Monday, June 6, 2011

Czech Mate

Where can one find the writings of Mikhail Botvinnik in English? It turns out that a little publisher in the Czech Republic has been publishing a 6 volume series of his games and writings. Moravian Chess Publishing has hired Ken Neat to do the translations. A few years ago I picked up the first three volumes, which were titled Botvinnik's Best Games. This past week on to my surprise there was a book review of a new addition to the series, and in addition to games it contained some of Botvinnik's writings so I of course had to add it to the collection.

The book is fairly expensive through, and I imagine most other places at around $40. It has a sturdy hardback cover though and the binding seems to be pretty nice. The paper quality isn't the best, but it will hopefully be able to survive well due to the cover. The 1st 150 or so pages contains various things Botvinnik has written, while the rest of the book is games played from 1924-1941. They are not all annotated. Also if a game has already appeared in the Best Games volumes, then only a reference to it is given in this volume.

Other than the games, the main things I wanted to see were the article 'My methods of preparing for competitions', and the article 'How does a chess player develop'. The first discusses the methods he perfected in the 1930s for training himself. The latter article discusses a bit about how he ran his famous school. Both articles are fairly short, and I believe the first article was already in the Dover publication of his 100 Best Games.

I can't really comment on the games since the book just arrived today, but it is Botvinnik so it can't be bad.

In addition to the Botvinnik books, it should be pointed out that Moravian Chess Publishing has also published a 2 volume set of Smyslov's Best Games. Both sets of books should provide a diligent student with plenty of important lessons.

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