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3 лет назад

Very useful list, especially on old Russian classics. Back in 1970s two wonderful books were published in English:

  1. Test Tube Chess (now re-issued as The Chess Endgame Study) by A.J. Roycroft
  2. The Delights of Chess by Assiac

 (German Edition, Noch ein vergnuegliches Schachbuch)

First, Roycroft’s book
In separate chapters he addresses various categories of readers, casual solvers, regular solvers, connoisseurs, cook-hunters, composers and mandarins including the jury in composition competitions.]

Second, Assiac’s book
This is a collection of his chess writings. Part I offers a few parallels between game positions and compositions. Part III has 5 essays on endgame studies followed by a selection of both classics and modern masterpieces (p.203-230)

  1. What is the good of it?
  2. Labour pains of composition
  3. The noble sport of cook-hunting
  4. The Cure or kill
  5. Food for thought

Roycroft is erudite, his writing both instructive and enjoyable.
Assiac wears his learning lightly and his writing is a pleasure.
In just 5 essays he offers an inside view of the EG* world.

*endgame studies for short, not the magazine itself

P.S.: Immortalchess.net mentioned in the article has ceased to exist.

3 лет назад

Both books were written in the pre-computer era. Latter day assessments like the one shown here (on the treatment of Liburkin study) are most welcome.

However, what constitutes art in composition cannot be left to the arbitrary opinion of composers. It is also for the connoisseurs to judge. Assiac played a very important role in conducting EG competitions and creating taste for endgame studies through his New Statesman columns. He was knowledgeable, if flawed by present day standards. Roycroft’s writing as compared to Assiac is dry and academic. A lot of info., exposition and analysis are crammed into a single book. He could have made it lighter, easier on the eye and offered more lively presentation. But here at least that is not the case as he sought to include maxim material in a single book.  Of course he is passionate about the subject. But it is subdued and he is not into polemics himself in the book.

3 лет назад
Ответ на  Didukh

When it comes to old books, it helps if one examines a single title at a time placing it in historical context, considering its critical heritage and then viewing it through modern lens.
If what Roycroft wrote was not interesting to the readers in the past it was for them say so. As of now we have yet to see evidence of such opinion from the past. It ‘s a good idea to sift relevant and non-relevant material in any book from the current point of view. Constant revision and re-assessment is called for. We also need to acknowledge what historical role these books played in development of our understanding without bias or prejudice. Fair and balanced judgement are necessary.

I did review Kuznetsov’s book, “Brillant Chess Studies” years before:
My criticism of the work remains. But I would not like to judge his writing by this book alone.

With many Soviet books propaganda (overt or covert) is not far behind. Contribution of composers from the rest of the world is either overlooked or understated. There are exceptions, though.

In general I would appreciate books on studies with text (explanatory writing).

Kasparian’s posthumous work, “888 Miniature Studies” does not have much of the same. Also, publishers have done grave injustice to the work. The translation is terrible and there is no proper editing. Among others, names of composers have been a big casualty, “Bimov,  Blendford, Chehover, Korolnikov…” A slaughter.
Instead reading a different work would be more helpful. The one mentioned below is short (I would like to see all his writings in one place)
Каспарян – Этюды. статьи, анализы