Anand: My Best Games of Chess
|Price: £ 15,99
||ISBN: 1 901983
|Reviewed by: Soren
||Date: 16/09 2001
Before you go any further I have to warn the reader of this review! A few month ago I praised Kortschnoi's collection of his
most memorable games as white, and I have to repeat myself with this
expanded and revised book of Vishy Anand's best games! The book is
simply a modern classic, and if I should find something bad to say about
it, it should be that after finishing the book I wanted more! This
book is packed with entertaining attacking games, and I really think
it is one of the best books I have reviewed this year (I
don't get paid to say this!).
Anand is a very modest person and this also goes for his comments
to his games, where he often praises his opponents play in high
terms. Unlike some other annotators Anand tells it how it is! He is
very honest about the course of the game, and he annotates
the games without to many lengthy analysis. Instead he annotates the
games expertly and in an very accessibly way, he is in fact doing it so good that the reader thinks that chess is an easy
The first book came back in 1998, and this new book is expanded
with 90 pages so that the total pages is 336. The reason why there
is a new edition after only three years, is of course that Anand in
the meantime became FIDE World Champion in 2000.
If you bought the
first edition I really can't give you any advise concerning if or if not
to buy this book. My personally feeling is that I would wait a few
years hoping for another edition!
The games annotated starts out with his game against Inkiov in Calcutta
1986, and ends with his game against Shirov in the FIDE World
Championship Final, Teheran 2000. The book has a total of 57 games,
and like other collections there are only wins for our hero! The
book was made in collaboration with Gambits Chess Editor GM Dr. John
Nunn, and I can't imagine a better team for making a book like this. I don't
know how the last part of the book was made, but the first part was
mainly made in the way that Anand dictated the notes, comments and anecdotes
to John Nunn.
The book is a revised version, but I noticed that on
page 135 Anand wrote that "...I might play for a club again
in the future, but there is no immediate prospect of this".
Well, on page 262 we can see that he again plays for a club so the
above statement must be a reminiscence from the 1998-version.
Besides this there are a few other details in this book that should
- 57 games from 1986 to 2000
- Solutions to combinations
- Index of opponents and openings
An impressing preparation
I always felt that Anand was reasonably prepared for his games,
but not that he worked extremely hard with his trainers and seconds. Anand is
an extremely talented player and relies a great deal on his
intuition, and I don't think he is as well-prepared as is the case
with Kasparov and
Kramnik. Anand himself thinks that he is reasonably prepared, and if you take
a look at the game below you can see how deeply the top players analyze!
I only give some of the comments given by Anand:
Anand,V (2710) - Ivanchuk,V (2710)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.0-0 Qh4 8.c4 0-0-0 9.c5 g5 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.g3 Qh3 12.Nxe4 dxe4 13.Bxe4 Bb5
This position has been reached umpteen times before the game and
the path to equality for black had been more or less worked out
after 14.Qb3 and 14.Bxg5, but I had a new idea that I had been
waiting to use. 14.Bg2 Qf5 Ivanchuk looked surprised,
because it was well known that 15.d5 is bad, but this was not
White's idea. 15.Be3! Bxf1 16.Bxf1 Rhe8 17.Qa4 Kb8 18.Rd1 c6 19.Rd3 Qe4 20.Ra3 a6 21.Bd3 Qg4?
This move loses because it leaves the c6-square weak. During the
game, I realized that 21...Qd5! probably saves Black...... 22.Rb3! Bxd4?
23.Rxb7+!! Kxb7 24.Qxa6+ Kb8 25.Qb6+ Ka8 26.Qxc6+ Kb8 27.Qb6+ Ka8 28.Bb5 1-0
" Because 28...Rc8 29.Bc6+ Rxc6 30.Qxc6+ Ka7
31.Qxe8 Qd1+ 32.Kg2 Bxe3 33.Qxe3 leaves White three pawns ahead.
Gurevich and I had the final position on
the board during our work in 1991 - an unusual experience for me! I
consider myself reasonably well-prepared, but to have worked out the
whole game in advance is rare. It is quite unusual to catch Ivanchuk
out in opening preparation. Several players later asked me: 'Gee,
you out-prepared Ivanchuk?'"
I could have picked out a number of games that was more
"exciting", but this game made an strong impression on me.
The way he "out-prepared" Ivanchuk right to the
end is something you normally see from Kasparov. Now I'm
talking about opening preparation just take a look at what he has to
say about the young Kamsky back in 1994:
"At the time Kamsky played many openings, but I wasn't
sure whether he had really studied them or whether he gave priority
to being difficult to prepare for. Later it became clear that he
does study a lot and understands a lot of different openings, but
not to well!"
Anecdotes & the match against Kasparov
The book is filled with anecdotes and Anand of course also talks
about his match against Kasparov in 1995. After his failure in this
match, and after all the troubles with the organizers before and
during the match Anand writes:
"The dealings with PCA leading up to the match were
thoroughly depressing and, by the I got to New York, I was just sick
of the whole thing. This was not a factor in my defeat but my
inability to deal with it and take it in my stride was! Kasparov put
up to a lot during his 1984 match against Karpov. I have a much
better idea now of how one should just develop a thick hide in these
matters. Nevertheless, a positive consequence of the whole affair
was that when it was over, I was quite happy to forget about both it
and the events leading up to it."
You would never hear from Kasparov that he would forget a match
or a tournament! I can't help thinking
about Dortmund 2001 where Anand finished last, and after the
tournament was over he told that he "...had already
forgotten the tournament..." It is nearly the same words as
after the match against Kasparov. I don't know if it is a
strength or not, but it certainly will be interesting to see if he has the strength
to fight back and maybe become the Worlds
This book is a must-buy! It is one of the best game
collections I have seen so far, and the games are annotated in
a expertly, witty and understandable way. And all this to a fair prize.