28.04.2005 Michael Adams on books

What are your favorite chess books? Did your preferences change over the years?

I mostly like game collections, both by historical and contemporary players. I also read opening books from time to time. I don't think that a subject is very important; the quality is what matters most. And I believe the quality of chess books is generally improving. My preferences did not change much over the years.

Do you make a distinction between 'interesting' and 'useful' books?

If I buy an opening book, it is certainly done for a study, while game collections are more a general reading. Normally I buy the opening book judging by author's names, and I look into a book before buying it. Some books are good and some are not, but the overall trend is positive. For example, I've read the English Attack by Sammalvuo, published by Gambit, and it is quite a good one. It has a lot of original suggestions.

I thought the top players don't buy the opening books, because they develop their own theory?!

(laughs) No, not really. At least this is not my case.

Why the tournament collections are not so popular nowadays?

A problem with game collections is that those at the market are a bit old, and there are very few recent tournaments collections. Part of the problem is that annotations to the best games appear in the Internet and chess magazines all over the world very quickly, and as for the less exciting ones, they are easily downloadable anywhere. Also, writing a good game collection is very demanding, it consumes a lot of time.

Everyone says that chess is changing. Does the chess literature change as well?

The chess literature changes as there are more publishers now than ever before. Such a competition leads to a greater variety of authors and themes, and improves the general quality, too.

Which chess books could be interesting for people that do not play chess, in your opinion?

None of them, I suppose (laughs).

Which ones could recruit new players?

Maybe some books for beginners are really good, but I don't have any of them in my library, so I can't judge really.

Photo from ChessBase archive

Questions were asked by Misha Savinov.

This article is published with permission of Association of Chess Professionals

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