chess a clash of geniuses

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Still puzzling over what to give your chessplayer for Christmas? A few years ago, we spotted bars of soap in the shape of rooks, and knight- shaped pencil erasers, but the bottom seems to have fallen out of the chess-piece-shaped novelty market. There is, however, something almost equally unconventional that would grace any player's Christmas stocking.

The Sorceror's Apprentice, by David Bronstein and Tom Furstenberg, (Cadogan Chess, pounds 14.99) is one of the most original and delightful chess books to appear in recent years. Starting with an anarchic set of "40 Recommendations for the Novice" the book leads up to a celebration of Bronstein's 70th birthday, via "40 Combinations with Explanations" (40 complete Bronstein games), "50 Games with Comments" (highly subjective and revealing), "60 Games with Diagrams" (no notes), and "70 Picturesque Games" (no notes, no diagrams). That adds up to 220 Bronstein gems, interspersed with some fascinating insights into chess in Soviet Russia.

Here's a recent game, with one genius showing another what chess is really all about:

White: Chess Genius 2

Black: David Bronstein

Ten-minute game, 1994.

1 d4 d6 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 g6 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 g3 0-0 6 Bg2 Nbd7 7 0-0 e5 8 e4 exd4 9 Nxd4 Re8 10 h3 a6 11 Rb1 Rb8 12 b3 c5 13 Nc2 b5 14 cxb5 axb5 15 b4 Bb7 16 Qxd6 Rc8 17 Nxb5 Bxe4 18 Bxe4 Nxe4 19 Qd3 c4 20 Qf3 c3 21 Rd1 Ne5 22 Qe2 Qf6 23 Be3 Nd2 24 Rbc1 Nef3+ 25 Kh1 Qc6 26 Na7 Qa8 27 Nxc8 Nd4+ 28 Kh2 Nxe2 29 Nb6 Qc6 30 Rxd2 cxd2 White resigns.

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