Gerard Welling & Michael BasmanAvant-Garde Strategy in ChessSample pages (pdf)
This book is about co-author and international master Michael Basman, who has been an avant-garde strategist on the chessboard from his early days as a tournament player and who has collected his share of ridicule and scorn throughout the years. But he has been fairly successful, so who has been right, the master or his critics?
Former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik saw through the facade of experimental play and named Basman a creative and talented player. But even on the British player's home turf, there was often sharp rejection of his way of playing chess. Interesting wins were more than once described as lucky, and losses as the natural consequence of sins against chess.
As a kind of counterweight, avant-garde chess has a cult-following of players that catch the spark of inspiration, study the examples and often copy the ideas. Co-author Gerard Welling was an example of a player that borrowed some ideas from Michael Basman, and and even went so far as to play 1.Nf3, h6; in a decisive match in the semi-finals of the Dutch Championship 36 years ago. The study of experimental players can widen your horizons and give you new ideas. So be critical, but keep an open mind!
The book is written with the intention to introduce the reader to the creative chess ideas of Michael Basman. He gave up more intense regular tournament chess around the turn of the millennium, to concentrate his energy on the development of school chess, making the UK Chess Challenge blossom.
Michael was among the best British players of his age-group as a junior and kept this status well into the 1970s when he shared first place in the British championships at Eastbourne in 1973. Unfortunately he lost the playoff with Bill Hartston and his creative restlessness seemed to have hampered him in fulfilling his full potential and realizing Botvinnik's prediction from 1968 - that he would soon be a grandmaster. It took him much longer than expected to clinch the well-deserved international master title.
However, in later years Basman found new inspiration in trying to prove that offbeat opening strategies have potential, if played in the right way. That turning point took place in the course of 1978 and in the next 40-plus years, he has never looked back.
Published 2021, softback, 304 pages.