Eugene Znosko-Borovsky (1884-1954)
Born in Imperial Russia, Eugene Znosko-Borovsky was a literary critic and veteran of the Russo-Japanese War and World War I before emigrating to France in 1920.
Znosko-Borovsky was not a professional chess player, but fared well in international competition. He scored victories against Bogoljubov, Burn, Capablanca, Euwe, and Rubinstein at various points in his career. The win against Burn earned him one of the brilliancy prizes at the monster Ostend 1906 tournament.
A player who can defeat opponents like those — who also happened to be a professional writer? That helps explain why his chess books can be purchased more than 80 years after he authored them! Few others can make that claim.
Five Books in English
Five Znosko-Borovsky books (written between 1934-1940) have been translated into English and can still be purchased today. Not surprisingly, these translations use Descriptive Notation which will put off many readers flipping through the book in Barnes & Noble.
The books are cheap, pocket-sized (thank you, Dover!), and cover all phases of the game.
One of my earliest chess books, and my first on tactics and combinational play. it was here that I was introduced to kingside attacking ideas like the “Greek Gift” sacrifice (Bxh7+), Legal’s Mate, Philidor’s Legacy (smothered mate), Fegatello (Fried Liver Attack), and so on.
A really helpful book! It helped me learn many elementary endings: the bishop and knight mate and some elementary rook endings particularly stand out. I won several games with Rook+g+h pawn vs. Rook endings because of what I learned here. My only criticism is the confusing part on related squares. Just skip it.
I read this book much later in my chess career, when I think I was already over 2000. I liked the way Znosko-Borovsky explained simple concepts without going through reams of analysis. This could certainly be a first book on middlegame play, before going more in depth with other works focusing on tactics and strategy like Judgment and Planning in Chess.
I’m a firm believer that knowing what NOT to do can be even more powerful than knowing what to do. This easy-to-read book lists common mistakes you can avoid by being aware of them.
I haven’t read this one, so I can’t really comment. I would expect that it is outdated theory-wise but, knowing Znosko-Borovsky, a worthwhile read for the ideas of common openings that have not changed much over time.
What else is there to say? Try one of Eugene Znosko-Borovsky’s books and see for yourself. I think you’ll be convinced that he is indeed a great chess author for improving players.