Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rook Endings Lost In Translation

Andrew Soltis' September 2009 Chess Life column (p. 14), "The Language of Chess", discusses how English has become more and more prominent in the world of chess. That made me think about my recent attempts to find a particular French language chess book, and how I had been a little surprised that the vast majority of books sold by the French Chess Federation's website book vendor were originally English language works that had been translated into French.

I was looking, bien entendu, for Rook Endings by Levenfish & Smyslov. Like many chess players, I prefer algebraic notation over descriptive. However, when the English edition of that classic book was converted from descriptive to algebraic notation, a large number of errors was introduced, as a helpful reviewer stated on

Playing through whole/partial games on a chessboard, I have my share of experiences coming to a point where it becomes clear that I made an incorrect move earlier, and I have to start over from the beginning because I can't reconstruct the proper position by tracing backward. I don't need a chess book conspiring against me while studying chess, I can do that myself!

I can read enough French to use a French language edition of Rook Endings, but haven't been able to ascertain whether such an edition was ever published. Can anyone confirm the existence of same, that it is in algebraic notation, and that it didn't get loaded with errors on its way from the Russian original?

I did learn that a Spanish language edition was published, but aside from the fact that my Spanish does not extend a great deal farther than Ruy López, that book is in Spanish descriptive notation, which is even less enticing to me than English descriptive.

-Algebraic Notation Snob #12345678

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