Play Unconventional Chess and Win

Noam Manella, Zeev Zohar

Reviewer: John Donaldson
New In Chess
387 pages

Play Unconventional Chess and Win by Noam Manella and Zeev Zohar is an original book. The only similar work this reader can recall is John Emms’ The Most Amazing Chess Moves of All Time. Here two chess loving Israeli amateurs have collected 137 examples of unconventional chess. A few, like Fischer’s famous 22.Nxd7+ against Petrosian in the 7th match game of their Candidates Final, where Bobby paradoxically exchanged off his good knight for Black’s bad bishop, will be known to many readers, but most will be new.

One example is the game Morozevich – Shirov, Astana 2001, which opened 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Bd3!? d5 6.Qe2 Qe7 7.0-0 Nd6 8.Qd1! g6 9.Re1 Be6 10.Bf1! Bg7 11.d4 0-0 12.Bf4 Nc6 13.c3 Qd7 14.Nbd2 Rfe8 15.h3 and White has the more harmonious position despite the awkward looking and seemingly time wasting moves Bf1-d3-f1 and Qd1-e2-d1. The authors point out more important is that Black’s queen lost time as well, his bishop on e6 is not well-placed and perhaps most importantly the fianchetto may not be the ideal way to develop Black’s dark-squared bishop.

Another example, a bit older, comes from the game Reshevsky-Seirawan, Lugano 1987, where after 1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 g6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Nd5 Nbd7 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.Nd2 Black is seemingly forced to play 10…Rb8 in answer to the threat of Nxf6+, but Yasser came up with 10…Kf8!!. and achieved a very pleasant position after 11.Nb3 Nxd5 12.Bh6 N7f6 13.Bxg7+ Kxg7 14.cxd5 e5.

Yet another example, again featuring Morozevich but this time as Black, is his game against Peter Svidler from the 2012 Russian Team Championship.

After 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.d4 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.a3 b6 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 exd5 9.Qc2 c5 10.dxc5 bxc5 11.e4 dxe4 12.Qxe4 Re8 13.Bd3 Bf6 14.Ne5 the authors point out Black could equalize with 14…Bf5 15.Qxf5 g6 16.Qe4 Nd7 17.0-0 Bxe5 with equality but instead he played 14…Nc6! ignoring the threat to both his king and rook!

Play Unconventional Chess and Win is filled with examples like this which will entertain and inspire readers.