Two eminent chess books have been released recently, A.J. Gillam’s work on Mannheim 1914 and the Interned Russians and Peter J. Monté's The Classical Era of Modern Chess.

A.J. Gillam

Mannheim 1914 and the Interned Russians

After his work on Ostende 1906 (published 2005 by Caissa Editions, see www.chesscafe.com/text/review529.pdf) this is the second "big" tournament book by A.J. Gillam. (Some may have lost track of all his smaller publications, you can find them at www.chessbooks.co.uk/Chessplayer.html.)

1st edition
The Chess Player, Nottingham 2014
Large hardback, light green cloth, 525 pp.
ISBN 978-0-9927924-2-8

Shop price £ 40 (in Germany 59 €) + postage

The author has already described the relevant contents of the book in his announcement (from May 2014), and still more is to find in Brian Almeida’s recent review at ChessCafe.com The Truth is Out There. Altogether I can only agree: the wealth of new information, along with hundreds of unearthed games and rare photographs offer a true treasure trove for historically interested chess friends. And it is Tony Gillam's credit (and that of his collaborators – we have to mention here first and foremost the German author Stefan Haas who published a book on Mannheim 1914 in the previous year) that we can now learn so much about the fate and the chess activities of some prominent masters during WWI – above all Alekhine and Bogoljubow.
Unfortunately some of the (smaller) photographs in the book are very grainy or fuzzy (also pointed out by Tony Gillam), and it is always the question if you should still include such photos (I would prefer to omit them). But this point doesn’t seriously affect the overall excellent impression. The enormous research work and efforts put into this book are worthy of the highest praise. Best you buy the book!

PS (17-09-2014):
- A.J.Gillam's commentary concerning the above linked review by Brian Almeida: The Review of Mannheim 1914 and the Interned Russians
- Hans Ree read A.J.Gillam's Mannheim 1914 and the Interned Russians, see NIC 2014/6, p.96-100 - "The Great Folly".

Peter J. Monté

The Classical Era of Modern Chess

1st edition
McFarland & Company, Inc.,
Publishers,
Jefferson, NC, 2014
www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6688-7

Large hardback,
594 pp.
ISBN 978-0-7864-6688-7
Price $65.00 / 59.95 €

You will find an introduction / summary and sample pages (PDF) at www.newinchess.com/The_Classical_Era_of_Modern_Chess-p-7421.html, as well as a first review by John Elburg at http://chessbooks.nl/elburg196.html.

In a group photo from our Amsterdam meeting 2005, i.e. from a visit to the KB Den Haag, Peter J. Monté can be spotted – standing between Rudolf Reinhardt and Bert Corneth.

Peter J. Monté's tome is the result of a meticulous and most diligent research of nearly 25 years (!) – a possibly record-breaking effort. That alone commands respect and deserves our appreciation. And the book has been scholarly written, with extraordinary care, so it is a profound, reliable and up-to-date reference work for all those working on the chess history of the 15th to 17th century – that is the most interesting period when the evolution of chess made several quantum leaps, i.e. the game experienced far-reaching changes leading from medieval chess (still a shatranj version) to modern chess. But also for all chess friends with a deeper interest in the history of our game this book is certainly a must-have. I would not recommend the work to chess players lacking that interest, the book is no light fiction which would be all too easy to read through.

No doubt the author has done a great job, though I recently also heard a slight critique from a chess friend: in large parts the work would be a very thorough juxtaposition of all the manuscripts from that a.m. period, but a connecting "thread" is somewhat missing, and the reader may not see anymore the wood for all the trees. I think that this objection is not so unjustified. On the other hand, especially the early history of chess is only fragmentarily known (and hence often subject to speculations), so a book on it will be an image of that piecemeal to a certain degree. I will leave it at that remark – maybe others will still discuss this issue in more detail.