chess

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The Independent Online
David Bronstein once brought out a beginner's book in which the chessboard diagrams had squares that were not square but elongated rectangles, and they were all coloured white. Why colour half the squares on the board, he asked, just for the sake of two bishops?

Bronstein's new book, The Modern Chess Self-Tutor (Cadogan pounds 10.99) is full of the same sort of iconoclasm. Writing in a flowery prose which has not quite survived a too literal translation, Bronstein has collected an intriguing set of positions from grandmaster games, designed to illustrate the mysteries of chess. "Do not simply read this book," he advises, "but turn to it as to a living person."

If you want to understand the boundaries of chess logic, and witness some of the "miracles" - a favourite word of Bronstein - that seem to transcend logic, then this is the book for you. A rare delight.

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