Hardback or Paperback, 588 pages Thinkers Publishing 2023
Serving as the translator for Gabriel Velasco’s Vida y Partidas de Carlos Torre was my first big job in chess book writing and editing, and one of my most enjoyable. Besides the interesting work of turning Spanish into English, it introduced me to Carlos Torre as a chess player and as a person. It has been twenty-three years since the first edition of this book went to press. It was well received critically, and I felt proud of what Dr. Velasco and I had worked hard to produce. Still, over the years, as my skill and experience with chess databases and analytical software increased, I realized it could have been much better. Better for one in its technical aspects, especially game annotations and notation. Also as I continued research into chess history (a lifelong interest), new things related to Torre would turn up, things that would have made worthwhile additions to the book. These kept accumulating in my files. But they just stayed there until I saw the film Torre x Torre, a documentary by Mexican film-makers, released in 2019. It inspired me to think seriously about a new edition. Dr. Velasco was unable to contribute further, and even went so far as to suggest that the new edition should be credited to me as sole author, but there is still enough of his original work here that I could not accept that.
Here is what has been added to this edition: More accurate and more extensive annotations, computer-assisted. Every game has been examined under Stockfish 14, probably the best analytical engine available for home computers at this time. For the first edition we had only Fritz 4 and 5, which compare to Stockfish like a Model T Ford to a Ferrari, and many games were given no computer examination at all. Thus owners of the first edition will find most annotations here substantially different (and substantially better). However, many general assessments and heuristic notes proved valid and have been retained. ¦ Torre’s own annotations to several games have been unearthed and added.
These come from several sources: the American Chess Bulletin, his book of the 1926 Mexican Championship tournament, and his instructional booklet Development of Chess Ability. Preface to this Second Edition Torre2_final.indd 13 06/12/2022 18:19 14 The Life and Games of Carlos Torre ¦ Several games have been added. Some, frankly, are Torre losses, which are given in the interest of presenting a more complete, balanced picture of his play. The first edition, to some extent, looked at Torre through rosecolored glasses; here the aim is only for untinted clarity. Also added are the six games between players other than Torre that he annotated for the Mexican Championship tournament book (see Chapter VIII). ¦ There are many more diagrams and photographs than in the first edition. Also more thumbnail bios of Torre’s opponents. ¦ More ancillary material about Torre’s life and career: pictures, anecdotes, interesting facts, opinions, bits of trivia etc., drawn from the American Chess Bulletin, the Wiener Schachzeitung, the film Torre x Torre, and other sources. ¦ A 1927 interview with Torre, published in the Yucatán magazine Anahuac, in Chapter III. ¦ Chapter IV, excerpts from the book 64 Variaciones Sobre un Tema de Torre by his friend Germán de la Cruz. ¦ Chapter V, “Remembrances of Carlos Torre,” which consists of columns and articles from newspapers in his home town of Mérida. ¦ Chapter VI, “A Clash of Opposites,” an article originally published in the British magazine Kingpin, comparing and contrasting Torre with the notorious Norman Tweed Whitaker, whom he played at Detroit 1924. ¦ Chapter VII, the full text of Torre’s 1926 instructional booklet Development of Chess Ability, which has become a very rare collector’s item. ¦ Chapter IX, a review of Torre x Torre, a film by turns fascinating, informative and misleading. ¦ A more extensive, more fully informed overall assessment of Torre as a chess player in Chapter X. I have preserved Dr. Velasco’s biographical portrait of Torre much as it was, though with several additions and some minor corrections. Also some of our original game annotations (at least those not overturned by Stockfish!). And the vast majority of the games are the same ones he chose for the first edition. Some are readily available on ChessBase, but others, especially the non-tournament games from Torre’s 1926 sojourn in Mexico, are known today only because of his diligent research. Besides Dr. Velasco, I would like to thank Juan Obregón, co-director of Torre x Torre, for sending me various Mexican newspaper articles about Torre, and along with his fellow director Roberto Garza, for providing information about their Torre2_final.indd 14 06/12/2022 18:19 Preface to this Second Edition 15 film; Edward Winter for two letters about Torre written by E.Z. Adams; Jeremy Spinrad for news reports of Torre’s 1926 breakdown; and also Guy van Habberney of Belgium, for providing scans of Torre’s book on the 1926 Mexican Championship. Also my junior high school Spanish teacher, the late Felipe Chacón, for all he taught me about that beautiful language so that I could translate those texts. And finally my beloved wife Emily, who is about the most supportive helpmate a chess writer could want, even though she doesn’t know the game.
Hardback (9789464201765) / Paperback (9789464201727)
Taylor Kingston, Pas Robles, California, November 2022
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