Grandmasters of Chessby Harold C. Schonberg
The grandmasters of chess are a strange and fascinating group of men. Several died mad, others led bizarre and dramatic lives. Not one was dull. Each altered the game in some significant way. In Grandmasters of Chess, Harold C. Schonberg traces the history of modern chess through the lives of these great players, the kings of a most demanding and abstruse art. The book is illustrated with many extraordinary photographs and drawings; and a number of complete games are included-history-making contests and immortal performances.
What makes a great chess player? Mr. Schonberg is explicit: vast memory, imagination, intuition, technique, a healthy body, relative youth, a high degree of visual imagery, and the unyielding determination to win are the prerequisites. Almost always child prodigies, chess geniuses invariably have massive egos.
Mr. Schonberg begins with François Philidor, the eighteenth century French-man who laid the foundations for the game as it is played today. Among those who followed are the irascible Howard. Staunton, designer of the chess pieces that are still universally used; Paul Morphy, one of the best natural players who ever lived and one of the most tragic; Emanuel Lasker, the dapper Renaissance man of chess; Alexander Alekhine, an alcoholic "social monster"; Jose Raul Capablanca, "The Chess Machine" who lost only thirty-five out of the seven hundred games in his career; and Bobby Fischer, the ego-crushing enfant terrible who has done more to popularize the game than any other player. Mr. Schonberg's presentation of the lives of the grandmasters is so entertaining, the stories so engrossing, that even readers who are not familiar with chess will be captivated by this gallery of brilliant and unforgettable characters.
- Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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