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Petrosian vs the Elite: 71 Victories by the Master of Manoeuvre 1946-1983 [Paperback]

Raymond Keene , Julian Simpole


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Book Description

Feb. 1 2007
Ray Keene, Britain’s senior  grandmaster, believes that chess history has been unfair to world champion Tigran Petrosian, whose brilliantly subtle style of play and long record of tournament successes were unjustly overshadowed by the much-publicized career of Bobby Fischer. Now, in collaboration with Julian Simpole, Keene puts Petrosian’s great achievements in their proper perspective, with a fully analyzed collection of 71 of his dazzling victories against the leading players of his time, Fischer included. Other chess books may instruct, entertain, and inform. This one does all of the above—but it also does something much more important: it sets the record straight, letting us fully appreciate the achievements and the genius of one of the game’s greatest players.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Batsford (Feb. 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713490497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713490497
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,862,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Grandmaster Raymond Keene OBE is the world's most widely read chess columnist. He is the author of 120 chess books and is chess correspondent for the Times, The Sunday Times and the International Herald Tribune. He lives in Clapham, London. Commonwealth chess master Julian Simpole teaches junior world champions and is author of the recently published Junior Chess Training. He has written over 400 chess columns for regional UK newspapers and led his team to victory in the British Lightning Chess championship. He is currently travelling.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but still not the book Petrosian deserves July 26 2007
By Stephen L. Jenkins - Published on Amazon.com
The main reason Petrosian won for so many years is that no one could figure him out. That remains true today. Kasparov makes a great contribution, but the final remarks he quotes from different masters on Petrosian show that unfortunately the memory of Petrosian is dominated by his match strategy in the 1971 world championship cycle [after he had already played in three world championship matches] in which he tried to totally restrain his opponents and took two matches by winning just one game each. His amazing win rate in Olympiads and record in tournaments, Soviet Championships, and Interzonals is mathematically impossible for a drawing master. Vasiliev unfortunately spends his entire book trying to show that he is a sparkling tactician. That's fine but it misses the uniqueness of Petrosian's style. Soltis' poor book sees Petrosian as an ugly pragmatist. Who could deny that Petrosian had a unique and mystifying style? So, as with Spassky, I have waited a long time to read the book that would be a monument to his career.

There are some good annotations in this book and the games are very well chosen. However, there are no photographs, the introduction is skimpy [15 pages] and there are no introductions to the games at all. The book is a collection of annotations without context that dehumanizes this unique personality and his intensely personal struggles and fascinating clashes of style with characters like Korchnoi. Each game deserved at least a little introduction to set up and enrich the reader's appreciation of the games as sporting events and fierce human struggles. I kept going to other books to look up where he stood in a tournament or match. If as a lover of chess, you want to enjoy Petrosian, then this book is really just a companion to Kasparov who gives a much richer treatment that brings Petrosian's games to life. Keene has made a career of pumping out little books. A second edition that addresses the inadequacies could also be the monument to Keene's career as a chess writer as well as the great book on Petrosian.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "weak" world champion? Not on your life July 21 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Some world champions are seen by the chess public as "weak" and "boring". Petrosian is one. This injustice is corrected by Keene's latest book, which gives us 71 of his victories.

Nowadays, with databases and computers, to find games and variations is easy, so quality depends on explaining which variations are critical in "real life" (something computers are still not that good at) and how the variations are tied together into an overall game plan. Here, Keene and Simpole do a good job. The annotations are detailed, try to explain why the game "worked out" as it did, and--an indicator of quality--the opponent's moves are sometimes praised and Petrosian's sometimes criticized. Sadly, Keene's overheated writing is sometimes on display: "the entire black army is consigned to an Hadean frozen lake of Dante-esque or Miltonic dimension", he writes of Petrosian-Fisher, 1959.

Keene writes both good and bad books. The more Keene cares about his subject, the better the book. He cares most about unfairly-maligned or misunderstood chapions of the past; his best books are those about Staunton, Nimzowitsch, and--now--Petrosian. If only there wasn't so much chaff in Keene's total output along with the wheat.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Petrosian in a full glory of his play Jan. 6 2007
By I. Knezovic - Published on Amazon.com
When I looked at the shelf of the book store, when on trip to Amsterdam two months ago, it came as complete surprise to me finding this book. It was thick, fine packed, and most surprisingly it was about Petrosian. In last two months having it I came to conclusion that this is a classic. First of all it has 71 fantastically annotated games divided into eight chapters, Introduction and Significant moments in career are nicely described, and at the end of book Tournament tables speaks for itself.

I didn't ever studied much of Petrosian, so his style of play and unique ideas in almost every game gave me much joy. Descriptive style of authors Ray Keene and Julian Simpole is ideal for long, enjoyfull and consuming study of the games at the real chess board on the table.

Since the era of computers came, any Petrosian game actually needed some kind of checking and revision. And without much of annoyance author excellently incorporated that in their analysis. I had even much fun studying knowing that Petrosian positional style is becked and verified in that manner too.

One thing I didn't understood: name of the eight chapter is "Gotterdammerung". Is it a typo for some german translation or what.

I warmly recommend this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic for Almost Any Player July 11 2008
By Jennifer Sinclair - Published on Amazon.com
The true beauty of this book is not just that it contained 71 amazing games against players such as Tal, Korchnoi, Spassky Botwinnik, Fischer, Larssen, and other greats, but also that the book is so very well rounded; there are games with amazing sacrifices, games with extremely deep manoeuvres, games with strange and subtle strategies, endgame squeezes, opening brilliancies; everything! Although this book not for beginners, anyone with a good understanding of the game, no matter their playing style, can appreciate this book. A must read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Soltis"esque" July 15 2008
By Randy - Published on Amazon.com
Apart from the petty Fischer-bashing at the intro of this book, the meat of it is very well done in the style of Soltis. It really is well rounded, showing that he wasn't just a defensive stalwart, but had some really beautiful tactical games as well. Of course, his positional ideas and prophalaxis is exhibited throughout. The game Petrosian v Korchnoi (1977) especially drew my attention in how effortlessly he relegated [one of the strongest grandmasters of the time] to waiting moves with his king by completely strangling Korchnoi's position with an advanced passed pawn in the middlegame. Keene draws attention to the prophalaxis move of 22. g3! that Petrosian patiently makes to suffocate any chances at counterplay for his opponent.

Honestly, I didn't know too much of Petrosian before I read this, figuring he was just some boring chessplayer with lots of draws. So, I have to give this book 5 stars, because it is an interesting work on a misunderstood chessplayer, with lots of games and plenty of insigtful (and painless) annotation...

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