The Reliable Past is the eagerly awaited sequel to Russian Silhouettes, Genna Sosonko's marvellous collection of portraits from the golden age of Soviet chess. Sosonko, who left Leningrad to settle in Holland in 1972, described champions and other key figures of Soviet chess from a privileged dual perspective. In this new book, the author again shows himself a perceptive chronicler of a time when chess occupied a unique position in his native country; but he also wanders across its borders with his memories of Dutch World Champion Max Euwe and a touching tribute to the first ever British grandmaster, Tony Miles.
From the preface by Garry Kasparov:
The Reliable Past presents the reader with a gallery of wonderful pen-portraits that radiate the author’s love of and devotion to chess, yet are tempered by a due measure of objectivity and detachment. Look, it says – this is the chess world and its heroes, warts and all! Genna Sosonko has managed to become a genuinely free person and to rise above the conventionalities of the chess world. It is essential that he has such a wide-ranging knowledge of this world and is himself an inalienable part of it, but it is his position as an independent observer, with a keen eye for both the good and the bad, that makes his stories so rich and fascinating. His portraits are not journalism but literature.
I hope that the author will continue for as long as possible to do what he does better than anyone else in the world…
Praise for Russian Silhouettes:
“A delightful work” - Lubosh Kavalek, The Washington Post
“This book deserves to be read by all who value the achievements of the individual in our game, and who wish, like its author, to save the names and personalities of those individuals from oblivion.” - John S. Hilbert, ChessCafe
“Since secrecy was paramount in the USSR, much of what Sosonko writes about this lost world is unfamiliar, both in the West and in Russia.” - Ian Rogers, Sun Herald
“Beautifully written” - Hans Ree, NRC Handelsblad