A fistful of chestnuts

by Jonathan Speelman
5/1/2022 – Our columnist Jon Speelman found an old book by Alexey Suetin on his shelves. “Scribed in the ancient English descriptive tongue, I hadn’t touched it for years, but when opened, it proved to be a treasure trove of ‘old chestnuts’, some of which I’m going to share”. | Photo: The Spruce Crafts

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Old chestnuts

[Note that Jon Speelman also looks at the content of the article in video format, here embedded at the end of the article.]

Aleksei SuetinAs readers may have noticed over the years, I’m not immune to the charms of the mixed metaphor. And had I not been able to conjure up a delicious foodstuff, then the fist would have been grasping roubles, which Alexey Suetin presumably received first for his Contemporary Approach to the Middlegame. Later it was translated in East Germany, generating tasty ostmarks to be shared with the Soviet state; and subsequently into English for BT Batsford, creating even yummier pounds.

I found Suetin on my shelf of middlegame books after deciding to branch out from Euwe and Kramer, which I’ve used a couple of times recently. Scribed (like Euwe and Kramer) in the ancient English descriptive tongue, I hadn’t touched it for years, but when opened, it proved to be a treasure trove of ‘old chestnuts’, some of which I’m going to share.

We start with tumbril full of queen sacrifices — which are not too hard to spot once you know that’s what you’re looking for. I’ve seen several of them before in other books, notably Walter Korn’s The Brilliant Touch in Chess, which I also managed to find on my shelves. It was published in 1966, a few years earlier than Suetin.

[Editor’s note: The first of the following games was originally given as Schmidt vs. Richter, when the game was actually played between Paul Felix Schmidt and his father Paul R. Schmidt. As our reader Joose Norri from Finland explains: “Richter published it in Deutsche Schachblätter and sent it to Chess, where in June 1947, p 288 it is given: ‘K. Richter sends us a superb finish to a game played by P. Schmidt in Heidelberg last year’.”]

 

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Jonathan Speelman, born in 1956, studied mathematics but became a professional chess player in 1977. He was a member of the English Olympic team from 1980–2006 and three times British Champion. He played twice in Candidates Tournaments, reaching the semi-final in 1989. He twice seconded a World Championship challenger: Nigel Short and then Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995.
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