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Our Book Reviewers

Who are these people, anyway?

Don Aldrich

What can be said about Don? I mean, aside from the obvious: He’s fifty, fat, balding and practices law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. He’s played chess since he was young, skinny, long haired, and was watching Perry Mason practice law on TV. He’s a complete chessbookaholic; every time a book package arrives, his wife asks, “Don’t you have enough yet, dear?” He writes about chess books because he isn’t good enough to actually write them, or at least one anyone would read. Took Russian in high school so he could read Shakmatny Byulletin. Today he is busy stealing Russia’s chess heritage on e-Bay. He loves endgame studies, still plays the King’s Gambit, his favorite book is Kan & Bondarevsky’s compilation of N.D. Grigoriev’s works, his all-time favorite player is Tal (favorite current player is Shirov), his favorite composer is Rinck, and his all-time favorite game is Polugaevsky-Nezhmetdinov 1958.

Reviews by Don Aldrich

Review 1: The Critical Moment, by GM Iossif Dorfman (PDF Format)
Review 2: Shirov's 100 Wins, by Sergei Soloviov (PDF Format)
Review 3: School of Chess Excellence 1: Endgame Analysis, by Mark Dvoretsky (PDF Format)
Review 4: Winning Chess Strategies, by Yasser Seirawan (PDF Format)
Review 5: Purdy On The Endgame, compiled by Ralph Tykodi
Review 6: School of Chess Excellence 3: Strategic Play, by GM Mark Dvoretsky
Review 7: Secrets of Positional Play, by Drazen Marovic
Review 8: Tony Miles: It's Only Me, by Geoff Lawton
Review 9: Chess Strategy In Action, by John Watson
Review 10: Leko’s 100 Wins, by Sergei Soloviov
Review 11: Super Tournaments 2002, by Sergei Soloviov
Review 12: French Nd2, by Lev Psakhis
Review 13: Chess Endgame Training, by Bernd Rossen
Review 14: King's Indian Battle Plans, by IM Andrew Martin

Andy Ansel

Hello! My name is Andy Ansel and I will be reviewing chess books on this site and also in Chess Today (www.chesstoday.net). I live in New York and trade bonds for living. I also enjoy chess books - to excess, according to my wife! My reviews will be a little different than most: they will be aimed at the average to above average player (1600-2100), with historical and enjoyment content a high factor. I won’t be into deep analysis, one because I am not strong enough and two because 90% of all chess books aren’t read that way. My bias is toward history and games, thus few opening books will be looked at. I will not be a grammar freak like other reviewers, and I will try and assess value as most reviewers ignore the cost of the books (since they don’t pay for them!). Depending on my assessment of them, the reviewed books will get marks from one star (*) to five stars.

Reviews by Andy Ansel

Review 1: Learn Chess From The Greats, by Peter Tamburro, Jr.
Review 2: Winning With Reverse Chess Strategy, by William Reuter
Review 3: Shall We Play Fischerandom Chess?, by GM Svetozar Gligoric
Review 4: Learn From Your Chess Mistakes, by Chris Baker
Review 5: Bobby Fischer Rediscovered, by Andrew Soltis
Review 6: Chess Endings Made Simple, by Ian Snape

Graham Brown

Graham Brown runs the UK Web Directory & Webzine www.easytorecall.com. He is also a freelance web designer and writer. He has written for various UK PC magazines including PC Plus and PCW. Recently he helped write the second edition of Sarah Hurst's successful ‘Chess on the Web’ book. He is webmaster for The Kings Head Chess Club Web site and Stroud Chess Club. He lives in Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Reviews by Graham Brown

Review 1: Winning Chess: Play Winning Chess, by GM Yasser Seirawan with Jeremy Silman. (PDF Format)
Review 2: Winning Chess: Tactics, by GM Yasser Seirawan with Jeremy Silman. (PDF Format)
Review 3: Winning Chess Brilliancies, by GM Yasser Seirawan. (PDF Format)
Review 4: Learn Chess Tactics, by GM John Nunn. (PDF Format)

Sam Collins

I'm 17 years old, with a rating of about 2200 FIDE. Not astronomical, I know, but I am at the higher levels of where chess publishers aim their books. So I hope to be able to deliver a reasonable opinion on some of these titles.

I have no elaborate system for reviewing books, you will be saddened to hear. Those looking for infinite league tables of different qualities which a book needs to satisfy will come away empty-handed. I do look for certain things in a book: style, content, presentation, lucidity, and effort on the part of the author (no database-dumps!). Basically, I'm looking for books that make you want to turn the pages, and give you something worthwhile when you do. There are several deep theoretical works accumulating dust on my bookshelf as we speak. Books have to compete with a thousand other activities and distractions; the good ones stand a chance of winning.

I am using the following system to rate books:

* - Poor. * * - Average. * * * - Good. * * * * - Very good. * * * * * - Excellent.

Reviews by Sam Collins

Review 1: Play the Open Games as Black, by John Emms
Review 2: The Human Comedy of Chess: A Grandmaster’s Chronicles by GM Hans Ree & Storming the Barricades by GM Larry Christiansen
Review 3: Open Ruy Lopez by Glenn Flear
Review 4: Main Line Caro-Kann by Neil McDonald
Review 5: Offbeat Spanish by Glenn Flear
Review 6: Excelling at Chess by Jacob Aagard
Review 7: Can You Be a Positional Chess Genius? by Angus Dunnington
Review 8: The Grunfeld Defence by Nigel Davies
Review 9: The Best of Chess Cafe
Review 10: How To Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire by Steve Giddins
Review 11: The …a6 Slav by Glenn Flear
Review 12: Starting Out: The Ruy Lopez by John Shaw
Review 13: Knockout Nimzo (video) by Tony Kosten
Review 14: My Great Predecessors by Gary Kasparov

All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted