The King

Chess Pieces
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Description / The King

J.H.Donner (1927-1988) was a Dutch Grandmaster and one of the greatest writers about chess of all time. He was a chess reporter and a chess columnist, as well as an annotator of the game. Above all he was a witty and unpredictable commentator of everything and everybody, both inside and outside the chess world.

THE KING spans a writing career of more than thirty years during which Donner slowly developed from chess player-writer into writer-chess player.

Donner's favourite themes are: Bobby Fischer, the blunder, chess as a game of luck, why women can't play chess, madness, and poor Lodewijk Prins, his rival for the Dutch National Championship for many years, who, according to Donner, "couldn't tell a bishop from a knight."

'THE KING' is a book full of insults and ironies, but Donner wouldn't be Donner without a considerable amount of self-mockery.

"After I resigned the last game with perfect self-control
and solemnly shook hands with my opponent in the best
of Anglo-Saxon traditions, I rushed home where I threw
myself onto my bed, howling and screaming, and pulled
the blankets over my face."

Shortlisted English Chess Federation 2006 Book of the Year

The first unabridged English edition of this classic

Lubosh Kavalek, The Washington Post:
"[An] acclaimed masterpiece. The late Dutch Grandmaster was a brilliant, amusing, provoking and self-mocking author, a master of vertical hyperboles and shortcuts."

Taylor Kingston, ChessCafe:
"His reportorial style reminds one of the 'gonzo journalism' of Hunter S.Thompson fame, and his polemics are reminiscent of such great scourges of hypocrisy as H.L.Mencken (...) If you do not buy this book, and you later realize just how good it really is, and what a treasure you have missed, you will feel depressed, and deservedly so."

Raymond Keene, chess columnist of The Times (London):
"Absolutely wonderful."

Harry Mulisch, author of 'The Discovery of Heaven':
"This book is about chess only in appearance, and I hope that no one will allow himself to be scared off by the diagrams and the annotations. It is in fact a magnificent self-portrait of Hein Donner, the player, the equally fearless and hilarious provocateur, who, when the chips are down, will always be found on the right side."

Bob Long, Chessco:
"Totally absorbing. Any insightful person should have this book."

Paul Motwani, The Scotsman:
"An irresistible gem of a book, that weighs in at 390 pages, yet never looses the seemingly magical lightness of its text."

John Saunders, British Chess Magazine:
"A work that all chess players should own. It would probably be my only 'desert island' chess book."

Malcolm Pein, chess columnist of The Daily Telegraph:
"Donner was the wittiest, most irreverent writer of his generation. The book is a triumph."

John Donaldson, Inside Chess Magazine:
"Donner was witty, opinionated and often cranky, but he was always fun to read - assuming of course you weren't the object of one of his attacks."

Sarah Hurst, Chess Moves:
"The most outrageous chess book money can buy."

Jeremy Silman, author of 'How to Reassess Your Chess':
"Far and away the finest chess writing ever seen (...) Trust me, you don't want to be without this book."

Tim Krabbé, author of 'The Vanishing':
"Eminently readable for chess players and non-chess players alike."

Mike Fox and Richard Jame

More Information

ISBN 9789056911713
Weight 700.000000
Publisher New In Chess
Number of pages 392
Publication date Jan 16, 2006
Choose your edition Paperback

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