Friday, January 27, 2012

Soviet Chess Books

Above, the Botvinnik-Tal match, 1960

Is there another game with as much in the way of illustrative, graphic and metaphoric possibilities? You’ve got royalty, war, strategy, various figures and characters, not to mention the black and white checkered board on which the game is played.

The importance of chess in the Soviet Union cannot be overstated. As Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, World Chess Champion, 1975-1985 put it, “Chess in Russia is like baseball in America.”

Paul Hoffman interviewed Karpov (above) in 2010. Here’s an excerpt.

Question: Why has Russia dominated the chess world?

Anatoly Karpov: Because of long time traditions and chess was... chess was part of intellectual life in Russian Empire. And so big writers, great writers they were playing chess and so this was privilege in part of top society, in top society people. And then after the revolution, new power, they saw in chess the tool of bringing knowledge and education because it was easy, it was cheap and if you recall the time when revolution happened, most of educated people and top society people they left the country. And so new power should work out something to make new intelligencia and new intellectual people. And so they believed that with the help of chess they could do it, and especially it’s very cheap compared to any other things. I don’t talk even about sport, but about other subjects and sciences. And that’s why it was supported and even during civil war, when we had civil war in 1920, first championship for Soviet Russia took place. And later it became part of education system, before World War II. And after all chess became national game. Like you have here in America, you have baseball, and so Russia had chess.

The Chess ABC-Book, Czech book published in Russian, 1983.

"Kids Play Chess"
Kindergarten textbook, 1991

Garry Kasparov's game with Deep Blue

Grand master Eduard Gryunfeld, left, and "I Prefer to Risk" about five time world champion, Nona Gaprindashvili. She was the
first woman grandmaster.

1927 book about famous game between Alehin and Capablanca.

Third world champion J. R. Capablanca.

"The Praxis of My System," by A. Nimzovich, 1962

"Become a Grand Master," 1985

Chess magazines, 1966.

Chess game journal.

Books are from eBay and antiquarian bookseller sites.


  1. i love chess ,the covers were translation of passion by the authors and great cover designers,great posting thx for sharing

  2. Great,the books are the friend of mankind,aren't they?


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