Like it or not, the game has changed some. Going over the Zurich ’53 book, great positional games and wins. There’s only one problem, today’s game is much faster. Sure, there are the occasional 40/2 G/1 tournaments (which even by the standards of those days was fast – try 40/2.5 and addl. 20/1 OR slower!). Even in those tournaments, you will probably run into little Johnny the blitzer whose parents were probably not even born in [insert your country’s name here].
The premium now, I believe, is on knowing your openings well enough to play them QUICKLY (otherwise, it’s not necessarily doing you a whole lot of favors). But the real premium is on calculating swiftly, and being patient for your tactical chances. If you calculate slow or poorly, the clock will find you wanting. This implies that tactical study is probably going to pay the best dividends.
In Zurich ’53, my gosh, there were games where one person would move their knight back and forth to induce pawn weakness. In fact, there was a lot of this inducing pawn-weaknesses by force stuff, during this tournament. “Who on G*ds green earth” plays like this nowadays? You would NEED 40/2.5 20/1 to be able to play like this. These achievements wrought from near equal positions were remarkable, but not quite as likely in today’s game unless you can play them quickly.
BTW, it’s not a perfect game. I like Bronstein’s idea of playing h3 and g4 to “attack the light squares” at the very end of the game. But, Black played into it beautifully (why not instead play Kh7, and leave the rook on the a-file to guard it?).
This book was valuable for me because most of the games were d4 or c4 games (mainly d4), and I play/see mainly e4. I can imagine what a turnaround it was when the e4 generation was ushered in (Fischer, Tal, and Karpov – who at least started out playing e4 as a GM); I can see how that would have helped them get their wins as White, although I have to give them credit for their successes with Black, as well, against d4 – of course, there they also tried to get into tactical channels.
The most popular opening at Zurich ’53 seemed to be the Nimzo-Indian, so if you play the Nimzo as Black and want to comb through that opening, this tournament had some instructive games. The second most popular opening was the King’s Indian Defense, but even here quite a few of them were dxc type variations, although Najdorf had a great win as Black, in a closed variation of it, against Taimanov in game 28 (round 4).