Yasser Seirawan on
Kings, Commoners and Knaves by Edward Winter


The Foreword to Kings, Commoners and Knaves:

Like so many others in the chess world, I first became familiar with Edward Winter’s writings through his publication Chess Notes, which was a blend of scholarly chess journalism, historical research, topical material and accurate good riddance for the lazy and sloppy authors of the chess world. The charm of Chess Notes lay in its good humour and down-to-earth approach, bringing chess scholarship down from the ivory tower and making it relevant to virtually all lovers of the Royal Game.

His highly successful book Chess Explorations was a compendium from the journal’s eight-year run, and now, in this same vein, we have Kings, Commoners and Knaves. In this Information Age, when most of the yearly deluge of chess books falls into two or three drearily predictable categories, it is a delight to open a book that contains material of the sort not to be found elsewhere. Winter is also a dedicated foe of the hackneyed untruths that populate so many chess books, and I promise you that you will never look at chess history in the same way after you read this book.

That is not to say that history is all that you will find here. Kings, Commoners and Knaves also contains topical commentary and hundreds of games and positions from all levels of play. Above all, this is a chess book to enjoy and to cherish. Combining scholarly and lively writing, it is uncommonly well-researched and well-written, and has that delightful undercurrent of humour and wit that has always graced Winter’s writings. Kings, Commoners and Knaves is a rare chess book, to be treasured for years to come.

Yasser Seirawan
Seattle, September 1998

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