Cover image for Samurai chess : mastering strategic thinking through the martial art of the mind
Samurai chess : mastering strategic thinking through the martial art of the mind
Gelb, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Co., 1998.

Physical Description:
xv, 256 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Aurum Press, 1997. With new index.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1448 .G45 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A third degree black belt holder in aikido who is also a world leader in creative strategy joins forces with an International Chess Grandmaster to create an uncommon chess book that takes the seven samurai principles out of the realm of blood sport and adapts them to the game of chess. 168 chess diagrams. 20 photos.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Millions fall into the vertiginous temptations of chess, potential customers for instructionals that keep one's head from spinning from the game's infinite permutations. The samurai approach is certainly innovative, purporting to apply the mental concentration of the feudal Japanese warrior class to modern brow-furrowed combatants across a chess board. Beneath the philosophical veneer, though, Gelb and Keene's work begins as a course for novices learning how the pieces move or in which endgames checkmate is certain. Their presentation improves when they address celebrated mental attitudes crucial to success in chess, such as having a Kasparovian killer instinct. Famous historical games, with commentary, illustrate matters of psychology and strategy, and the quotations and meditation tips from martial arts masters endow Samurai Chess with a Zenlike tone treating chess less as a game than as a mind-sharpening tool for life. Pandolfini is a wonderful chess teacher, the real-life model whom actor Ben Kingsley impersonated in the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993). His instructionals, such as The Chess Doctor (1995), appeal to intermediate, club-level players, but they are fun to read whatever one's skills, because he sets up a plausible problem and writes a pithy, humorous analysis of the situation's right or wrong move. Here, Pandolfini addresses the tangled topic of openings in a creative way. Traditionally, one memorizes "the book," an opening's every variation; Pandolfini rightly believes that easier than recalling generalities is remembering a concrete move. He offers 20 sets of forceful moves that recur in the openings, such as Qh5 and Qh4. By studying his 150 examples, players will be well armed to prevail in the first 10 moves, the riskiest phase of the game for most. --Gilbert Taylor