John L. Watson
Watson was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He was educated at Brownell-Talbot, Harvard, and the University of California at San Diego, where he took his degree in engineering. He has won many chess tournaments including the first US National High School Chess Championship and the American Open.
Watson is best known as a chess theorist and author, and has written more than thirty books on many aspects of chess. His 1999 book Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy won the British Chess Federation's Book of the year award as well as the United States Chess Federation Book of the Year. The successor volume Chess Strategy in Action was the Chesscafe Book of the Year. These two books explore and theorize how radically chess has changed since the early 20th century, and how old and supposedly 'time-tested' rules for the conduct of play have been replaced by broader and revolutionary practice over-the-board. These books have been translated into several languages. In a lighter vein, Watson wrote the Chessman comic book series, illustrated by Chris Hendrickson and Svein Myreng. Chessman Comics are now out-of-print collectors' items. Watson has a regular book review column at The Week in Chess, the publication of the London Chess Centre (available online). He has a weekly Internet radio show 'Chess Talk with John Watson' on Chess.FM, the radio arm of the Internet Chess Club (ICC).
Watson is also much in demand as a chess coach; his students have included Tal Shaked, the 1997 World Junior Champion, Senior Master Patrick Hummel, Abby Marshall, and also other US scholastic champions.
Watson is married to Maura Giles-Watson; they live in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Play the French, third edition, (Cadogan Chess Books) ISBN 1-85744-337-3
- Chess Strategy in Action ISBN 1-901983-69-2
- The Unconventional King's Indian ISBN 1-84382-150-8
- The Gambit Guide to the Modern Benoni ISBN 1-901983-23-4
- Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch, Gambit Publications, 1999, ISBN 1-901983-07-2
- Chess Strategy in Action, Gambit, 2003, ISBN 1-901983-69-2
- English 1...P-K4 ISBN 1-84382-144-3
- Dangerous Weapons: The French, Everyman Chess (2007): ISBN 978-1-85744-435-3
- Mastering the Chess Openings, Gambit Publications (in four volumes)
- John Watson rating card at FIDE
- Book Reviews by IM John Watson
- Photograph on Colorado Chess Informant