"Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

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Kevin Thurlow
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"Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:00 pm

subtitled "The Best Games and Chess Experiences of Andrew Smith (FM)"

413pp, A4 format hardback, with more than 150 games and game fragments, annotated in varying amounts. This is a big book! I always find game collections interesting. Andrew is “only” a FM, but in many ways, this makes the book more interesting as it’s written by someone you see at tournaments. The bulk of the book was written 20 years ago, but some updates have been made.

The many games are accompanied by annotations and reports on the background to the games. Andrew does not take prisoners as he reports some disgraceful behaviour and cheating by some opponents, although he wisely seeks to disguise the identities of the people concerned. These reports and information outside the actual games make the book fascinating. It probably helped that I know a lot of the people who feature in the book. There is a nice story about one individual being surprisingly helpful when Andrew locked his keys in his car.
Games are indexed by player and opening. Games in the same opening system are placed together, rather than having the games in date order. The author does like some opening systems which are, dare one say it, not entirely sound. He is a good player and you are unlikely to find any boring positions. There are some useful opponents, e.g Bronstein, Tiviakov, Van der Wiel, plus leading British GMs. Andrew is not afraid to give some losses and writes entertainingly.

There are a few typos, but nothing I found too annoying. I haven’t had time to play through all the games, but I am looking forward to studying all of them, and maybe learning some means of avoiding defeat next time I play him.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by Geoff Chandler » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:27 am

Hi Kevin,

A good mouth watering review. I'll just add that Andrew has given details how to obtain a copy here:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11669&start=30#p265728

James Pratt
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by James Pratt » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:08 am

Andrew will be speaking about his book next Tuesday on ZOOM. All welcome. Go to the Camberley CC website for details of this and to watch past get togethers: Howell, Adams, Webb ... Enjoy! (I have his book and recommend it heartily. I review it on Chess Comedy Books54 on You Tube)

James

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Adam Raoof
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by Adam Raoof » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:25 am

James Pratt wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:08 am
Andrew will be speaking about his book next Tuesday on ZOOM. All welcome. Go to the Camberley CC website for details of this and to watch past get togethers: Howell, Adams, Webb ... Enjoy! (I have his book and recommend it heartily. I review it on Chess Comedy Books54 on You Tube)

James
Is there a link to your review, James?
Adam Raoof IA, IO
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Don’t stop playing chess!

James Pratt
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by James Pratt » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:49 pm

No, just utube.

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JustinHorton
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:59 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:25 am
James Pratt wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:08 am
Andrew will be speaking about his book next Tuesday on ZOOM. All welcome. Go to the Camberley CC website for details of this and to watch past get togethers: Howell, Adams, Webb ... Enjoy! (I have his book and recommend it heartily. I review it on Chess Comedy Books54 on You Tube)

James
Is there a link to your review, James?
Yes
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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NigelDonovan
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by NigelDonovan » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:09 pm

Nice review, Kevin!

I am finding this book hugely enjoyable.

I know a lot of the people in the book from playing in tournaments and for Charlton and Kent in the 90s. I've had a couple of drinks with Andrew in my time, and he was always entertaining in the pub, so it's no surprise to me that he writes so entertainingly here. And his openings range from unusual to extraordinary.

I hope to write a proper review at some point.

Highly recommended!

JohnBass
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Re: "Off the Board Chess" by Andrew Smith

Post by JohnBass » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:25 pm

I have known Andrew for many years and have had a copy of his book for a couple of weeks now. If you enjoy tactics, off-beat openings, anecdotes and more tactics (without too much analysis), this will definitely be a book for you.

What makes this book a bit different from most is that I know personally (or know of) many of the characters featured. If you have played in the London / Surrey / Berkshire areas in the past you have probably come across Andrew in a league match at some point, or seen him at 4NCL or weekend swisses.

A highly entertaining book.

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