Ever wanted to know the story behind Mig Greengard? Whatever happened to Michael de la Maza (Rapid Chess Improvement)? Or the reasoning behind Glicko & Glicko-2?
Then you need to grab a copy of Engaging Pieces, a new book by chess writer and journalist Howard Goldowsky.
Goldowsky has put together a collection of interviews, opinion pieces, and chess fiction into an attractive and easy to read 240 page volume. In it he interviews such chess personalities as Hikaru Nakamura, Mark Glickman (developer of Glicko & Glicko-2), and Jennifer Shahade (author of Chess Bitch), as well as some "behind the scenes" people. The interviews range from the reasonably short to the long and involved. While some of the interviews cover familiar ground ("future of chess", "making the game more professional") the responses are still interesting, not because of what was said, as much as in who said them.
Of all the pieces in the book probably to most informative (and relevant) was the interview with Dr Mark Glickman concerning chess ratings. The adoption of the Glicko system by the Australian Chess Federation gets a mention, with Glickman stating
He also discusses the concept of the rating estimate (the number next to your name) and your "true" rating, which he terms the rating parameter. In addressing this idea he reveals the underlying concept of the Glicko system as a way of measuring chess performance.
If you enjoy reading about chess, rather than just chess games (as I do), then I highly recommend this book. It is newly released and is retailing at Australian Chess Enterprises for $29.99
(My review copy of the book was supplied to me by the author)