Tuesday, January 10, 2017

For The Love Of It

I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of Chess for the Love of It by ARB Thomas in a second hand bookshop. Thomas was an amateur player, but a good quality amateur. He beat Rubinstein in 1924, Guimard and Najdorf in 1937, Tartakower in 1951 as well as draws with Reti, Unzicker and Euwe!

These games are all in the book, but there is much more. Thomas writes of the chess world fondly. It is not just the moves and games that have meaning for him. For instance, he had 2 outstanding memories from his first Hastings Premier in 1937. One of those was watching his idol, Keres, playing blitz. The other was Alekhine's appearance at the event as a spectator. Alekhine had just regained his World title and brought with him a cake that he'd been given after the World Championship. Thomas fondly remembers Alekhine dividing the cake and sharing it among the competitors at the 1937 Hastings Premier.

The only issue with this beautiful little read is that the games are published in the old descriptive notation. Of course, I started playing using the old descriptive notation so it isn't too hard for me, but the younger generation might find it harder. Then again, working through these older books will do great things for your chess if you have to go through things slowly.

Anyway, in the introduction Thomas gives a nice little game from the 1971 British Counties Correspondence Championship. The 20 move game is nice, but Thomas leaves the reader to work out the 'mate in, at most, 9 moves' for themselves. So I'll leave it for you and give the answer in my next blog post.

White to play and mate in 9 at most. Answers in descriptive notation please!

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