Il grande libro degli scacchi

Sperling & Kupfer, Milano, 2009
With contributions by:
Giuseppe Baggio, in the chapter about Shogi
Cosimo Cardellicchio, in the chapter about chess machines
Gordan Markotich, in his interview
Cesco Reale and Agostino Guberti, in the chapter about XiàngQí

Translation from Dario De Toffoli's Introduction

The rules, sure, the technique, of course. But also the culture, the history, its presence in movies and literature. This has been our approach to the "wonderfull" game of chess: we tried to look at this universe from outside, highlighting its many peculiarities.

Giampaolo Dossena writes: «It's a history that brought to write about chess more than about any other game. More books than any possible human activity, art or knowledge. From here there could be a new persecution. There are many people convinced that chess is such a complex and perfect world that one may loose the desire to enter it and loose the pleasure of playing it».

Well, why then another book about chess? Was it really that necessary?  And the answer is yes, it was necessary! This book shines among the many editions about chess, because all the other books are very technical (often really good), written by chessplayers for chessplayers or people that want to become chessplayers. The publisher Sperling & Kupfer realized this fact and after the great success of my book about Poker ("Il Grande libro del poker"), they convinced me to go also through this path, with the same attitude and intent.
Produce a book that is easy to read and consult, ideal for somebody that has just a general interest for this game, but at the same time ideal for a beginner that wishes to understand if chess is really the right game for him.

Such a book could never be written by a real chessplayer, because a player sees the game from inside and the result would have been creating a copy of many other already written books. But of course, a book like this couldn't be written by a non specialist like me, a multiplayer that isn't devoted to just a single discipline, because of a not enough good competence. So I decided to be supported by a real Master of chess… and so I did. Guys, that was an epic fight!

I was trying to make the text fluent and easy to understand, maybe less technical (but the technique is easy to find in any other book), and the Master was insisting to favour the sequences of moves more than explanations: we all agree that "the best way to learn is by playing", but I am convinced that before that, one has to turn on his curiosity that will lead him to want to learn to play the game. Between us there was Leo Colovini, which is a chessplayer (but not a Master). He tryed to translate and to make the Master and I agree, even fighting to find a common language between us. What a challenge!
This book was written only thanks to a passionate and enthusiastic tension. Different from any other book about chess, it attracts whoever takes it in his hands, offering the first technical instruments to go over the occasional player's level. It was hard... but we made it!

Again, Dossena writes: «Maybe a book about apocalyptic sciencefiction, in which all the possible chess games have been played, catalogued, studied, memorized, has already been written, and the game of chess has become a children game, only playable by innocent people. Maybe such innocent players are those who never read a book about chess and don't think to become part of a club or take part to a tournament. It is possible to play chess as an amateur, privately, hiding. One may play chess when he is a child, and one may remain a child, at least in playing this game».

Well, our ambition is that this book will be appreciated by people that want to remain children in chess, as well as by people that wish to become specialists.

Logo Centro studi scacchistici.JPG
Go to the
interview to Dario De Toffoli on the webpage "Centro studi scacchistici Turing Duchamp".