Sunday, August 07, 2005

My Coach Is Kaspy

In this year's New In Chess no. 2, the resident book reviewer, Jonathan Rowson, raised the question of Kasparov's involvement in the My Great Predecessors series. Then in the next issue, Andy Soltis raised the temperature a little by pointing to questionable proofreading (or lack of it). These criticisms are really not new at all - with the first shots fired at MGP by the likes of Edward Winter and John Watson.

But I don't want to dwell too much on the MGP debate. I mention that only because in two recent works for DVD, what you see is what you get. And it is all Kasparov. The "umms", the "aahhs" and all the awkward silent moments when Kaspy searches for an appropriate English expression - they are all there. These two DVDs are on the Queens Gambit Declined as well as the Sicilian Najdorf.

Of course it is impossible to learn everything about an opening by just viewing a DVD. When I finally decided to spend my dollars on these two, I was more than a little sceptical. If I don't see lines of variations, what I am supposed to learn, I asked myself. But the Kasparov series are definitely worth a buy. There is something very special about the world's best showing such affection, not only for the openings in question, but to chess in general. We are presented with Kasparov's take on old games, the ideas, strategies, the tactics. It's quite breathtaking, just beautiful. And even if you did not learn anything, which is doubtful, you must simply own these two gems of chess "literature" just for the sake of having them.

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