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The Review Man

Formerly of Goodreads, now of both words, in the coming times only here?

Currently reading

Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
Robert M. Pirsig
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Jean Baudrillard, Sheila Faria Glaser
Leaven of Malice
Robertson Davies
The Salterton Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)
Theodor Fontane
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
Nicholas Ostler
Cases And Materials On The Law Of Torts
Robert M. Solomon
Public Law : Cases Materials and Commentary
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A Property Law Reader
Bruce H. Ziff

The Art of Positional Play

The Art of Positional Play - Samuel Reshevsky A first-rate positional chess book, Reshevsky cunningly lays bare the plans of his adversaries throughout The Art of Positional Play. As I mature (chesswise at least), I'm finding that positional play becomes more and more interesting. This book is exactly the sort of thing that complements my increasing interest in all things positional.

A minor quibble: the book was originally written in the descriptive notation of yore (a typical game looks like 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-C4 P-KN3 ...). This edition 'translates' everything to algebraic notation, which is cleaner and easier to read; for this I applaud the editors. However, there are a few minor translation errors scattered throughout the book. For instance, sometimes the algebraic notation will read 10. Bh6 instead of 10. Ba6, since in the descriptive notation the difference is merely B-KR6 versus B-QR6. At any rate, it's relatively easy to figure out where the pieces are supposed to move. (I've never run into an ambiguity, where the bishops could move to either a6 or h6.)

Translations notwithstanding, The Art of Positional Play is a great positional primer. Reshevsky naturally picks many of his own brilliant games, but he deserves it -- wasn't he a chess prodigy by the age of 9? Reshevsky also seems to favour d4 openings, meaning we get a lot of King's Indian play. I haven't read much modern chess theory lately, so I don't know the soundness of the variations they often play, but the games have taught me quite a few neat hypermodernist tactics. Reshevsky also allayed my fear of playing b4 and f4 as white; now I see why they are such powerful weapons in the right circumstances.