An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Book Review - Modern Chess Series, Part 1: Revolution in the 70's (Modern Chess) by Garry Kasparov

Modern Chess Series, Part 1: Revolution in the 70's (Modern Chess)


I have always found that learning a historic overview of an opening line is the most efficient way to understand the meaning of opening variations. In any major opening there is a myriad of deviations on every move, so knowing - why a certain line has become the main line is crucial to being able to remember the theory of any variation. In explaining the development of major modern opening systems lies the main value of this book, and Kasparov is in the best position to provide such an overview, since he himself was learning the opening for the first time throughout the seventies. Here are several random examples of what Kasparov brings to the table:

- detailed overview of the Hedgehog system

- historic development of the Sveshnikov varation in the Sicilian, but also a lot of information on the up to date theory

- explanation of how and why the Advance variation in the French defence became popular again

So Kasparov definitely succeeds in providing a truly useful book, and also a unique one in a way, since no one has done such an overview to the best of my knowledge. As for proving out that the seventies was the time of a particular revolution - that I don't think he truly convinced me in. The modern opening systems had already take current shape by then (that happened in 50s and 60s), and computers have not arrived yet the way they did in the nineties, so I still don't think that Sveshnikov variation or Hedgehog alone can be considered a revolution. In most other openings there was more of an evolution than revolution, so in my view Garry might as well have written a book title "Revolution in the 60s" or "Revolution in the 90s" (in fact I secretly hope that he will :))

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hit Counter