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Bruce Pandolfini
Number of games in database: 2
Years covered: 1967 to 1970

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(born Sep-17-1947, 74 years old) United States of America

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Wikipedia article: Bruce Pandolfini

 page 1 of 1; 2 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. NN vs Pandolfini 0-161967New YorkB28 Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation
2. Pandolfini vs NN 1-0151970?C80 Ruy Lopez, Open
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Pandolfini wins | Pandolfini loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-07-07  MaxxLange: At my rating, I take every opponent seriously. I've seen too many kids at 1200 and then a year later they are 1700
Dec-08-07  D4n: Has anyone read Treasure Chess?
Dec-19-07  2021: I think Weapons of Chess: An Omnibus of Chess Strategy and Pandolfini's Ultimate Guide to Chess by Pandolfini are good.
Premium Chessgames Member
  James Demery: So much for people having a sense of humor.
Jul-30-08  blacksburg: i read "pandolfini's endgame course" a few years ago when i first started playing. i learned as much from finding the typos on my own as i did from what he wrote.

i guess i did learn a lot from that book, but whether that was because of pandolfini, or in spite of him, i don't know.

Nov-08-08  gambitfan: Hi Bruce !

Thank you for having developed Guess The Move !

Premium Chessgames Member
  JointheArmy: <gambitfan> He never developed anything. It says Guess-the-move was inspired by Solitare chess, but it's ironic why that is in there since I suggested the idea in the first place and I've never heard of Bruce's nor Horowitz's forms of GTM.

If anything I was inspired by what other GM's have repeatedly stated to improve your game or Match the Masters from the old Chessmaster CD's.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: There is lot about Pandolfini in Fred Waizkem;s book "Searching for Bobby Fischer" which I found very good (I believe it is far better than the film) - he seems to come over as great coach and a pretty nice fellow - he simply doesn't play chess (hardly if at all) (for reasons explained by Waizkem) - I know very strong players who only coach chess. One doesn't have to be a great chess player - sure it would help - but the main thing (as said above) is motivation and "people skills etc But if Fred Waitzkem is to be believed he is very good as a coach...
Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 1

Review of Bruce Pandolfini’s „Kasparov’s winning chess tactics“, Fireside, New York, 1986


1. Early Years
2. Sweet Sixteen
3. At the Foot of Mount Olympus
4. Following the Yellow Brick Road
5. Golden Boy
6. The Stars and Beyond
7. Karpov: The First Round
8. World Champion
The Kasparov Test
Tournament and Match Results
Index of Tactics

General Overview:
The book includes 146 positions (main section and Kasparov test) from Kasparov’s chess games (1978 to 1986). Each position is presented with a diagram (relatively good quality), Surname of White and Black, Location / Year / Event, designation of the Tactic, note if it’s an actual or possible position, analysis (main variation in bold face type), result of the game and number of moves. Apart from the usual the instruction includes also an explanation why positions that might have occurred (the “possible positions”) have been included and help with algebraic notation / symbols and how to read the <Line Score of a Game>. Each chapter has a biographical introduction explaining the chess-related events in Kasparov’s life at that period. The Kasparov test consists of 10 positions (looking like the main section but with an additional question, e. g. <What is White’s best move?> or <Should White play [...]?>). Introduction pages 7 to 14, main part pages 17 to 182, Kasparov test pages 183 to 193 and then Glossary (p. 195 to 196) / Results (197 to 198) followed by the index of tactics (no other indices).

First, I’ll review the chess content of the main part, then the Kasparov test and the biographical introductions, at last.

Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 2

Main Part:
The tactics vary in difficulty and themes (from the usual pins and sacrifices up to triangulation) so there’s a wide variety and you’ll learn a lot. I liked the examples and think that they are very helpful (seriously, with tactics from Kasparov’s games you can hardly go wrong). In the Introduction, Pandolfini writes that <theses arcane symbols – together with my own – have been fleshed out and explained, often in detail, so that the reader can follow the logic of these moves, as if he were sitting with Gary Kasparov and discussing the game during the actual course of play.> (p. 8 to 9). For sure, exaggerating a bit is not unusual but this is a bit more than a mere exaggeration. He seldom explains anything but most often presents a short sideline. Instead of explaining the logic behind moves he rather spices the whole analysis up with trash talk (also used to bloat short variations <so that after 1...Qxc7, White can erupt a volcanic discovered check by 2.e7.> (p. 37) or <1....Nd5 permits 2.Qd6!, which is very juicy> (p.49)) like <[...] 5.Kh1 Rf1 still evokes the “dum-dum-de-dum” of Chopin’s funeral march> (p. 94), <Even an attacking phenomenon can overextend himself and get mated. Even giants are slaughtered sometimes.> (p. 103), <Only an earthquake can stop White’s Rook from delivering mate at h3.> (p. 104), <The predator is always keen to the hunt.> (p. 122), <Kasparov pushed Karpov into the night of the living dead with [...]> (p. 177) or a description of what you see in the diagram (<Black, down a piece, could have tried to advance his c-pawn toward promotion. Gary stings him with [...]> (p. 63) or <With all of Black’s fighting force amok to the left, White can prance on the right with [...]> (p. 91), <In this wild and woolly phantasmagoria, Kasparov’s marauding Queen could easily have bitten off too much to chew after 1.QxN(c7)?. The shooting star is [...]> (p. 109), <All looks hunky-dory for White, with his Knight at e3 guarded by the Bishop at b6 and his g-pawn protected by the Knight. But Kasparov insidiously challenges the Bishop with [...]> (p. 113) and <of course 8.Kh2 Rf2+ might have a deleterious effect on White’s health> (p. 86)). These are just a few examples but in general I was disappointed by the superficiality of the comments. Don’t get me wrong, nothing against comments that are livelier than the Informator-style ones but considering that there isn’t much room for comments in the book I didn’t like that it was mainly used for this trash talk. The analysis is not faultless though not bad. What I didn’t like was that alternative solutions were not mentioned (e. g. if there was another way to win from the position in the diagram). I’ll cite one example to show you how it looks like: Diagram and analysis from Kasparov-Hübner, p. 158 to 159. Please note that this is one of the few examples that span two pages (1.5 pages to be exact) – there are only 12 chess tactics with more than one page devoted to them. (additional <> in this example indicate heavy type)

Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 3


click for larger view

<ANALYSIS>: Many chessplayers have recognized a striking similarity between Kasparov and the once world champion Alexander Alekhine, particularly in their imaginative style of attack. One cannot help but remember Spielmann’s comment about Alekhine: “I can see the final combinations as well as Alekhine, but how he obtains such positions is beyond me.” They apply as well to Kasparov. Let’s pick up a Kasparov attack in the early stages. It stars with a pawn advance, <1.h4!>. With <1...Rfd8 2.h5 Ne7 3.Re1!>, White begins to shift his attacking units to the Kingside. If Black should take the d-pawn, 3...Qxd4, then 4.Qg5! is hard to counter. For example, 4...Nf5 (hoping for 5.Rbd1 Qh4!) 5.Bxc6 h6 6.Qf6 and White threatens 7.Qxf7+ followed by 8.Nxg6 mate as well as 7.Bxb5, winning a piece. Black can doubtless improve his own play, but White still builds an impressive attack. So Black doesn’t play Qxd4 but <3...Rd7>, and White spins out the far-reaching <4.Bg4!>.It dissuades Black from moving his Knight to f5, while clearing the third rank for a Rook lift from b1 to b3 to the Kingside. Since taking White’s d-pawn by Qxd4 is risky, Black recentralizes his Knight with <4...Nd5>. Comes a clearing exchange <5.hxg6 hxg6>, and then a Rook maneuver <6.Rb3> threatening 7.Rh3 and 8.Qh6. Back on his heels, Black opens his second rank for defense or escape by <6...f5>. Now the rook at c7 may be able to shield the King. Unfortunately, 6...f5 weakens the pawn skeleton around Black’s King, augmenting White’s chances. White continues <7.Bd1!>, an effective retreat. In the event of 7...Rh7 8.Rg3 Ne7, the Bishop thrusts back into the game by 9.Bb3+. So instead of 7...Rh7, Black issues <7...Rg7>, which leads to <8.Rh3! Qxb4>. Though down a pawn, White is in better shape (see next diagram). 1-0 (39)

Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 4

Pandolfini split the attack in to examples for a mating attack. I will discuss the quotes in the “chess history” section on the biographical parts of the book but I always read a different version of what Spielmann said about Alekhine (does anyone know the source?). Most comments are an obvious description of the next move and unnecessary (If Gary plays 1.h4 it’s pretty obvious that he “starts with a pawn advance”, etc.). The annotations to 3.Re1 are not so good. After 3...Qxd4 4.Qg5 Qd6 looks interesting and in the line Pandolfini follows it would be interesting to know why Black reacts to (3...Qxd4 4.Qg5 Nf5) 5.Bxc6 with the blunder 5...h6 instead of taking the Bishop. What’s White’s compensation after 5...Bxc6 (instead of the blunder 5.Bxc6 White may try 5.Bg4 which really supports the attack)? For sure, White builds an attack that may make a great visual impact but that’s not enough after having sacrificed a piece. White is lost in that sideline. The comment on 4.Bg4 may look like an explanation of the rationale behind that move but since the Rook manoeuvre follows later in the game everyone could have guessed it (I consider comments to be good that, for example shed light on threats that are not being executed but affect the play of the opponent who has to avoid those “invisible” threats). It’s true that 6...f5 was an inaccuracy but it would have been interesting to know if there was an improvement (what about 6...Re7 and if 7.Rh3 Qf6 8.Qh6 (the threats after 6.Rb3 according to Pandolfini). The annotations are so shallow that every amateur could have written them (but Bruce Pandolfini is a <NATIONAL MASTER> according to the book’s cover). It doesn’t make you feel like you were sitting “with Gary Kasparov” since I think he could say more about the game than “And now I move a pawn!” or something like that. Especially if room for annotations is sparse, you should try to use it as economically as possible and not waste it. Some of the examples are strange, e. g. the King-and-pawn endgame against Seirawan (p. 124 and 125, split to two) with no explanation of the rationale behind the triangulation (except for the two sentences on triangulation in the glossary). So the endgame example is quite isolated just like the opening example – Kasparov’s Gruenfeld defense in the first game of the 1986 match (<Karpov chose the stolid [sic] <4.Nf3> to avoid complications. In this first game of his first title defense, Kasparov demonstrates his gladiatorial spirit. Draw (21)> (p. 182) – this example is labelled “counterattack”).

Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 5

The Kasparov Test:
You have to find the best move in 10 different positions (8 possible and 2 actual positions). For each correct answer you get 1 point (9-10 points <EXCELLENT>, 0 points <CHECKERS ANYONE?> (p. 183)). I didn’t like that the layout was identical to that from the main part as it could happen that you saw the solution by accident and spoil the fun (fortunately, it didn’t happen to me). The puzzles are not too hard except for two strange ones: In one example the incorrect solution (suggested move wins) <crafted by former world champion Boris Spassky and U.S. champion Lev Alburt> (p. 188) is incorrect so you had to find Yusupov’s better analysis (the move draws, certainly not easy for the average player especially with the line being rather long). Another example where you had to choose between two moves he explained (well, slight exaggeration from my side) that the fist option was rather drawish. The example ended with saying that the other move was better (with an obscure comment about the position). This was surprising since there was no problem to give the follow-up (12 more half-moves) but there was probably not enough room left after the bloated refutation of the other move - It could have been easily shortened a bit.

Biography and history:
It sounds like a nice idea but sadly this chess history part is worse than no history part at all would have been showing clear bias towards Kasparov, giving no sources most of the time and seem to be unreliable. On page 99 we are informed (he’s speaking about Bugojno 1982) that <Vaulting into the lead, he never looked back, turning in the kind of performance that had not been seen since the days of Bobby Fischer’s domination> which is a bit of a stretch, e. g. according to chessmetrics Karpov’s performance at Las Palmas 1977 was 2798 ( ) while Kasparov’s success at Bugojno was 2793 ( ) and there was also Moscow 1981, for example where Karpov ended up 1.5 ahead of the great Gary. For sure, you could expect Pandolfini to say something about the 1984/85 match and the one of the <few highlights> is the following part (p. 136): <In the 32nd game, the challenger began to score. Fourteen draws followed, and then suddenly the champion collapsed, dropping games number 47 and 48. Karpov’s game was unrecognizable. It was now February 9, exactly five months since the match began. On Sunday, February 10, Florencio Campomanes, FIDE president, flew to Moscow. Two unscheduled time-outs were called and the on Friday, February 15, Campomanes announced at a press conference “that the match is ended without decision. A new match shall be played from scratch, starting September 1985.” The audience was stunned, and in midst of all the buzzing, Karpov and Kasparov both approached the podium to render their opinions.> And on page 156:
<Comments were made about everything from the Campomanes decision itself (many observers feel it was marked by a bias in favor of Karpov), to the obvious behind scenes maneuvering that led up to it. [...] It appears that Kasparov, having recovered himself in the match, was the only part who wanted the match continued without interruption, but his views were ignored. Quite naturally he felt bitter about the whole episode.>

See Edward Winter’s feature article “The Termination” for a more balanced view: (I highly recommend reading it).

Jan-11-09  Karpova: Review Part 6

Pandolfini quotes Reti (<”How many moves ahead do you see?” “As a rule, just one. The best.”> (p. 7) without giving a source (see <(saying attributed to Jaffe) KCK 325 + C.N.s 4483, 5320 (attributed to Janowsky), 5375>). On page 32 he quotes Nimzowitsch and gives “Chess Praxis” as a source (the only time he presents something that resembles correct citation though I couldn’t check the quote myself. But that’s the only instance he names his source.) The Spielmann quote (p. 158) has already been mentioned. About the “possible positions” he says that <Many of the alternative possibilities appearing in the explanations come from Gary Kasparov’s own notes as they appeared in Russian, Yugoslav, and other leading chess journals.> (p. 8). Pandolfini’s name-dropping (e. g. the alleged Reti quote was used to drive the reader’s attention to another one of his books) is sometimes strange, for example on page 92 he writes <After operating on the Kingside, Kasparov – a la the legendary World Champion Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) – suddenly switched to the Queenside [...]> as if those two chessplayers were the only ones to ever do that.

Misspellings: <Pribly> instead of Pribyl (p. 47, 48, 49, 50, 51,191), <Mihaljchisin> instead of Mikhalchishin (p. 23), <Van der Weil> instead of Van der Wiel (p. 63, 65)

Pandolfini is vague throughout the book with regards to quotes but it’s especially obvious in the history section (who are those “many observers” who “felt” that there was “bias in favor of Karpov” and it doesn’t “appear” that Kasparov was the helpless poor victim but I refer the reader to Winter’s article (btw., Winter knows how to quote correctly)). For sure, being vague is a good way of avoiding the need to back up your claims – especially if you want to create a certain impression. This renders the biographical section worthless and I’d say that it does more harm than good. He is merely spreading rumours.

The criticism was pretty harsh but the book does have many weaknesses. It left me wondering who might be the target audience? Most examples are too complicated for the beginner while Pandolfini’s comments make it look as if he wanted to reach those who would rather watch “Rambo” or “Karate Kid” than play chess. For the serious student most comments won’t prove too useful. Still, I enjoyed going through the book (I always tried to find the best move myself first before looking at the comments. But this is not always possible since sometimes the first move in the diagrammed position is a blunder allowing a tactic) and the chess tactics are instructive – as I already said, you can hardly go wrong with tactics from Kasparov’s games. The “possible positions” are also helpful to reveal an important point about tactics: Tactics are often decisive but not always “visible”. They are hidden in the annotations. Tactical ability is not just measured by statistics about winning sacrifices. They are also used to protect material or force the opponent to positional concessions (e. g. look at how Black makes use of the g-file despite that fact that it’s never opened in J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1913 ). Underestimating or ignoring those hidden tactics lead to a wrong impression of a player’s tactical ability – it’s not just mating attacks but much more. If you find this book in a book store and it’s not too expensive, have a look at it. It’s not a bad book (but better ignore the “chess history” part). I don’t want to recommend (or discourage from) buying it but merely say that I don’t regret going through the book.

Jan-11-09  Granny O Doul: I'm always associated "I see one move ahead--the best move" with Capablanca, while Reti is supposed to have said something like "as a rule, not a single one". I guess it's not surprising that Capa went farther in his chess career.
Sep-02-12  waustad: In this pic he looks remarkably like Groucho:
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: "We don't really know how the game was invented, though there are suspicions. As soon as we discover the culprits, we'll let you know." - Bruce Pandolfini

May-03-15  TheFocus: <I definitely miss the rush from wiping out an opponent> - Bruce Pandolfini.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dorsnikov: He's nothing but a modern day Fred Reinfeld. Turn out meaningless book after book to make a quick buck !
Dec-31-15  Petrosianic: I definitely prefer writers who give their stuff away for free.
Dec-31-15  Howard: His books are probably better than Eric Schiller's.

As for Reinfeld, his early books were worth reading---Chess Masters on Winning Chess was good. So was Two Weeks to Better Chess. Granted, he did write some potboilers near the end of his writing career though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < micartouse: <spasskey69: I am sure we all have our stories of the bad sports among us. I once defeated a guy rated over 300 points above me in a tournament, and he didn't even bother to congratulate me, let alone go over the game.> Good point. I made this mistake once and regretted ever since - took a loss to a lower rated player too hard and was too demoralized and exhausted to analyze with him and didn't congratulate him properly. It should have been his moment in the sun, and I learned a lot from this mistake. It's part of the game.>

I've been players much stronger than me : sometimes a bit more than 300.

But I have to say that sometimes, if I lose, I simply want to get home. This isn't arrogance or anything it is self-preservation and or preparation (psychologically) for the next game.

I usually say "good game" or "well played" whowever I play and I shakehands whatever the result. But some games it is too hard to hang around.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <dorsnikov: He's nothing but a modern day Fred Reinfeld. Turn out meaningless book after book to make a quick buck ! >

I liked Reinfeld's books and also Chernev's 'Winning Chess' when I was learning. But Reinfeld wrote good books for beginners to middle, say. I don't know so much about Pandolfini (I do have a book by him somewhere though).

In my case I also studied Capablanca's 'Chess Fundamentals' Purdy's books, Lasker's Manual of Chess and other books of games etc.

Even in the 60s people used to deride Reinfeld but his enthusiasm for chess and other subjects and his energy were considerable.

Nowadays there are better books of strategy and tactics etc but in those days, especially to a player learning the game, he was good value.

Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: "Smothered Mate is like a fine diamond: it's rare, beautiful and forever sparkling."

- Bruce Pandolfini

Source: Chess Life 1985 May

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Still waiting for <Magnus Carlsen's Outrageous Chess Moves>. Pity Bobby didn't hang around for the Magnus era; would he have been the blue-eyed boy or one of lowest dogs around?
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