Paul van der Sterren – Kings of the Chessboard, 264 pages – ISBN 9789492510532.
People who are really, really good at something – unbelievably good, incomprehensibly good, have always held a strong fascination for those fellow humans who are less extraordinarily gifted. In this respect chess does not differ from other areas of human endeavour. To many chess lovers watching the great champions do battle with each other is even more thrilling than actually playing the game themselves. This book is about the greatest chess players who ever lived, who dominated their era and were looked upon as World Champions even at a time when this term, this very concept, did not yet exist. On the basis of a short biography, a selection of their most famous games and a brief characteristic of their playing style I will attempt to illuminate what made these great players great and what their significance is for the chess world. This will also give an overview of how chess itself has developed over the past two and a half centuries: how it has essentially remained the same, yet changed almost beyond recognition.