A Short Review of Sergei Tkachenko's *Tigran Gorgiev, Maestro of Practical Studies* (Updated)
Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 10:22PM
Dennis Monokroussos in Book Reviews, Tigran Gorgiev, endgame studies

Sergei Tkachenko, Tigran Georgiev, Maestro of Practical Studies: A World Champion's Favorite Composers. (Elk and Ruby 2018, original Russian version in 2013.) 212 pp. Reviewed by Dennis Monokroussos.

The new chess publishing concern Elk and Ruby seems to specialize in two sorts of books thus far: books with a biographical tinge and books on endgame studies. This one combines the two, offering a short biography of chess composition IM (and near-GM) Tigran Gorgiev (1910-1976), followed by a selection of 100 (of approximately 400) of his studies. (Usually but not always given in full.) The bio was quite brief, but long enough to see that he was impressive not only as a study composer but in his professional life as well: he was an epidemiologist who may have made an important contribution to that field. There are also a couple of pages of photos, though none as interesting as the arresting one gracing the front cover.

The vast majority of the work is dedicated to his studies, however, and it is on their basis that I recommend the book to you. As with many but not all of Elk & Ruby's books with studies, the pages are rather small - approximately the size of an index card. On the right side of the page the study is presented on a diagram, along with the task and when and where it was first published. Overleaf we find the solution, and as you would hope from any decent book of studies the solutions are typically beautiful, humorous, or both.

For me, the book was just right. I didn't solve all the studies, but I succeeded in getting most of them right. The first half or so of the book was almost too easy for me. I'd occasionally neglect a point here or there, but went well over 90% when it came to finding the key and at least most of the critical variations. And the vast majority of the time I solved everything. As the book went on my results weren't as consistent, but I still managed to solve a pretty significant majority of the studies.

While my results are likely to be above average, I do think that many of his studies will be accessible and solvable to players rated 2000 and maybe a bit below. Below 1800, I think it'll be tough sledding, but if you're patient and you've tried endgame studies before, give it a shot. And even if you don't want the workout, they're beautiful in their own right, so you might pick up a copy purely for aesthetic reasons.

I was going to show some of the studies, but if you look up the book on its Amazon page and choose the "Look Inside" feature you can find a number of examples already. That will give you a good idea if the book is for you. As for me, I enjoyed it very much. And...okay, I'll show you one study that I especially enjoyed - have a look. Solving it wasn't that difficult, but it filled me with joy all the same. I hope and expect your experience will be similar.

Update: For some reason ChessBase's web publishing tool doesn't show text commentary if there aren't any moves, so the instruction that it's "Black to move, White to achieve a draw" didn't show up, to the consternation of at least one reader. I've therefore re-posted the link, giving a wrong first move for Black to allow the instruction to show up.

Article originally appeared on The Chess Mind (http://www.thechessmind.net/).
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