Review of Max Euwe’s Best Games by Timman

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Max Euwe’s Best Games by Jan Timman New in Chess 2023 304pp

One of the latest offerings by New in Chess is this excellent tome on the 5th world chess champion. Timman notes in the introduction that he wanted to write a book on Euwe for several years, primarily due to the fact that Euwe is the only world champion that the Netherlands has produced to date.

Of course, the author knew the subject, and they even wrote a book on Fischer-Spassky together. Nevertheless, this book is a nice, objective work rather than a hagiography. 

Over its 304 pages, the book covers 80 of Euwe’s games in depth. The book is split into four chapters.

  1. The 1920’s
  2. World Champion
  3. Dethroned
  4. After the war

There is a nice index of openings in the book and a list of names. One glaring omission is the lack of a games index. The “list of names” does cover the names of the opponents, but it also includes names of players who may have commented on a game in published analysis, so there is no direct list of the opponents. I find that to be the only real omission here. 

The rest of the book is very well presented. The analysis of the games is thorough, and there are multiple diagrams on just about every page. I personally find this to be rather important. I do enjoy playing over the analysis in books, and I find this to be sometimes difficult without enough diagrams. 

I also think that Timman did a wonderful job of combining explanations with variations. Here is an example from Thomas-Euwe Carlsbad 1929


“A logical move, gaining space in the centre. However, 19…Qxd1 20.Rxd1 Rfc8 was stronger. At the board, it was hard to calculate why the queen trade is so strong. The hidden point emerges in the variation 21.Ra1 e4 22.Rxa2 exf3 23.Bxc5 and now Black has the surprising 23…b5!, gaining a decisive advantage on the queenside. “

Lastly, I want to give serious kudos to New in Chess for what appears to be a reversal of a recent horrible decision. About a year back the paper quality of the books published by New in Chess declined significantly. At first I assumed there was a paper shortage or something similar, but New in Chess released a statement saying that the new paper was easier on the eyes, etc. While that was true, it made the books look less elegant and cheaper.

Lately they have gone back to the much higher quality of paper. I sincerely appreciate that.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott