Gata Kamsky was born on the 2nd of June 1974 in Siberia, Russia. At the age of six he moved to Leningrad, where he became a student of the renowned trainer Vladimir Zak. He moved to the USA in 1989. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and the Touro Law Center in New York. He became a Grandmaster at the age of sixteen, is a five-time US Champion and six-time US Olympiad team member, was the 1996 FIDE World Championship challenger, 2007 FIDE World Cup Winner and 2010 World Rapid Chess Champion. He was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in 2016.
"These two volumes contain my most memorable games of chess. Volume 1 covers the period before my early retirement and Volume 2 the period after my return to the game.
The annotations are an attempt to search for the truth and reveal the workings of a Grandmaster's mind. The introductions are designed to show the reader what I thought, felt and experienced at the time and during each game. I sometimes share my personal opinions on things like politics and my philosophy of life.
I am delighted with the support of Thinkers Publishing, and, of course, my wife without whom these volumes would probably never have materialized This is going to be my only work on chess, a subject that I feel I have learned enough about to share with you some of my knowledge." - Gata Kamsky
This book arrived just as I was about to finish my column, but it is simply too good to leave until the next issue of ACM. It follows Kamsky through his early career, from the time he moved to the US in 1989 up to 1996 when he qualified as a Candidate for the World Championship - after which he retired from chess to complete his education. The next volume will cover his career from the time he returned to chess up to the present day.
It’s a hefty volume of 437 pages, yet it only features 22 main games. But, in return, Kamsky analyzes these games exhaustively, often explaining the mindset with which he approached them and why they have special meaning for him. On the back cover, Kamsky writes “The annotations are an attempt to search for the truth and reveal the workings of a grandmaster’s mind”. Occasionally there are stories such as the crisis in the Kamsky camp during the 1994 match against Anand, when his father got into a fist fight with Shabalov, who then promptly left, leaving Dzindzhi struggling to come up with something that could rattle Anand.
While I feel the book could have included more stories about his life away from the chessboard, it is still an amazing read. Studying the games and the annotations will undoubtedly be rewarding for the reader and I can’t wait to delve deeper into these games which feature a who’s who of chess in the 1990s, including Kasparov, Karpov, Kramnik, Anand, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Beliavsky, Salov, Hjartarson and several others. On reflection, it seems to me that the only other thing missing from this book is an index to all those great games.