Great read

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  • Great read

    I just finished City of Thieves by David Benioff about the Siege of Leningrad (St.petersburg) Russia in WW2 (fiction) There are many references about chess in the book and the main character apparently is quite the player. He spent many nights studying Tarraschs Three Hundred Chess Games and uses Tarrasch's sage advice - always put the rook behind the pawn except when it is wrong to do so. The book is full of humour and tragedy on many levels.

  • #2
    Thanks, Hans. Sounds like a fascinating book!

    During this siege, which lasted for 900 days, the manuscript for a new middlegame book, authored by Peter Romanovsky (1892-1964), was lost in a fire. He was one of the strongest Soviet players of the era between the two World Wars. He got the IM title in 1950; should have been GM, but if FIDE did that, then Dr. Fedor Bohatirchuk (1892-1984, moved to Canada after WWII) would have had to be a GM as well, and the Soviets didn't want that, since they considered him, as a defector, to be a traitor. The lost book was later re-written, and many years later was made available in English translation, in 1990, in a two-volume set. I see there is now another translation available; the first one was done by American Thad Rogers. I think IM Raja Panjwani (my former student) has borrowed my set of this. Recommended.

    A young Boris Spassky (born in 1937) was able to escape from the Leningrad siege, for the duration of the war. Future GMs who survived it included Viktor Korchnoi and Mark Tseitlin.

    The book '900 days' by Harrison Salisbury deals in morbid detail with this siege. The death toll has been estimated at 1 million or more.


    • #3
      The author David Benioff said "900 days" by Harrison Salisbury was the best reference that he used.