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Bobby Fischer: His Approach (Cadogan Chess Books) [Paperback]

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Bobby Fischer: His Approach (Cadogan Chess Books) by Elie Agur

Item Specifications...

Pages   276
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 28, 1992
Publisher   Everyman Chess
ISBN  1857440013  
EAN  9781857440010  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Interesting treatment but lacking depth and coordination  Aug 1, 2008
First, why you this book might be for you.

The strengths of this book is the approach to studying the play of Fischer. The technique employed in the development of this book is uncommon and very effective to really analyze the characteristics of a personal playing style. The analysis and discussion is ideal for a developing (but not necessarily already strong player) in most cases. The considerations in analyzing Fischer's style could be applied to any chess master that one might study.

Why did the book drop to three stars?

The analysis is general too superficial to provide any real deep insight into the positions. This most likely due to the strength of the author (FIDE approx. 2250). He certainly does a better job at explaining positions than certain GMs that are just "mailing" in their analysis, but doesn't come anywhere near close to the top chess writers such as Beim, Marin and Soltis (and certain others). There are many occurences where games end with the comment "and then it is Fischer's technique". The book is about technique but the author never really "gets" that Fischer's technique and defensive abilities allowed Fischer to make aggressive decisions. Sure, he alluded to this in many sections, but no synthesis was provided to really provide a picture of why Fischer's ability was so dominate in his run against the Soviets. This kind of discussion would have improved the book considerably. Instead, the book is collection of attributes characterizing a playing style with typically four or five examples. My main problem is that most examples and characteristics could be found for most top GMs. The author did very little to contrast the effectiveness Fischer's style against the players of his time or even the players up to the publication date.

In conclusion ...

If you're an aspiring improving player, this book is an interesting and instructive read but do your own homework! Go through a book like Soltis' Fischer Rediscovered and certainly read Bobby Fischer's My Sixty Most Memorable Games. Just ignore the fact that the attributes are highly related and often an item like "timing" cannot be disconnected from all the other characteristics and probably shouldn't be discussed at its own topic.
A Fascinating and Totally Unique Book  Dec 26, 2006
If you read and enjoyed "How Karpov Wins" by Mednis, you will fall madly in love with this book. Agur has written an incredibly fascinating book about the chess world's most enigmatic personality. What makes the book so outstanding is the breadth and depth to which Agur has analyzed Fischer's playing style. You can learn things here which you would not understand clearly even after reading Fischer's "Memorable Games". He breaks down Fischer's games according to topics like: Style, Defense, Technique, Clarity, etc. I know of no other book like this at this level of detail and depth. I'm not so sure it will improve your playing strength, but it will give you a perfect scheme for playing 'a la Fischer'
A must for any serious chess lover.
Methodical study of Fischer's play - a new dimension!  Feb 12, 2005
While not a grandmaster himself, Elie Agur has obviously made a deep study of Bobby Fischer's games. In this fascinating and highly instructive book, he analyzes the elements of Fischer's style with reference to specific games. As Agur says, "Besides being a study on Fischer, it is a treatise on the middlegame at large". Over 300 diagram positions are taken apart, with a page or more sometimes devoted to a single move, its implications and alternatives.

Topics include pawn structure, piece placement, material, timing, strategy (e.g. plans, seizing the initiative, liquidation, and playing for space), clarity, straightforwardness, alertness, reducing the opponent's options, playing to win, practical chances, tactics, technical aspects and overall vision. Fischer's weaknesses are not allowed to pass unmentioned, either. Agur devotes whole chapters to superficiality, misplaying won positions, and typical blunders and oversights.

You can learn all sorts of fascinating details about the great man and his opponents. For instance, Fischer's decision to play Alekhine's Defence against Ciocaltea in the 1965 Capablance Memorial tournament amazed fans. Agur explains what really happened. Fischer was participating by cable, as the State Department denied him a visa to go to Fidel Castro's Cuba in the aftermath of the 1962 missile crisis. Ciocaltea's first move was received as 1. d4 and so played on the board, and Fischer replied 1...Nf6 as usual. Only when the second move, 2. e5 came through was the mistake discovered. Characteristically, Fischer refused to change his first move and achieved a hard-fought draw after a long struggle against an opponent he would often have expected to beat.

For my money, this is a superb book. If I had to choose between it and any other book on Fischer - even his own "60 Memorable Games" - I think I would have to pick this one. It strikes a perfect balance between quantity and quality. Reading it carefully should increase anyone's playing strength, and is sure to afford hours of pleasure. Just one warning - chess theory has made huge strides since Fischer was playing, so don't take any of the opening analysis on trust without checking in a modern reference book.
Unique amoung chess books  Jul 16, 2003
This book delivers as the title says. Discussed are Fischer's decisions across various motifs (pawn structure, piece placement, strategy,...) from a diagrammed position. Much of the book can be read without a board depending on your strength. I think this book is more for advanced players, you just need to know things to get the most out of this book. Really the book is about style -- the style of a genius, so no chess player should be without it.
Excellent book to synthesize elements of chess  Mar 20, 2001
This book will change the way you approach chess regardless of your playing level. As noted by previous readers, Elie Agur has done a nice job of systematically analyzing Fischer's approach to chess into clear parts (e.g., pawn structures, traps, typical manuevores) clearly for the reader to grasp. The usefulness of this catagorization goes beyond having to fill up a content page. What has not been said is that reading this book actually helps you to integrate almost all the chess concepts you learnt (e.g., tactics, positional chess, etc.) but never know how to go about applying them.

For the more advanced player, I would recommend you taking a look at how Agur, given a chess position with a variety of candidate moves, manage to compare and contrast Fischer's style with other schools of playing chess (e.g., Karpov and Capablanca). This is interesting in itself as this is one clear evidence of chess style at work, and that no particular style is necessarily the best (although Fischer's style has been known to be the most accurate and straightforward in selection of candidate moves).


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