Book Review: The Art of Bisguier, Volume 1, 1945 – 1960

This book is for sale – see info at end of article.

Publisher Newton Berry makes several mistakes in the format of this book but is forgiven because he does many more things that are great: Large size paper: 81/2 x 11; very good printing, easy to read, large type for game moves and italic type for notes, best indices I have seen, many photographs, best diagrams I have seen – 380 of them!

Born October 8, 1929 in Bronx, New York, Libra/Snake. “Will you, won’t you, join the dance? The further off from England the nearer is to France.” “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledum, “if it was so it might be; but as it isn’t it ain’t. That’s logic.”

Anyone asking a simple question of Art, expecting a simple answer, will recognize that. “The Snake is philosopher, political wizard, wily financier and the deepest thinker and enigma of the Chinese cycle. Graceful and soft-spoken, loves good books, theatre, food, music and will gravitate toward the finer things in life.”

Art loved to play chess and soon became an International Master by winning the Vienna 1952/53 International Tournament.

Bisguier was an amateur who worked for a living and played in only a few international events. He says he received the Grandmaster title in 1957. My guess is that there were only 20 to 30 in the world at that time.

At the Leipzig 1960 FIDE Team Tournament he had 9 wins, 2 losses, 5 draws on board four – occasionally playing up.

While continuing the great style that was the tradition of Marshall, Art’s style was radically different. Frank lacked patience and made anti-positional moves. Bisguier is a classical player and his attacks followed naturally from his straight-forward moves. Frank was serious about chess but Art, who hated to lose, had panache and would not let a loss affect him for long. His secret was: there was always a pretty girl to console him.

All grandmasters I have met have been friendly, but Bisguier is especially genial, unassuming, courteous and unfailingly pleasant, not just to me, but to every person he meets. He is America’s most respected player.

Art loves chess so much he claims to have played more games than anyone in history, because of simultaneous exhibitions, and on more different styles of “weird” sets.

Long have I admired Art’s games and it is a great pleasure to play them over again – and again. There is no deceit in his play, so it is easy to follow.

The notes are superb, better than Emanuel Lasker in not telling too much but explaining the “nut” of the position so clearly that even patzers can understand.

Bisguier’s best game is when he defeats Spassky with the Schliemann Defense: 1 PK4 PK4; 2 NKB3 NQB3; 3 BN5 PB4!

Written with love, this book is foll of puns, jokes, anecdotes, trivia and chess history, accurately reflecting the esteemed personality of the author.

Chess is a game of knowledge, not logic. The logic can only be learned after acquiring knowledge. By playing over his games and reading his excellent notes, one gains important knowledge as if by osmosis.

Please write to Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier and ask him to publish Volume Two of The Art of Bisguier.

— from Confidential Chess Lessons, Copyright © 2006 James Schroeder
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For sale:
The Art of Bisguier, Volume 1, 1945 – 1960, © 2003

$22.00 postpaid

James Schroeder
3011 E. 9th St.
Apt. #15
Vancouver, WA 98661

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