Treasure Chess - A Review

Mar 22, 2008, 12:00 AM |
8 | Other

When an author, under the Acknowledgment section writes, "For a book like Treasure Chess it is not easy to cite where all my references and impressions came from, so I'm not even going to try," I became intuitively doubtful that this new publication would offer anything new, especially considering the false idea that chess is the "World's Oldest Game."

Page 21 Pandolfini writes, "Surprisingly, strong players do not necessarily possess greater recollecting skills, as evince in Dutch psychologist Adrian De Groot's seminal paper in 1938...(Which seminal paper is that? Bruce doesn't mention it but it was
Thought and Choice in Chess. 1938? Wrong date too. In 1946 he wrote his thesis Het denken van den schaker, which in 1965 was translated to English and published as Thought and choice in chess. Source: Bruce probably meant to write, "1978" referring to the 2nd edition (June 1978) Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter Source:

Page 66 he writes, "In 1846
Stanley wrote, 'Thirty-one Games at Chess...Also in 1946, he founded American Chess Magazine...'"

Page 67 Morphy's dates are written twice correctly as (1837-1884) but on page 20 it reads, "'Checkers is for tramps.' - Paul Morphy, American Chess Master (1836-84)" and page 96 it reads, "(1843-87)

Page 73 he spells Saemisch as "Samisch"

On page 236, Pandolfini writes, "According to Professor Steven Garrard, (the correct spelling is Gerrard, L.T) the Blackwell published books of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) have at least 181 references to chess and its cognates (chessboard, for example) Chess is not mentioned in the Tractatus (the
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Wittgenstein's seminal 1922 treatise analyzing modern logica and metaphysics through language), but here's what the profound "Witt" says about certain chessic fine points in The Blue Book, a set of notes compiled in 1933-34 by his Cambridge students having to do with Wittgenstein's special way of thinking.
"We distinguish in chess between good and bad moves, and we call it a mistake if we expose the queen to a bishop. But it is no mistake to promote a pawn to a king."
I think he was on to something."
Did Pandolfini research Wittgenstein on his own or did he happen to read the following articles, which were put together in April/May right before the publication of
Treasure Chess (Publisher: Random House Puzzles & Games October 30, 2007, Source: and
It's one thing to combine references and place them online for the better good of research, but to place it in a book as mere "trivia", pawn it off as your own, and then write, "For a book like Treasure Chess it is not easy to cite where all my references and impressions came from, so I'm not even going to try," is very pathetic.
On the very next page (237) he goes on to cite Leo Tolstoy's famous work,
War and Peace, with the title, "War and Piece"
On Chess and Psyche, page 209 Pandolfini writes,"Norman Reider a psychoanalytic interpretation to chess in his 1959 paper,
Chess, Oedpius, and the Master Dolorosa. It 'crystallizes within its elaborate structure the family romance, is replete with symbolism and has rich potentialities for granting satisfactions and for the sublimation of drives.'"
He also mentions Freud and Herbstmann but do the following sites seem similar?: and


Page 265 it reads, in regards to Fischer's patented chess clock, "Devised and patented by Fischer in 1989..." Actually, it was filed in 1988 and issued in 1989, therefore it must have been devised earlier. One only needs to observe the patent below:

Patent number: 4884255

Filing date: Aug 5, 1988

Issue date: Nov 28, 1989

Inventor: Robert J. Fischer 

U.S. Classification


International Classification

G04F 300
"Never judge a book by it's cover," seems highly overrated and we can attest this during our observation of Treasure Chess. (VIII) Preface Pandolfini writes, "Treasure Chess is my collection of the fascinating trivia, inside tips, stories, and anecdotes that I've been collecting over the years." I'm sure it's a nice collection.


Avital Pilpel couldn't have stated it any better when he wrote, "Utter trash."



Lawrence Totaro (reprinted by permission)

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