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Genius in the Background - Tibor Karolyi

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Genius in the Background - Tibor Karolyi

Post  jiri on Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:08 am

Genius in the Background - Tibor Karolyi

Genius in the Background introduces brilliant chess that will be unfamiliar to even well-read chessplayers. Twelve chess stars are profiled with examples of their greatest achievements, but these stars are not famous they are geniuses who stay in the background. For example, Pervakov and Afek are not household names but they compose chess studies and puzzles of such elegance and cleverness that they deserve to be famous. Top players such as Garry Kasparov and Veselin Topalov may be famous names to chess fans, but they did not become World Champions without great help two of their coaches are profiled in this book and provide insights into the education of a chess champion. A broad range of chess is covered by the twelve profiles from openings to endgames, puzzles to training. The common thread is beauty and brilliance that deserves to be better known.

The presentation of these unknown heroes is not only interesting, but also useful. For me, they shed some special light on the development and choices of such great players as Topalov and Kasparov that have in my view so far not been emphasized. In the chapter about Topalov's former coach, Petko Atanasov, the choice of openings for the young Veselin is discussed. It turns out that Atanasov, rather surprisingly, taught Topalov the Old Indian Defence against 1.d4 and the French against 1.e4. Atanatov adds that at some point Topalov "refused to play it and started to play the Sicilian Defence instead." Quite telling if you ask me. Karolyi gives some interesting, excellently annotated examples from Atanasov's own games, showing how his preference for exchange sacrifices influenced Topalov.

Genius in the Background is a unique book, a one-of-a-kind experience in chess literature. It's beautifully published and extremely well-researched and annotated. Sure, some chapters are more interesting than others, but the overall concept is so gripping that that's easily forgiven. If you are interested in more than - or from time to time even a bit bored by - the constant stream of daily chess news, then this is the right book for you. Personally, I think everyone should read it.

One wonders whether the terrible performance by Topalov in the recently concluded candidates' tournament means the end of his long tenure as one of the contenders for the world title. But in any case, he is a great player, and his career and games are well worth studying.

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Post  bishop7 on Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:11 am


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