In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

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In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by John Upham » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:33 pm

Richard James has reviewed

In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

https://britishchessnews.com/2020/09/05 ... s-history/

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In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History
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Nick Ivell
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:54 pm

Sounds like one to miss. If we are talking winning streaks, how can we miss out Fischer's performance from the end of the Palma interzonal onwards - the greatest performance in history?

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Richard James » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:16 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 5:54 pm
Sounds like one to miss. If we are talking winning streaks, how can we miss out Fischer's performance from the end of the Palma interzonal onwards - the greatest performance in history?
To quote Lakdawala: "I was originally going to cover Fischer's fameous (sic) 19-game streak from 1971, then came to the conclusion that most of the readers are already familiar with that." According to the cross-table of the 1963/64 tournament, as published in the book, Bobby scored 11½/11, a unique performance. I've also just noticed that, according to the introduction, his opponents included Norman Weinstein. No: it was Raymond ("Thanks a lot, Ray") Weinstein.

Nick Ivell
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:02 pm

I can imagine that most readers are familiar with his slam dunk in the US Championship, not least because the win against Byrne gets quoted ad nauseam (I've never found that game interesting).

His demolition of Taimanov and Larsen was far more impressive.

Ah well, Cyrus will have his reasons...

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:08 am

Nick Ivell wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:02 pm
Ah well, Cyrus will have his reasons...
One of which could be that he’s the worst writer of chess books alive today. Or not alive today.

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JustinHorton
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:39 am

the king implies a query through his gaping, open mouth
Reviewing Lakdawala
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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MJMcCready
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by MJMcCready » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:22 am

I haven't read it and I'm not going to. It seems as though it's scraping the barrel in terms of an idea for a book.

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Nick Ivell » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:32 am

I probably won't read the book either, but I come here neither to praise Cyrus nor to bury him.

I do have his book on Fischer. In the introduction, there's an interesting list of the strengths of great players in certain areas.

So I wouldn't write off EVERYTHING Cyrus has written - just most of it.

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Nick Ivell » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:45 am

Incidentally, I don't agree with the lists. In 'strategic understanding and planning', I see Fischer is including along with Karpov.

I don't think Bobby was in Tolya's league when it comes to that aspect.

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:37 am

Checking out the sample pages for this particular effort and good Lord, what a load of dreck. Just to kick off, for instance, with this short passage:
Tarrasch, playing Black, is about to promote in just a few moves, so it’s clear that Pillsbury must find something to deliver either mate or perpetual chess immediately
1. "is about to promote in just a few moves" is a tautology.
2. "perpetual chess" should be "perpetual check".

Shortly afterwards we get to "The queen auditions for the role of heroine, one which she is cabable of fulfilling", where "cabable" should be "capable".

Then, starting - but not alas finishing - on the same page, we get this fountain of nonsense:
‘The entire world rings with praises for my accomplishments,’ the c-pawn, who may have forgotten about something.

When someone responds to a direct question with silence, it is usually for one of the following reasons:
1. Shyness.
2. Excessive pride.
3. Discretion is called for.
4. The person is stupid and didn’t understand the question.
5. Complete inattention.

Tarrasch’s non-response is clearly a case of number 5 on the list. The position is sufficiently deranged, so that confusion naturally flows from it. Or maybe Tarrasch’s c-pawn is like the smart, kind, homely high school kid who secretly prays that the prom queen will dump her football-playing boyfriend and accept him, for his inner beauty.

51...♖b1+! put up the greatest resistance: 52.♔g2 ♖b2+ 53.♔g3 ♔g6. The deepest part of the combination is to see that White wins even here, despite Black’s deeply passed queenside pawns: 54.♕e8+ ♔f6 55.d5! ♖d2 (55...c2?? 56.♕e6+ ♔g7 57.♕e5+ loses the rook) 56.♕e6+ ♔g7 57.♕e7+ ♔g6 58.♕xe4+ ♔f6 59.♕xb4 ♖xd5 60.♕xc3+ wins. We don’t know how much of this Pillsbury saw, since Tarrasch cracked on his last move.

52.♕xh7#

Oops! I’m quite certain about two things:
1. No poet will write an epic about Tarrasch’s last move decision.
2. No bard will sing the unwritten poem’s praises, either.

Details, details. I wasn’t there to witness the finish of this game in 1895. I would bet all my worldly assets that Tarrasch’s cheeks were at this point suffused with a ruby rich blush. This disease of inattention plagued Tarrasch later on in his career as well. In his book Die Moderne Schachpartie, written in 1912, Dr Siegbert Tarrasch self-diagnosed a particularly awful loss to Emanuel Lasker in their 1908 match, with the disease ‘amaurosis scachistica’, or chess blindness.
What do we learn from any of this drivel, except that Lakdawala writes it to fill up as much space as he can as quickly as he can without pausing for thought?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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JustinHorton
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:41 am

Also, is this
The entire world rings with praises for my accomplishments
intended to be a quote? A paraphrase of somebody else's line? What?

Incidentally, and this at least is not Lakdawala's fault, the whole thing is rendered even less readable by the standard New In Chess typesetting.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Nick Ivell
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Nick Ivell » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:43 am

Well, that really does sound like verbal diarrhoea.

Gets me thinking Richard may have been on the kind side in his review.

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JustinHorton
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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:30 am

He was, but Richard is disposed to be kind where I, for example, am not.

While I'm feeling unkind, I notice that Lakdawala does the Byrne game that Nick refers to above (one of my favourites, as it goes) and in the course of retailing yet another story that we've all heard before, he tells us one that we haven't.
When I resigned my game to Grandmaster Boris Gulko in the 2005 U.S. Championship, the two IMs in the analysis room mistakenly told the spectators that I stood better! In the same way the grandmasters in the analysis room at the 1963 U.S. Championship at this point announced to the spectators that Byrne stood a shade better in the complications when he resigned.
"When I resigned my game to Grandmaster Boris Gulko in the 2005 U.S. Championship, the two IMs in the analysis room mistakenly told the spectators that I stood better!"

Well, maybe this did actually happen, but I'm with Jimmy Hill on this one. Tell me, brothers and sisters, does this look to you like a position where Black stands better?

Image

As for the other half of the paragraph, where Lakdawala puts it thus:
the grandmasters in the analysis room at the 1963 U.S. Championship at this point announced to the spectators that Byrne stood a shade better
we can look this up in My 60 Memorable Games and see that Evans, in his introduction, quotes Byrne as saying
even at the very moment at which I resigned, both grandmasters who were commenting on the play for the spectators in a separate room believed I had a won game.
Maybe I should say "we can look this up in My 60 Memorable Games, if we can be bothered".

(Interestingly, I cannot find the analysis room anecdote in the notes to his game with Gulko as annotated in Lakdawala's 2011 book on the Slav, although those notes are characteristically copious. Mind you, I have the book in Spanish, which is much better - because it's easier to skip when you are not a native speaker - than having to read Lakdawala in English. But I pity poor Antonio Gude, who had to translate.)
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:07 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:32 am
So I wouldn't write off EVERYTHING Cyrus has written - just most of it.
It's not that no sewer rats taste like pumpkin pie. Just very few of them.

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Re: In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:08 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:41 am
Incidentally, and this at least is not Lakdawala's fault, the whole thing is rendered even less readable by the standard New In Chess typesetting.
If your standards are sufficiently low that you contract Lakdawala to write a book you're hardly likely to be bothered to do any proof reading. And, to be fair, what would be the point?

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