When I first found out that there was (finally) a collection of Suttles' games, I thought it was my lucky day. Unfortunately, although the games are gWhen I first found out that there was (finally) a collection of Suttles' games, I thought it was my lucky day. Unfortunately, although the games are great fun, the collection is not. Despite Seirawan's name being attached to this thing, I seriously doubt that he had little (if anything) to do with it. I certainly hope not. Nope, I'm pretty sure that this one was all Bruce's baby.
And what a babbling, coddled infant it is too. Harper (an apt name if ever there was one) is a guy with precious little to say and 300+ pages in which to say it. Soon enough I learned to just bypass his enormous thickets of positional "advice" and whatnot and follow the moves themselves, as best I could anyway. Even so, he proved to be an overbearingly annoying annotative presence. For some reason, he seemed to think that declaring "centralization" (or better still, "centralization!") was an exemplary bit of wisdom distillation. Then there were the (all too frequent) comments regarding "attacking the base of the pawn chain." His remarks about overprotecting all and sundry also palled soon enough (if I'm remembering my Nimzovich right, Aron said that you could only overprotect strong points, not weak ones). By the time Harper took the Informant to task for the inconsistency of their evaluations of position, I had to toss my eyes toward the ceiling; I mean, here's a guy who could definitely write a book on that particular failing himself.
Oh yeah, and Bruce is provincial with a capital P. Perhaps Vancouver really does represent the hub of the chessic universe to him, but personally, I could hardly care less about the place. But being told that some opening line was tested out in a batch of Vancouver blitz games...I mean, what the heck am I supposed to make of that? Only occasional touches of (intentional) humor salvaged the thing at all (although even those tended to get overused as time wore on).
But by far the worst aspect about this book--and indeed, one that is completely inexcusable: Harper actually uses (or seizes) the opportunity to insinuate SEVERAL OF HIS OWN GAMES into the proceedings. Unbelievable! Actually, even more amazing than that (I mean, the fact that he would have the clueless gall to do something like that) is how everybody else--Seirawan, the editors, the publisher--let him get away with it.
I guess I should've realized, from Suttles' less than heartfelt "interview," that this thing was likely to be a bomb (apparently he's too busy playing computer games or something now to cough up more than a few sentences for the cause). Still, the volume is not a total one-star washout, because there are after all the games themselves...which as it turned out were even more entertaining and bizarre than I remembered. I particularly loved the instances of him playing Rh7 (as black)--not just once, but several times. Wow! It's just too bad that they couldn't have gotten him to write the notes himself, instead of farming the project out to a very dubious prospect indeed....more
Well-done for the most part. I never realized that Andersen once courted Jenny Lind (the proverbial "Swedish Nightingale"!). I am of course assuming tWell-done for the most part. I never realized that Andersen once courted Jenny Lind (the proverbial "Swedish Nightingale"!). I am of course assuming that the author knows his business when he high-handedly critiques the many translators of his subject. Unfortunately though this book grew rather overbearingly psychiatric toward the end; the part about Andersen's possible homosexuality was especially silly (so if that Collin guy suspected of him of being a heterosexual, would he have kept his daughters away from him?...lol). And all that business about "abreaction" became quite tiresome. Still, this is the best book of this series which I've read so far....more
Hampered throughout by the rather ivory-towerish and smug outlook of its author. In particular, being told repeatedly how "pathetic" Fitzgerald was grHampered throughout by the rather ivory-towerish and smug outlook of its author. In particular, being told repeatedly how "pathetic" Fitzgerald was growing became tiresome. The second half of the book is better than the first, when Mizener at last comes back down to earth (for the most part) to stroll along beside his subject. My advice though is: don't read anything past that picture of F Scott and Zelda's tombstone (for in the final several pages of wrap-up our scribe doth verily become very specious and windbaggy indeed). Lots of cool pics anyway. And for sheer poignance, it's hard to top the following note from Zelda (in her sanitarium):
"Dearest and always Dearest Scott: I am sorry too that there should be nothing to greet you but an empty shell.... I want you to be happy--if there were any justice you would be happy--maybe you will be anyway. I love you anyway--even if there isn't any me or any love or even any life-- I love you."...more