The Thinkers is a visual tribute to the game of chess, showcasing the emotions, exertions and desires of the players, and conveying the mental intensity only chess can command. Included are some of the most iconic portraits of today's stars, as well as emotive shots of ordinary players from all over the world, with photos taken over the last five years in venues such as Mombasa, London, Chennai, Las Vegas, Baku and Sao Paulo.
Llada's photographs capture the full richness and drama of the game, making this the most visually stunning book ever devoted to chess.
Occasionally, we encounter books that are quite unlike anything we have seen before. The Thinkers decidedly falls into this category. If you are a reader of chess magazines and websites, you will undoubtedly have come across David Llada’s work. He is the man behind a number of the most iconic chess photographs over the last few years. If you are on twitter, do yourself the favor of following him (@davidllada) and you will be rewarded by a gallery of pictures from many important chess events, even as recent as the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, but also smaller events where he has captured great shots of little–known players.
This book is not as recent as the other titles featured in this article, in fact it was released towards the end of last year. However, I have chosen to include it for several reasons: 1) I have just received my review copy, 2) It would make a fabulous present for the holiday season and 3) After having been well received in Europe, it is only now beginning to gain well–deserved momentum here in the US.
In itself, this hardback book is a great production with a dust jacket and an oversize format as in traditional coffee table books. But inside is where the magic starts. Page after page of stunning pictures, in color or black and white, snapped at just the right moment to capture a glint in the eyes of the players, the reflection in their glasses, that sweet smile they give when they make a good move or know somebody is watching them. And, then again, simply shots of players considering their moves in a way they all do in their games.
In this book you will find photos of several world champions and top grandmasters, both men and women, but there are also many intriguing images of players that you will not otherwise have heard of or seen pictures of before. Each photo and each page tells a little story, not in words but in images. I found all this intoxicating, getting goose bumps when I felt I was sharing a moment that was otherwise exclusive to the player captured by Llada’s lens and shutter.
For chess fans who have all the opening and endgame books their shelves can hold, this book is the book to get for the holidays. I know I will treasure my copy for years to come.