Smyslov, Bronstein, Geller, Taimanov and Averbakh

A Chess Multibiography with 220 Games

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About the Book

A crucial decision spared chess Grandmaster David Bronstein almost certain death at the hands of the Nazis—one fateful move cost him the world championship. Russian champion Mark Taimanov was a touted as a hero of the Soviet state until his loss to Bobby Fischer all but ruined his life. Yefim Geller’s dream of becoming world champion was crushed by a bad move against Fischer, his hated rival. Yuri Averbakh had no explanation how he became the world’s oldest grandmaster, other than the quixotic nature of fate. Vasily Smyslov, the only one of the five to become world champion, would reign for just one year—fortune, he said, gave him pneumonia at the worst possible time. This book explores how fate played a capricious role in the lives of five of the greatest players in chess history.

About the Author(s)

Grandmaster Andy Soltis, nine times champion of the Marshall Chess Club, New York Post editor and Chess Life columnist, is the author of dozens of chess books. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic Details

Andrew Soltis
Format: library binding (7 x 10)
Pages: 392
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, 227 diagrams, appendices, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7793-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4053-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: Fate 3
1. First Moves 7
2. Finding Themselves 25
3. War 36
4. ­Super-Empowerment 54
5. Golden Medals 70
6. Tal, Before Tal 89
7. Abroad 114
8. Birth of Rivalries 129
9. Secrets and Scandals 144
10. What Will Be, Will Be 164
11. Good to Great 180
12. Thaw 198
13. One-Year King 209
14. Torch Passing 221
15. Honored Masters of Sport 237
16. Fatal One Point 258
17. By Chance 271
18. Great Futures, Behind Them 285
19. Fortuna 297
20. End of an Era 310
Epilogue 323
Appendix A: Chronology, 1921–2017 327
Appendix B: Rankings Comparison 346
Chapter Notes 349
Bibliography 367
Index of Opponents 371
Index of Openings—Traditional Names 373
Index of Openings—ECO Codes 374
General Index 375

Book Reviews & Awards

• Book of the Year Award—Chess Journalists of America

• “Soltis’ selection of games is lively and interesting… Soltis’ notes are readable and to the point. He re-analyzes numerous classic games, citing the traditional sources and correcting analysis that has stood for years… a collection of exciting games and stories…I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in chess history.”—Chess Life