Publisher: Gambit, 2017, Pages: 160, Paperback
It’s major news when a legendary player reveals his opening secrets. And when he has rarely written about his games or preparation methods, and was famous for meticulous, ahead-of-his-time opening analysis, it makes it a true publishing event.
Yet that is what eight-time world championship candidate Lajos Portisch has done. In this book, he opens his extensive opening files and presents the most important games and unused novelties in the Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Game). He also explains the strategies and ideas behind these lines, and places the key games in their historical settings. Anecdotes abound, as do reflections on his key rivals, including Fischer, Karpov, Tal, Larsen and Smyslov.
This is also a thoroughly modern work. As well as drawing upon games from his own long career, Portisch includes important Ruy Lopez games by modern champions, including Anand and Carlsen, describing them from his own unique perspective. All analysis has been computer-verified, with Portisch’s hand-made variations standing up to scrutiny in most cases, but with the computer adding new and surprising twists. Thus we see how human creativity can remain a vital component in modern preparation.
Lajos Portisch is one of the greatest players of the modern era. An elite player from the 1960s to the 1990s, he qualified for the candidates eight times and was board 1 for the Hungary team that won olympic gold in 1978, ahead of the USSR. He is one of the 12 Hungarian ‘Sportsmen of the Nation’ – the country’s highest sporting honour.