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.


      • #4
        Yes, a good story. I just finished reading it.

        Thank you Hans!


        • #5
          Thanks Emil. That encourages me to post about my reads every once in a while, especially when they have chess references.


          • #6
            Yes, please keep posting on books (maybe also movies) with chess references.
            This way we will be able to stay on this side of the chesstalk ;)

            And while we are at it: have you read "Moral victories" by David Lovejoy? It is a fictionalized story of Savielly Tartakower's life.


            • #7
              No I have not, so thank you. Nice to exchange tips.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Emil Smilovici View Post
                Yes, please keep posting on [chess] books .....
                I second that request!!!

                Originally posted by Emil Smilovici View Post
                This way we will be able to stay on this side of the chesstalk ;) ....
                And I agree wholeheartedly with this comment, even though I'm one of the worst offenders when it comes to going off topic.

                "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop
                "Only the dead have seen the end of war." - Plato
                "If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination." - Thomas De Quincey