30 September 2014

McFarland Chess Books

For today's blog post, I wavered between two topics: a follow-up to a recent post -or- a note on McFarland chess books. By coincidence, in today's post I received the latest McFarland chess catalog and took that as guidance, since it's only the second time I have received their catalog.

I already have a number of McFarland books that I have acquired through the years. I set out to count them and discovered six, along with a few that I have collected in PDF format.

McFarland chess books generally have three characteristics: 1) they are authoritative; 2) they are printed using high quality production techniques; and 3) they are expensive. Unfortunately, 'authoritative' doesn't necessarily mean 'good' and I have been disappointed with one or two. The table below lists the books I have, along with a number of stars to show how highly I value each one.

  Gaige, Chess Personalia
  Gelo, Chess World Championships
  Graham, Women in Chess
  Landsberger, William Steinitz
  Soltis, Soviet Chess, 1917-1991
  Soltis & McCormick, United States Chess Championship, 1845-1996

My PDF versions are all by the same author, Gino Di Felice.

  Di Felice, Chess Periodicals, 1836-2008; Chess Results (two volumes)

After acquiring the books listed above, I told myself that I would never buy another hardcopy version. The cost / benefit ratio is just too erratic. Then, this past Father's Day, I received another McFarland book as a gift. I intended to review it for this post, but I'm at a loss what to say. In a word, it's excellent.

  Forster, The Zurich Chess Club, 1809-2009

I hope to come back to this subject soon. First I have to figure out why I like the book on the Zurich Chess Club so much.

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