Kurt Richter

A Chess Biography with 499 Games


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About the Book

German master Kurt Richter (1900–1969) made significant contributions to the chess world as a player, and as an editor and author. Unassuming in real life, Richter was a fearsome opponent who expressed himself mainly through his over-the-board results, as well as through his chess journalism and literary output. He was responsible for several innovative openings, some of which gained renewed status in later years. This overview of his life and games sheds light on a player who should be better known, with much never-before-seen material. Examples of his entertaining writings on chess are included, some featuring his fictitious student opponent, Dr. Zabel. A wide selection of games illustrates the surprising combinations and brilliant style of play that earned him the title “The Executioner of Berlin.”

About the Author(s)

Alan McGowan has been associated with Cathcart Chess Club in Glasgow, Scotland and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chess Club in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  He has helped edit Scottish Chess and Chess Canada Échecs and is the historian for Chess Scotland. He lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Bibliographic Details

Alan McGowan

Format: library binding (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 384
Bibliographic Info: 93 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6906-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3320-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Prologue. 1900–1918 5
Part 1. 1919–1924 Venturing Forth 8
Part 2. 1925–1929 Signs of Progress 22
Part 3. 1930–1932 Making His Mark 51
Part 4. 1933–1935 Adapting to Change 90
Part 5. 1936–1939 At His Creative Best 135
Part 6. 1940–1945 The War Years 202
Part 7. 1946–1949 Rebuilding 246
Part 8. 1950–1959 The Two Germanys 263
Part 9. 1960–1969 The Final Years 285
Notes 339
Bibliography 347
Index of Opponents 351
Index of Annotators 353
Index of Openings—Traditional Names 354
Index of Openings—ECO Codes 356
General Index 358

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A wonderful biography… The secret of a great biography is not only to describe the subject but also the era in which he lived. …a wealth of detail… I was more and more intrigued with every page I read. … A treasure trove of games and a wonderful overview of the German chess scene of this period! 5 shining stars!”—New in Chess
  • “This sumptuous book has given me the taste for his approach to chess…heartily recommend…it’s very much a labour of love”—Chess
  • “Fantastic…a phenomenal effort in unearthing an incredible amount of interesting material and exciting attacking games…all those with an interest in chess history will support this magnificent work which has been so thoroughly researched, detailed and referenced…many hours’ worth of absorbing reading.”—American Chess Magazine
  • “A model of scholarship…this is a book you will certainly want to add to your reading list.”—The Chess Improver
  • “It’s evident that McGowan has left no stone unturned in piecing together Richter’s story. This is a superlative work.” —US Chess Federation
  • “Wonderful made McFarland Book…. The research of this book done by the author is more than impressive”—
  • “Full of brilliant games, deeply annotated…a fascinating reconstruction of Kurt Richter’s life…numerous, often truly outstanding, photos of chess masters.”—Kingpin Chess Magazine
  • “A highly readable chess biography…what the book does incredibly well is relate Richter’s career to the context of the times and, indeed, recreate the ambience of those often extraordinary years. It is lavishly illustrated with a treasure trove of contemporary photos…. The extensive background material is detailed and vivid…. The sheer amount of material—much of it original—which Alan has processed throughout the work is phenomenal…timeless..a fabulous biography…it is a pleasure to be able to immerse oneself in a work to which the author has devoted four decades of his life…recommend…highly..superb”—Chess Scotland
  • “A model of what a game collection and biography should be. This beautifully produced oversize red hardback with library binding covers everything related to the life of Kurt Richter. The close to 500 well-annotated games in this book feature a wealth of aggressive chess with beautiful combinations and sharp attacks throughout. The games are not only reason to buy this book. McGowan, who spent three decades researching and writing this work in what was clearly a labor of love, has uncovered a great deal of previously unknown material pertaining to not only Richter but his contemporaries. McFarland has published many outstanding books the past three-plus decades and Kurt Richter: A Chess Biography with 499 Games ranks right up there with the best. This is a wonderful book…highly recommended”—IM John Donaldson
  • “The book highlights not only Richter’s career, but also the German chess culture and the effect that the two world wars had on his play. A well-researched monograph that does a nice job of introducing the reader to all aspects of [Richter’s] life, especially those before the Second World War”—Mind’s Eye Press
  • “I haven’t had a more compelling chess book in my hand in a long time!”—Berlin Chess History