Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wither the chess tournament book?

I have recently added a number of tournament books to my modest collection, and it has got me thinking on the fate of the tournament book in this age of game databases. There seems to be a scarcity of tournament books at the moment; there is always a new opening book coming off the press but a tournament book is a very rare bird indeed.

At their very best a tournament book gives the reader a sense of place and occasion which are is sorely lacking in a game database. A raw game score provides us with the result but not the circumstances of the game; whether one the players was in time trouble or ill. We lose something valuable, a part of our chess history without the tournament book.

 It then makes me doubly grateful for the efforts of Dale Brandreth (Caissa Editions), and Tony Gillam (The Chess Player) in many cases reconstructing tournaments of the past which never had a tournament book or publishing English translations of classic tournament books, but still this hardly makes up for the lack of  the contemporaneous tournament book.

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