If one were to ask many serious chess players what 10 books were their favourites, there is no doubt that at least 90% would provide a list that included "My 60 Memorable Games." This was first published in England in 1969 and was, perforce, in descriptive notation. Thus, to a certain extent, it has not appealed to younger players who have used algebraic notation all their lives. Just one unsuccessful attempt was made to publish this in algebraic notation but that was so severely criticised - not least by Fischer himself - that the publication was withdrawn. Now, at last, BATSFORD have produced an authentic algebraic edition that sticks religiously to the original. Even the page numbering, page content and the placement of diagrams are the same! This is quite a feat on the part of the type-setter, who used the shortened algebraic notation i.e. 1.e4 e5. Fischer would have had no cause to condemn this edition!
Larry Evan's name has been associated with the production but the extent of his involvement has always been shrouded in some mystery. The most popular version is that he provided the introductions to the games but Fischer casts some doubts on this when he says in the Preface:
"Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to Larry Evans, friend and colleague, for his invaluable aid in the preparation of the text as well as his lucid introductions."
Evans himself has been silent on this matter.
In a "my best games" book, it is usual that the author only includes games that he either won or drew. Fischer broke this convention and included his losses to Tal in the candidates tournament of 1959, Spassky at Mar del Plata in 1960 and his bÍte noire - Geller at Skopje in 1967.
There have been many attempts to destroy Fisher's analysis. The Soviets in strength tried to fault his analysis of the rook ending in the only game he played against Botvinnik at the Varna Olympiad of 1962, but they failed miserably in the face of Fischer's responses. Robert Huebner, the German Grandmaster, has attempted a similar assassination on his ChessBase monograph, but this is not very convincing.
Fischer was very sensitive concerning his annotations and defended his work in print on many occasions.
The young American had to fight every inch of his way to the World Championship that he took from Spassky in 1972. And he did it alone! No vast contingent of seconds followed him on his path. In particular he declared war on the Soviet chess system and this shines through many of his comments. It was the system he railed against and his relationship with individual Soviet players such as Tal and Spassky was amicable. In fact when Tal fell ill during the Curacao Candidates tournament of 1962, Fischer was the only other contestant that visited him in hospital.
It is common knowledge that it took some considerable time for him to select 60 games and work on them to produce this book. It is a great shame that this was his last venture into authorship and nowhere are there traces of his pen after 1969. The period 1969 - 72 saw Fischer at his peak during which he destroyed Larsen, Taimanov and Petrosian on the way to his victory over Spassky. During this period he played some "more memorable" games. The absence of these in his writings makes "My 60 Memorable Games" an even greater treasure.
His notes are a fine demonstration of his uncompromising approach to chess. He played every game to win, irrespective of whether he was playing with the white or the black pieces and some of his losses came about because of this attitude.
His style and the quality of his annotations can be seen from the two games attached.
The original "My 60 Memorable Games" received many accolades and to repeat these comments would be quite out of place here. The main aim of this production is to place make the work available to modern players in the notation to which they are accustomed.
BATSFORD have done us all a service with this edition particularly as it has been produced without any change whatsoever to the fine notes penned by a author considered by many as the finest chess player ever. The book is very nice to handle and produced with the same immaculate consideration that Batsford apply to all their publications.
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Recommended Price:- £14.99