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The King: Chess Pieces [Paperback]

By J. H. Donner, Tim Krabbe (Contributor) & Max Pam (Contributor)
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Item description for The King: Chess Pieces by J. H. Donner, Tim Krabbe & Max Pam...

J.H.Donner (1927-1988) was a Dutch Grandmaster and one of the greatest writers about chess of all time. He was a chess reporter and a chess columnist, as well as an annotator of the game.Above all he was a witty and unpredictable commentator of everything and everybody, both inside and outside the chess world.THE KING spans a writing career of more than thirty years during which Donner slowly developed from chess player-writer into writer-chess player. Donner's favourite subjects are: Bobby Fischer, the blunder, chess as a game of luck,why women can't play chess, madness, and poor Lodewijk Prins, his contender for the Dutch National Championship for many years,who, according to Donner, "couldn't tell a bishop from a knight." THE KING is a book full of insults and ironies, but Donner wouldn't be Donner without his self-mockery.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: New In Chess
Pages   391
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 9" Height: 6"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 25, 2006
Publisher   New in Chess
ISBN  9056911716  
ISBN13  9789056911713  

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > Board Games > Chess
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Games > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The King: Chess Pieces?

There is no Chess book Quite Like this  Mar 30, 2008
Donner was Denmark's strongest player since Euwe and a prolific chess journalist. In this collection of essays about chess, Donner claims (among other things) that "the fact is, women are much stupider than men", that "no Dutch can achieve anything worthwhile", and Ree is such a weak chess player he bet he would win the match with him at 150-to-1 odds. Of course, that doesn't for one minute stop him from praises Nona Gaprindashvili's victory in Lone Pine, 1977, worshipping Euwe, and being on friendly terms with Ree-including praising him honestly when he (Ree) won the match.

Donner's "hatereds" are not to be taken too seriously: he is not a megalomaniacal bigot, he merely plays one in his columns (e.g., when he pretends to be deeply insulted that Fischer's famous "10 best players of all time" list somehow didn't mention him.) But *pretending* to be a bigoted know-it-all is wonderful literary excuse for Donner to write about all the "really important" things about tournament X or grandmaster Y--that is, whatever *he* felt like writing about them--and to hell with convention, or with what his employers wanted. After all, if all those inferior people (such as his bosses at the paper, who might even be Dutch and/or women) complain that his reporting is obscure or odd, what's that to Donner?

The result is that Donner's chess essays were like nobody else's--a flight of fancy that takes one to totally unexpected placed. For example, when reporting about a Cuban tournament he participated in, it's much better, in Donner's view, to report, how a bridge hand he played with a few other chess players turned out (while insulting the other players as hopeless bridge bumblers) than to bother with boring stuff, like the tournament's results or other unimportant trivia. While driving his editors in the paper to distraction, Donner's journey is so much fun you simply don't mind that you don't get the crosstable. It is a guided tour of chess as seen by a fanatical, but very funny, eccentric who loves the game waaaaaaaaay too much. They have a sense of tragic dignity to them: those of a man well aware of the absurdity of grown men trying to make a living at what is, essentially, a game--and failing, often due to the petty actions of organizers who cannot play the game themselves.

There is nothing quite like this book. You'll probably love it; you may hate it; but it won't leave you unmoved.
The best chess book ever written!  Aug 24, 2007
This book stands out of competition. I have read many chess books, but this one is certainly the most entertaining book of all. It is a combination of chess and literature. This compilation of chess articles Donner wrote for several magazines, is full of witty chess anecdotes. Donner writes in his incomparable style, and I am sure that the English translation cannot render the exact content of the Dutch text (I have read in Dutch and it is beautiful Dutch). But since this book in Dutch is worth at least six stars, in English it deserves beyond any doubt five stars.
Six Stars!  Dec 28, 2006
J.H. Donner was a chess journalist and Grandmaster from the Netherlands. This book assembles some of his best articles from his 30 year writing career. From the standpoint of reporting and history, you will get accounts of the author's contacts with Fischer, Spassky, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Bronstein, and other greats from that generation --that alone would have been worth the price. But in addition, what emerges is not only a portrait of Donner the man (and he was a character!), but also his fascinating commentary on the human condition. His provocative article on why women can't play chess seems at first to be the rantings of some benighted chauvinist pig, then you see that it is really a tongue-in-cheek tribute to women, and by the end you realize it is something else altogether. Donner has a great feel for irony, a gift for constructing delicious insults, and a sideways approach to his subjects that simply confounds expectations. You won't learn any opening theory, or build your tactical skills, but you will laugh and be entertained. Send more stars!
the king-chess pieces   Nov 6, 2006
This is a fun book to read about chess and some of the stories of the lives of grandmasters. A good read.

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