"From Budapest 1950 until Berlin 2018"
First of all I have to say some words about two remarkable books…A very long time ago, when I was studying at primary school, I found on my dad’s shelf the book by David Bronstein, The International Grandmasters Tournament. My grandfather had bought it for my father. I already knew how to play chess so I started to look at the games and read the comments. I liked the book a lot. It talked about the Candidates tournament in Zurich 1953. Generally there were several tournament books in my dad’s library: books of championships of the USSR, Interzonals and simply great tournaments. But Bronstein’s book contained unusual comments. The chess pieces seemed to be alive there with their own problems, hopes and plans. This original and talented book made the tournament itself wonderful for me. From that time on I have been convinced that the Candidates tournaments are the special ones!The second book that I would like to mention here was bought for me by my dad a bit later. Written by twofamous Czech grandmasters, Hort and Jansa, it immediately became one of my favourite books. The book contained 230 tests from the authors’ games and their bright, sometimes ironic comments. In one or two sentences the grandmasters talked about their thoughts and emotions before, during and after the games and even in the moment of decision-making there. It created the feeling of being in a dialogue with them. When I started to solve the tests I imagined myself being a grandmaster too and it was in my own game that the position happened so I had to play like Hort or Jansa or even better! This book impressed me very much! In the Russian version its title was Together with the Grandmasters…The book Together with the Candidatesthat you are holding is firstly a book of tests with their solutions, given in the format of game fragments with detailed com-ments. All the tasks in this book have been taken from games of the Candidates competitions. They differ very much in their degree of complexity. I hope this will allow a wide circle of readers to find the tests corresponding to their own chess level here.The first chapter is a presentation of the history of all the Candidates tournaments and matches.
The chapters “Tests for Grandmasters” and “When the Opponent Attacks” have collected the most difficult tests, each one being a hard nut to crack.
The tests of the fourth and the fifth chapters are considerably simpler, and the tests from the sixth and final chapter, “The Primary School”, could be a walk in the park for experienced players.
The third and the fourth chapters, “When the Opponent Attacks” and “Strategy in Action”, are characterized by a thematic selection of the tests. In the third chapter you have to try to discover the opponent’s threats and plans, to refute them or at least to disarm them. This is one of the most difficult practical tasks that a chess player faces in a game. The title of the fourth one speaks for itself. Relatively easy tests where you should make correct strategic decisions have been gathered here. I suggest that when solving the tests you imagine yourselves between the participants in the Candidates competitions, to see the chessboard through their eyes. Together with the Candidates you should think over the crucial positions, feel the fighting tension and, the most important thing, try to make the right decisions. However if the first component of this book is definitely training, the second one is likely to be called aesthetic or even nostalgic. I remind readers of the great tournaments and matches of yesteryear, dramatic turns of fighting and key moments from the brightest games played there.
Of course not all the famous combinations have been included in the book. Some of them, realized already in the initial stage of a game, became a part of opening theory, and some of them were simply not convenient for the tests’ format. That is why the book Together with the Candidates is not a book of the best games of the Candidates tournaments.
Personally, I love examining cross-tables of the old tournaments. I had been following some of these tournaments in my school and student years, and some of them my dad told me about… That is why I have included the cross-tables of the Candidates tournaments for their entire history of almost 70 years. I hope that this book will be useful for improving chess players and their coaches. Perhaps it will also stimulate the interest of chess lovers wishing to relive the history of the Candidates battles. I think the individual test solutions will be useful for your improvement, and looking through the detailed comments of these solutions will give you aesthetic pleasure. And if the episodes of the old battles, remarkable tournaments of the past as well as the names of slightly forgotten great chess players rekindle warm memories of those years, the author of this book will consider his task fulfilled…
Alexey Kuzmin, Moscow, June 2018