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Tal-Botvinnik, 1960 Paperback – Import, 4 Jul 2000
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Description for Tal-Botvinnik, 1960
Tal did not move pieces by hand; he uses a magic wand! -- Ragozin
About the Author
Mikhail Tal became the eighth and youngest world chess champion when he defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in 1960. In 1957 he was the youngest Soviet champion and World Chess Federation international grandmaster. He died in 1982
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I lost my treasured paperback black covered "Tal-Botvinnik 1960" book in approximately 1995 during a move. It was falling apart on me by then. I never got around to replacing it. On a whim, I typed the title into Amazon a few months ago and found the Kindle edition. The Kindle edition is identical to my original paperback copy. The notation is algebraic (no longer descriptive like my original copy -- and no longer figurine as one earlier review of the Kindle edition complained). The Kindle edition has no extra games at the end of the book. Neither did my original black copy.
Tal's pre-match analysis at the beginning of the book is entertaining enough to be worth the minimal price of the Kindle edition all by itself. Tal gives no long-winded analysis of Botvinnik's games nor any "deep" analysis of numerous various that might arise. Instead, he provides a relatively short analysis of his approach to the match. For example, Tal comments on Botvinnik's recent games and concludes that Botvinnik "had not recently gone in for any voluntary intensification of the struggle, and in those cases where he was caught up in a combinational 'storm', he was less sure of himself." Tal also notes that Botvinnik seemed to give "most of his consideration to strategic questions, not being distracted by different tactical variations", and that Botvinnik sometimes could not cash-in on his advantage because he didn't engage in the "sharp tactical play" that was needed. This gives you a good idea of Tal's strategy against Botvinnik in the match, namely, to try to makes the games intense, sharp, and tactical. And many of them were.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did over the years, and as I do now on my iPad (Kindle App).
So if the content is 100% 5-star, why the 4-star review? Unfortunately, the Kindle edition has numerous problems:
* The symbols in the figurine algebraic notation are very dim and hard to read.
* The figures are also too large in comparison to the notations for the squares. For example, if a player moves his bishop to c5, the bishop symbol seems twice as tall as the c and the 5.
* Frequently there is no symbol at all, but rather some precursor text that was probably intended as a marker. For example, if a knight moves to f3 it might be notated as "?|f3" rather than [knight-figure]f3. It looks like the publisher originally used "?|" as a placeholder for the knight figure in the chess notation throughout the book, and attempted to use a search/replace to substitute the figure for the "?|". But then the search/replace missed some of the places where it was supposed to put the figure, so the "?!" was occasionally left intact. This happens throughout the book for all the pieces.
* I like to follow games and analysis without a board and set by occasionally glancing at the most recent position while going through the moves. With a physical book, flipping back and forth is quite simple. In the Kindle edition, though, I find myself constantly paging back and forth. If you go through the game with a board and set this won't be a problem, but you might be inconvenienced if, like me, you rely on the diagrams. (Maybe this cloud has a silver lining, though, as I will probably improve my board visualization as I work through the book!)
I was able to figure out the intended moves in spite of these problems, so please don't hold back from purchasing for that reason--the chess content is too good to let these problems get in the way. If you love the Kindle and want to read a good chess book on it, by all means download Tal-Botvinnik 1960 and enjoy it. But I would choose the paperback edition if I were making the purchase again.
Some of the games are themselves spectacular and suggest fun opening lines that are not always seen. For example, game 1 in the "solid" French features Black sacrificing his kingside pawns to a rampaging queen in return for an opposite side attack. These Qg4 lines you will at least commonly see in books on the French, but Tal's ideas against the equally solid Caro (Ne2, Nf4 and sacrifice on e6) are not as well remembered and lead to some wild, wide-open play that is easily emulated by amateurs.