Lockdown and subsequent restrictions have given me time to browse
the dustier reaches of my chess library, including Napier's Paul
Morphy and the Golden Age of Chess, a compilation of his
three booklets Amenities and Background of Chess, each a
selection of 100 lightly annotated games to amuse and provide an
educative ABC. Horowitz edited this combined work and commented:
I started coaching adults at the Exeter club in 1993, about the same time as Alan Maynard started up the current incarnation of Exeter Junior Chess Club. I went looking for some useful resources for teaching, and there were some, but mostly I became a magpie, picking shiny bits out of various good books. I did find it irksome that so many books repeated familiar examples, and I thought I could at least pull those out for my colleagues, and that became the core of the Canon. I found particularly useful:
* Tony Gillam - Simple Chess Tactics and Simple Checkmates
I keep seeing "Morphy would have beaten Steinitz", which we will never know, but here is some food for thought, from Steinitz' International Chess Magazine of 1886:
(Nov 1886 pp 333-335)
To what I have said on
the subject before, I may only add quite in conformity with the
substance of my previous remarks that I have never quarrelled with
anyone who bonafidely believes that Morphy could have beaten me even, if
he had made progress with the time. But if anyone says that the Morphy
as he was, and not the one who might have been, could give Pawn and move
I don't entirely like the parade of endless men in the 'Lessons from...' series, so here's one from the other half of humanity, and a fine Appendix to the list of guys that ever joined the 'Vera Menchik Club'.
Judit Polgar was strongest woman chess player ever. She never became World Champion, and was never interested in becoming World Women’s World Chess Champion ( a title held by her two sisters, Susan and Sofia). She was in the world top ten and improving when she retired.
Anand's easy manner sits on top of a breathtaking attacking verve and capacity for creative counterplay.
The imaginative attacking finish seems to belong to an earlier era,
while the opening play is all modern. The Scandinavian leads to an early
release of central tension, and, if Black can develop smoothly, will
have no problems. This line is an attempt to prevent Black from
developing smoothly, and no end of rule-breaking goes on to that end.
Carlsen often seems to win without doing anything in particular, but
doing it very well. Commentators have tried to explain his peculiar gift
by appealing to 'nettlesome' moves, moves that have no obvious dangers,
but perhaps are surprisingly awkward to meet.
Carlsen, particularly when younger, has been noted more for his
avoidance of sharp and theoretical lines, than having signature opening
systems. He often seems content to aim for a 'normal' White plus in the
opening, hoping to build on it later on, particularly in blitz.
We have entered an era where it is not always obvious what the best
players are doing. They are better than previous generations, they play
all positions well, and they are fighting against players who also do
everything well, and what makes the difference is not apparent to me.
But while Kramnik's play is subtle and deep, there are games which
makes it look as though what he is doing is as simple as it looks.
Kramnik brought to several apparently settled opening systems a new
clarity in pursuing White's main plans. In the Grunfeld, it was White's
Karpov had a marked preference for positional play, although, in his own
words, "if my opponent offers sharp play, I do not object." Karpov had
no soft spots that anyone could discern -- an alleged weakness against
'romantic' openings was less of a handicap than the openings some chose
Karpov has always embraced the need for deep preparation. Here he digs
deep into a position that was all the rage at the time.