It is the authors' unashamed intention to overwhelm readers of this book with a wealth of dazzling and magnificent examples in such a way that they will come to share with us the joy and appreciation of beauty in chess for the rest of their lives!
This may sound over the top - it was written that way - but we actually mean it. After joining us on our guided tour round some of the beauty spots of the chess universe (games, studies and problems) we think there is a very good chance you will agree. We believe in the games and positions to be found in this book and hope that, with perhaps a little help from us, they will speak for themselves and convince you.
In fact we are even more ambitious. We also wish to attempt a theoretical analysis of chess beauty. In the first part we will isolate what we believe to be important basic elements of that beauty and look at them one by one. In the second part we will bring those elements together in an orgy of spectacular chess. We will also look at some difficult and abstract questions of chess aesthetics. Hopefully that will also interest the reader; if not it should be more than possible just to enjoy the examples.
As with much else that is worthwhile, taste develops with experience. We are aiming this book at the practical player, of whatever strength. Intelligent beginners should be able to follow a reasonable amount; however, some experience of chess is necessary before you can begin to really appreciate the game.
At the start of the journey there is a small hill to climb: learning the rules and developing some familiar patterns from play. After that it is downhill most of the way! It is probably the case that less playing experience is necessary before you can begin to enjoy problems (they are relatively independent of playing strength) and more is needed before studies can really be appreciated. The complexity of chess is such that one can appreciate the game on many different levels.
It is a great pity that the majority of competitive players have not become acquainted with the worlds of problems and studies. They are missing out. They have all the equipment necessary to derive great pleasure and yet they fail to do so. Why? Many of them believe it will not help their game. Not a good reason anyway; actually they could not be more wrong, as we will demonstrate shortly.
The more this book reaches such people, the better. There is much of value in chess. Some of the positions in this book represent great triumphs of human ingenuity, persistence and sheer intellectual skill. Many beautiful surprises await you. Of course, chess is of great value to society as a competitive sport and as an educational tool, but our objective is to spread awareness of a completely different side to the game. If we succeed to some extent in that objective, it will do no harm.
Extract from Secrets of Spectacular Chess (J. Levitt,128 pages,Batsford,1997,£12.99 ISBN 0 7134 8049 1)
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