Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein — Volume 1, The

Uncrowned King

John Donaldson, Nikolay Minev

Reviewer: Jeremy Silman
Russell Enterprises
402 pages

The first edition of this two book set about the legendary Rubinstein’s life and games appeared (in hardcover) in 1994. Since then, these books have become collector’s items not only because of the historic erudition of both authors, but also because the games of this great player are considered to be extremely modern and are thus prized by modern grandmasters like Gelfand (who said that Rubinstein was one of his heroes), Marin (who spoke very highly of him in his wonderful book, Learn From The Legends), and even Kasparov (who discussed the famous Polish genius in Volume 1 of his My Great Predecessors). I should add that I also have a chapter on Rubinstein in my Silman’s Complete Endgame Course, labeling him as the Master of Rook Endgames.

Since The Life & Games Of Akiva Rubinstein has been out of print and hard to acquire for so many years, it was great news for every chess fan when a new soft-cover edition appeared (with new, recently discovered games and new material about his life added).

Why get such a book? Those interested in chess history will obviously want to own it. But this book goes far beyond a mere historical tome. Aside from a detailed biography, you also get very readable crosstables of his matches and tournaments and every known game Rubinstein ever played (the vast majority are annotated).

This is a must buy for chess historians, lovers of chess history, and fans of high level annotated games. Quite simply, the two-book set (book two is now available) is the definitive treatise on this magnificent player.