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Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 [Hardcover]

Garry Kasparov
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 May 2003
The battle for the World Chess Championship has witnessed numerous titanic struggles which have engaged the interest not only of chess enthusiasts but also of the public at large. The chessboard is the ultimate mental battleground and the world champions themselves are supreme intellectual gladiators.
These magnificent compilations of chess form the basis of the first two parts of Garry Kasparov's definitive history of the World Chess Championship. Garry Kasparov, who is universally acclaimed as the greatest chessplayer ever, subjects the play of his predecessors to a rigorous analysis.
Part one features the play of champions Wilhelm Steinitz (1886-1894), Emanuel Lasker (1894-1921), Jose Capablanca (1921-1927) and Alexander Alekhine (1927-1935 and 1937-1946).
Part two features the play of champions Max Euwe (1935-1937) Mikhail Botvinnik (1946-1957, 1958-1961 and 1961-1963), Vassily Smyslov (1957-1958) and Mikhail Tal (1960-1961).
These books are more than just a compilation of the games of these champions. Kasparov's biographies place them in a fascinating historical, political and cultural context. Kasparov explains how each champion brought his own distinctive style to the chessboard and enriched the theory of the game with new ideas.
All these games have been thoroughly reassessed with the aid of modern software technology and the new light this sheds on these classic masterpieces is fascinating.

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Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 + Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 2 + Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors, Part 5: Pt. 5
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Chess (24 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857443306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857443301
  • Product Dimensions: 25.8 x 17.7 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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...probably the most enjoyable chess book I have ever read. --Nigel Short, The Sunday Telegraph

...the immediate impression is of a landmark publication. --John Saunders, British Chess Magazine

...the most important chess book ever to appear since Bobby Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games, three decades or so ago. --Raymond Keene, The Times

About the Author

Garry Kasparov is generally regarded as the greatest chess player ever. He was the thirteenth World Champion, holding the title between 1985 and 2000. His tournament record is second to none, featuring numerous wins in the world's major events, often by substantial margins. Over the last few years he has taken first prize in ten consecutive major international events.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
For quite some time I have been wanting to write a book on the new and modern history of chess. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could become the greatest chess book ever. 6 Oct 2004
I didn't know what to expect when ordering the first two books in this series, but being in awe of Kasparov, I had no choice but to buy the books. I was very satisfied when the books arrived to see that they are massive, averaging about 450 pages, and not that far off of A4 size. The pages are presented in dual columns as is typical in chess books, and everything is laid out very aesthetically. The writing is of a high standard and the book, (multi-volume book, though this is based mainly on the first book because that's the one I have been reading, though the layout is the same in both), contains fascinating information weaving a history of chess.
There is some ambiguity about the relative parts played by Kasparov and Plisetsky in the book's writing, and I think that the following quote from Kasparov on the official website for the book should clarify things somewhat:
"I look at the key games in a player's career, then analyze them, reach a first draft on the computer. Then I dictate my conclusions into a tape and send it to Plisetsky. He makes corrections on dates, facts, adds anecdotes, etc. and sends it back to me. It's a complex procedure... Fischer I did last year, more than 50 games. I did some work on this trip to the USA. I do it anywhere. I little analysis here and there. It's ongoing, you can't stop. It's always expanding. At some point I could see this on a DVD or online, so as not to be limited by book size."
Kasparov has been working on these books for about six years, so he has obviously been keeping the project quiet for a long time, and now we are suddenly inundated with an exciting publishing event that will itself be a part of chess history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fathers of Chess 16 July 2007
Get a flavour for the different styles not only of the 4 world champions (Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca & Alekhine) but also of other great players like Morphy, Chigorin, Rubinstein and Tarrasch. The games are placed in an interesting historical, political and cultural biography of each player.

The game analysis is at the highest level, and you need a board (or even better a chess program like Fritz, which has most of the games on its database) to follow them in detail. Nevertheless, there is the odd 'oops, missed something' in the analysis. Indeed I believe the majority of the game analysis has been written by Dmitry Plisetsky and edited by Kasaparov.

N.B. This book is only of value to the serious student of chess, viz. a player who is or seeks to achieve an elo of 2000+.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply a worthwhile buy 26 Aug 2003
By A Customer
A landmark publication, worth the purchase price. At my level, the occasional questionable bit of analysis is likely to go unnoticed, and besides, I bought this to enjoy the games, not to disect the variations with Fritz in the hope of catching the author out.....
It's a great store of games and information on the early champions. I also briefly wondered about the extent of GK's involvement but concluded the same thing that the other reviewer here did, that the 'GK' references are only noted within the quoted analysis of another, and are not the sole input that Kasparov had throughout the book, meaning that theoretically all the remaining analysis could be his. Yes, I'm sure he did have an awful lot of help from his co-writer, who may indeed have written most of it, but as I said at the start, that isn't a big issue for me, and probably shouldn't be for most club-level players. The book is still an outstanding historical document and a feast of great chess. Looking forward to the subsequent volumes...
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An instant classic 12 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This is a great book... and a must for any chess fan. It makes one impatient for the next 2 (query 3, query 4?) volumes. It will be fascinating to hear Gary's views on, in particular, Fischer and Karpov (there is, apparently, going to be a really substantial section on Karpov). And some time, probably towards the end of this decade, we will hear Kasparov's views on his own contribution to chess history: I am sure we can expect his usual self-effacing modesty!
This volume has been criticized for (i) some erroneous historical details (which are likely only to trouble the more serious readers); and (ii) for (a) not attributing some previously discovered (i.e. not Kasparov's) lines of analysis and (b) not taking into account some previously discovered lines of analysis. The latter is a fairly serious criticism, and I don't know the extent to which it is true, but, for me, there was some attraction in Kasparov citing, in the main, either (i) the players' own analysis or (ii) modern (or computer) analysis including a lot of his own, because you get a good impression of the distance between (or sometimes the surprising closeness) historical and contemporary views of the game.
By the way, in response to 'a reader's' review above, my understanding is that where GK appears in the text, this is used to signify Kasparov's own analysis where it is inserted in analysis quoted from another player e.g. "d4 Nf6 c4 (e4!? G.K.)" (Alekhine) (that's a made-up example - (nonsensical). So the fear that Gary is not responsible for 99.5% of the book is, I hope, misplaced.
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