While not a grandmaster himself, Elie Agur has obviously made a deep study of Bobby Fischers games. In this fascinating and highly instructive book, he analyzes the elements of Fischers style with reference to specific games. As Agur says, ""Besides being a study on Fischer, it is a treatise on the middlegame at large"". Over 300 diagram positions are taken apart, with a page or more sometimes devoted to a single move, its implications and alternatives.Topics include pawn structure, piece placement, material, timing, strategy (e.g. plans, seizing the initiative, liquidation, and playing for space), clarity, straightforwardness, alertness, reducing the opponents options, playing to win, practical chances, tactics, technical aspects and overall vision. Fischers weaknesses are not allowed to pass unmentioned, either. Agur devotes whole chapters to suprficiality, misplaying won positions, and typical blunders and oversights.You can learn all sorts of fascinating details about the great man and his opponents. For instance, Fischers decision to play Alekhines Defence against Ciocaltea in the 1965 Capablance Memorial tournament amazed fans. Agur explains what really happened. Fischer was participating by cable, as the State Department denied him a visa to go to Fidel Castros Cuba in the aftermath of the 1962 missile crisis. Ciocalteas first move was received as 1. d4 and so played on the board, and Fischer replied 1...Nf6 as usual. Only when the second move, 2. e5 came through was the mistake discovered. Characteristically, Fischer refused to change his first move and achieved a hard-fought draw after a long struggle against an opponent he would often have expected to beat.
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