Genna Sosonko is widely acclaimed as the foremost chronicler of a unique era in chess history. In the Soviet Union, chess became an ideological weapon that was actively promoted by the country's leaders during the Cold War. Starting with Mikhail Botvinnik, its best chess players became symbols of socialist excellence. Sosonko writes from a privileged dual perspective, combining the nostalgia of an initiate with the detachment of a critical observer. He grew up with legendary champions like Mikhail Tal and Viktor Korchnoi and spent countless hours with most of the other big and small chess mortals he portrays.
In the late 1980s, he began writing about the champions he knew and their extraordinary lives in New In Chess magazine. First, he wrote mainly about Soviet players and personalities, and then, he also began to portray other chess celebrities he had crossed paths with. They all come alive vividly as the reader is transported back to their time and world. Once you've read Sosonko, you'll feel like you know Capablanca, Max Euwe and Tony Miles. And you will never forget Sergey Nikolaev.
This monumental book is a collection of portraits and profiles that Genna Sosonko wrote for the magazine New in Chess. What. The stories have been published in his books: Russian Silhouettes, The Reliable Past, Smart Chip from St. Petersburg and The World Champion I Knew. They are complemented by more writings on legends such as David Bronstein, Garry Kasparov and Boris Spassky. They paint a captivating and unforgettable picture of a largely lost era and, indirectly, a portrait of one of the world's greatest chess writers.
Genna Sosonko is here (1943) was born in Leningrad, where he was a prominent chess coach. After emigrating from the Soviet Union in 1972, he settled in the Netherlands. He won numerous tournaments, including Wijk aan Zee in 1977 (with Geller) and 1981 (with Timman) and an individual gold medal at the 1976 Haifa Olympics. After his active career, Sosonko discovered his passion for writing.
'Each new story of Genna Sosonko is the preservation of the grains of our chess life' - from the foreword by Garry Kasparov