the help of Fritz or some other engine. Clarity will not always come but plenty of learning will take place.
4. I think most important of all the book gives the lower player something to strive for. The feeling, after repeated study of the games, of "a light going on" is something that I really appreciated. This is learning of the best kind.
Though the lower player has to spend most study time on tactics, one good book of GM games to study is important. This can easily be that book.