Monday, February 20, 2012

King's Gambit by Paul Hoffman

King's Gambit by Paul Hoffman was the best narrative chess book I've read.  This book has tons of interesting stories about the game and the people who play it.  From stories about how GMs try to prepare for games, to hustlers to crazy dictators - it has it all.

In a previous post, I copied a few excerpts about some violent antics by chess players ... these were typical stories from the book.

He also interjects his own story about he and his father - which for long stretches at a time, has nothing to do with chess, but nonetheless is a good read.

The one thing that struck me over and over again as I read, was how easily GMs seemingly blundered.  There were at least half a dozen paragraphs where a GM was explaining the game ... he was ahead, the game was equal, but he made a strong move and would have sealed the win, except for an oversight or an outright blunder.  I kept reading these passages over and over again and I couldn't help but think that blundering is just a part of chess.  Professionals seemingly blunder on a regular basis!  In fact, reading these passages seemed to void up my own resolve to keep at it.  If these exceptional players screw up, then I shouldn't feel so bad about my shortcomings.  Rather, I  just need to keep at it - keep chugging along - to work at minimizing my own screw-ups.  Everyone  messes up.

Anyway - a great book - highly recommended.

Other Reviews of the Book

Review at ChessBase
Buy the book and read reviews at Amazon
Review at NYTimes
Review at ChessVille
Review at USCF

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