END GAME

KASPAROV VS. SHORT

An inside look at the 1993 chess match between Englishman Nigel Short and Gary Kasparov, from a longtime chess correspondent and confidant of Short's. Lawson delivers an intimate record of the first westerner's challenge for the world championship since the legendary Bobby Fischer. The match was played before London television cameras and treated by the English press as if it were Wimbledon. End Game penetrates to the inner game, a battle of individual wills. Short, a slight, bespectacled Lancashire man, rose out of England's amateur chess league as a child prodigy; Kasparov, rigorously trained in the Soviet system from childhood, was the reigning world champion. Lawson presents their contest as one between two antithetical philosophies, styles, and temperaments (as well as countries). With privileged information, he describes a suspenseful preliminary struggle, including the machinations of FidÇ, the world chess organization, against which Short and the famously fickle Kasparov joined in an uneasy alliance, forming their own players' association to sanction their championship match in London. In tellingly contrasted methods of preparation, Kasparov sequestered himself on a Croatian island with a retinue of three Russian grandmaster coaches, while Short crammed with a Czech grandmaster (whom he patricidally fired during the match itself) and shuttled between his coach in suburban Virginia and his family in Athens. Lawson, an unapologetic Short partisan, is unwaveringly loyal; his remarks about Short's enemies, whether in Kasparov's camp or in the British press, are sometimes abrasive and gratuitous. He is, however, objective enough as a chess correspondent to analyze Short's blunders (there is an appendix of each game in standard algebraic notation) and let him make his own excuses, which he rarely did. Although the games Short played will not make any anthologies, the playing of them as recounted here has wrenching immediacy, conveying the tension of every ploy, bluff, miscalculation, and inspired gambit.

Pub Date: July 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-517-59810-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harmony

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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