Adolf Anderssen


Adolf Anderssen: Combinative Chess Genius- Hardcover by Robert Johnson published by Clark & Mackay


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Adolf Anderssen: Combinative Chess Genius. A biography with 80 Annotated Games. Printed on high quality paper with large type and diagrams.

The Australian author has “endeavored to present the fullest, most accurate possible account of Anderssen’s life in English.” A signed hardback version and only 204 copies have been published. Self published, Australia, 2020, Large heavy hardback ( 1,7 kg) Dimensions: (22 x 30cm), pictorial covers. 353 pages with 36 fine large photos (3 in colour of Anderssen’s grave),comprises ten chapters with biography and 80 annotated games using contemporary annotations where possible, appendix with Steinitz’s Obituary of Anderssen, bibliography and indexes.

Well known Australian chess historian Bob Meadley was full of praise in his review for the book: This review considers the quality of the 353 page A4 hardback and it is the best Australian chess book ever published thanks to the author’s determination. Eighty of Anderssen’s games are given with very large diagrams and plenty of space. No cramping here and the chess moves go down the page with many annotations taken from sourcebooks plus Robert’s analysis as a strong correspondence chess player. Anderssen’s life is dealt with at the start of each of the 10 chapters. The paper used is glossy and adds to the 36 photos of the chess players and friends Anderssen made over his life and the buildings he spent time in.

There is quality in a hardcover as it protects the book content and shows the passion of the author for his task which was a long one starting in 1993 when a letter dated 11 July arrived with the words: “Greetings. I am a chess enthusiast from Victoria. I am currently working on a book about Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) that I hope I will finish in about two years..” I replied that he needed to contact Ken Fraser of the State Library of Victoria Australia and John van Manen and that set the wheels in motion especially when John replied to Robert in a two page letter offering assistance.

The book had in fact started in 1977 when Robert was 11 and had played through the Evergreen Game followed by the Immortal and in his reply to John he asked about a publisher he could recommend. My file with Robert is 100mm (4″) thick and to come to the present, he had many tribulations with the chess publishers of today who wanted changes such that he decided to publish it himself and found the Brisbane printers Clark and Mackay who carried out the job to perfection. The cover, especially, is beautifully designed in brown with a nice photo of Robert on the back complimenting Anderssen on the front. Robert Johnson loves chess and Anderssen and has produced a collector’s item that ranks with the great chess books of the past. There are only 204 copies and the bibliography and index set off an outstanding book.

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