Reports | April 20, 2009 1:00

Charles Hertan wins ChessCafe Book of the Year Award

Forcing Chess Moves is Book of the Year 2008Since the year 2000, ChessCafe, famous for its book reviews, holds a voters competition for the award of ' Book of the Year'. In the past, big chess authors such as John Nunn and John Watson have won the award. Now, little-known FM Charles Hertan has won it for the year 2008, ahead of Lars Bo Hansen and... Garry Kasparov.

Just a quick glance at reviews that have appeared of Forcing Chess Moves, published by New in Chess last year, tells you everybody just loves it. As reviewer Elizabeth Vicary says on the USCF website:

Let me come out and say upfront: I love this book, mostly because the positions are absolutely exquisite. I have a student who exclaims “Sexy!” whenever we do a problem in class that he finds aesthetically pleasing, but I’ve never been tempted to think of chess in those terms until I read this book.

ChessCafe reviewer Steve Goldberg himself admits that the cover of the book put him off at first, but in the end he's equally enthusiastic. It shows how convicing Hertan's method really is. En passant, Hertan proves its possible to write a great harlechess book even if you're not a grandmaster or happen to have been World Champion.

Forcing Chess Moves focuses, not surprisingly, on moves that 'force' something - checks, captures, or basically anything that limits the opponent's options - and Hertan gives great examples of why it's so important to consider these moves at all times. He argues convincingly that by training yourself to spot these moves, we develop 'computer eyes' - meaning that we stop succumbing to the human bias to see only 'natural' moves. This is something not only serious chess students will appreciate and understand, but also blitz players or Internet 'lightning' addicts. And it's the exactly for these reasons - great practical value, concreteness of the subject and appealing examples - that the book was awarded the prize.

Ironically, ChessVibes did do reviews of both the two other shortlisted titles: Garry Kasparov on Modern Chess Part II and How Chess Games are Won and Lost. Our verdict was highly positive in both cases, but somehow we missed the winning title! What can we say? We offer our congratulations to Charles Hertan and New in Chess for winning the well-deserved award and we warmly recommend Forcing Chess Moves to chess players of all levels.

You can buy Forcing Chess Moves here.

You can read Steve Goldberg's original review here.

Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll

Latest articles