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TWO MASTERS FROM SEATTLE on a CD by IM John Donaldson

Review by Russell Miller

My first experience with a chess work on CD turned out fine. ChessBase has taken the two IM John Donaldson books (the one on Ulvestad is really a pamphlet), "Emars Zemgalis - GM without a Title" and "Olaf Ulvestad - An American Original" in full and added more content and more games. The software you need to read/play the books is on the CD. If you have ChessBase software already on you computer you can use that. There is no instruction manual but one is not needed as I proved by getting along with out one. The text is clear and easy to read and move through plus is broken up into sections. The games appear in ChessBase format with a board that is clear and easy to follow and the moves along right side of the screen. So you donít need to have a chess set and board to play over the games. Some of the games have notes. The Zemgalis section has 189 games, 53 with notes while the Ulvestad section has 333 games and 2 positions, 55 with notes. The notes are not very deep for the most part, most were done by Donaldson but some are from publications such as the WASHINGTON CHESS LETTER. The games with notes are noted on the table of contents. You bring up the list of games and then click on the one you want to look at. A lot of Washington/Oregon Chess History on this CD. I played over an Ulvestad-Harmon game from the 1960ís that Harmon lost when Ulvestad forced a Queen against two Bishops ending. Biographical information on both players is covered by the CD. The crosstables of a number of tournaments are given and I as a chess history buff wish there had been more for Ulvestad. Zemgalis started in Latvia with a lot of play in Germany before he came to Seattle in 1952. There really is not a lot of USA play for him and what there was is mostly in Seattle area where he handles the likes of Viktors Pupols, Jim McCormick and also Ulvestad. Zemgalis had a wife to support so had to earn a living as a math professor when they got to Seattle. Ulvestad on the other hand started play in Seattle as a teenager and spent a lot of his life earning money from chess play and instruction, went to the New York City chess scene for awhile, got a trip to Russia in 1946 with the USA Team (His full article about that trip from the pages of the WASHINGTON CHESS LETTER of 1948-49 appears on the CD) where he won one and lost one to David Bronstein. Arthur Dake of Portland was on the team also. Ulvestad spent some time in US Army during World War II then returned to Seattle with a moved to Europe in 1960ís. Did I mention there are pictures also? There is a short interview with Zemgalis from 2002.

Check out your favorite chess products supplier to purchase the CD.