Monday, May 26, 2008

Chess Book Covers Revolutionized

Thinkers' Press announces a new book on the Colle Zukertort. The cover and the title "Zuke 'Em, The Colle-Zukertort Revolutionized" certainly promise something special. I have found no high resolution picture so it's hard to judge the artistic quality but the book certainly will stand out in my book shelves. Only Basman's "The Killer Grob" (Pergamon 1991) may stand up in comparison.

Probably the best book on the Zukertort (and some complementary lines) is Aaron Summerscale's "A Killer Opening Repertoire". I really wonder what exactly Summerscale means when he admits that Rudel "solved a problem that had vexed him" and says that he is "Very impressed by the sheer amount of brain power." Could this actually be a good book? Until further notice I remain sceptical about the content as in this case the playing strength of the author seems to be a legitimate concern.

No matter what the book actually delivers, the Zukertort in my opinion is a valid try for a small pull with White - at least against set-ups with an early ...e6. I have played the system myself on occasion and have my own small ideas about White's optimal move-orders - but I honestly don't see the potential for a Zukertort Revolution.

Addendum May 29th.
There now is an ad for the book at Chessco's homepage. Many big words but not that much new information. I replaced the previous picture with one with a higher resolution.

Addendum June 1st.
In a comment (below) the author, David Rudel, points to the book's website which contains a lot of excerpts from the book.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, the rating of the author is questioned on his Amazon review of Summerscale's book, and his statement that he is an expert on this system.
That said, he may be a good teacher/author and it may well be a good book, but it should be portrayed as appropriate in its descriptions.

THe Internet is a harsh mistress.

Sverre Johnsen said...

I noticed the same thing but agree with you that judgment should be postponed until the book can be properly reviewed.

I will thread a little careful on this subject and not allow anonymous comments which can be interpreted as libellous. Obviously your comments stay well away from that ditch and anonymity has its place on the internet. This is just a note for future comments.

David Rudel said...

Let me clear this up.

Yes, I do have a rating. Yes it is a joke. It isn't even an official rating. I played 8 tournament games a long time ago, the majority in 1994 [I think] when I was in high school. I won more than I lost, but as you know a person's rating at first is largely based on whom he played.

Various metrics, like Igor Khmelnitsky's Chess Exam, place me about Expert Strength, and I was the chess coach at for 2 years.

I've spent a great deal of time thinking about and working out the kinks of the Colle-Zukertort. The book is every bit a labor of love for the opening and contains far more new ideas than normal opening books [for the simple fact that, let's face it, the Zukertort needed them!]

You can get a better taste of what is inside of the book at

Sverre, I am happy to send you a book to review for yourself if you would be so kind as to email me at with your address.

Sverre Johnsen said...

Dear David,

Thanks for your attention. Your website indeed contains more information than a chessbook buyer reasonably can expect before he buys.

As for your rating, I have had more than one reviewer pointing out that my FIDE Elo of 2172 (or so) is reason for concern but not a big issue as I have paired up with a GM. So your playing strength will certainly be an issue - there is simply no way of ignoring it. That being said, with modern PC programmes and databases available, it cannot be ruled out that a basic chess understanding combined with good working ethics and good communication skills may be sufficient to produce a good chess opening book.

I will send you my contact information tomorrow and will be happy to receive a copy for reviewing. However, if you search my blog you will find quite a lot of information about books but not many full reviews. That's mainly because I am a chess author myself and dislike poorly researched reviews. So while you certainly will get my feedback - possibly even my first impressions - I cannot promise to deliver a final verdict anytime soon.

Sverre Johnsen said...

I received the book yesterday.

The book's exterior is quite nice and my first impression is positive. The text would no doubt have benefited from professional editing, typesetting and proof-reading but obviously the big question is how the explanations and analysis hold up.