The Livonian Knight
129 pages, paperback, Elk and Ruby, 1. edition 2021, original edition 2008
Alvis Vitolins (1946-1997) was a seven-time chess champion of Latvia, a player with a ferocious attacking style, and one of the game’s last true openings innovators in the pre-computer age. He was a world-class blitz player and was a regular blitz sparring-partner of his friend, world champion Mikhail Tal. Vitolins often deployed gambits, and his attack-minded novelties in the Ruy Lopez, Sicilian, Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian set trends that were copied at top-level chess, including in world championship and candidates matches. He gained the International Master title in 1980.
Through an analysis of 25 of his most exciting games, this book, first published in Latvia in 2008, tells the reader of Alvis’s chess legacy, which includes many breathtaking Talesque sacrifices. Additional full games and fragments from Vitolins’s career are incorporated in the annotations. Opponents include the authors of this book as well as grandmasters Alexei Shirov, Vladimir Bagirov, Vladimir Tukmakov and other stars of Soviet and post-Soviet chess.
The book contains a new foreword specially written for the English edition by Genna Sosonko, who met Vitolins on several occasions.
004 Index of Games
005 Foreword to the English edition – True chess has no limits!
008 Foreword by the Authors
010 Introduction – An Innovator and Pioneer
017 Chapter 1: Wedge in the Center of the Board
024 Chapter 2: Is It Always Safe to Castle?
030 Chapter 3: A New Instrument
037 Chapter 4: Central Pawn as a Gift
050 Chapter 5: Raging Bishops
061 Chapter 6: Vitolins Versus Fischer
071 Chapter 7: Labyrinths of the Najdorf Sicilian
080 Chapter 8: The Spanish School
090 Chapter 9: Strategic Lessons
107 Chapter 10: The Nimzowitsch-Vitolins Gambit
125 Appendix I: Alvis Vitolins’s Tournament Results
126 Appendix II: Tournament Tables