Featured Chess Author – GM Zenon Franco

Zenon is esteemed columnist and author of five books

Zenon Franco is an experienced Grandmaster and hard-working writer. He was 1976 Paraguay Champion, at age of 20, and 1981 Pan American Champion. His Olympic achievements are impressive – 7 times first board of Paraguay, with gold medals for best individual score in 1982 Lucerne, Switzerland, and 1990 Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, and once representative of Spain at the 1998 Elista Olympiad.

Zenon started his career of specialized chess journalist with weekly column in Hoy Asuncion, Paraguay on 1985-1986, and the same year he started cooperation with Jaque, Spain, which continues to the present day. He also has regular columns in Torre and Cavallo, Italy, since 1995, and with newspaper ABC Color, Paraguay, since 2002.

Franco Anand Topalov

Zenon Franco has been Magistral Ciudad de Leon chief press officer since 1984. Here on the photo with Anand and Topalov

After the establishment of Gambit Publications, and with his wealth writing experience, Zenon became their exclusive author, having published five instructional books already. When Chessdom asked him about the sources of inspiration, Zenon said: “I always liked to read books and guess the best moves on my own. Therefore when I became master, I tried to do the same, to write. I annotate games for Spanish magazines and I have regular chess columns, so there is plenty or work, that is why I’m literally out from playing scene. But I always have good material for the books at my hand.”

Books written by GM Zenon Franco

Chess Self-Improvement

Zenon Franco guides readers through 50 top-level games, challenges them to guess key moves correctly, and poses questions at critical moments. Points are awarded for good answers, and at the end of each game, a score-chart rates the reader’s performance. This material has never appeared in the English language before, and represents the pick of monthly articles that Franco has written for a quarter of a century in Spanish-language magazines, revised and rechecked for this book. Translated by Manuel Perez Carballo.

Winning Chess Explained

Zenon Franco has regularly annotated top-level games for more than a quarter of a century. He has drawn upon this vast experience to present 50 hugely instructive games illustrating a wide variety of chess ideas. Key themes are illustrated by several games, so that we gain a well-rounded appreciation of the relevant ideas, and develop foresight that will enable us to make the right decisions at the board by anticipating problems before they arise. Topics include: Pawn Sacrifice, Exchange Sacrifice, The Art of Manoeuvring, The Second Weakness, Permanent vs. Temporary Advantages, Regrouping, ‘Strange’ Exchanges, Denying the Opponent Squares, and The Central Breakthrough. Translated by Manuel Perez Carballo.

Chess Explained: The English Opening

The English Opening is a flexible and dynamic choice for White, which avoids a great deal of sharp and well-mapped opening theory. It is popular with all levels of chess-players, and has been used to good effect at world championship level by Kasparov, Korchnoi, Botvinnik and other greats of the game. The English gives rise to an immense variety of structures, ranging from reversed Sicilians to Hedgehogs and fluid or locked central structures. It is an opening where strategic mastery of typical positions is of immense benefit, and where Black needs to combine circumspection and vigour to obtain a viable game.

Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni

Chess Explained is a new series of books about chess openings. They are not theoretical works in the traditional sense, but more a series of lessons from a chess expert with extensive over-the-board experience with an opening. You will gain an understanding of the opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. It is as if you were sitting at the board with a chess coach answering your questions about the plans for both sides, the ideas behind particular moves, and what specific knowledge you need to have.

* 25 recent and highly instructive games discussed in detail

* Chapter introductions and conclusions emphasize the key points

* Full indexes of games and variations

* Extensive verbal explanations of plans and manoeuvres

The Modern Benoni is a perennial favourite among players looking to create winning chances with Black. It is one of the few openings where White has no easy way to force drawish simplifications or deny Black any dynamic counterplay. Both players need to understand the imbalances in the position and pursue their plans with great vigour. In this book Franco shows how Black can seek to create the kind of mayhem that has attracted champions such as Tal, Kasparov and Topalov to the Benoni, and also demonstrates how White can seek either to put a positional clamp on the game, or else to storm Black’s position before his development is complete. A special section deals with the vital question of move-orders. Translated by Manuel Perez Carballo.

The Art of Attacking Chess

All chess-players love to play a smooth attacking game, flowing from start to finish, and sprinkled with spectacular ideas and sacrifices. However, few can do so regularly, and for most players, their collection of brilliancies missed far outweighs their creative successes.

Innate talent plays an important role, but many of the skills needed for attacking chess can be learnt by study and practice. Here, one of the world’s most experienced annotators has selected 33 superb examples, and explained them in a way that strips away the mystery. We see how the decision to attack is made, and which positional factors led to that decision being justified. We observe either a gradual build-up, or a lightning-fast storm, and understand why one approach or the other was necessary. Finally, we witness the final execution of the tactical blows.

To check that we have truly grasped the ideas, Franco presents us with plentiful exercises, where it is we who have to perform the heroics.
(Due to be out of print on July 2008)

All book descriptions by Gambit Publications