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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could become the greatest chess book ever.
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...
Published on 6 Oct 2004 by the great amphibian

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12 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who wrote it?
This is undoubtedly a fascinating addition to the bibliography of the World Chess Championship. The first volume begins with a survey of chess before Steinitz and then plunges into the main body of the work. Each subsequent chapter looks at one of the first four world champions and their strongest contemporaries. Through illustrative games analysed in some depth it...
Published on 23 July 2003


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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
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
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. The analysis in this book is deeper than in any other chess books that I have, meaning it takes me something like one hour to work through just one page if I aim to understand and absorb all of the analysis, though I'm certain to become a far stronger player as a result, and I think that working through this gigantic history of chess would make most players much stronger and also give them a deeper interest in the game. This is what Nigel Short said about the books: "It is probably the most enjoyable chess book I have ever read."
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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
By 
Noel Gallagher "Lecce_Wulf" (Lecce, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars PLISETSKY'S BOOK?, 30 Aug 2014
By 
Jet Lagged (From the above image, obviously somewhere that does dodgy haircuts.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
Yes it's a good book indeed. Given the subject matter how could it not be?

But I wonder if it's not mostly written by Plisetsky with a dash of Kasparov's notes thrown in? Easy money for Kasparov. Stick your name on the cover and get somebody else to write the book. Throw in a few extra details here and there and keep the show on the road. I also wonder was there yet another ghost writer involved that we don't get to hear about?

Though this is a good book, it has been overhyped. If it lived up to all the hype it could have been even better. It is supposed to be a "masterpiece". It isn't that.

In the Introduction the description of the World Champions in terms of their cultural milieu is cringe inducing and contrived. Spassky being described as a "dandy" also raises eyebrows.

This book seems to be more of a compilation from other sources than an outstandingly original work on the games and styles of the world champions. Many of the featured games are just the old chestnuts. It's great to see them - even if they're only getting a reheating.

Instead of the hype that greeted this book, may I refer the reader to the excellent review by Edward Winter entitled "Kasparov and his Predecessors" which may be found at:- http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/kasparov.html. It's an antidote to the uncritical attitude taken by some commentators. And I will quote a comment of Winter's here:-

"The absence of, even, a rudimentary bibliography is shocking in a work which claims to be `Garry Kasparov's long-awaited definitive history of the World Chess Championship', and a lackadaisical attitude to basic academic standards and historical facts pervades the book."

An even more serious flaw is that this work was supposed to have been rigorously computer checked. For those of us that are concerned about analytical purity - this actually matters. Yet a mate-in-one was missed! Really? The mind boggles at this.

And it gets worse. May I now refer the reader to John Watson's excellent review at:- http://www.inarchive.com/page/2011-11-14/http://www.jeremysilman.com/book_reviews_jw/jw_my_great_pred_pt1.html

I will quote from that review with:-

"But International Master Richard Forster points out that "it is the clearest proof yet of blind copying by the Kasparov book, for the simple reason that the missed mate-in-one line is also to be found in the Chess Stars book on Lasker." "

Incidentally, this howler tends to support my suspicion that Kasparov's input to this book was minimal. World Champions don't usually miss a mate-in-one. And there was no time trouble here.

So caveat emptor.

With all the above out of the way, this still remains a good readable book. And you get a work of more than 457 pages long. It's also nicely laid out with an average of two diagrams per page. And it's a great reference book too for the bookshelf. There is still plenty of meat on the bone to be chewed over.

I'm just not sure though where this book was actually cooked.
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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
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
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 review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
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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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historic Chess Book, 3 Aug 2003
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This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
It is fascinating to see Kasparov's opinions on the most famous games of the first 4 official world champions and their contemporaries.
A lot of interesting (though many well known to experienced chess fans) anecdotes linking the games too.
I think Kasparov is the first champion to write full notes about the games of other top players of history, and in partnership wiht his computer has produced the most revealing analysis yet of these historic encounters.
If you love chess you probably have already ordered this book.
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12 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who wrote it?, 23 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
This is undoubtedly a fascinating addition to the bibliography of the World Chess Championship. The first volume begins with a survey of chess before Steinitz and then plunges into the main body of the work. Each subsequent chapter looks at one of the first four world champions and their strongest contemporaries. Through illustrative games analysed in some depth it attempts to show the development of chess during each period and the contribution that each champion made to this. The main author of this book is allegedly Gary Kasparov and this is hammered home by the title. It is therefore quite disconcerting to find short, bracketed comments embedded in the text bearing Kasparov's name on the first occurrence and subsequently his initials. If this is his contribution are we to assume that the remaining 99.9% of the text is the work of Dmitry Plisetsky who is only acknowledged as 'participating' in the production of the book in print about 5% of the size of that used for GK's name? How does this leave the trades description legislation? Two other irritations: the intrusion of silicon based analysis and recommendations (I prefer not to pay someone to use Fritz on a position) and the laughable attempt to relate chess styles to political climates which seems to involve the denigration of Anatoly Karpov.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kasparov:my predecessors, 14 July 2003
By 
k winter (Keighley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 (Hardcover)
Brilliant read from purportedly the greatest chessplayer the world has known; who better to write a book covering the giants of classical chess than a man who has been at the pinnacle of chess for decades.Superb analysis, deep annotations yet the book remains emminently readable. A must for the chess afficianado.
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Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1
Gary Kasparov's on My Great Predecessors: Part 1 by Garry Kasparov (Hardcover - 24 May 2003)
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