Wednesday 30 August 2023

ECF Book of the Year 2023: Shortlist

The Short List this year contains four books covering widely differing aspects of chess, but also in differing sizes ranging from the compact to very large. However, each one, whatever its size, fully covers its subject.

A Matter of Endgame Technique
Jacob Aagaard Quality Chess pp896 £39.99

This mammoth book is about technical play in the endgame and is aimed at players of a high level with a basic knowledge of endgame theory. Using positions from modern tournament practice, Aagaard takes the reader through the practical difficulties of winning, drawing and saving end games in depth. Aagaard writes “I am of the firm conviction that chess is a difficult game to play, but not too difficult to explain once you have analysed the games thoroughly.” This book, with its high quality analysis, does just that.

Chess for Schools

Richard James Crown House Publishing pp214 £16.99

There is increasing awareness to the value of learning chess in general education, but there have been no books in English on how to teach it. James brings a lifetime of experience in doing so and has now written this comprehensive book which fully covers how to begin. It is difficult to imagine a better book to give a non-chess playing schoolteacher starting chess classes for the first time. In view of the Prime Minister’s interest in supporting chess, this is a valuable and topical book as well.

How to Out Prepare your Opponent

Jeroen Bosch New in Chess pp416 £26.95

The subtitle ‘A Complete Guide to Successful Chess Opening Preparation’ fully describes the content of this book. Ever since chess first began players have tried to obtain the advantage in the first stages of the game. Today with the rising standard of play, availability of data bases and computers, it has become increasingly important to prepare properly for each opponent, because they may have prepared for you! Bosch, an experienced opening theoretician, and trainer, writes easily and well with a sense of humour.

The Pawn Study Composer’s Manual

Mikhail Zinar Elk and Ruby pp284 £24.95

Pawn studies may be a niche in the chess world, but this high-class book, written by a man who spent a lifetime composing pawn studies, demonstrates the richness and depth of the game. The reader will find instruction, enjoyment and inspiration therein. Zinar, a Ukrainian, died in 2021 and this edition was updated by Zinar’s close friend Tkachenko, “with my city (Odesa) being regularly bombed, which considerably slowed progress!”

— Ray Edwards, Jovanka Houska, Sean Marsh – 29th August 2023

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