[UPDATE] As I look at the Amazon boxes I notice that I over paid for both the Horowitz and Gufeld books! Next time I guess I should look up the prices before buying... Even at used book stores. I "saved" about a dollar on the Capablanca book.
I went by what is fast becoming a favorite book store to visit this morning, McKay Used Books, and picked up three chess books. The first I picked up is by one of my favorite chess authors, I.A Horowitz, entitled The Golden Treasury of Chess. Horowitz authored numerous tomes on the Royal Game and is always a quality read.
Unlike many game compilations, Horowitz simply presents the games with a small forward to each game detailing the circumstances and history of each game. Some have a description as simple as Knights without armor as in Game 52 and other have earned full paragraphs as did Game 4: It is many years since I first saws this game, but the final position with Balck's Queen trapped by its own far-advanced pawns, and White's King gaily advancing down the board to assist against his colleague is still good for a chuckle. Imagine Kieseritsky's chagrin as he stares ruefully at the bottled up Queen! Who says there is no humor in chess?!
The book is composed of seven chapters beginning with Horowitz's favorites and continuing from the Pre-Morphy era to Fischer's rise during the Russian Hegemony (included in the 1969 update). Each chapter has a forward written in Horowitz's unique romantic style.
I also picked up another classic, one that almost every chess enthusiast will include in the top ten most influential chess books ever, Chess Fundamentals by Jose Capablanca. While written for the beginning player, Capablanca's work holds many insights for even the most advanced student. I have several copies of this book, but this one has algebraic notation which my other copies do not.
The third book I acquired today is on my favorite opening system as black, The Caro-Kann. Caro-Kann System 4...Nd7 by the dependable and prodigious Eduard Gufeld is a praxis of the Smyslov branch of the classical Caro-Kann denoted, as the title states, by Black's 4...Nd7 instead of 4...Bf5. Petrosian and Smyslov popularized the system which was later championed by Karpov. Nimzovitch, to whom I adhere as a hypermodern student, was among the first to delve into the system's intricacies. The Caro-Kann typically is played with the goal of unhindered development of the Queen's Bishop in mind, but this system eschews that point with the fourth move in favor of increased pawn structure integrity and inherent defensive balance. As with most Caro-Kann variations, White will be induced into over reaching to make use of his "persistent" initiative.