Chess & communism: the story of the 20th century

ChessVibes
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
"He has the face of a chess player", said Nazi German foreign minister Ribbentrop about his Soviet counterpart Molotov after they had negotiated their "Non-Aggression Pact" in 1939. One wonders what made Ribbentrop say that, and what he actually meant by it. Daniel Johnson, in his book White King and Red Queen, does not refer to this little episode. That doesn't mean he hasn't written a splendid book about twentieth-century chess and its connection to the rise and fall of Soviet Communism. Johnson is the former literary editor of The Times and no mean chess player himself (he once drew Garry K. in a simultaneous). He recounts in fine detail how the Bolsheviks took chess with them when they entered the Kremlin. From Lenin and Krylenko via Botvinnik to Fischer and Kasparov, Johnson has written (in the words of Simon Sebag-Motefiore) "a fascinating story of Cold War espionage and chess rivalry". White King and Red Queen has just come out, is beautifully edited, with 379 pages in hardcover. Robert Conquest was intrigued by "the range of astonishing ego's", and calls it "a unique addition to our historical knowledge". Please, have a look at this fine book. It might be something for your holidays.
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