Efstratios Grivas, Chess Analytics: Training With A Grandmaster. Foreword by Robert Zysk. (Russell Enterprises, 2012.) 320 pp., $24.95.
Efstratios Grivas is a Greek grandmaster probably best known nowadays for three things. First, he has with some justification named a variation of the Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6) after himself. Second, he has made a name for himself as a writer of training materials, and this book is best considered as another entry in that genre. And third, alas, he has recently walked into a plagiarism scandal, and that brings us to the book at hand.
The book is a loose collection of 45 lessons in three sections. There are 24 lessons on the middlegame, 15 on the endgame, and six miscellaneous pieces to close out the book. Each lesson begins with a discussion under the heading "concept", proceeds with a number of well-chosen, well-analyzed examples, and finishes with a short summary of the lessons learned ("conclusion").
The book's general level is pretty high - I'd say it's best suited to players over 2000, though as always ambitious players a little below that could work with it as well. I also think that in terms of format, it's more suited for trainers than those wishing to be trained, but that shouldn't stop those who are interested. It's not a book on the level of work by Dvoretsky, Aagaard, Mueller or Yusupov, but it has merit and I wouldn't try to dissuade interested players from picking it up.
Now for the controversy. One of his lessons is called "The Square", and it examines the unusual endgame R+B+P vs. b+n+p, where the bishops are of opposite colors to each other and the pawns are locked on the colors of their respective bishops. Grivas examines two games, starting with the famous Kasparov-Karpov from their final world championship match in Lyon in 1990. This ending was infamous for having been solved at the time by a computer, a result which helped speed the demise of adjournments pretty much for good. Now it's infamous for a second reason, as Grivas pretty evidently "borrowed" much of the narrative text of his analysis from a column by GM Lubomir Kavalek, as Kavalek himself very clearly details.
As far as I know, no similar objections have been raised to the rest of the book's content, so while that's not any sort of justification, one may at least hope it was a one-off, one time only lapse in judgment. The publisher has apologized for Grivas's error, as has ChessBase (Grivas made a DVD which also used the material in "The Square"), but again, as far as I know, Grivas himself has remained silent on the matter. (If someone is aware of his having apologized, please let me know.) It's hard to recommend the book under these circumstances, but I'll leave that judgment up to my readers. (As if it wasn't up to you in the first place!) I'll just say that taking the book on its own merits, it's a good, solid work that strong club players up to at least FMs can use profitably, especially under the guidance of a trainer.