<i>My Great Predecessors</i> – Nigel loved it!

9/15/2003 – On the eve of his departure for China Nigel Short wrote a review of "My Great Predecessors" by Garry Kasparov, calling it "probably the most enjoyable chess book I have ever read." Remarkable praise from a man not known for gratuitous flattery, especially not toward his nemesis Kasparov. You can read the full review in Nigel's Sunday Telegraph column.

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To read the articles in The Telegraph Chess Club you have to register, free of charge, to read the columns. This entails giving an email address and a password for future logins. We logged in with a "honey-pot" account to see whether this would attract spam. It did not. Apparently the Telegraph is not giving the addresses to anyone else. The relavent links are given below.

Excerpts from Nigel Short's Review of
"My Great Predecessors" by Garry Kasparov

A great pile of books from the post awaited me upon my return home to Athens after idyllic summer holidays. The harsh fate of most was to be cursorily examined and then consigned to the shelves, rarely, if ever, to be opened again.

One tome, however – My Great Predecessors (part 1) (Everyman, £25) by Garry Kasparov – stood out like a beacon. It is probably the most enjoyable chess book I have ever read. Here is a master artist deftly painting the giant canvas of chess history with broad and powerful brush-strokes. The fact there was scarcely a game that I did not recognise, did not in any way detract from the pleasure: they are mostly analysed in tremendous, computer-assisted, detail.

The oracular pronouncements of this synthesis of genius plus machine are awesome. Misconceptions, which in some cases have persisted for decades, are brutally exposed.

Perhaps even more interesting are Garry's piercingly perceptive portraits of the main protagonists. He has his personal favourites – Alekhine in particular – but does not let this unduly cloud his assessment of their contributions to the game. Quibblers have already pointed out that the book lacks a bibliography, although I understand this omission will be rectified in the final volume.

Less intelligible are the stones cast in the direction of Dimitry Plisetsky, Kasparov's researcher, as though Winston Churchill's Nobel prize-winning History of the Second World War, in six volumes, suffered in some way from not being entirely the product of one man's labours. You can obviously never satisfy everyone. But never mind the whingers – this is truly a magnificent work.

While you are at it you can also read the following columns:

  • David Norwood: A serious diversion for Siberian nights
    13/09/2003: No jokes this week because this is serious. The 56th Russian Championship is on in Krasnoyarsk. Yes, Krasnoyarsk. Believe it or not, that is a city of about a million people somewhere in Siberia. It's also a special anniversary in Krasnoyarsk because 375 years ago the city was founded by a Muscovite nobleman called Andrey Dubensky. In 1628, he arrived there with about three hundred Cossacks and set up a "Red Fort" to guard against Eastern invaders. So they are having a Russian chess championship to celebrate. The nights can be long in Siberia and this game probably provided some entertainment.

  • Malcolm Pein: March of Morozevich
    13/09/2003: Peter Svidler might have won their individual game but he cannot stop Alexander Morozevich defeating all his other opponents at the 56th Russian Championships being held in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. After Svidler took a one point lead in round six, Morozevich defeated over Dmitry Jakovenko and in the eighth round he overwhelmed Evgeny Najer with more tactical wizardry to join Svidler on 6.5/8. The pair lead the field by a full point with a game to play and will claim either the winner's prize of $20,000 or $13,000 for second place unless the championship is shared.

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