This book discusses the first Russian grandmasters and prominent masters, such luminaries as Mikhail Chigorin, Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, Paul Keres, Alexander Kotov, Boris Spassky, Mikhail Tal, Alexander Tolush and many others. Also included is a section dedicated to the women players. There are numerous, chessboard diagrams, and page upon page of annotated games and game fragments in the book.
Chess is a national game in Russia. It is played by millions of men, women, and children. Large-scale tournaments are held regularly in factories, offices, and schools.
The Russian style of play is characterized by creative scope, boldness and energy in attack, plus tenacity and resourcefulness in defense. It is founded on scientific methods of studying theory and training for competitions.
About the Author(s)
GM Alexander Alexandrovich Kotov was born on 12 August. He was a Soviet chess grandmaster and author. One of the strongest players in the world, he set the record for the best score in an Interzonal Tournament for the World Chess Championship, a record Bobby Fischer tried to beat without success. He was a Soviet champion, a two-time world title Candidate, and a prolific chess author. Kotov served in high posts in the Soviet Chess Federation and most of his books were written during the period of Cold War between the US and the USSR.
Kotov's books also included frequent praise for the Soviet system in general. The 1958 book The Soviet School of Chess (which he co-wrote with Mikhail Yudovich) stated that "The rise of the Soviet school to the summit of world chess is a logical result of socialist cultural development." Notwithstanding Kotov's forays into the political realm, his books were insightful and informative and were written in a congenial style. He often made his points by citing first-hand stories of incidents involving famous grandmasters, most of whom he knew personally. Such entertaining and enlightening personal accounts helped to ensure that his books would remain popular among chess players of widely varying nationalities and playing strengths. He died on 8 January 1981.