Good evening and welcome to our first ever book review. This column will be taking a look at Jerry Humphreys' Secrets of Pawnless Openings, which our foreign correspondent picked up at an impromptu book signing at a local Aldi. Enticed by the author's winning smile she gladly parted with €25.99.
Reviews on the rear cover were not encouraging:
"A senseless waste of human life"
"Clearly the work of a lunatic"
"I wish he'd died of bird flu"
Joseph Stewart (deceased)
"I've read packets of cereal that were more enlightening than Humphreys' farce"
"In this book, I was particularly disappointed when Dumbledore was killed by Snape"
One should never judge a book by its cover.
Humphreys opens with extensive analysis of what he (wrongly) terms the Lucena position.
Humphreys' hapless attempts at evaluation conclude with his advice 'You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Unclear.'
Secrets of Pawnless Openings is not without inaccuracy. Humphreys provides 90 pages of dense variations on the below position, curiously omitting the possibility of 1 Rxh8#.
Our favourite section of the book is the latter half, which consists entirely of a collection of bewildering essays on the disestablishment of Apartheid as a metaphor for squandering a winning position. This was marginally less upsetting than his turgid analysis and, frankly, provided some light relief.
Regrettably, Humphreys has announced he is currently working on his magnum opus, Secrets of Pawnless Middlegames. One cannot understate the torment that awaits the reader.
In review, we decided to put Secrets of Pawnless Openings in the bin.