Jan/Feb 2001 Book Reviews

Master Pieces (the architecture of chess)

Gareth Williams
Allen and Unwin

reviewed by David Skea

Gareth Williams is a respected figure in the world of chess. He has been the principal organiser of chess congresses and was the exhibits coordinator of the World Chess Championship held in London in 1986. He is a founder member of Chess Collectors and an authority on the game's history. This book reflects this interest.

But, if you expect a book about chess tactics and winning play you will be disappointed. This book is all about the chess pieces themselves and how they have developed since chess was first introduced about 600 CE. Lots of beautiful pictures of chess pieces and anecdotes about the famous who have used chess as a divertissement in their everyday business. Not a greatly profound book but, none the less, an interesting book to dip into for the odd 15 minutes browse.

One of the more interesting fact for me, was the derivation of the Staunton set. It was designed by Nathaniel Cook but named after Howard Staunton who won what is regarded as the first world title match in Paris in 1843. It has been used from 1924 in all international tournaments. However, its not a book I would want to purchase and keep on my bookshelf.


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