The Yuri Averbakh/Isaac Boleslavsky Award for best book published in 2020 goes to “The Life & Games of Vasily Smyslov (The Early Years: 1921-1948)”, written by Andrey Terekhov, and published by Russell Enterprises.
The runners up were “Think Like a Machine”, by Noam Manella and Zeev Zohar (published by Quality Chess), and “Masterpieces and Dramas of the Soviet Championships: Volume I (1920-1937)”, written by Sergey Voronkov, and published by Elk and Ruby.
About the winner
St. Petersburg native Andrey Terekhov is a FIDE Master, an ICCF International Master (correspondence chess) and holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science. His best results at the board were victories in the 2008 Munich Open and the 2012 Nabokov Memorial. He currently resides in Singapore. This is his first book for Russell Enterprises.
Vasily Smyslov, the seventh world champion, had a long and illustrious chess career. He played close to 3,000 tournament games over seven decades, from the time of Lasker and Capablanca to the days of Anand and Carlsen. From 1948 to 1958, Smyslov participated in four world championships, becoming world champion in 1957.
Smyslov continued playing at the highest level for many years and made a stunning comeback in the early 1980s, making it to the finals of the candidates’ cycle. Only the indomitable energy of 20-year-old Garry Kasparov stopped Smyslov from qualifying for another world championship match at the ripe old age of 63!
In this first volume of a multi-volume set, Russian FIDE master Andrey Terekhov traces the development of young Vasily from his formative years and becoming the youngest grandmaster in the Soviet Union to finishing second in the world championship match tournament.
With access to rare Soviet-era archival material and invaluable family archives, the author complements his account of Smyslov’s growth into an elite player with dozens of fascinating photographs, many never seen before, as well as 49 deeply annotated games. German grandmaster Karsten Müller’s special look at Smyslov’s endgames rounds out this fascinating first volume.
About the runner ups
“Think Like a Machine”
With the ascent of computer technology, humans have a chance to develop their thinking process based on hard evidence. Think Like a Machine explores human limitations and proposes new avenues for human thinking, inspired by computer engines. In positions taken almost exclusively from modern tournament play, the authors present jaw-dropping continuations which humans struggle to find, not due to lower human computing power, due to conceptual and perceptual limitations. In this book these “crazy” moves are analysed and categorised. If you want to expand your chess imagination, understanding and intuition, Think Like a Machine is the book is for you. Think Like A Machine is the second chess book co-written by Noam Manella and Zeev Zohar. Manella is a digital and Social Networks Researcher; Zohar is an accountant and businessman. Their previous book, Play Unconventional Chess and Win, was a highlight in chess publishing in 2014.
“Masterpieces and Dramas of the Soviet Championships: Volume I (1920-1937)”
In his three-volume treatise, leading Russian chess historian Sergey Voronkov vividly brings to life the long-forgotten history of the Soviet championships held in 1920-1953. Volume I covers the first 10 championships from 1920-1937, as well as the title match between Botvinnik and Levenfish. The key contestants also include world champion Alekhine and challenger Bogoljubov, lesser-known Soviet champions Romanovsky, Bogatyrchuk, Verlinsky, and Rabinovich, and names that today will be unfamiliar yet were big stars at the time: Riumin, Alatortsev, Makogonov, Rauzer, Ragozin, Chekhover, and many others.