Fool's Mate Magazine Book Review: "Resign Yourself To Victory" by Jan Gustafsson
Resign Yourself To Victory, by GM Jan Gustafsson
"1. Resigns?! is better than it's reputation." says GM Jan Gustafsson in his controversial new book Resign Yourself To Victory. Anyone who's familiar with the German GM, commentator, and second to world champion Magnus Carlsen knows that his enthusiasm for the game has been practically non-existent for years and his effortless writing style certainly gives us that same impression. "Its technically an opening book but its also a complete philosophy similar to (Nimzovitch's) My System", says Jan. "It's also an excellent complement to my endgame treatise: Winning with Rook and Pawn vs. Pawn". Though Gustafsson is the first to present this system as a cohesive overall strategy, "it has been employed many times in the past, including some very notable examples", explains Jan.
Savvy GM's often choose to employ the technique in the preliminary game of a Swiss tournament. By taking a quick loss at such an early stage they can catch up on sleep, sightseeing, or other activities, benefit from a much less challenging schedule of opponents, and thereby take advantage of "back door" access to the money round.
Top female player in the world Hou Yifan used the controversial technique in the final round of the Gibraltar Masters earlier this year and made global headlines. Yifan's 6. Resigns! ended a game that some chess professionals consider essential in the advancement of women's chess, though 99% of the chess community simply dismiss it as childish absurdity:
FISCHER vs. SPASSKY
Who can forget the 2nd game of the 1972 World Championship match. Most spectators were befuddled by Fischer's 1.Resigns!?, but the dubious strategy "clearly gave Fischer a psychological edge over Spassky for the rest of the match", claims Gustafsson.
A worried Spassky contemplates the implications of Fischer's revolutionary strategic coup
"It surprises me that the approach has not been more popular with today's top players", admits Jan. "Take Baadur Jobava, for example. In his recent appearance on the Grand Chess Tour in Leuven my system would have suited him perfectly. He could have preserved his dignity, saved himself the stress of having to play opponents that are well out of his league, and still pocketed a cool $7500 just for showing up".
Jan Gustafsson (left) intimidates an opponent by employing his latest strategy against 1487-rated nine year old Billy Jones in a recent tournament
There are practical benefits for the club player as well. "Its an excellent system to adopt for those who don't have time to study mountains of tactics, openings, and endgame theory -- or if you're completely frustrated with your lack of improvement and are thinking of giving up chess altogether." says the author. "And for Grandmasters like me, one nice advantage is that under FIDE law, even if you resign every game for the rest of your life, it's impossible lose your GM title".
"My total apathy when it comes to playing chess was a major inspiration for the book."
-GM Jan Gustafsson
Be sure to check in next week for our latest book review. In the vein of Silman's popular self-improvement manual "Reasses Your Chess", we will have a look inside "Check Yourself, Fork Your Opponents", by Yuri Averbakh.