In this, his first book, Kramnik annotates 100 of his best games, and talk about himselk, beginning with his unusual childhood. Features previously unpublished photos.
The subtitle to Kramnik's book is "My Life and Games," but there is, in fact, little distinction between the two; the game has dominated Kramnik's life from the age of 5. By age 16, he was playing on the world chess scene, and at age 25, in 2000, he is one of the few players who can regularly hold his own against Kasparov.
Kramnik reads less like a traditional autobiography than a transcript of 50-plus games from his career. They include key matches with Kasparov, Karpov, Anand, Topalov, Ivanchuk, Shirov, and other greats, stretching back to 1984. Colorful biographical tidbits appear between games, offering glimpses of Kramnik's life outside chess--we learn he's a lousy cook, suffers insomnia from the pressure of the game, and tries to stay philosophical about winning and losing. But most revealing are the interior dialogues that accompany his matches; they are deeply annotated. Kramnik explains exactly what was running through his head as he pushed a pawn or sacrificed a queen at key points, and it's a marvel to watch his mind at work. His comments are never boastful and even betray a self-effacing wit--a refreshing change in a profession known for its outsize egos. Chess enthusiasts should find plenty to occupy them in Kramnik and would do well to take a page from his playbook. --Demian McLean