The Sourcerer’s Apprentice: David Bronstein and Tom Furstenberg

I was lucky enough to find a copy of this classic book at Fred Wilson’s bookstore a while ago for a mere $10, which is a pretty amazing deal considering what it’s selling for on amazon at the moment. In any case, it’s a collection of Bronstein’s games laid out in an interesting format. Each game takes up only a single page, with a single diagram of a position where a combination is possible. So, the book is a biographical game collection, but could also be used as a tactics book quite easily.

For instance, from one of his games against Kotov he presents us with the following diagram with white to move:

Here, white’s queen is under attack but a paradoxical shot ends the game on the spot: Bh6!

This book is full of these simple yet interesting tactical blows. I wish more biographies took this format, as it made it easier to cruise through than…for instance Euwe’s bio by New In Chess which is dense with hundreds of pages of prose. Here, the games really speak for themselves with minimal commentary interspersed into the parenthesis of continuations.

Here is the complete game Bronstein v. Kotov from the 1946 Moscow Championship: