We've been thinking about chess books recently.
A few days ago I suggested that sometimes books leave out important lines on a somewhat arbitrary basis. Justin gave another example of this within a longer post discussing whether or not authors and certain publishers put as much effort into their work as we might expect.
Here's another case in point.
Again I'm looking at Nigel Davies' The Dynamic Reti (Everyman published 2004) although this time I'm comparing it with Ray Keene's Flank Openings (BCM - 4th edition published1988).
Both books give the game Smyslov - Ader Hausman, Tel Aviv Olympiad 1964 in full - although curiously Davies calls Black Hausman and Keene reckons it's Ader.
Anyhoo, here's the game.
The comments in red are those given by Keene. Those in blue are from Davies.
Moves 1 to 6:
It is not possible to compare the books this early because they give differing move orders. Keene quotes what acutally happened, Davies standardises the move order with the aim of easing the learning process.
“The best square for the N. On a3 it reinforces the Q-side build up and does not obstruct the path of the Bb2.”
“The best square for the knight. It supports White’s queenside pawns and doesn’t inhibit the dark-squared bishop.”
7. … a5
Suggests … Qb6 is better and gives analysis.
[This is a significant difference. Davies gives a total of 35 half-ply worth of moves covering a number of variations that follow from 7. ... Qb6]
8. … dxc4
“Creating targets on the Q-side. Better is 8. … Bg4.”
“This creates a target on the queenside. Black should prefer simple development with … Bg4.”
No further comment.
No further comment.
Black's 9th and White’s 10th
10. … Be6
“A brief appraisal of the position reveals the following: Black is weak in the b-file and b6 may become an outpost for White’s pieces; White has a latent central pawn majority; White’s Bb2 is extremely powerful, yet should Black exchange it for the Bg7 then his K position will be seriously jeopardised.”
“The correct plan for Black in this position is to mobilise his queenside pawn majority. Even here Black could play 10. … b5 though I prefer White’s centre pawns and active pieces after 11. Nfe5 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Ra6 13. o-o.”
White's 11th to White’s 15th
15. … Qa4
“Pointless. Black should employ his one remaining asset and play b5.”
“There’s not much point to this. Black should mobilise his queenside pawn majority with 15. …b5.”
White’s 16th to Black’s 18th
“A typical position for the Q in this line.”
“The queen often seems to end up on this square in this line!”
Black’s 19th and White’s 20th
20. … Rc7
“This may have been the last chance for 20. … b5 21. Nd4 b4.”
White and Black's 21st
“White’s restrained pawns now conquer the centre and Black is crushed by a three pronged attack.”
“One of the things about the Reti is that when White finally gets a central pawn majority it can advance with terrific effect.”
Black’s 22nd to Black’s 28th (resign)
Davies lists the 1979 edition of Keene's book in his bibliography. Whether that version contains the analysis as listed above I cannot say but I'd be suprised if it didn't.
Around 20 years ago Nigel Davies wrote a series of articles on "Self-Improvement" for Chess Magazine. In the September 1988 issue (page 29) he wrote,
"Given that we have now created an environment conducive to study; what form should the work take? This is something I want to explore further in subsequent articles but what I want to stress now is active involvement, thinking for yourself." (Emphasis from the original)
Presumably Davies was referring to reading chess books rather than writing them.