Chess Secrets — Great Attackers

Colin Crouch

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Everyman Chess
268 pages

Dr. Colin Crouch has not written many books, but without exception they have been of a uniformly high standard. His latest effort, GREAT ATTACKERS, is his best work yet.

GREAT ATTACKERS examines three giants of the 1970s and 1980s – the young Gary Kasparov (1975-78), Leonid Stein (1972-73), Mikhail Tal (1978-79) and again Kasparov (1978-1982). IM Crouch analyses 22 of their most interesting efforts offering plenty of detailed variations where needed but perhaps even more importantly much needed explanatory prose. The latter considerably stretches the range of potential readers of this book, which deserves to find a large audience from club players to Grandmasters.

There are plenty of books devoted to both Kasparov and Tal but I know of none which take such a focused view. Crouch shows how the two wizards of attack inspired each other in the late 1970s, but that Tal’s attacks were much more intuitive and speculative – how he lived much “closer to the edge”. In the cold light of day, and especially with modern computer analysis, it becomes apparent that victims of Tal’s brilliancies often overlooked strong resources that might have turned the tables, but Crouch again and again points out how simplistic it is to dismiss these attacks as “unsound”. Few mortals cared to be sitting across the board when Tal sacrificed a piece.

GREAT ATTACKERS is a book that deserves to be in every chess player’s library.