Saturday, October 21, 2006

My 3 Memorable Books

I had a few chess books when I was a kid, which I would reread obsessively, as kids do. The one in particular that I remember as being my real introduction to chess culture was a book that my father had bought a while earlier, Edward Lasker's Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters. It's an anecdotal autobiography sprinkled with games and positions, and what anecdotes! I don't care if half of them are apocryphal or embellished. Lasker shares his personal experiences with all of the great chess players (and many memorable second-tier ones as well) of the first half of the 20th century, starting with his friend (no relation) Emanuel Lasker. It's the book that got me fascinated with the history and people of the game, not just what happens on the board. It's out of print now, but hopefully this mention will spur you to pick it up if you see it in a used bookstore.

The other books I remember in particular from my childhood were Chernev's Logical Chess Move by Move (like everyone else) and Reinfeld's Great Brilliancy Prize Games of the Chess Masters (which I'm sure was nothing special, but all those sacrifices got my blood flowing). Even thirty years later there's a game in particular I remember from the latter in which Black gets his queen trapped on g2, surrounded by his own pawns, but I can't seem to find it now. Does anyone recognize it?

I'd be curious to hear what books others of you found inspiring when you were starting out. What book would you give a kid who was starting to get excited about chess?

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