David Navara is considered one of the few true gentlemen in top chess, always highlighting the play of others and humbly understating his own efforts and accomplishments. Therefor I was pleased to pick up this book and learn more about him – and indeed he has a lot to say. The book is massive – a single volume clocking in at just over 600 pages, apparently the publisher has no fear of heavy books.Throughout its pages, Navara relates some of his most significant experiences both inside and outside the tournament hall. He tells us about his thoughts, preparation, teammates, opponents, tournament organizers, misunderstandings, successes, happy moments, travels, and of course his games. In total, 64 games have made it into this volume. That doesn’t sound like a lot in a book of such a huge size, but these are all annotated in detail, not just with variations but also with considerable amount of prose, whereby he explains his thoughts and emotions and even why he sometimes not up to the mark in terms of preparation, circumstances surrounding a game, match situation etc. This makes the book very personal and extremely relevant. The games themselves are fascinating, and we don’t get to see his finest wins: there are draws, losses – wipe-outs as well as painfully close defeats – and some great wins including a number against the best players in the world, for instance, against Caruana. This is one of the best chess autobiographies I have ever read and it will surely find itself on a shortlist for any chess book of the year award, despite very strong competition from other worthy contenders. 5 Stars.FM Carsten Hansen ACM 03/2020
Nine-time Czech champion David Navara, 35, became a grandmaster in 2002 at the age of sixteen. Amongst his many achievements are: 1st at the Ordix Open rapid tournament in Mainz, Germany, in 2007. World Cup quarterfinalist in 2011. Gold medal winner on 2nd board at the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. Gold medallist with the Nový Bor team at the 2013 European Club Cup in Rhodes, Greece. Winner of the European Blitz Championship in Wrocław, Poland, in 2014. Silver medallist in the European Individual Championship in Jerusalem in 2015.