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Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions (Starting Out Series) [Hardcover]

Yasser Seirawan

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Book Description

20 Oct 2009 Starting Out Series
Four-time US Champion Yasser Seirawan provides a fascinating and highly entertaining account of his games and encounters with the world champions of chess including Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Bobby Fischer, Boris Spassky, Tigran Petrosian, Mikhail Tal, Vassily Smyslov, Mikhail Botvinnik and Max Euwe. Having been involved in frequent battles against world champions over a 25-year period, Seirawan is in an ideal position to reveal how it really feels to be facing the legends of the game. He describes and analyzes, in depth, his most memorable encounters - both famous victories and painful defeats, against the best chess players of the last 50 years. During this time Seirawan has also been highly active in off-the-board chess activities. This has brought him into close personal contact with many of these champions. In "Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions", Seirawan recounts many stories involving these giants of the game - giving an intriguing insight into their personalities away from the board.

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"Few chess books can be recommended without reservation for all lovers of the game. Chess Duels: My Games with the World Champions is one of them. Highly Recommended" John Donaldson, "The best chess autobiography in years and sure to be one of this year's top-sellers." CHESS Magazine "This is a must-have book, a combination of chess history, remarkable annotated games, and great stories well told, made more pleasant by Yasser Seirawan's character as one of the great gentlemen of the game. If you decided to enjoy an evening or two in the company of a chess gent, you are sure to have no regrets." Derek Gimmell,

About the Author

Yasser Seirawan is one of the top-ranked chess players in the USA and was twice a candidate for the World Championship title. He is a former World Junior Champion, four-time US Champion, the 1989 Western Hemisphere Champion, and ten-time member of the U.S Chess Olympiad team. His achievements distinguish him as one of only a handful of players to have defeated world champions Mikhail Tal, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov in tournament play.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book 31 May 2010
By Parker Rose - Published on
I initially had some doubts about this book. After all, Seirawan, who was the top American player for so long, played the world champions. "So what?" I thought. Many other players have played many world champions. However, I have also long thought that his game annotations in his books, in his magazine and various other places, were superb, so I thought I'd give it a try.

My reaction? WOW!! What a great book!

First, let's get the games themselves out of the way. Seirawan takes every single game he played in his career against a world champion beginning with Smyslov and right through Kasparov (he did not play Botvinnik or Fischer, although the latter has a special chapter because of Fischer's special place in chess and the special connection Seirawan made with Fischer in 1992).

His annotations are excellent. Usually more explanatory text that dense variations, they can be followed by any player, regardless of strength, and will benefit all. That alone would have made this a great book. But Seirawan did not stop there.

For every champion, the author goes into what I can only describe as a fascinating "story-telling mode." Lest we forget how well respected and well connected Seirawan was/is with his contemporaries, the stories and anecdotes that he relates are wonderful. Each champion is given an extensive introduction and discussion, while the chess politics and other events of the day are also presented to give the reader a complete sense of the not only Seirawan's opponent, but the atmosphere surrounding the games. The tapestry so well woven is a masterpiece.

The result is surely Seirawan's opus magnum, which in fact is saying something, since his works (e.g., the "Winning Chess" series, his book on the Kasparov-Karpov matches, No Regrets, etc., etc.) are already well respected.

The only thing that would have made this outstanding work even better would have been photographs. My guess is that Everyman Chess (the publisher) is not favorably disposed to photographs in their books. Kasparov's famous My Great Predecessors series would also have benefited from photos. Alas, there are none.

Be that as it may, this book should take its place next to classics such as Zurich 1953 by Bronstein and Tal-Botvinnik 1960 by Tal. It is that good. Period.

Well done.

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...a vast meadow!" 1 July 2010
By TT - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
GM Seirawan has given us an epic book. As a high-schooler and B player back in 1984 at the U.S. Open in Berkeley, I had the good fortune of watching Robert Byrne and Yasser during the post-mortem of their drawn game. I was standing around trying to remain attentively inconspicuous when they asked me to grab a chair and analyze with them! Who gives such an opportunity to a young, aspiring tournament player? --Seirawan and Byrne did. Years later in 1999 I saw Seirawan at the FIDE World Championship knock-out tournament in Las Vegas and approached him to thank him for having given me that chance years earlier. To my great surprise, he took me into the players' room and we began looking at rook endgame ideas that he was working on for his then latest book. Kramnik was sitting near us and Nigel Short came up and chatted with Yasser. I was a lowly NM and again was awed by Yasser's warmth and graciousness. I remember him saying to me, "Chess is, lying down in a vast meadow!" This book is entirely reflective of both his love and passion for the game as well as that grace that he had shown me. He creates in this book, the sensation that you are sitting with him at a chessboard, musing over remembrances of past World Champions. There are many anecdotes which will draw smiles from the reader. While the analyses of the games are not Timman-like in depth, there is certainly plenty of analytical red meat for strong players. Additionally, we get the valuable insight of his thought process during each game. On more than one occasion he is wonderfully candid to the point of being self-effacing when he criticizes his own decisions. "What was I thinking?" etc.. This is not exactly the standard self-criticism one often sees from top-flight GMs when analyzing their own games. Yasser is human, and he happily reveals it to the reader. Of course his tournament record against the World Champions is quite impressive. This is what a chess book should be in all facets. Yasser's work is refreshingly insightful and combines incisive analysis with great reflections of the World Champions...and it is all bound by Yasser's great, affable spirit. I really believe this will end up being considered one of the greatest chess books on record! This book is a vast meadow.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How a Grandmaster (Really) Thinks 18 July 2010
By Another Reader - Published on
I shared some of the other reviewer's initial concerns when considering this book. Was it just a bunch of old stories? Maybe another collection of tired annotations? After reading and playing through the first hundred pages I can say confidently it is neither.

Seirawan discusses his World Champion caliber games with a technical and non-technical tone rarely seen in chess literature. It felt like sitting in a skittles room talking chess with my friends. Even his not so entirely chess stories fit in naturally. Of course, there was a slight difference between the folks GM Seirawan kibitzed with and my crowd - about 400+ rating points. ;-)
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 28 July 2010
By erikido23 - Published on
My first yasser book and it is fantastic. I got through about the first 70 pages in a couple hours at work. An entertaining chess book?! Never thought I would say it. BUt, this one is it. Only got through a few games but the notes are instructive and easy to follow.

Just buy this book
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic 26 May 2010
By I. Knezovic - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First I must say that Im a bit subjective regarding chess work and personality of GM Yasser Seirawan. Too many times I lisened and learned from his Playchess lectures. His human and chess attitudes towards people are just too nice. When I recently learned about this book, I just ordered it from Amazon without any reccomendation, and I really never do that. Last week Im home on a sick leave and than this book came... And what a book! It is a desert of 430 pages thick, and in hard cover. Inside is a real beauty, a poem in style of Yasser, the same narative as with his playchess broadcasts. Pages of great "detective stories" followed by fantastically enterprising chapters and games, games ONLY with world champions. If this book is 800 pages thick, I think I would read it all cover to cover. Absolutely reccomended!
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