Andy Ansel’s Book Reviews
Today my review covers Winning with Reverse Chess Strategy by William Reuter. This 150 page paperback was published by Thinker’s Press in 1998 and retails for $19.95.
What is "reverse" chess strategy? According to this book it involves redeployment of a piece. I found this description rather general and lacking a specific point, a concept that was continued throughout the book. The book is divided into the following chapters:
Chapter One covers William Steinitz portraying him as a man of controversy This chapter looks at five Steinitz games. One proofing flaw is that the top of the pages has the wrong chapter name (for the record the heading reads Redeployment in the Opening
Chapter Two covers redeployment in the opening. Honestly, this chapter is largely a waste. Certain variations are so obvious, why bother pointing them out?÷for instance, the Breyer Lopez is one example. This chapter gives the opening moves and not much else.
Chapter Three covers redeployment in the middlegame. The games are given with a brief introduction and no real notes to speak of. There are plenty of exclamation marks to identify the moves involving redeployment, but little else. Most of these games are well known, or by well-known players. Again, there is no new or useful information that is given to the reader.
Chapter Four covers moving backward in the endgame. This chapter is a total of three and a half pages long with three endgame studies! This backward movement of pieces in the endgame is probably the most prevalent theme mentioned so far, and clearly deserves some real game situations and more examples. Again the major flaw is the generalness of the theme, generalness, without sufficient explanation and examples that approaches the vacuous. In most endgames pieces move backwards. Without much more, the author fails to prove his point, much less truly instruct students in how to appreciate such positions.
Chapter Five is called "Backward to Victory" (although there are at least two draws given.) In this chapter, the author presents twenty-five of his own games which utilize the redeployment theme. While the cover states that Reuter is a Senior Master (USCF 2400), I have never heard of him and am not familiar with his games. Most of his games appear to be regional (Houston/Texas) and a quick search of my database files did not bring up any of his games. While I usually enjoy "unknown" players collections, this one left me feeling rather empty. Many games were against experts and masters who I had never heard of. There was a draw against Mednis and a simul draw against Wolff. Most games were from the mid 1980’s. I was expecting more from this section though at least the games were annotated.
Chapter Six gives exercises in using redeployment and it consists of sixty diagrams with White (Black) to play. This was perhaps my favorite chapter as at least it made me think. The solutions consist of one move with a brief explanation.
Chapter Seven is about chess programs and redeployment and was moderately interesting. Reuter evaluates a computer’s ability to correctly assess the test positions from the previous chapter. Again, while somewhat interesting, the chapter fails to provide any significant depth.
The last chapter covers the six Deep Blue-Kasparov games from 1987. Again the author provides brief comments but few notes. One has to wonder what "value added" this provides any reader (except for the one who was on a space mission and missed this match.)
This book was very disappointing. I love to read theme books as they teach concepts that tend to be overlooked by the average player. Recent years have produced two excellent ones öCastling to Win by Timmer and Bishop v Knight: The Verdict by Meyer, but alas Reuter’s book provides no real insight for the reader. The book lacks a solid central theme, analysis and ideas that support the concept. I would pass on the book and only give it *.
I accept any and all feedback on my reviews and am happy to listen to suggestions on what books to review (English only.)