Publisher: Everyman Chess Author: FM Steve Giddins 288 pages ★★★★☆
The great thing about game collections – as opposed to opening/endgame books – is you get to see the game as a complete entity, including how the phases transition to one another. Not only do you learn something about each stage of the game, the ideas are often more memorable as you see the story of the game develop.
The subject of FM Steve Giddin’s book is the legendary David Bronstein, who famously drew a match against Botvinnik for the World Championship 12-12 in 1951, allowing the Patriarch to retain his title. Tragically for Bronstein, he allowed a 1 point lead to slip with just 2 games of the match remaining.
Equally, Bronstein is remembered for his excellent books Zurich 1953, 200 Open Games and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice as well as his creative play. It’s the latter that makes him a worthy subject for a book such as this.
The Move by Move format anticipates the reader’s questions as the game plays out, with the author’s answers elucidating the situation. FM Steve Giddins does a good job here, picking up on all the niggling confusions likely to trouble the reader and dissipating them well.
In this example, from Bronstein – Levenfish 1949, our hero has exchanged off a seemingly weak Black d5 pawn.
Question: I don’t understand what White has achieved over the last few moves. Hasn’t he just exchanged off Black’s weak d5 pawn for him?
Answer: Yes, but he has also opened more lines and cleared more space for his pieces. The d5 pawn was never in real danger of dropping off, but it was depriving the white pieces of some squares and lines that would have been useful. Now, for example, the a2-g8 diagonal is open, so Black must worry about the white bishop getting round the back to g8.
There are only a few pages of background and biography but that’s not the book’s aim. The 30 games are rich in ideas and varied in style, making them excellent material for the improving player and players rated under 2000 will pick up a lot from Bronstein: Move by Move.
If you like well annotated game collections then I can recommend this book. A free pdf sample can be downloaded from the publisher’s website.
Test position: Can you find Bronstein’s (White) move versus Korchnoi in this position?