Thursday, 23 June 2016


Many authors and publishers have shoehorned the name Fischer into their chess book titles, regardless of how much content (if any) the book has relating to Bobby Fischer. This is presumably in the hope of attracting potential readers.  The recently published The Fischer Kings Gambit by Timothy Taylor is the latest example.

Another word that frequently appears in chess book titles is Combination, no doubt, again, with the hope that this word evokes exciting and stimulating contents.

The first book that I can trace, in the English language, to include the word Combination in its main title is Elements of Combination Play in Chess, by Fred Reinfeld, Black Knight Press, New York, 1935.  

However, the word had been included in the convoluted sub-title of J.H.Sarratt's A New Treatise on the Game of Chess, published in 1821. Early 19th century chess books often had very extensive full titles.


Further examples from the 1930's to the 1950's include:

The Art of Chess Combination by Eugène Znosko-Borovsky, London, 1936

Chess Combinations and Traps by Sozin and Reinfeld, New York, 1936
The Basis of Combination in Chess by Julius Du Mont, London, 1938

The Next Move is...Studies in Chess Combinations, Cordingley, London, 1944 

1001 Brilliant Chess Sacrifices and Combinations, Reinfeld, New York, 1955
Also published as:
1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations and 1001 Chess Sacrifices and Combinations.

Pocket Guide to Chess Combinations and Sacrifice, Edward Young (i.e. Fred Reinfeld), Baltimore, 1955. This is not recorded in Betts along with several other chess books by Edward Young.

Well known examples from the 1960's and 1970's include the following:




Familiar examples from the 1980's include:

An obvious recipe for a sure-fire best seller would be a book including both Fischer and Combination in its title, and there is such a work!

Robert Fischer: Great Chess Combinations by Aleksander Kalinin, published by Russian Chess House, Moscow, 2013. As soon as I receive my copy I will post a picture.

For details of this book see my article of 19th July 2016.

                                      © Michael Clapham 2016

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure "raising sales" is the point here - after all, collections of combinations are a very common subject for chess books. Presumably all the books you gave do, in fact, do what they say on the title, much like books about the ending usually feature "ending(s)" in the title. Even the "Fischer's combinations" book is likely to offer just that, although why we need yet another book of these games is another issue.

    A much more misleading word in the title is surely "winning", as in a "winning chess openings for white" (which begs the question why black ever plays those variations) or "complete", as in 150-page large-print books claiming to be a "compete guide to chess". At least "Fischer" and "combinations" commit the author to say something about Fischer or combinations; "winning" or "complete" commit them to nothing.