13 February 2008

David Bronstein, Poet

While working on my latest 'Every Move Explained', 1960 Leningrad - Spassky vs. Bronstein, I spent some time on Bronstein's 200 Open Games, published in 1970. He had a marvelously refreshing outlook on chess. Here are samples of his thinking, all taken from his chapter on the King's Gambit.

'It is no secret that any talented player must in his soul be an artist, and what could be dearer to his heart and soul than the victory of the subtle forces of reason over the crude material strength! Probably everyone has his own reason for liking the King's Gambit, but my love for it can be seen in precisely those terms.' (p.8)
'Whatever you might say and whatever I might say, a machine which can play chess with people is one of the most marvellous wonders of our 20th century!' (p.15)
'When you have a free moment, you most certainly should find Alekhine's book on the 1924 New York tournament and play through the Tartakower - Capablanca and Tartakower - Alekhine games. You can acquaint yourself at the same time with many other games from that great tournament, annotated in masterly fashion.' (p.21)
'Find some old collections of gambit tournaments and play each game through. It is an extremely pleasant occupation. While doing it one should be thinking not about who is winning or losing, but only about the immortality of real beauty, in whatever form it presents itself.' (p.22)
'While preparing for my match for the World Championship of 1951 I just could not discover for myself the secret of Botvinnik's continuous run of successes. On the other hand I was lucky enough to find out something more important: the plan for my own play in the forthcoming duel. After studying more than a hundred of the World Champion's games, I took an important decision: at all costs, and notwithstanding the obvious risk, to improvise tirelessly at the board. • It is perfectly obvious why Botvinnik himself is always right at the front in chess theory; what becomes known to us today, was known to him yesterday. And that means that what will be understandable to us tomorrow, Botvinnik already knows today.' (p.23)
'Our magazines are filled with various kinds of chess material: articles, problems, studies, and so on. There are few just simple tales about the chess players themselves. But surely people are the most important thing.' (p.24)
'If your library is crammed with weighty tournament bulletins and if millions of chess combinations are preserved in those yellowing volumes, then, willingly or unwillingly, your heart cannot remain indifferent to them; you are afflicted with an unquenchable thirst for exploration and chess adventures.' (p.27)

The introduction to the book has a page titled, 'The following are characteristic aims for all positions of an open type' (p.xiv). I found some of the most important points repeated in a post on Takchess' blog at Open Games.

No comments: