CRAIG PRITCHETT – Modern Chess – From Steinitz to the 21st Century – 324 pages – ISBN 9789464201437.
Teaser [PDF] – Modern Chess – From Steinitz to the 21st Century
‘I as though traced the evolution of chess thought and repeated its basic steps in my own development … convinced that any player with high ambition should follow such a path’ ~ Vassily Smyslov, 125 Selected Games (1983)
This book takes the reader on a journey from early 19th century developments in the game up to the present-day. It takes in the revolutionary Wilhelm Steinitz’s early summation and establishment of a firm positional basis for chess and the considerable contributions made by all of the subsequent world champions and certain other great players, including the contemporary computer phenomenon, AlphaZero.
Take note of Vassily Smyslov’s wise words. Recalling a period of intense study in his father’s chess library, Smyslov stressed that, without obtaining an understanding of the ways in which chess has developed over time, no aspiring player is ever likely to achieve his or her fullest potential. What went for Smyslov also applies to all of the inspirational players who appear in this book. Today’s top players still borrow from the best games and ideas of past generations. Do join them!
I wrote this book primarily to explore, confirm and convey my own understanding of this grand sweep of chess history. To that extent it can only be a subjective work and readers may hold other opinions. Though I hope that much in this book is, indeed, persuasive, please feel free to reflect and draw your own conclusions. I also aimed at containing my account in one accessible volume, inspired by such succinct chess classics, as Richard Réti’s, Masters of the Chessboard, Max Euwe’s, The Development of Chess Style, and others.
We are all historically rooted, inescapably driven to constantly re-interpret the past to help make sense of our present and possible future. Indeed, the past often touches us when least expected. My working copy of Imre König’s fine book, Chess From Morphy to Botwinnik, on loan from the Edinburgh Chess Club’s ‘Aitken’ collection, is warmly inscribed by the author to his friend, Dr James M Aitken (1908-83), ten times Scottish chess champion.
That unexpected, near 70 year link to the middle age of one of my own illustrious countrymen, who, towards the very end of his chess career, was one of my own Scottish team colleagues, at the 1972 Skopje Olympiad, greatly encouraged me to pursue this project. Rarely, if ever, truly definitive, history moves on ceaselessly. The game itself changes. The context varies. Do enjoy the continuing journey!
Dunbar, September 2021
JOHN KATO (verified owner) –
Antonio Sala Espí (verified owner) –
Tomasz Pintal (verified owner) –
If you love chess history and want to know how players from the past outplayed his opponents and have some insight into the times they lived and how they think about chess… this book is a must have!
To tell you have good this book is… I can tell you that I showed it to my student and he immediately ordered it! This is one of the best book I have ever had – that is a mix of great chess history and game analysis… for all the players who love chess players (masters) from the past and want to have a feeling what was going on back then!
On the scale 1-5, I would give it a 6! This one is a perfect example how the perfect chess book should look like! Diagrams are clear, additional analysis diagram are smaller, but clear as well and all the layout and editioral stuff is beautiful!
Make yourself a cup of tea of coffee… and digest the book step by step, game by game, comment by comment!