03 May 2009

Russian to English Translators

For those of us who don't understand Russian, knowledge of the Soviet school would be difficult to acquire without the efforts of a handful of professional Russian to English translators. I already mentioned one world class translator in my post on D.J. Richards, Russian Lecturer, although most of Richards' efforts were not related to chess. The grandmaster of chess translators is undoubtedly Ken Neat (the links are to his author pages on Bookfinder.com).

  • Kenneth P. Neat and Ken Neat • books by Botvinnik, Karpov, Averbakh, and many others; his contribution to Kasparov's 'Predecessors' series isn't even mentioned on Bookfinder.

Neat also has a page on Chessgames.com (see Kenneth P Neat), where we learn that 'Kenneth Philip Neat was born in 1944 in York, England' and has a current FIDE rating of 2270. Other world class translators are

  • Bernard Cafferty • his own books plus books by Botvinnik, Geller, and Kotov's 'Play Like a Grand Master' series.
  • Harry Golombek • Keres three volumes published as 'Grandmaster of Chess', and 'The Art of the Middle Game' by Keres and Kotov.

In addition to the translations, both have authored titles under their own names and earned reputations as accomplished players. Their Chessgames.com pages are at Bernard Cafferty and Harry Golombek. Here are names of more translators that I first noted from volumes at hand, plus examples of their work.

  • Jimmy Adams • Caissa Editions 'Moscow 1935' (with Sarah Hurst) and 'Moscow 1936', Karpov's 'Caro Kann : Closed System'.
  • Todd Bludeau • 'Karpov on Karpov : A Memoir of a Chess World Champion'.
  • Philip J. Booth • '200 Open Games' by David Bronstein.
  • Malcolm Gesthuysen • opening books, 'Training for the Tournament Player' by Mark Dvoretsky.
  • Eric Schiller • Kasparov's 'Fighting chess'.
  • John Sugden • opening books, including 'Opening Preparation' by Dvoretsky; also 'Improve Your Chess Results' by Vladimir Zak.
  • Howard Turner • 'Secrets of Chess Training' by Dvoretsky.
  • Sarah J. Young • 'Positional Play' by Dvoretsky and Artur Yusupov

The many titles by Dvoretsky translated by different names is a result of the several reprints of Dvoretsky's work. I surveyed these a few years ago in Dvoretsky & Yusupov. Missing from Bookfinder.com are:

  • Theodore Reich • translated 'Soviet Chess' by Nikolai Grekov, an early (1949) introduction to the subject for English speakers.
  • Hanon Russell • books by Karpov, Tal.

It's a mystery to me why one of the best known books on its subject, the 'Soviet School of Chess' by Kotov and Yudovich, carries no mention of its translator.

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