Revealed: why Bobby Fischer learned Russian

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Bobby Fischer had to learn Russian to be able to read and understand Isaac Lipnitsky's 1956 classic: Questions of Modern Chess Theory. Now, for the first time, an English language edition of this lost masterpiece has been published, by our friends at Quality Chess.

The Ukrainian Isaac Lipnitsky (1923-1959) outpaced Smyslov, Petrosian, Boleslavsky and Geller to finish second in the USSR Championship in 1950. So he was a very strong player.

But his book made him famous, albeit in narrow circles. For it was only printed in limited editions, even in the Soviet Union. Yet Botwinnik and Fischer knew his work well and often referred to it.

Lipnitsky focuses on general problems of opening and middlegame theory (centre, mobilization of pieces and initiative), plan-development and assessing a position. Others have tried this, but Lipnitsky is different.

He is more imaginative and accessible. British Chess Magazine called it "superb", and Anatoly Karpov said: "read through any two pages and see for yourself". A bombshell of simply presented superior chess knowledge.

This book will from now on be with us, chess players, for ever.
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