The dissolution of the Soviet Union marked the end of a unique chapter in the history of chess. With hindsight we can only marvel at the pivotal place the royal game occupied in the biggest country in the world. Originally embraced by Lenin als 'gymnastics of the mind', chess developed into an ideological weapon during the Cold War. Supported by the Soviet leadership, its champions, from Mikhail Botvinnik on, grew into symbols of socialist excellence.
As a respected trainer who became a wold-class grandmaster after leaving Leningrad and moving to Holland in 1972, Genna Sosonko observes Soviet chess from a privileged dual perspective. Combining an insiderīs nostalgia with the detachment of a critical observer, he has produced unforgettable portraits of the heroes of this vanished age.
Each time after one of those, whom this book is about, passed away, I wanted to read about them. Later I relised that I wanted to read about them what I myself knew. More than this - what only I knew. Hence this book.
List of Content
007 A vanished age
020 My Misha (Mikhail Tal)
031 A journey to immortality (Mikhail Botvinnik)
057 'I must work, I must work' (Lev Polugaevsky)
070 The chess king of Odessa (Efim Geller)
084 I knew Capablanca ... (Olga Clark, wife of J.R. Capablanca)
106 A great teacher inspires (Vladimir Grigoryevich Zak)
121 'You ask the questions' (Semyon Abramovich Furman)
136 The maestro (Alexander Koblenz)
159 The jump (Alvis Vitolins)
175 The summing up (Grigory Yakovlevich Levenfish)